GastroFest returns to Edinburgh this year after a successful series of events in 2015. Part of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, this week long sub-festival explores the development and technology behind food and drink. Founded in 1989, the Edinburgh Science Festival is now one of Europe’s biggest science and technology events and runs for 2 weeks in April. The festival expands further each year and GastroFest was one of the more recent (and popular) additions. Featuring local producers, artisans, scientists and chefs, in a variety of events including interactive discussions, presentations, tastings and ‘foodie experiences’, this mini festival is a must-do for anyone visiting Edinburgh in April. With so much going on you may be struggling to fit it all in, so we have made it easy and picked our favourite events that we recommend planning in to your itinerary.

GastroFest Edinburgh Science Festival

A Short History of the Cocktail

Thursday 7th April, 20.00-21.30, Dissection Room, Summerhall. (18+)

Join a panel of experts to discuss the development of cocktail making from a creative hobby into a scientific art. Experts on the panel come from a variety of backgrounds so expect a wide-ranging discussion and possibly a couple of tipples for you to try along the way. Featuring on the panel is food and drink editor at The List, Donald Reid; Food Scientist, Steve Pearce; Award-winning mixologist, Rosie Patterson; colour psychologist, Angela Wright; and Paul Donegan from Pickering’s Gin.

GastroFest - Cheeseology


Saturday 2nd April, 20.00-21.30, Dissection Room, Summerhall. (14+)

Join dairy technologist Paul Thomas (no we didn’t realise there was such a thing either!) for a Saturday evening full of cheese science. Learn about the micro-biology and biochemistry behind the cheese-making process and the science behind the flavouring of different cheese varieties, before taking part in a tutored cheese tasting. Paul used to be a professional cheese maker himself so he knows his stuff! It’s like a school science lesson but with added cheese – yum!

GastroFest 2GastroFest - Casks Coats and Chemistry

Chocolate: Food of the Gods

Monday 4th April, 20.00-21.30, Dissection Room, Summerhall. (14+)

Susan Morrison hosts a panel of Chocolate experts including a Chief Executive with an OBE, a master Chocolatier, and a Professor specialising in Cocoa. Expect an interactive evening exploring the history, as well as the possible future of theobroma cacao or ‘food of the gods’. From the early creation of chocolate in the jungles of the Aztec Empire, to the neurobiological effects of chocolate on the brain and body, you will never see this sweet treat the same way again!

GastroFest - SciMart

Feeding Time at the Zoo

Friday 1st April, 18.00-21.00, Edinburgh Zoo. (18+)

Head along to the zoo for an adults-only evening of food and drink amongst the wildlife habitats and enclosures! Arrive for a drink at Penguin’s Rock before heading along the Budongo Trail for a starter with the Chimpanzees. Then head to the more civilised surroundings of the Mansion House for main course and desert. Throughout the evening and on your travels around the zoo you will be joined by zoo keepers, nutritionists and the Organic Chef in Residence who will talk about their work and what you are eating. The menu promises to be themed around the animal’s favourite foods so expect some funky and fresh dishes!

SciMart at Summerhall

Wild, Scottish and Free

Saturday 2nd April, 11.30-14.30, John Hope Gateway, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. (18+)

Gastro-innovators Buck and Birch (known for their secret foodie events around Edinburgh in which they use their immediate surroundings as inspiration for their menus) are back with another unique outdoor dining experience. Join them at the Royal Botanic Garden for a morning of foraging followed by a 3 course gourmet lunch and a seasonal drink. Just don’t be surprised if some of the treats you forage in the morning are in the dish you eat at lunchtime!

Book online, by phone 0844 557 2686 or in person at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe Office, 180 High Street.

Win Tickets To A Gastrofest Show

NOTE: This competition has now closed.

Has all this talk of food whet your appetite to visit an show?

We have 2 free tickets to SciMart on the 3rd April. SciMart is a farmers’ market with a scientific twist, SciMart brings together food producers, researchers and chefs to reveal the fascinating science behind some of our favourite foodstuffs. With cooking demonstrations, a series of short talks and a variety of interactive stalls, SciMart offers up a packed menu and food for thought. New for 2016: learn all about the science of chilies in Trial by Capsaicin and have a go at cheesemaking with dairy expert Paul Thomas.

All you have to do to enter the competition is fill in your details below.

Question – Paul Thomas is an expert in what type of food production?

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