Edinburgh Fringe 2016: Best Food Shows

From cake-inspired stand-up to whisky-based personality tests, we round up the best Edinburgh Fringe shows for food and drink fans...

Feature by Peter Simpson | 19 Jul 2016

We'll start with breakfast; the most important meal of the day, but one that often gets overlooked in a festival where the bars stay open til 5am and the shows begin again shortly after.

Shakespeare for Breakfast can help kill two birds with one stone – it's a Fringe institution in its third decade, kicking off the day with a whirlwind of Shakespearean banter. Plus, there are croissants. And coffee. Get your day off to a theatrical flyer, or fight through your hangover covered in pastry flakes while trying to keep up with the pentameters. As the kids say, 'you do you'. 3-29 Aug (not 15 Aug), 10am, C Venues, £8.50-9.50

After breakfast comes Lunch, and despite its clear violation of the Fringe rule that a show's gimmick should match its timeslot, we're still intrigued by Luke Courtier's musical comedy. Described as a "high-octane series of musical comedy vignettes", the show presents the tale of the midday meal from a host of different perspectives; spending most of our lunchtimes eyeing each other's sandwiches, we can empathise. 4-28 Aug (not 16 Aug), 6.20pm, Underbelly Cowgate, £9.50-10.50.

Speaking of lunches, we aren't exactly fans of the whole #eatclean thing. Eat clean? We'll have you know we washed our hands before and after we went to get this shawarma, now if you'll excuse us, nom nom nom. Thankfully, character comic Bella Younger is here to rip the everloving piss out of "nutribullshit". Enter a world where Fruit Pastilles are part of your five-a-day, and Malibu is the best kind of coconut water; we approve. 3-28 Aug (not 15 Aug), 7.15pm, Pleasance Courtyard, £10-12.

In further sweet-toothed comedy, the debut solo show from the much-vaunted Bilal Zafar will take you on a journey of confusion, confection and far-right idiocy. Cakes charts the fallout from the time that Zafar "was mistaken for a Muslim-only cake shop" – that one-word title seems set to hide a show packed with political and social commentary, and cakes. 4-28 Aug (not 15 Aug), 3.40pm, Just the Tonic at the Mash House, £4.

Onto a pair of returning foodies, and JoJo Bellini is back with an hour of food-based comic cabaret, promising Tom Jones-inspired culinary and comedy larks. Last year JoJo survived a trip to a fetish club with our very own Fred Fletch, so there's no doubting her mettle or courage under pressure. This bodes well for a lunchtime hour of food-inspired cabaret. 4-28 Aug (not 15 Aug), 1.20pm, The Stand 2, £8/6.

Also returning to the Fringe this year is George Egg, the self-styled 'Anarchist Cook' bringing his trusty hotel room props back for a three-night run. Egg whips up all manner of delicious dishes using everyday household appliances rather than your standard ovens and hobs. Half-chef, half-comedian, all iron-cooked pancakes and fish poached in sinks of water. Take that, 'The Man'. 22-24 Aug, various times, Gilded Balloon Teviot, £10

And finally, food-themed Korean b-boying! Chef: Come Dine With Us! combines cookery with, of all things, beatboxing, acrobatics and body-popping in a high-octane hour. Expect to be shocked, amazed, confused and amazed again. 4-29 Aug (not 15 Aug), 4pm, Assembly George Square, £12.50-£14.50.

Moving from food to drink, and the return of the Whisky Theatre project with new show Spaced. It's a show that looks at the Cold War, the Space Race, and the role played by whisky on both sides of the Iron Curtain. Laughs, drinks, and chat about how close we came to a nuclear perma-winter? Count us in. 9-12 & 17-28 Aug (not 22 Aug), various times, Valvona & Crolla Scottish Foodhall @ Jenners, £15.

From whisky to gin, and a trio of gin-themed, historically-inspired pieces. There's absurdist faux-radio play The Gin Chronicles: A Scottish Adventure from Interrupt the Routine, which centres on a pair of 1940s amateur detectives sent from London to investigate the source of a gin shortage. Meanwhile, The Gin Whore Tour promises a historical trip into a world of "hooch & harlots" with a host of gin tastings along the way. 8-25 Aug (not 21 Aug), 6.30pm, artSpace@StMarks, £12; 27 & 28 Aug, 3.30pm, The Devil's Cut, £30

Also on the gin theme, Edinburgh Gin's Evening of Literature and Liquor returns to explain the numerous crossover points between the literary and liquid worlds with the help of copious literature-inspired cocktails. Yep, that'll clear things up. 8, 15, 22 & 29 Aug, 7pm, Edinburgh Gin Distillery, £30.

Next, magic! At the Illusionist’s Table at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society blends high-class illusions with first-rate whiskies and delicious grub. They say: "Thoughts transcend. Whisky materialises. Dreams are revealed." We say "woo magic, whisky, magic, dinner, yeah!" It's a pricey evening out, sure, but then it does come with its own magician. You get what you pay for sometimes... 5-29 Aug (not 8 or 22 Aug), 7pm, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, £59.

Also at the SMWS this Fringe is Project Flavour Behaviour: Personality Test. Sounds intriguing, eh? It's a scientific research experiment from the Society and Edinburgh University's Psychology Department, which takes the form of "a unique psychometric personality test" designed to predict the kind of dram you'll like, and a subsequent taste test to see if it works. There's a joke to be made in there about the psychometric tests, but we're in for a busy August and don't want to get sued. 5-29 Aug, 6pm, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, £15/12.

Finally, if the thought of spending the whole Fringe cooped up inside fills you with dread, check out the returning Foodies Festival at Inverleith Park. A host of demos, street food stands and other food-based goings on, all within easy walking distance of the city centre and right next to the insouciant ducks of the Botanic Gardens. You're not the only show in town this August, ducks; you'd better up your game. 5-7 Aug, Inverleith Park, £10-14.