Explore, experience and enjoy delicious local produce at the Eat Cambridge food and drink festival. There's something for everyone, from sweet treats to tasty tapas
A huge celebration of our city’s dynamic food and drink scene, Eat Cambridge returns with a fortnight of delights from 11 to 26 May.
From talks to tasting menus and tap takeovers, there’s plenty to tempt on the programme, which bustles with independent eateries, artisan producers and talented local chefs. As ever, the centrepiece is the Main Event: a large-scale market in The Guildhall where you can explore stalls, pick up tasters, hear talks, join in with workshops and meet local foodie organisations.
Since launching in 2013, the festival has become a symbol of just how far Cambridge has come, evolving from foodie backwater into a city thronging with exciting food and drink enterprises and great places to shop for ingredients.
“I’m always overwhelmed by just how much we have going on in our small city,” enthuses festival founder Heidi White.
“Food and drink is still big news, and Eat Cambridge brings our food scene together in one place. It’s particularly important for small independent businesses, because many of them don’t have a shop or physical premises for customers to discover, so our Main Event provides them with a platform to show their wares and meet local food lovers face to face.”
One of the best things about the festival is the connection it forges between producer and customer, as Heidi explains: “I’ve always aimed to keep the festival focused on our local area, so visitors know they will get the opportunity to meet, sample and talk directly with the person who created their food or drink.
The Festival Fringe events are often intimate, one-off dining experiences – or the chance to learn directly from a producer – and this gives visitors a peek at life behind the scenes. By staying true to our high-quality, independent, locally produced ethos, Eat Cambridge really does celebrate our local food scene and the amazing talent to be found within it.”
Grab your diary and get ready to discover your local pantry: here’s a taster of what’s in store at this year’s event!
The Main Event
We recommend beginning your Cambridge food safari with a locally brewed beer: check out Harston-based BrewBoard’s stall for top ales including the Lakota, or go and see the Cambridge Distillery for a taster of its award-winning spirits. Whistle-whetted, it’s time for a snack. How about a Latvian pie from Ali’s Baltic Bakes, or a bite of farmhouse cheese and some artisan wine from Hum-Closen? If you need a caffeine fix, it has to be Hot Numbers, which will be serving its world-class espresso, filter coffee and beans. Or pop by Tea Sanctuary for loose leaf black, green and rooibos tea, sourced from a Parisian tea merchant.
There are empanadas, tostones and strawberry lemonade from La Latina Bustaurante, plus Spanish flavours at Pata Negra: fill your bags with cured meats, chorizo and marcona almonds. If it’s baked treats you seek, there’s plenty of choice – try One Part Love Bakery for brownies, cookies and cakes, or Grain Culture, Ely’s raved-about micro-bakery, which specialises in small-batch breads and pastry. Bitesize Bakehouse will be serving sensational seasonal cakes, too, plus Kath’s Kitchen, which creates pretty macarons in a rainbow of colours, is well worth a visit.
Other great local suppliers touting their wares are Syms Pantry (the lip-smacking bacon jam is a must), plus Pinkster Gin, The Cambridge Cider Company and Burwash Manor. There’s also a chance to learn more about local organisations, such as Cambridge Sustainable Food and Recycling Champions, as well as hearing talks in the council chamber. Speakers this year include Rosie Sykes, festival patron, food writer and acclaimed chef, who is speaking about The Sunday Night Book, her homage to end of the week comfort food.
Fitzbillies owner Tim Hayward leads a panel discussion featuring some of the city’s most exciting chefs, including Alex Rushmer and Tristan Welch. If you’re an avid Instagrammer, check out the food styling and photography workshop with Stella Pereira and Charlotte Griffiths: a relaxed session that takes you through styling a shoot and getting the best pics possible, with plenty of opportunities to get advice and ask questions. There’s also a chance to meet the husband-wife team behind Honey & Co, Fitzrovia’s celebrated Middle Eastern restaurant, who are signing copies of their latest cookbook. Plus, the cream of the Cambridge brewing scene are out in force to chat about the city’s growing appetite for high-quality, small-batch beer.
#EatCamCam Photography Competition
Food snappers, listen up! There’s a great prize up for grabs for the best picture taken at Eat Cambridge 2019, so make sure you share your photos from the main event and the festival fringe on social media. Tag @eatcambridge and hashtag #EatCamCam. The winning shot will be selected at the end of the fortnight – happy snapping!
Burger lovers are spoiled for choice in Cambridge, with ever more eateries serving bun-fulls of deliciousness, from street food heroes (hello, Steak & Honour) to epic gastro pub patties, like those found at the Pint Shop. Eat Cambridge has made a hit list of the very best burgers in the city, challenging you to eat them, tick them off and share your favourites on social media using the hashtag #BigBurgerCrawl. Pick up the programme to see who made their list and get munching!
Fun on the Fringe
Top pop-ups, supper clubs, talks, tours and more!
Opening the festival this year is History Cooked, an exciting collaboration between Itamar Srulovich, Sarit Packer, Rosie Sykes and Polly Russell. It takes diners on an epicurean adventure inspired by The Forme of Cury. It’s at the Storey’s Field Centre at Eddington and takes place on 10 May.
A collective of Cambridge-based brewers team up on 11 and 12 May for a weekend-long showcase of local ale, lager and cider. Join the boozy fun at the Pint Shop, no tickets required!
Flourish & Friends
Join revolutionary local produce grower Calixta Killander, Hum-Closen owner Suzannah Wansell and Allotment Café’s Katie Moore for a feast on the farm on 12 May. Exquisite dishes, wine, cheese and a tour of the farm all await.
Meadows of Newnham
15 May sees the opening of Meadows of Newnham pop-up shop, which runs throughout the festival. This joint venture is between Hum-Closen’s Suzannah Wansell and patisserie chef Emese Gengeliczki. Expect farmhouse cheeses and small-producer wines along with locally grown fresh produce, chocolate, coffee, tea, preserves, oil, pasta, nuts and grains. This is a chance to get a flavour of what is to come and stock up your cupboards until this exciting local store opens permanently! The pop-up is open 10am to 6pm Wednesday to Saturday, and 10am to 3pm Sundays throughout the festival.
Scratch Kitchen Vegan Feast
An evening of gourmet vegan and vegetarian dishes at the Pear & Olive Scratch Kitchen in Hildersham on 15 May. The evening features live music, a selection of tapas-style vegan and veggie dishes, and a demonstration from Chef Gael Colley, previously head chef of the first Michelin-starred vegan restaurant in California.
Sherry & Food Masterclass
A celebration of ‘the perfect marriage’ between food and sherry with Thorne Wines at the Pint Shop on 16 May. There is a six-course tasting menu and a chance to learn about wine from some of the oldest wineries in the world, discovering how versatile this underrated drink can be.
Street Food Cinema
The Star & Mouse Picture Show joins forces with Cambridge’s street food collective foodPark for the ultimate pop-up at Coton Orchard on 18 May. Top food trucks and the chance to see street food movie, Chef, with a bar and sweet treats, too.
Supper on a Bus
La Latina Bustaurante is hosting a supper club to share its favourite family recipes with a seven-course supper on 19 May, featuring flavours from Colombia, Portugal and Mozambique. Ticket includes a glass of Portuguese wine, a tropical cocktail and Colombian coffee.
Head to Burwash Manor farm on 19 May for a seasonal feast in the impressive food hall, featuring cookery demonstrations, in-house asparagus treats to sample, street food from Flock Café and wine tastings with on-site wine merchants Cozzi & Boffa.
Go wild at Restaurant 22
A collaboration between Restaurant Twenty-Two and local supplier Seed to Feed Micro Farm, this event celebrates excellent cooking, specialist-grown produce and wild-foraged food from the Cambridgeshire area. A six
course tasting menu based around wild, foraged produce, it takes place on 22 May.
Amélie, upstairs at the Grafton, has taken Cambridge by storm with its pizza-like delicacy, flammekueche. On 23 May, learn about the history of this ‘French fire bread’, and discover how chef Regis Crepy and his son Alex have brought it into the 21st century. Guests will enjoy a welcome drink, starter and the chance to try ten varieties of flammekeuche.
Enjoy a feast of pintxos, aka Basque-region tapas dishes, alongside some great craft beer at Wylde Sky Brewing in Linton on 24 May. The food comes from The Linton Kitchen, and you can expect a fast-paced feast with live music, plentiful pintxos and enough beer to keep you up until the early hours!