Every Friday and Saturday the Southbank Centre hosts a thriving food market, where visitors to this major cultural establishment can sample and purchase from stalls manned by 40 of London's best local producers.
Starting today (May 3rd), the Real Food Market is set to expand on an unprecedented scale. Swelling the existing assembly with dozens of new traders, cookery demonstrations, live animals and music, the Real Food Festival 2013 offers four days' worth of gastronomic delights to foodies on the South Bank.
Branching out from the market's usual haunt outside the Royal Festival Hall, the festival is expected to take over the entire Southbank Centre site and further still along the banks of the Thames.
The Real Food Festival caters to all tastes, so those staying in London hotels this weekend are urged to drop by. Showcasing the very best in British produce, visitors can try handmade chocolates, shop from a range of incredible artisanal cheeses, stock up on unique chutneys and oils, and see leading chefs practise their art.
Situated just under the London Eye, the Real Food Chef Theatre will host famous names like Raymond Blanc, founder of the Brasserie Blanc and the Michelin-starred Le Manoir aux Quat'Saisons. Live demonstrations will be held on each of the four days of the festival, so there's no shortage of spectacle and plenty of major talents to get up close and personal with.
Running simultaneously with the Real Food Festival, visitors can also take a trip into the 'Streets of Spain' – a special Spanish food market located near the Queen Elizabeth Hall. Sponsored by winemaker Campo Viejo, the market will bring stall-owners directly from Barcelona's famous La Boqueria. Attendees can also dine in a pop-up tapas restaurant – sure to be an agreeable diversion if pleasant weather persists throughout the bank holiday weekend.
The Southbank Centre is easy to reach. Underground travellers should head towards the Charing Cross, Embankment or Waterloo stops, which are all within walking distance of the centre.