Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2013 – Festival Hub and Highlights

30 Sep

Another year, another Manchester Food and Drink Festival and all the gut busting tucker and inebriating boozy joy it brings. Unlike 2012, I won’t be covering the whole festival as the ‘official blogger’ – I have neither the stamina or dress size to spare – but will be pootling along to a few of the events over the course of the two weeks, keeping my (greedy sausage) fingers on the pulse and providing you with piping hot tips on what to wrap your chops around.

Manchester Food and Drink Festival Hub

Manchester Food and Drink Festival Hub

Here’s a few of the highlights from the upcoming ongoing festival programme to look out for.*

Albert Square Festival Hub (Thursday 26 – Sunday 06 October)

Alright, alright, I’ve already been twice. Once on launch night, where I nibbled on wedges of freshly baked focaccia and sipped red wine from Bakerie, followed by a largely unexciting chicken tikka wrap from Zouk washed down with a marvellous tequila slushy from Apotheca. Both have set up shop alongside Robinson’s Brewery in the beer tent, making them ridiculously easy to locate.

Pulled Pork Tacos

Pulled Pork Tacos

The second time I hit the street food stands, I plumped for pulled pork tacos from Margo and Rita. Tiny, pretty little things, shockingly priced at £5, and a little too deconstructed and lacking in that big-hitting flavour you come to expect from Mexican food. The big purple van is cool though. The hot tip for the hub is to try out Mumma Schnitzel, who are only about until Tuesday 01 October, for intensely moreish chicken burgers.

Margo and Rita, Manchester

Margo and Rita, Manchester

The street food vendors switch over on Wednesday 02 October, bringing a few more Manchester favourites in the shape of Fire and Slice Pizza and Levanter Fine Foods. It’s here that the likes of La Tasca and Chaopraya move on, who in taking space are using up the opportunity to showcase some of the city’s more creative and independent food outfits.

Bigger brands are a big feature of this year’s festival unfortunately, presumably in the name of making rent. The Famous Grouse has taken up the centre of the square to sample new product, Ginger Grouse, and Arm and Hammer are bizarrely handing out tubes of toothpaste?!  Sorely missed are the quality producers from in and around the region, of which there is only a light smattering currently, but this should be rectified when Booths rock up Friday 04 October with their Indie Producers Fair.

Ginger Grouse

Ginger Grouse

Much like super heroes, local chefs and food aficionados saved the day weekend through running a series of master classes; Mary-Ellen McTague of Great British Menu fame taught simple shellfish techniques, and the legendary Harry Yeung of Yang Sing did dumplings. Much more the thing.

The Liquor Market (Saturday 05 October)

Last year, I attended the Big Indie Wine Fair – back then it was ripe with cheese producers and fine food delis too – and whilst doing its thing again this coming Saturday 05 – Sunday 06 October, my money would be on the Liquor Market being this year’s big success. Hosted at the newly opened Rosylee Tea Rooms with Dave Marsland, the Drinks Enthusiast, guests get to sample a host of boutique spirits including G’Vine Gins and Excellia Tequila, all for just £7.

Book Here: http://liquormarketmfdf.eventbrite.com

Chinatown Revealed Tour (Saturday 05 – Sunday 06 October)

Sadly, I’m away for the weekend, luxuriating in the glorious beauty of the Lake District and eating ALL the bread and cheese in Cartmel, but were I not, I’d be hot-footing it round China Town with Manchester Confidential head honcho, Jonathon Scholfield, who’ll be taking tours groups around one of Manchester’s most distinctive areas, discussing the history and providing the opportunity to sample some of the food along the way.

Book Here: http://www.yang-sing.com

Other Highlights

Hanging Ditch – The Unites States of Ditch (Tuesday 01 October)

Trove – Seasonal Eatings (Wednesday 02 October)

Grenache – Special Festival Menu (All Festival Long)

* Always late to the party. Shame really. You always miss the canapés.

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One Response to “Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2013 – Festival Hub and Highlights”

  1. Aunty Em September 30, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Agreed on all fronts. Your experience is obviously similar to ours. A disappointing array of names we’ve heard of. We want local quality or something unusual, not brands that bore! People love to support our local foodie festivals. This type of affair (in my humble opinion) is in danger of turning people off foodie fun. Money over quality I fear.
    Aunty Em x

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