• MANCHESTER FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL – the lip-smacking final lowdown

MANCHESTER FOOD AND DRINK FESTIVAL – the lip-smacking final lowdown

5 September 2018 by Neil Sowerby

THREE weeks to go to the The 21st Manchester Food and Drink Festival (Sept 27-Oct 8) and the full programme has been confirmed and the brochure published.
On your marks, then! The Festival Hub on Albert Square will open at 12 noon on Thursday September 27 and will close at 11pm on Sunday October 7. Open daily from 12pm-11pm, it will be free to enter. And as promised by the MFDF team, it will be refreshed, redesigned and the location for the biggest Festival feast yet.
There’ll also be an action-packed roster of events and happenings all over Manchester featuring collaborations with the city’s most talented foodies – from brewers to ice cream makers, from chefs to gin distillers.
The nation’s biggest regional food party culminates with the MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards on Tuesday October, 8 at the spectacular Gorton Monastery. 

The Festival Hub gets a makeover…
Visitors to Albert Square can expect a newly designed site with exciting new structures, live experiences and the biggest programme of events yet, all taking place in the shadow of Manchester’s Town Hall.

SATURDAY COOKERY DEMOS The futuristic Dining Dome at the Hub will be the location for two Saturdays of live cookery demos and masterclasses.

Live Cookery Theatre 

Sat Sept 29, Dining Dome. Free.

1pm Joudie Kalla 

Leith's School of Food and Wine trained Joudie Kalla has been a chef for over 16 years at restaurants such as Gordon Ramsay's Pengelley's, Daphne's and Papillon and latterly as an acclaimed supper club host. She will be signing copies of her new book, Baladi, which roughly translates from Arabic as 'My Country'. The book takes the reader on a journey through Palestinian food and culture. The recipes are veggie and vegan friendly but cater to every palate – influenced by the diversity of food from the fields, markets, orchards and sea.

2.15pm Simon Wood 

Over the past year, WOOD Manchester, the eponymous First Street restaurant of 2015 Masterchef winner Simon, has made quite a stir, culminating in it making the shortlist for Best Newcomer in the 2018 Manchester Food and Drink Awards. His debut cookbook ‘At Home with Simon Wood - Fine Dining Made Simple’ is out now and Simon will be demoing recipes from this and from his restaurant menu. 

3.30pm Jack Monroe 

Jack Monroe was awarded the 2013 Fortnum and Mason Judges' Choice Award for the impact her blog,A Girl Called Jack’, has made. She is now a well-known campaigner against hunger and poverty in the UK. She is author of bestselling​ cookbooks ‘A Girl Called Jack and A Year in 120 Recipes’. Her budget-conscious, vegan-led recipes are instantly available on her website cookingonabootsrap.com and in her new book ‘Cooking on A Bootstrap’.  She will demonstrating recipes from the book and also signing copies.

Saturday Skills Kitchen 

Sat Oct 26, 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. 

THE DINING DOME BANQUETS… A great big spherical foodie palace – the Dining Dome will be the location for a feast of specially curated banquets, supper clubs and food parties

‘Battle Royale’ Secret Supper Club from Cottonopolis Thu Sept 27 and Fri Sept 28. £65. Book here.

This spectacular two night MFDF supper club to be the Cottonopolis’ most ambitious yet with the Dining Dome transformed by their visual architects into a specially curated dining production of Battle Royale. Based around the Japanese cult film Battle Royale, released in 2000 and a precursor to Hunger Games, it’s billed as ’80 contestants, six courses, one survivor’. Expect head chef Joe Grant’s food to be equally spectacular. Tickets include a glass of prosecco on arrival followed by six courses. 

Jasmine Hemsley & Trove Supper Club Sat Sept 29. £50. Book here.

Well-being goddess, lifestyle guru, insta-influencer extraordinaire, founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and author of East by West, Jasmine Hemsley, is coming to Manchester Food and Drink Festival for a special collaboration with MFDF and the award-winning artisans of Trove. A match made in heaven, Trove’s focus on making food from scratch by hand and with a central focus on organic ingredients and locally sourced produce will meet Jasmine’s home-cooked and mindful approach to create an Ayurvedic menu inspired by Jasmine’s latest book ‘East by West’. Trove’s natural wine collection will be available on the evening too. Each guest will be given a copy of East by West to take home with them. 

Family Food Fest Sun Sept 30. Free.

Join MFDF, Inspiral Carpets legend Clint Boon and friends, as the Dining Dome and the whole Festival Hub goes extra family friendly for a Sunday Fun-Day. The Dining Dome will be given over to foodie fun for mini masterchefs – from pizza making to arts, crafts and entertainment – while the whole site will be even more family centred than ever. A chilled-out family friendly disco courtesy of Manchester legend Clint Boon will take over the bar marquee and other child friendly hands on activity will be scattered across the whole site meaning that parents can enjoy all the fun of the Fest while the kids are entertained too. 

The Rabbit & Seven Bro7hers: Fine Dining and Beer Mon Oct 1. £55. Book here.

The Rabbit head chef John Granaghan has joined forces with Seven Bro7hers Brewery to bring his Asian inspired fine dining experience to the MFDF dome. The evening will be a unique opportunity to experience a pairing menu curated just for the night – The Rabbit’s intense flavours, combined with Seven Bro7hers Brewery’s expertly brewed hops. 

Caviar and Champagne Tasting with Randall & Aubin Tue Oct 2. £25. Book here.

Bridge Street’s fabulous Randall and Aubin team up with The Gourmet Caviar House to present a rare gastro opportunity. Guests will be given a glass of Randall & Aubin’s house Champagne and then will have an opportunity to sample a range of the most exquisite caviars around. 

‘A Trip to Brazil’ with Fazenda’s Francisco Martinez Wed, Oct 3. Sold out. 

Fazenda’s exec chef, Francisco Martinez – former chef at the five-time winner of Best Restaurant in the World "El Bulli" – has designed a one-off menu exclusively for MFDF. It includes an avant-garde eight course dining experience that showcases Brazilian food at its best, paired with four wines from Brazilian producer Miolo. Price £50 per person with profits will be donated to Action Against Hunger.

Hatch Pop Up Supper Club Thu Oct 4. £45. Book here.

Hatch, the new pop-up food, drink and retail destination on Oxford Road and a selection of its fantastic street food traders past and present will be taking over the Dining Dome for the evening and staging a special Hatch Supper Club. The menu will include courses by indie icons Well Hung, Firebird Hope, Wok’s Cluckin and T’arricrii.  Each course will be paired with beers from Ö, Hatch’s on site nano brewery or natural wines from Love and Labour. 

Spanish Feast by Lunya, Baratxuri, Evuna  and PortaThu Oct 4. £55. Book here.

The city’s spectacular Spanish restaurant scene is celebrated by this food fiesta as four of its finest collaborate to showcase the country’s regional cuisines – Barton Arcade Catalan deli/eaterie Lunya, Ramsbottom’s Basque pintxos experts Baratxuri, Evuna, Spanish wine and food specialists and MFDF award nominees Porta of Altrincham. 

Fiona Beckett – Six Wines That Shaped My Career 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. 

‘Clean Plate’ – Vegan Beers and Bites with Brooklyn Brewery. 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.


Live Music – City Life Stage at the Hub 

Across the 11 days of the Hub, you will be able to tune in, dance or just chill-out, to an eclectic mix of amazing artists, kicking off with Mr Wilson's Second Liners on Thur Sept 27 and culminating on the evening of Oct 7 with I Am Kloot's John Bramwell playing a greatest hits set.  

Highlights include… 

Sat Sept 29, Covertones; Sun Sept 30, Clint Boon; Mon Oct1, XS Manchester takeover; Wed Oct 3, Albert’s Schloss; Thu Oct 4, City Life takeover; Fri Oct 5, The Cassettes; Sat Oct 6, Whoever & The Somethings; Sun Oct 7, John Bramwell and special guest Dave Fidler.

Booze! All the Festival Bars are open between 12pm-11pm daily throughout the Festival: 

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, mixed in with some of the city’s best restaurant brands, all serving your lunch and dinner for 11 fabulous days. Confirmed so far are the award-winning Bundobust, Baratxuri, Cottonopolis, Proove and Tampopo.


Bookatable Festival Feast Various, Sep 27-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.

Asha’s Goes Vegan Asha’s, Peter Street, Thu Sep 27, 7pm. £35. 

Chef Ashwani and Asha’s exec chef Bobby Geetha have created a unique vegan menu for the Festival. Five courses featuring the freshest, natural flavours, each paired with Seedlip’s alcohol-free cocktails. Book via www.ashasmanchester.co.uk or ring 0161 832 5309. Also Fri, 28 Sep.

MFDF and Albert’s Schloss present The Jay Rayner Quartet  Albert’s Schloss, Fri Sep 28. From 6pm. Fully booked.   

As well as being an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster, Jay is now a successful recording artist entertaining audiences up and down the land (including at the world-famous Ronnie Scott’s club) with his band. Made up of some of Britain’s best musicians, including Jay’s jazz singer wife, his quartet will be performing a repertoire from the great American song book with special attention paid to numbers about food and drink. A special Jay Rayner menu will be served throughout. 

MFDF Gin Festival Upper Campfield Market, Fri and Sat, Sept 28 and 29. Ticketed. Book here.

The iconic former Victorian market hall plays host to this sophisticated celebration of Britain’s favourite spirit in collaboration with the Gin Lounge. Three days of sampling from dozens of enticing brands plus entry to gin masterclasses and workshops, hosted by master distillers. Gin brands participating include Bathtub Gin, Arbikie Gin, Brighton Gin, Boutique-y-Gin, Cotswolds Gin, Didsbury Gin, Kukoro Gin, Lakes Distillery, Manchester Gin and Tarsier Spirits.

Extraordinary Experiences by The Loft

The Loft, Fri 28-Sun Sep 30 and Thu Oct-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. 

Fungi Foray with Jesper Launder Redisher Woods, Fri Sept 28. 11am-3pm. £12.50.

This fun wild mushroom centric activity will be held in Redisher Woods, Holcombe Brook, BL8, a couple of miles north of Bury. www.eventbrite.co.uk 

Manchester Shares – Small Plates Safari Various venues, Sun Sep 30- Thu Oct 4. £5 for a small plate and drink. 

Foodies are challenged to try out as many Manchester restaurants as they can during the Festival as dozens offer up a signature small plate along with a beer, wine or spirit for just £5. Anyone visiting all the restaurants on the safari will be in with a chance of winning an overnight stay at one of Manchester’s finest hotels. Participating restaurants include Automatic Cafe, Harvey Nichols, HOME, Iberica, Tapeo, The Clarence, The Grill On The Alley, Opium Lounge, All Star Lanes, Platzki, Banyan, Cosy Club, Pho, Alston Bar & Beef, Almost Famous, Home Sweet Home, Luck Lust Liquor & Burn, Lunya, Grafene, Proove, and Beastro, Gino D’Acampo. 

Terrazas Wine Masterclass at Fazenda Fazenda, Spinningfields, Tue Oct 4. £50. 

Harnessing their roots and fervour for fine wines, Fazenda present a taste of their Argentine homeland. Guests will embark on a journey of discovery of the rich terroirs in the  Andean foothills and learn about the vineyard heritage in the heart of Mendoza while indulging in the full rodizio meat experience in the private dining room. There are only 14 places available and ticket price is inclusive of all wines and food. Book via manchester@fazenda.co.uk or ring 0161 207 1183.

Tampopo’s Taste Tour of Thailand Tampopo, Albert Square, Wed Oct 3.

The city’s original indie explorers of East Asian cuisine showcase what makes Thai food such a popular option. Also at Tampopo Trafford Centre on Wed, Oct 3 and Tampopo Corn Exchange on Sun, Oct 7. Book via eventbrite.co.uk

Cheese Tasting Lunya, Barton Arcade, Wed, Oct 3, 6.30pm-8.30pm.  £30. 

Join this Catalan inspired deli for a fabulously relaxed evening of all things cheese. To book, visit www.lunya.co.uk or call 0161 413 3317 (full payment required at time of booking).

Taste The Love Charity Pop-up Supper Club Trove, Levenshulme, Thu, Oct 4, £30. 

Event caterers Taste the Love are teaming up with Action Against Hunger’s ‘Love Food Give Food’ campaign to host a charity popup supper club to help to save the lives of malnourished children around the world. 

Action Against Hunger’s Moveable Feast Various venues, Thu Oct 4. £80. Book here.

Festival partner charity, Action Against Hunger and MFDF bring you theopportunity to access the exclusive private spaces of a range of amazing restaurants all on one special evening of fine food in the name of a great cause. Diners will be taken on the ultimate food adventure, enjoying a course at each restaurant of a specially designed menu, so with only 15 places at each location food fans are advised to snap up these tickets fast! All money raised will go directly to support AOH’s work ending child hunger in over 45 countries around the world. 

Taste the City – A Manchester Food Tour in support of Foodinate Various venues, Thu, Oct 4, 11am. £50.

Sample some of the best food and drink the Manchester has to offer All proceeds from this walk go to the Foodinate charity,   The tour Starts in Northern Quarter, exact location revealed upon booking. Book via www.scranchestertours.com

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.As ever Manchester’s finest independent wine merchants along with some from further afield will create a heavenly wine experience. 

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 hola@tastcatala.com.

MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards Gorton Monastery, Oct 8. Ticketed. Book here.

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’.