York Food Festival 2013: a guide in six courses

Loitering within the food tent… York Food Festival
19 Sep 2013 @ 10.31 pm
| Food & Drink
Where to go for the grub? Follow our guide. Photograph: Richard McDougall
Where to go for the grub? Follow our guide. Photograph: Richard McDougall

Right York, time to cleanse your palate, don that bib and loosen your waistband. The York Food and Drink Festival is back for its 17th year, and organisers expect it to lure 400,000 hungry visitors during its ten-day stay in the city.

Judging from the extensive festival programme, it seems like the whole city is joining in. Certainly the YorkMix food desk will be doing their bit, hunting down as many free lunchtime samples as possible.

Here is a guide to some food fest highlights in the form of a particularly lavish meal. Bon, as they say in Selby, appétit.

A round of drinks

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First, get the beers in. But which ones? To find out the answer head to the Tutored Beer Tasting (Saturday, September 21) with Jeff Evans, the man from Inside Beer.

If you are more of a wine tippler, head to the Field And Fawcett Wine Fair (Saturday, September 28) where there are 100 to try. And if only bubbly will do, try the Champagne Mini Masterclass (Friday, September 27) to distinguish your Bruts from your Blancs du Noir.

Cocktail lovers aren’t forgotten. Chef Michael O’Hare and his bartenders will work together for the Blind Swine Cookery & Cocktail Demonstration (Saturday, September 21 and Saturday, September 28).

1. Starters

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First, let’s sort the bread basket. Bakers inspired by Paul Hollywood should head to the Castle Museum for Give Us Our Daily Bread (Friday, September 20 to Sunday, September 29; sessions throughout the day from 10am to 4pm). As well as some history and science behind baking there are bread making demonstrations.

At the Discover The Origin sessions (Saturday, September 21 and Sunday, September 22) you can learn about that staple of the entrée: Parma ham. It is one of five key European products promoted at the event, which also includes Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and port.

2. Fish course

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Richard Fowler knows fish. And the man from Burnholme Fisheries is joined by York chefs for a fish preparation and cookery demonstration in Fowler’s Boys (Friday, September 20).

Tying in with the festival’s science theme, Professor Callum Roberts and Paul Brereton talk about sustainable fishing as part of their discussion The Horsemeat And Fish Talks (Thursday, September 26).

3. Vegetarian

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Unless you’re a flesh-eating zombie, you’ll know that there are some superb veggie dishes around. Award winning Indian chef Hansa Dabhi will show why her Leeds restaurant is so popular at Hansa’s Vegetarian Curry Evening (Wednesday, September 25) and her Cookery Demonstration (Saturday, September 21).

4. Meat course

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Coming from four generations in the meat industry, James Wright of Taste Tradition will hold a Cookery Demonstration showing how to cure bacon and offering a few tasty nibbles (Thursday, September 26).

And of course the star chefs are the meat in the festival’s sandwich. Names like Stephanie Moon of Rudding Park (pictured above) (Cooking With Wild Food, Saturday, September 28), Andrew Pern, soon to bring his Star Inn to York (Cookery Demonstration, Sunday, September 22) and Sophie Conran (The Dining Warehouse demonstration, Friday, September 27) will be whisking audiences into a frenzy.

5. Surprise

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Surprises are an essential part of any foodie night out. YorkMix contributor Kate Clarkson (pictured above) brings her York Cookery School to the festival and one of its demonstrations will see volunteers battle it out to replicate a surprise dish in a special competition (Monday, September 23).

And at another YorkMix contributor’s event, the Apples For Eggs Food Swap (Saturday, September 21), who knows what you might come away with in exchange for your own tasty contribution?

6. Dessert

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Got any room left? Of course you have. Pudding time!

Sharpen your appetite by joining Professor Paul Walton’s talk on The Science Of Puddings. Then head to historic Treasurer’s House for the Hungarian Tokaji Wine and Dessert Tasting with Master of Wine David Bird (both Tuesday, September 24).

For many, puddings mean only one thing. Chocolate. And you are spoiled for choice. York Cocoa House has a series of events at the festival, including its Chocolate Dinner Club, offering a tasting menu where all the dishes have a choccy element (Tuesday, September 24).

Among York Chocolate Story’s contributions is a Choctail Masterclass, where you can learn to make mouthwatering chocolate cocktails (Friday, September 27).

And to round off your meal, a coffee (Chocolate and Coffee Tasting, Tuesday, September 24) and cheese course (Cheese and Wine Tasting, Friday, September 27).