Fairy-tale food festival

Once upon a time, we could eat out, socialise and go for drinks without much of a second thought. But after a rather lengthy hiatus all round (for obvious reasons), there was a mini celebration when I realised the Edinburgh Food Festival is back on. Being outdoors at George Square Gardens, fairy lights criss-crossing each other above us, the almost-forest-like green of the gardens encircling the square, there’s a wee bit of magic in the evening air. While the festival opens at midday in time for lunch, the fizz from Poco Prosecco can come out as the sun fades away.

Basically, this is a chance to enjoy the warm weather we’re having (although by the time this is published I’ll have jinxed it) over, perhaps, a beer and pizza from one of the featured food trucks and market stalls. It sounds simple but, in all honesty, I walked away feeling like human being again. An evening out with friends is just wonderful. As the name suggests, the focus of the festival is on food, in particular from Sottish producers, using Scottish ingredients. The curated list of stalls and trucks include: • Gluten-free, vegan beers from Bellfield Brewery. • Ice-cream from North Berwick-based Alanda’s Gelato (a personal favourite). • Pies, and they’ve won awards too, from Jarvis Pickle. • Poke sushi bowls with Scottish salmon from Mana Poké. • Tapas including patatas bravas and fries from Moskito Spanish Bites. And with restrictions lingering, it’s great that the event is outside – and entirely Covid-aware when it comes to, say, the amount of people who can sit at one of the wooden tables dotted about. Each table has a barcode you can scan on your phone to view and order from the drinks menu to minimise interaction. “Last year has been super-tough,” said general manager Dani Rae at the festival, “but it’s incredible to see how our partners and vendors have diversified to keep going and support those in need during lockdown. We’re so pleased to make this happen this year at what feels like really a crucial time.” Bonus: the Edinburgh Food Festival also merges with the start of the Assembly Festival (from 29 July), a spiegeltent – or travelling tent – and an outdoor stage set up for performances. If you’re around for a show or two while enjoying fish and chips from Alanda’s, then all the better. Need-to-know basis
Until 1 August 2021 Time Noon to midnight
Where George Square Gardens, Edinburgh
Order online Choose your drinks here More info edfoodfest.com

Fairy-tale food festival