Tempt your tastebuds at these October wine and food festivals in Paris and London

With October approaching and the days becoming shorter, food and wine enthusiasts will enjoy both the culinary delights and the festival atmosphere that are offered at two distinctive annual events – the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival in Paris, and the London Restaurant Festival. Read on to learn more…

Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival, 8th – 12th October 2014

For a unique Parisian festival experience, the Montmartre Grape Harvest Festival, which takes place each year on the second weekend of October, is definitely worth a visit. The Clos Montmartre, just 16,000 square feet, and perched high on the hill of Montmartre, is one of the few vineyards left in Paris, and the festival is both a celebration of the wine tradition of the area, and the arrival of the new vintage. The harvest of Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes produces only about 1500 bottles of wine, which are for sale at the festival, with the profits going directly to local charities.

Grapes

Wandering from stall to stall, there is also wine tasting from other French suppliers available, as well as delicious regional food products for visitors to enjoy. Each year, a ‘godmother’ and ‘godfather’ of the festival are chosen from among France’s A-list celebrities, with this year’s choices being the actress Sandrine Bonnaire, and the singer, Jacques Higélin. There are art exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances, street music, dancing and parades over the five days, with this year’s highlights including a poetry and music evening on the Wednesday, a gourmet walk during the day on Friday, and a ball on the Friday evening, as well as a Grand Parade on Saturday afternoon and a firework display around the Sacré Coeur on Saturday night.

London Restaurant Festival, 8th – 27th October 2014

From celebrating the wine harvest in Paris, to celebrating food in London, the London Restaurant Festival is a huge foodie affair, incorporating over 800 different London restaurants. The idea behind it is to raise the profile of the restaurants involved, as well as a general celebration of London’s amazingly diverse range of restaurants.

London Restaurant Festival

There are three elements to the festival. Festival Menus consists of specially created menus by the participating restaurants, and available to visitors throughout the festival. They are a great way for the restaurants to showcase their skills and for customers to discover and enjoy new restaurants. The second element comprises the Events , which are both numerous and original. They include the Champagne Laurent Perrier Gourmet Odyssey which takes diners to three top restaurants to sample a different course at each. Or you can take the Tapas Tour of London’s top tapas bars, or the Cicchetti Trails, where you can visit six of the best Italian restaurants for cicchetti in one day, with your unique LRF Cicchetti Trail passport. The third element is the Side Orders, the festival’s ‘fringe’ element, where individual restaurants can create activities with direct appeal to their own market, for example cookery demonstrations and tastings.

A particularly appealing event is the collaboration with BAFTA, where British portrait and fashion photographer, Rankin, will devise the menu for a dinner inspired by the Italian film, Cinema Paradiso. The evening will involve viewing the film, then enjoying a three-course dinner hosted by Rankin.

Susie Marquis is Owner of The City Apartment Book Ltd.

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