The Devon food festival season is now upon us, and you’ll find events showcasing fantastic produce going on in many of the towns and villages around the county.
Devon’s well-known for its fantastic cider and cheese, but you’ll also find award-winning produce including wine, meat, poultry, seafood, bread, cakes, chocolate and icecream (and pasties, of course) at this summer’s food festivals, and at The Devon County Show from May 22-24. And remember – there are more great food festivals into the autumn too – see here for even more Devon food festivals throughout the year.
So pack up your blanket, corkscrew and cutlery, go somewhere beautiful, and taste some of the best food and drink that our county has to offer.
Exeter Food Festival
April 25-27, Exeter Castle and Northernhay Gardens
The award-winning Exeter Festival of South West Food and Drink is known as one of the best in the country – so you won’t be surprised to learn that two Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines (Gidleigh Park) is behind it.
Over the three days that it’s held in the beautiful setting of Exeter Castle – close to the city centre and shopping – it offers great food from more than a hundred artisan producers from across the region. Expect tasters of everything, but save room for a proper feed at one of the street food stands offering posh burger and hot dogs, chargrilled Devon steaks, as well flavours from around the globe.
Perhaps the biggest draw is its Festival Cookery Theatre, hosted by Michael Caines, with all-day cooking demos and masterclasses from some of the biggest names on the South West food scene, but there’s much more too: the festival bar with local beer, wine and cider; lots of foodie activities for kids in the Food is Fun teepees, Fun Kitchen and Festival Farmyard; tips on growing your own produce; and the UK seed spitting competition taking place.
The icing on the cake: The Exeter Food Festival also runs After Dark Party Nights (on the evenings of April 24-26), with more great food and drink, plus great music, which prompts many to make a weekend of it.
May 3-4, Torquay Harbourside
What a great way to spend the May bank holiday weekend – at TorqEat 2014 sampling great food and watching top chefs in action. This free entry food festival is held right by the water’s edge and expects to have at least 35 local food and drink producers from across Devon and Torbay, as well as around 15 top local chefs in the cookery theatre. Well-known names such as Torquay’s Michelin-starred Simon Hulestone (The Elephant) and Anton Piotrowski (MasterChef: The Professionals 2012 joint winner and head chef at The Treby Arms), will be appearing on stage, as well as the talented Bruce Cole (The Moorland Garden Hotel) and Jean Philippe Bidart (The Millbrook Inn at South Pool), as well as many more top local chefs.
The icing on the cake: many of Torquay’s restaurants, bars and cafes will be laying on special Restaurant Trail menus to try during the days leading up to the festival.
More about TorqEat 2014
Find more food events around The English Riviera
Dartington Food Fair
May 31-June 1, The Shops at Dartington
Follow your sixth (shopping) sense to The Shops at Dartington (lots of unusual crafts, arts, clothes, accessories, toys and knick-knacks) on the weekend of May 31-June 1 and you’ll find lots of great food and drink to buy too. More than 50 local producers will be taking stalls, including Tom’s Pies, The Wonky Kitchen, Portlebay Popcorn, Get Cupcaked and at least five beer or cider producers. There are lots of other great things going on too – competitions (including Bake a Pasty and Guess the Chilli), live music and a children’s area with activities.
The icing on the cake: it’s free entry – all day, all weekend.
More about Dartingon Food Fair
Find more food festivals near Dartmoor
South Devon Crab Month
August, various locations around South Devon
August sees South Devon celebrating its delicious brown crab with Crab Month, which means competitions, events and special menus designed to show off the wonderful seafood that’s found just off its coastline and landed fresh from its boats. Local chefs will be putting special crab-based dishes on their menus for the month – and providing the recipes for you to take home too. It all culminates in the Crab Day Street Party in Dartmouth, when the town becomes bedecked with bunting and the streets fill with people, music – and crab!
The icing on the cake: Don’t know how to crack and pick a crab? The guys behind the festival have produced a video to show you how.
More about South Devon Crab Month
Find more food events in South Devon
Flavour Fest 2014
August 15-17, The Piazza, Plymouth
Plymouth’s Flavour Fest is a highlight of any Devon foodie’s calendar – what’s not to love about top-notch food and drink, bought straight from the people who raised, grew or made it, all in the setting of this wonderful waterside city. This year it’ll include a fantastic cookery theatre and big screen with cooking demos from celebrated local chefs, activities for foodie kids and lots to eat on-site or take home. Also look out for Plymouth’s Big Food Event from June 10-14.
The icing on the cake: Flavour Fest is staged close to Plymouth’s historic, cobbled Barbican area, which is full of lovely cafes, pubs and restaurants and a great place for alfresco dining.
Find even more Devon food festivals
Find places to stay across Devon
More about Devon food and drink, and where celeb chef Mitch Tonks eats out in Devon
Read about Celebrity chef restaurants in Plymouth