A bite-sized guide to York’s Taster Food Festival: June 2016

Eating, drinking and shopping - what more do you want? York Food and Drink Festival. Photograph: JoanneB

Are you still using plates to serve your food on? How very last year.

Taster Food & Drink Festival

Parliament Street + St Sampson’s Square

June 11-12

Free

Downloadable map and info

Banana leaves are the way to go apparently.

But if you need a bit more persuading, pop along and see the team from Abuela’s Kitchen in Parliament Street this weekend when they’ll be serving up homemade Mexican food in the aforementioned foliage.

They’re just one of the delicious draws at the mini-bite festival that acts as an amuse bouche for York’s main Food & Drink Festival, which celebrates its 20th year from September 23 to October 2.

Festival favourites like the Chilli Jam Man and Shambles Kitchen will be setting up their stalls as usual on Saturday and Sunday.

There’ll also be sellers from further afield such as Eat Falafel from Watford, which specialises in vegan and gluten-free falafel, and experts in the cuisines of Greece, Thailand and Scandinavia.

Free demonstrations

Yorkshire chefs will be rattling the pots and pans in the demo tent. Photograph: JoanneB
Yorkshire chefs will be rattling the pots and pans in the demo tent. Photograph: JoanneB

Chefs from around Yorkshire will be showing off their skills in a free demonstration tent in St Sampson’s Square throughout the festival.

Here’s the Saturday timetable:

1pm – Chef Stephanie Moon
2pm – Kate Clarkson, York Cookery School
3pm – Walmgate Ale House
4pm – Joel Arnold, Copmanthorpe Dining Club.

And Sunday’s demonstrations will be…

1pm – The Wine Chapter
2pm – Martyn Hyde, Eat Me Cafe
3pm – Michael from the Winner Winner Restaurant
4pm – York’s Chocolate Story.

For hungry kids

Hands-on foodie fun for the kids. Photograph: York Food & Drink Festival
Hands-on foodie fun for the kids. Photograph: York Food & Drink Festival
Free, food-related kids’ activities will be held in the St Sampson’s Square demonstration tent from 10.30am-12.30pm on Saturday and Sunday.

The sessions, organised by Little Vikings and kids’ cookery school Crafty Cooks, include a bit of taste testing and food identification. There’s also a prize for the best drawing of a plate of food.

Eating out

Strawberries, lobster and champagne? Oh, go on then
Strawberries, lobster and champagne? Oh, go on then

York Cocoa House is hosting a chocolate dinner on Friday at 7pm, when all four courses will have a chocolatey theme (we’re thinking Milky Way, KitKat, Bounty and a Yorkie to finish). It’s £25 and booking is essential.

The Star Inn the City is putting on a special strawberry, lobster and champagne dinner throughout June.

And El Piano vegan restaurant is opening a £10 ‘community table’ all-you-can-eat buffet from noon-1.30pm on Saturday and Sunday to raise money for Mummy’s Star and York Against Cancer.

On the market

Festival favourite the Chilli Jam Man is just one of the foodies selling their goodies in Parliament Street. Photograph: JoanneB
Festival favourite the Chilli Jam Man is just one of the foodies selling their goodies in Parliament Street. Photograph: JoanneB
For sweet stuff, try A Bit Of What You Fancy, which sells brownies, layer cakes and lemon drizzle; Brown & Blond which, not surprisingly, offers brownies and blondies in more than 40 flavour combinations; Candy Creations for giant cookies and humungous rocky road muffins; or Churros & Chocolate (oh come on, you know what they sell).

If you prefer savoury flavours, head to The Pickled Porker for low, slow smoked meat and Yorkshire tapas; artisan pasta maker Giovanni Rana for fresh-filled ravioli; and Marriott & Swales for rare and native breed biltong (yiddle I po).

And for those of you who prefer a liquid lunch, why not stagger in the general direction of Fruity Tipples for fruit-infused vodka; Orchards of Husthwaite for artisan cider; or Raisthorpe for a sloe gin (or a quick one if you’re in a rush).