20th May 2019
Kent’s top food events for summer
With an event organiser’s approach and a passion for food, guest blogger Andréa Avena highlights five of Kent’s culinary festivals that are getting him excited for summer…
Growing up in an Italian family, I regularly spent Sundays at large feasts cooked by my Nonna, or in my father’s restaurant, ‘helping’ him by making my own pizza. It was these early experiences that gave me a deep and wholehearted appreciation of delicious food, made with quality ingredients.
As spring turns to summer, the strawberries start to ripen, and the Pimm’s begins to flow, there’s nothing I love more than visiting the many farmers’ markets and food and drink festivals that Kent has to offer. Here are my top five events not to miss over the warmer months…
Tonbridge Food and Drink Festival, May 25 and 26
Kicking off the May bank holiday weekend in the grounds of Tonbridge Castle, the team behind the award-winning Tonbridge Farmers’ Market are putting on this two-day festival. Over 70 stallholders will be purveying delicious cheeses, breads, cakes and other speciality treats, while a Street Food Café is selling cuisines from around the world, all washed down with a range of Kentish brews in the Beer and Cider Festival.
Spirit of Tenterden Festival, July 5 to 7
Few things remind me of my teenage years in Tenterden quite like spending summer afternoons on the recreation ground – so, the Spirit of Tenterden Festival is definitely on my calendar. As well as showcasing the best food and drink from the Jewel of the Weald, Old Dairy Brewery will be whipping up the official festival beer, and The Woolpack’s Hush Heath Estate are taking care of the wine. Plus, keep an eye out for hog roasts and barbecues, accompanied by an Italian twist from Moretto’s Italian BBQ – my father’s own street food truck, serving Italian dishes made with Kentish produce!
Pub in the Park, July 12 to 14
A highlight in the Tunbridge Wells diary, Tom Kerridge’s Pub in the Park at Dunorlan Park again promises to be one of the standout foodie weekends of the year. Headlined by music acts like Basement Jaxx, KT Tunstall and Rick Astley (still never giving us up), the festival brings pop-ups from some of the South East’s finest gastropubs, including The Sportsman, The Kentish Hare, Berners Tavern and The Compasses Inn, which has been awarded a Bib Gourmand for 2019.
Whitstable Oyster Festival, July 27 to 29
If I had to pick one Kentish food product as my favourite, it would be the oysters for which Whitstable is so famous. With events such as an oyster parade, a ‘mud tug’, and the creation of candlelit oyster mounds on the beach at sunset, Whitstable Oyster Festival is undoubtedly the county’s most uniquely traditional food fair.
Taste of Kent Food Festival, September 7 and 8
Rounding up the summer with an extravaganza of Kentish fare, Taste of Kent in East Malling is sure to be a stunning foodie finale. With chef demos from the likes of Rosemary Shrager and the Tanner Brothers, along with masterclasses in pasta-making and baking, kids’ cookery classes and a street food festival, this is one weekend you’ll want to fully immerse yourself in.
Follow my food journey this summer here.