THE final weekend of the 21st Manchester Food and Drink Festival (Oct 5-8) lives up to what has been throughout an exhilarating foodie rollercoaster ride.
Centre of the action remains the redesigned Festival Hub on Albert Square, free to enter Hub and open daily from 12pm-11pm until Sunday, October 7.
So there’s still three days to explore the lipsmacking array of street food traders and bars and take in a hands-on event or two in the futuristic new Dining Dome. Oh and don’t miss Sunday night in the music marquee when Johnny Bramwell (below) of I Am Kloot, arguably the city’s greatest singer-songwriter playing a greatest hits set.
Then, after the Hub is dismantled or another year, on Monday, October 8 the nation’s biggest regional food party culminates with the MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards at the spectacular Gorton Monastery.
Here are some must attend attractions before then…
Saturday Skills Kitchen. Sat Oct 6, Dining Dome. Free.
A chance to learn from the best with hands on masterclasses that hone in on specific kitchen skills…
1pm Woodall’s Charcuterie Masterclass with Dave Critchley
Enjoy a real treat from the North West as Living Ventures senior operations chef Dave Critchley joins forces with Colin Woodall of award-winning Woodall’s Charcuterie to demonstrate the delicious versatility of their range.
2pm Fermenting Masterclass with Julia Goddard and Emma Thackray
Fancy making your own kimchi, sauerkraut or kombucha? Julia Goddard from Altrincham Market’s Plucky Pickle and Emma Thackray from Booch and Brine will show you how.
3pm An introduction to Tuna with Omar Rodriguez
Chef Omar Rodriguez of Umezushi will be sharing his experience and knowledge about one of the most sought-after sushi ingredients
4pm Make Fresh Curds and Bread with Mary-Ellen McTague and Chris Cahill of The Creameries
Chef Mary-Ellen McTague of new Chorlton venue The Creameries (formerly of Aumbry and Fat Duck) shows how easy it is to make your own curds at home, while Creameries head baker Chris Cahill demonstrates the art of creating bread from scratch.
Other Dome events include…
Fiona Beckett – Six Wines That Shaped My Career Dining Dome, Sat Oct 6. £25. Book here.
A treat for all wine lovers. Fiona Beckett is an award-winning food and drink journalist, author and web publisher with over 25 years’ experience of writing for the UK's top newspapers and magazines. She is currently wine columnist for The Guardian and National Geographic Travel Food magazine and restaurant critic for Decanter, while publishing her own website, which helps you find the perfect pairing for your favourite dishes. Read ToM’s interview with Fiona.
‘Clean Plate’ – Vegan Beers and Bites with Brooklyn Brewery. Dining Dome, Sun Oct 7. £30. Book here.
Cult beers, fabulous street food and comedy. New York’s Brooklyn Brewery has led the field in highlighting how the food and drink industry can decrease its environmental impact. On the night Bundobust and Wholesome Junkies will be amongst those providing delicious, ethically sourced vegan produce. Tickets include three courses, a range of Brooklyn Beers and an evening’s entertainment with eElectronic music writer/spoken word stand-up /professional droog Fat Roland. All proceeds will go to Festival Charity, Action Against Hunger.
FANCY A DRINK AT THE HUB …
Booze! All the Festival Bars are open between 12pm-11pm daily until Sunday, October 7. Double Dutch G&T bar Created by Dutch twin sisters Joyce and Raissa de Haas, Double Dutch’s range of innovative products are developed using flavour pairing techniques to create uniquely-balanced mixers. They use only natural ingredients blended with the highest quality water from the North of England. Plus, the bar will also be serving the more classic variations as well as some hearty ‘Dark and Stormys’ for the rum fans.
Manchester Brew Fest Celebrating the region’s beer boom, The Hub offers a range of ales from the furthest flung corners of Greater Manchester and beyond. Check out Brightside, Hophurst, Irwell Works, Seven Bro7hers and Manchester Brewing Company alongside many more.
MFDF Cider Fest The Festival’s own little cider haven will be pitching up again to bring refreshing ciders to the proceedings. The bar will also feature a range of delicious flavoured ciders including lemon and lime, mango and apple and pear.
The Brooklyn Brewery Bus Brooklyn will be bringing a new double decker bar bus to the,Hub serving up a range of brews from their Perennials and Seasonal ranges– the perfect seasonal accompaniment to MFDF’s autumn celebration.
Vin Van Voom Wine Bar VVV's 50s style silver van has long been a Festival Hub magnet for wine lovers. Now there's a reclaimed bar and new under covering seating. Expect a few surprises among the wines on offer, too. Look out for a fantastic, changing selection of boutique wines from Catteratto to Chablis, Malbec to Montepulciano.
Street Food MFDF promise a completely revitalised line up of the best street food that Manchester and the UK has to offer. To discover which traders are bringing the Festival to a close visit here.
MEANWHILE ACROSS MANCHESTER CHECK OUT…
Bookatable Festival Feast Various, until Oct 8. Ticketed. Book here.
As the exclusive booking partner of MFDF 2018, Bookatable helps Festival-goers to discover and book the city’s best restaurants. Whether a seasoned Manchester foodie looking to return to a favourite restaurant, or a dining-out newbie on the hunt for an amazing-value experience, there’s a special MFDF menu for everyone.
Extraordinary Experiences by The Loft
The Loft, until Sun Oct 7. Ticketed. Book here.
Come and join The Loft on Quay Street for some exciting, amazing, immersive drink experiences designed to test your pallet, wine knowledge and/or your cocktail making skills: Craft Your Own Whisky with Chivas Regal – learn how to blend a bespoke 200ml bottle of whisky; Shake it up with a Kahlua Cocktail Masterclass – be that friend that makes that killer Espresso Martini; The Campo Viejo Light Sensory Experience –an evening designed to stimulate even your sixth sense.
The 11th Big Indie Wine Fest Manchester Hall, various sessions, Fri-Sun, Oct 5-8. £15. Book here.
After a fabulous debut in Manchester Hall’s grand, Grade II listed surrounds last year, Festival favourite, the Big Indie Wine Fest will be returning to the venue for an extra special, bigger-than-ever event with an extra session added for a three-day extravaganza. Here’s our full rundown on the BIWF line-up.
Full Moon Party East Street, Friday Oct 5.
This new grab and go sibling of Tampopo in the heart of the city is hosting an evening of sheer lunacy, inspired by the epic parties of Thailand. The ticket price includes a welcome drink and unlimited wings. Book via eventbrite.co.uk
Catalan Wine and Cheese Tasting at Tast Tast Catala, King Street, Sun Oct 7. £30.
A journey through Catalonia's most unique flavours. Their advanced sommelier will lead you through a selection of three carefully curated Catalan wines paired with three wonderful Catalan cheeses and their traditional bread with tomato, a secret recipe developed by exec chef Paco Pérez in collaboration with Triticum, an artisan bakery from Barcelona. For more information and to book firstname.lastname@example.org.
The sparkling culmination of the festival, the Gala Dinner and Awards will be taking place for the first time in the stunning and gothic surrounds of Gorton Monastery. The most coveted food awards in the North of England, the gongs will, as usual, be distributed to a room packed with the region’s food and drink ‘A list’. Here are the Awards Shortlists.