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The St Albans Food and Drink Festival 2009

20 June to 5 July

Summer 2009 saw the second annual St Albans Food and Drink Festival, part of the wider St Albans Festival. Residents and visitors enjoyed a fortnight of offers, events, competitions and, for the first time, the Food and Drink Festival Awards which we supported by joining the judging panel and hosting the online voting.

* Winners of the Food and Drink Awards *

Win a meal for two at Savanna at The Black Lion Inn

Test your knowledge of American literature and Britpop in our online competition giving you the chance to dine in style. Closing date: 5 July 09. Congratulations to the winner, Fiona Snailham.

Festival-long offers*


  • 50p off any hot drink at Soko Coffee. Soko's mobile van can be found at St Albans City Station weekdays from 6.30 to 10am.
  • 10% off orders over £10 and a free doughnut with every large coffee or premium tea at The Merchant Tea and Coffee Company.


  • 25% off the a la carte dinner menu (min 2 courses)/ a two course set lunch with wine for £14.95 at Chez Mumtaj. Not valid with any other offer. Booking is essential; mention offers when booking.
  • Free bottle of Prosecco at Lussmanns for each table of four eating at least two courses per person from the main menu.
  • 3 courses for 2 people and a bottle of wine for £29 at The Brasserie, Sopwell House. Register online to receive your offer voucher and view the special Festival menu (pdf).
  • Free glass of wine at The Albany. Offer available Tues to Fri 23 Jun to 3 Jul.
  • Free rice and naan bread with main meals at Samoji Indian Restaurant (formerly Sultan Balti). Offer valid Sun to Wed from 5 to 11pm.
  • 15% off your food bill at Bangkok Lounge Thai Restaurant, Harpenden, Herts.
  • Free bottle of wine at Kashu for each table of four dining at lunch times.
  • 10% discount at Cinta Garden Restaurant. Offer is not available on Fri & Sat.

Pubs and bars

  • £5 'daily specials' menu at The King Harry. Offer available all day Mon to Fri.
  • 50% off all main courses at The Verulam Arms. Offer available on Tues or Wed from 7 to 9pm.
  • Pie Week with 20% off at The Goat Inn
  • Three Course Set Supper menu at Ye Olde Fighting Cocks for £17.50. Offer available Mon to Fri.
  • £5 Dish of the Day at The Farmer's Boy. 12 to 3pm daily, 5 to 8pm weekdays.
  • All cocktails £3 at The Slug and Lettuce - all day, every day during the Festival.
  • Free pudding at The Portland Arms when two or more people dine and have three courses. Buy a main meal and get one free Tues to Sat at lunchtimes (offers cannot be used together).

* please note that production of a festival brochure or a print off from this site is required to access these offers





20 Jun to 4 Jul

The King Harry

Cider Fest: try a huge selection of ciders and perries including Westons, Aspalls, Green Goblin, Brothers, Breton and Kopparberg.

Sat 20 & 27 Jun

Hare & Hounds

Lions Test BBQ: Come and enjoy a BBQ (or Braai for any South African fans) and support the British and Irish Lions as they take on South Africa. From 12pm

Sun 21 Jun


Farmers' Market: regular monthly market of fresh local produce. 10am to 1pm. Free.

Tue 23 Jun

Savanna at The Black Lion Inn

New World Wines with an Aussie BBQ: Paul Quy, an expert from Wine Studio demonstrates how to match the best New World wines with a tasty al fresco BBQ. 6pm onwards. Tickets £15.

Wed 24 Jun

The Abbey

Medieval Tour and Dinner: a tour of the monastic aspects of the Abbey with by a two course dinner with coffee. Tours from 6pm, dinner at 7.30pm. £25 per person. Book on 01727 890221.

Savanna at The Black Lion Inn

Launch Night - Savanna Cheese & Wine Club: The Cheese Wheeler Martin Knap and wine expert James Stoddard will present some fabulous combinations. 6pm – 9pm. £15 per person.


The Peahen

Mid Summer Festival BBQ: enjoy a bbq with a jazz trio live on the patio from 8 to 11pm.

Thu 25 Jun

The Verulam Arms

Summer Seafood Festival: enjoy seafood the way it should be. 7 to 9pm. Booking advised.


The Abbey

Literary Dinner - Women In History: Join historical biographist Alison Weir, with fellow writers Sarah Gristwood and Clare Mulley for a fascinating talk and dinner. 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Tickets £20.

White Hart Hotel

Haunted Hotel Dinner & Ghost Tour: Enjoy a three course dinner plus ghost hunt and tour of the historic 600 year old coaching inn. Not for the faint hearted! From 7pm. £22.95 per person.

Fri 26 Jun

The Black Lion Inn

Whisky Tasting – The Regions of Scotland: For tickets and information, please contact The Black Lion Inn. From 7pm. Tickets £10 including all whiskies.

Fri 26 & Sat 27 Jun

Flagship Wines

Waipara West Wines:Tasting of the wines of Waipara West to show how well these wines mature over time - unusual, as most New Zealand wines are sold young. 6pm-7.30pm, Free.


Harpenden Public Halls

Harpenden Beer and Cider Festival: up to 60 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers. 11am to 10.30pm. Admission £3 (free to CAMRA members).

Sun 28 Jun


Harpenden Farmers Market: over 55 local stall holders on the Lower High Street. 10am to 2pm.


The Verulam Arms

Sunday Night Cheese Club with local singer/songwriter Katie Masson. A large cheese board and biscuits will be provided, please bring a favourite piece of cheese with you. Free.


Savanna at The Black Lion Inn

Savanna Sunday Sessions with Whateversclever: Acoustic duo Pat Cull and Steve Bedford will be playing covers and original tracks. Free bar bites throughout the evening. From 6.30pm.

Tue 30 Jun

The Abbey

Pre-Theatre Cafe Supper: two courses for £14 or three courses for £20 including coffee and mints. 6 to 7.30pm. Booking essential on 01727 890214

Wed 1 Jul

The Black Lion Inn

Latin Fiesta: enjoy the Brilliant Swanvesta Social Club with a large BBQ and speciality cocktails served al fresco in the car park. 7.30pm onwards. Free entry.


The Peahen

Fish BBQ & Live Music with 'The Short Stories' acoustic duo from 8 to 11pm.

Thu 2 Jul

The Verulam Arms

Summer Seafood Festival: enjoy seafood the way it should be. 7 to 9pm. Booking advised.

The Abbey

Literary Dinner: Children's Authors - Join St Albans Children's Book Group and children's authors Kevin Crossley Holland, Leander Deeny and Philip Ardagh for dinner from 7pm. Tickets £20.

Fri 3 Jul

Sopwell House

Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony with guest speaker Aldo Zilli where the winners of the Food and Drink Festival Awards will be announced. Tickets £65 for a five-course dinner and wine.


Savanna at The Black Lion Inn

Savanna Cocktail Making Evening: Learn how to blend, muddle and shake your stuff and obviously taste the results. Light canapés served later in the evening. From 8pm. Tickets £15.

Fri 3 Jul & Sat 4 Jul

Flagship Wines

Craggy Range Wines New Zealand Wine Tasting: presented by Rachel Longstaff representing Craggy Range in the UK. 6pm - 7.30pm, Free

Sat 4 & Sun 5 Jul

Town Hall

The Big Festival Wine Tasting & Artisan Producers Fair: sample wines from all over the world, receive expert advice and enjoy local breads, cakes and cheeses. 11am-5pm. £3 for a tasting card.


St Peters Street and Market Place

Outdoor Finale Weekend with farmers' markets, chef demonstrations in the Festival Kitchen Theatre, food sampling, mobile smoothie-bike and live music. Free.

Timetable for Kitchen Theatre on Sun 5 Jul:

  • 11am - Faisal Maniar from The Albany will be demonstrating how to create your own vanilla ice cream with honeycomb.
  • 12pm - Romaine Lacaille, Michelin trained chef at The Portland Arms will be cooking up a Chicken Supreme stuffed with tapenade, served with roast new potatoes and sun dried tomatoes.
  • 1pm -  Andrei Lussmann and the Lussmanns team cook up some treats from their delicious menu.
  • 2pm - Chad Rahman, the multi award-winning chef from Chez Mumtaj gives an insight into his modern French-Asian dining.
  • 3pm - Mokoko head barman Roberto Fiorillo will be giving a cocktail master class and demonstrating his bar skills.
  • 5pm - Phil Houlhan, Head Chef at The Amble Inn in Harpenden will be popping down to whip up a fantastic seasonal dish.
  • 6pm - Chef Duo Alex Elliot and Nick Smith from The Peahen will be cooking Sea bass and rock samphire served with clams tossed with Spanish chirizo, topped with a white wine foam.

Tue 7 Jul (was 30 Jun)


Champagne Tasting: a master class on Veuve Clicquot vintages. Booking essential (please call Mokoko). From 8pm. £20.

Food and Drink Awards

To help celebrate the quality and diversity of our local food scene, this year saw the launch of the St Albans Food and Drink Festival Awards. A panel of judges shortlisted six venues in the following five categories:

Best Restaurant

Darcy’s (winner)
The Albany
The Brasserie at Sopwell House
Chez Mumtaj
Asia - The Pan Asian Dining Room


Best Bar

Mokoko (winner)
Bar 62
The Cock Inn
Barney’s Bar
The Peahen
The Slug and Lettuce


Best Pub

The White Hart Tap (winner)
The Hare and Hounds
The King Harry
The Verulam Arms
The Six Bells
The White Lion


Best Cafe

The Breakfast Club
Barrissimo Caffe Italiano
Inn on the Park
Café on the Hill
Flea Market Café
Soko Coffee (winner)


Most Family Friendly

The Waffle House
Inn on the Park
The Gingerbread Man (winner)
The Goat Inn

After a public online vote, the winners were announced at the Gala Dinner on 3 July.

For more information, visit