A season of food and drink festivals and events
Make some space in your diary to enjoy some of the best local speciality food, craft beers and spirits at our selection of scrumptious tasting festivals and events…
Kick off your year of foodie celebrations with Aberdeen Restaurant Week, which features £10, £20 and tasting menus from some of the city centre’s favourite restaurants. The event starts on Monday 24 February. Book in advance as table numbers are limited. aberdeenrestaurantweek.com.
Head up to the Cullen Bay Hotel on Sunday 8 March for the Cullen Skink World Championships. There are blind tastings, stalls and entertainment at this free celebration of the famous soup. The World Championships kick off at 11am.
Later on in the month, on 27-28 March, the focus shifts to the Lochter Activity Centre for the Inverurie Beer Festival. There’s also cider, gin and rum and soft drinks for your designated driver. Live music and a selection of street food vendors dishing up a variety of treats from all over the world.
Book well ahead for the Aberdeen Craft and Ale Trail on 25 April, as this is a bus tour of eight pubs in and around the city. Buses arrive at each pub every 45 minutes, so you can hop on and off at any point. The day starts at 11am and ends at 10pm, so plan your route to include the best places to fill up on pub food for lunch and dinner. Book at craftandaletrail.co.uk
If you’re not big on beer, then the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival might be more up your street. This enthusiastic celebration of Scotland’s national drink draws visitors from all corners of the world as distilleries, shops, restaurants, pubs and villages throughout Speyside put on an enormous array of special tastings, tours, food, music and outdoor activities. This year’s event runs from 29 April to 4 May, but tickets to the best events go quickly when booking opens of 12 February. Check it out on spiritofspeyside.com.
22-25 The Bandstand Beer Festival in Nairn celebrates its 12th year of being the biggest indie beer and festival in the Highlands, boasting more than 150 real ales, ciders and craft beers from all over the UK. Expect live music, speciality foods, whisky, charity stalls and a barbecue.
The Taste of Grampian Food Festival has been a fixture in June for many years. This year’s celebration of Grampian’s food and drink has an emphasis on local produce. Celebrity chefs, music, children’s entertainment, and arts and crafts guarantee a great day for the whole family. It’s on 6 June 2020, at Thainstone just outside Inverurie.
Head to Stonehaven between 18 and 20 June for this year’s Midsummer Beer Happening. The marquee in Baird Park has become the venue for one of Scotland’s biggest and most popular beer festivals.
The Johnshaven Fish Festival takes place on Saturday 8 August. As well as plenty of fishy treats, all the profits are returned to the village as community grants.
Mark off Saturday 5 September for the Huntly Hairst Food and Farming Festival. This community festival features a wide variety of things to see and to do which are all connected to the culture and life of Huntly’s farming community. There are fierce rivalries in the baking competitions and the event also includes the World Stovies Championship. Local musicians provide the backdrop to a series of literature and foodie events.
18 – 20 September marks Aviemore’s three day Big Mix Festival celebrating food, drink, music, art, crafts and other activities. Have a look at aviemorebigmixfestival.co.uk to see what’s on.