The multi award-winning Woking Food and Drink Festival returns next weekend, an absolute must for foodies across the county. Offering more than is possible to consume in one helping, the free to attend ‘feastival’ is spread over three glorious days (Friday 30 August to Sunday 1 September) in Woking town centre.
Everything you love about this annual food fest, you will find in abundance at this year’s event. Once again, street food, craft beers and local produced artisan goods are combined perfectly with cookery demos from bake-off stars, MasterChef winners and local food heroes who can lay claim to a Michelin star or two. But what really sets this year’s festival apart, and will surely satisfy the needs of the more discerning visitor, is the range of sides being dished up on the fringes of the event.
To take your food appreciation to the next level, online tickets are on sale for the many tasting sessions and masterclasses taking place during the festival.
Woking’s aperitivo bar, Bacaró, hosts two exciting tastings this year. On Friday 30 and Saturday 31 August, you can try a selection of Italian wines and a prosecco from the country’s finest producers including Masi, Antinori and Pala, but if gin is more your thing, on Sunday 1 September, the Bacaró mixologists will introduce you to the latest trends and flavour combinations. As is the custom, the ticket price for these tastings includes something to eat on the side.
Closer to home, English wine communicator and founder of GreatBritishWine.com, John Mobbs, will host a talk and tasting featuring wines from the Surrey Hills. John will talk through the rise of the English wine industry, the tourism opportunities in Surrey and finish on a tutored tasting of wines from Albury Organic Vineyard, Chilworth Manor, Denbies Wine Estate, Greyfriars Vineyard and High Clandon. Join him on Saturday 31 August, 2pm over at The Lightbox.
On Saturday 31 August and Sunday 1 September at 2pm, learn more about the art of food pairing as you mix and match three different wines and organic cheeses with the experts at Cellar Magneval, Woking’s much loved independent wine bar.
Speaking about the food festival, Woking Borough Council’s Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture, Cllr Colin Kemp, said: “We’re so excited to welcome back Woking’s hotly anticipated food and drink festival. The line-up is as strong as ever with the likes of Sabrina Ghayour, Martha Collison and Chris Bavin headlining the demo theatre, and we have a great assortment of activities on offer to make this year’s festival a really engaging and immersive experience. For example, you can enjoy afternoon tea at the epicentre of the festival with all the buzz going on around you, or gain an insight into what it’s like to be a top flight sommelier at one of the many scheduled talks.
“This year’s event is so much more than a festival, it’s a celebration of our enjoyment and physical connection with food, around which our relationships, cultures and livelihoods are built upon.”
For a real sense of occasion, visitors to the festival can go all out by taking part in a pop-up dining experience. To ease yourself into the weekend start with a Jazz brunch at The Lightbox on Saturday 31 August. Renowned jazz guitarist, Pete Roth, and his band play both sittings, (starting at 10am and 11.30am), while you choose from eggs royale, buttermilk pancakes and other brunch-time favourites.
Or for the best seat in the house, head to Christ Church for Tea on the Terrace. On Friday 30 and Saturday 31 August, you can enjoy an afternoon tea including selection of sandwiches, scones (with jam and cream), homemade cakes and a pot of tea as you soak up the festival atmosphere from this prime vantage point overlooking Jubilee Square.
Younger visitors to the festival are well catered for with face painting and street theatre but to prolong their enjoyment, worth booking in advance is cupcake decorating with Victoria's Kitchen on Saturday 31 August, or one of the daily canal cruises aboard, Kitty. Hop aboard the 12-seater narrowboat outside the WWF-UK's Living Planet Centre.
Not to be missed is the Hot Pods live chilli eating competition. Ten brave (or utterly bonkers) contestants will demonstrate their tongue’s thermal might in order to be crowned Woking Food Fest’s Top Chilli Eater 2019! Gather round the demo theatre at 5pm on Saturday 31 August to see if anyone can go all ten rounds. Register by 4pm the same day if you think you’re up to the challenge!
Cllr Kemp continued: “As you can see there’s a lot going on so our advice for a great day out at the Woking Food Drink and Festival, is to plan ahead. A full what’s on guide is available now on the festival website and some activities, like tastings and dining events, require advanced booking to avoid disappointment.”
More information about tastings and pop-up dining events, including prices and how to book, is available at www.wokingfoodfest.co.uk. An interactive festival map, daily event schedule and visitor information including up to date travel advice, can also be found online.