• Countdown to Manchester Food and Drink Festival – book early!

Countdown to Manchester Food and Drink Festival – book early!

5 August 2017 by Neil Sowerby

THE ticket launch for Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Day of the Dead Mayfield Banquet heralds the final countdown to this year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival, which runs from September 28 to October 9. Check the website for all MFDF booking details.

It’s an extra special culinary extravaganza this year to celebrate MFDF’s 20th anniversary. Focus, as always, will be on the Festival Hub in Albert Square with its plethora of bars, street food, live music, chef’s demos, masterclasses and one-off dinners, but citywide there’s so much to discover, too, before the Festival climax on Monday, October 9 – the Manchester Food and Drink Awards Gala Dinner at The Principal Hotel (Place your vote here). 

Centrepiece of the MFDF 20 celebrations is the unique trio of 20th Birthday Banquets, in the spectacular setting of the Mayfield Depot. Breathing new life into this lonmg abandoned space, Mayfield will be transformed for the Festival into an extraordinary dining room. A unique, one-off chance to eat and drink in an awe-inspiring, historic landmark. And what a feast on offer one each occasion 

Saturday, September 30 – MFDF and Tampopo 20th Birthday Party. Authentic, independent Pan Asian restaurant is 20 this year, too. These two iconic Manchester food brands will be celebrating their joint birthday together the only way that both know how…with one great big gastro birthday party in a magnificent location. Expect a hedonistic mix of fabulous food, full moon fun and Manchester icons. 

Thursday, October 5 – Hispi Meets The Unabombers.  A collaboration between food and drink innovator Gary Usher and club alchemists-turned-restaurateurs The Unabombers, this huge banquet-come-food party will bring together two of the hottest food brands in the North – The Refuge and Hispi – along with the DJ magic of Unabombers duo Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford.

Saturday, October 7 – Thomasina Miers: Day of the Dead. Wahaca’s Thomasina Miers, the red hot Mexican food entrepreneur, brings a new gastro take on the infamous ‘Day of the Dead’ with a Mexican banquet every bit as fantastical as the venue in which its taking place. 

Star-studded Festival Hub

Treats galore in Albert Square with a parade of famous food stars…

Ed Baines Cookery Demo and Q&A, September 29. The Chef/owner of Randall & Aubin and telly celebrity will share some of the secrets of his legendary Soho brasserie, an offshoot of which has transferred so successfully to Manchester this year.

Simon Shaw: Spanish Pop Up Feast, September 29. The founder/chef patron of El Gato Negro will be hosting a truly authentic Spanish pop-up feast including modern and traditional Spanish flavours and techniques. 

Deliciously Ella: MaE Deli Pop Up, September 30. Award-winning cookery author and entrepreneur Ella Mills will be bringing her MaE Deli brand to Manchester via her first ever pop up event outside London. 

Sugo Pasta Kitchen at The Hub, October 3. Two special one off three course dinners with the founders of Altrincham's acclaimed Puglian pasta specialists.

Matthew Nutter: Vegan Banquet, October 5. The man responsible for Stockport being labelled one of the UK’s best food suburbs will be hosting a seven course vegan tasting banquet. 

Kate Goodman: Beer and Wine Tasting Masterclass, October 6. Bringing together rival tipples, Kate is teaming up with Manchester brewing legends Cloudwater and Altrincham Market House legends Wolfhouse Kitchen & Bakery to offer some expert matching tips.

Nisha Katona: Cookery Demo and Book Signing, 12.30pm, October 7. Owner of Mowgli restaurants, TV personality and food writer Nisha Katona will be sharing her skills at her first MFDF cookery demo, and will be signing copies of her new book, ‘The Spice Tree’.   

Thomasina Miers: Cookery Demo and Book Signing, 2pm, October 7. As well as hosting her Mayfield Banquet, Thomasina will be live at the Festival Hub Cookery Theatre performing a demo and signing copies of her new book ‘Home Cook by Thomasina Miers’.   

Aiden Byrne: Cookery Demo and Book Signing, 3.30pm, October 7. Festival fave and one of Manchester’s most revered food celebs, Aiden Byrne launches his new book. Also on October 3 at his restaurant, Manchester House, he is hosting  a six-course tasting menu and wine flight to celebrate MFDF’s 20th anniversary. 

Kwoklyn Wan: Cookery Demo and Book Signing, 5pm, October 7. Brother of stylist and foodie Gok Wan, Kwoklyn will be coming to Manchester to demonstrate recipes from his new cookery book ‘Chinese Soul Food’ and signing copies afterwards. 

Of course, you can just use the Festival Hub as a perfect place to party. Certainly there’s every excuse with an abundance of bars and street food traders. The pop-up food village is open daily from 12pm-11pm throughout the Festival, from September 28 to October 8 with a soundtrack of live music. Check out the Vin Van Voom Wine bar, Fever-Tree Gin Garden and Dark Spirit Den and a new beer bar showcasing the best Manchester brews.

Beer, Wine, Coffee and Tarts at The Festival

MFDF Big Indie Wine Fest, Manchester Hall, 36 Bridge Street, M3 3BT. Friday and Saturday, October 6 and 7. Where would MFDF be without its BIWF? This year it offers the bonus of a new venue the Grade II listed Freemasons Hall now being transformed into a stunning food and drink focused space. Perfect then to host this celebration of wines from Croatia to French independents and masterclass sessions, including a not to be missed on from the BBC’s Kate Goodman. 

20 Years of Beer, Festival Hub, October 7. Connor Murphy from MCR Beer Week and Paul Jones from Cloudwater will be teaming up with some of the best brewers in Manchester to give an insight into the past 20 years of beer in Manchester – from the ‘big family’ breweries to the explosion of independent microbreweries, which has brought global fame. PS Drink will be involved on the day.

‘MFDF and MCR Beer Week’, citywide, September 28 to October 9. The Festival is teaming up with MCR Beer Week to create a programme of beer focused events in some of the best bars, pubs and breweries across the city.

MFDF Cup North Coffee Fest, October 1. Cup North, the folk behind Manchester Coffee Festival present a day of tasting, talking and learning. Inside the coffee tent there will be the opportunity to try and buy coffee from a range of local roasters including Heart & Graft, Ancoats Coffee Co. and Passionfruit.

Manchester Tart Off, Festival Hub, October 8. In celebration of 20 years of MFDF, organisers are resurrecting a competition that was staged in year one the search to find the best Manchester Tart in town. Greater Manchester folk will be asked to put their heart into the tart and enter their homemade creations so that the ultimate Tart of Manchester can be crowned. 

Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2017, Albert Square, Manchester, M2 4JW and citywide. September 28 to October 9. Check with the website for booking details for all ticketed events. Many are expected to be oversubscribed, so book early.