6 October 2017 by Neil Sowerby

THE 20th Anniversary Manchester Food and Drink Festival reaches it climax at the glitzy Gala Dinner at the Principal Hotel on Monday, October 9, when the coveted 2017 Awards are handed out. It’s too late to vote now but check this link to refresh your mind on the shortlist. Taste of Manchester will be the first to bring you the results as they happen. Meanwhile, before that’s there’s a while weekend of foodie fun to be had. 

here are five MFDF final weekend recommendations…

First up the Goatober Dinner at Kommon Pot on Sunday 8th, a four course dinner cooked by three top chefs – Mary Ellen McTague, Richard Sharples and  Darren Goodwin – plus Cabrito Goat founderJames Whetlor, giving you the chance to sample an ethically supplied meat. Full details here.

MFDF Big Indie Wine Fest, Manchester Hall, Bridge Street, October 6 and 7. One of Manchester’s best known buildings, located at the gateway to Spinningfields, Manchester Hall is a Grade II listed building that will be hosting this year’s Big Indie Wine Fest, one of the most popular events at MFDF. With an extra special bonanza of independent wine merchants bringing the highest quality wine, this event is one not to be missed. Serving new wines from Croatia to independent French wines, the event will also host a session of masterclasses including a wine tasting masterclass by the BBC’s Kate Goodman. Tickets here

A perfect match – wine and beer tasting October 6. BBC star and founder of Reserve wines, Kate Goodman meets Cloudwater Beer extraordinaire, Paul Jones. One of the key figures behind Manchester’s micro beer boom, Paul will be teaming up with Kate for the first time to host a fascinating evening exploring the cultural and gastronomic differences between wine and beer alongside the best food pairings for each, provided by Wolf House Kitchen. Tickets here.

Thomasina Miers: Day of the Dead at the Mayfield Depot, October 7. Forget the infamous "Spectre" opening scene, 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 it’s taking place. Manchester’s abandoned railway station, and one of the city’s most jaw-dropping spaces, is the location for MFDF’s 20th birthday feasts, transformed for the Festival into an extraordinary dining room and party space. Tickets, at £55 a head, include food, entertainment and welcome drinks. Get them here

5 Manchester Tart Off and Forever Manchester Bake Sale, Festival Hub, Albert Square, October 8, 12pm-6pm. Free. In celebration of 20 years of MFDF, the Festival are resurrecting a competition that was staged in year one – the search to find the best Manchester Tart in Manchester.  The people of Greater Manchester 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. Alongside is the  annual Forever Manchester Caketober Charity Bake Sale, all proceeds supporting community activity across Greater Manchester. 

You may, of course, just want to hang around the Festival Hub in Albert Square and enjoy the variety of beverages and cool music from noon to 11pm every day, finishing on Sunday, October 8. Feeling peckish, check out a terrific array of street food options.