Poetry on the menu: enjoy fine food and verses at StAnza

Thursday 10 March 2011

Festival going has many attendant pleasures; meeting new people and enjoying the bustling atmosphere is as much fun as experiencing the events. StAnza has become famous for the buzz it creates around its hub venue, the Byre Theatre, with its Bistro and bars and elsewhere in St Andrews, as our Photo Gallery for 2010 shows. Festivalgoers often find themselves talking to the poets they’ve just heard, in the bar afterwards, and people will mingle and chat over coffee and drinks between events.

Festival Director, Eleanor Livingstone, was keen to develop this convivial element of StAnza. ‘Food and drink have always been integral to the festival, from the hospitality offered to performers to informal drinks and meals at our venues,' she says. 'We wanted to make attending the festival a wholly rounded experience for our visitors.’ The result is a wider range of foodie treats with a distinctly Scottish flavour, from pies, preserves and cheeses, to fruit wines and chocolates.

This year you can happily eat and drink your way round StAnza, thanks to its series of Poetry Café events: tuck in to free coffee and pastries at the breakfast discussions, enjoy a pie and a drink (and more) with the lunchtime poetry performances or try the snacks at the evening events. In St Andrews, there’s a poetry tasting session at ice cream parlour Jannetta’s and Scottish nibbles will be served at the open mic in Zest Café and Juicing Bar. For ideas on how to fit in the food around the verses, take a look at our itineraries. You can also get involved in our shop window competition, which has a restaurant meal for two as the prize.

Poets of course have always had plenty to say on the subject of food and drink. Robert Burns, as we know, praised haggis and neeps and ‘halesome parritch’ too. The poet Hafez who is subject of one of our art exhibitions had a thing or two to say about wine (he did come from Shiraz after all). And today’s poets are just as keen. Just listen to StAnza poet Kevin Young’s memories of family cooking in the American South!

Do you have a favourite poem celebrating food and drink? Or know a few appetising lines? Let us know!