A highlight on any Manchester food lover’s radar around this time of year is the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. With its main hub in the beautiful Albert Square watched over by the Town Hall food and drink lovers can enjoy an array of street food and craft ales whilst being entertained by some of the best DJs and artists the city has to offer.
As well as street food favourites you will also find Manchester restaurants selling their wares. Now many grumble at this seeing it as another way for the bigger players in the restaurant scene to make more money but it really is a great way to sample their food without having to go for a full sit down meal. This is much more informal and most also had specials just for the Festival itself.
Favourites of mine in attendance this year were Splendid Sausage with their moreish wo-nuts, Mumma Schnitzel with halloumi bites that sell out every time I get near and Bangers and Bacon with their perfectly named ‘roast on a post’. Not being a fan of ale or beer I wasn’t expecting much from a drink point of view, other than the cocktails being whipped up by Blue Pig. Then I spied the cider tent….! Queue me launching into the tale of my pending West Coast road trip (I know I know you are sick of hearing about it) and the wonderfully patient bartender picking out a cider made in one of the places I’ll be visiting next month. Now that is what I call service!
Whilst I am not an ale fan I feel I have to mention the competition that Thwaites ran to find the ale of the festival. A friend of mine Iain Devine of Drunken Butcher supper club fame invented an ale using Manchester based malt loaf Soreen to win a spot on the pumps. Like my favourite halloumi bites, this sold out most of the days I visited the Festival as well.
As if all this generic augmentin online isn’t enough there were also special events happening around the festival such as the Liquor Market ran by the Drinks Enthusiast encouraging visitors to try spirits they hadn’t before and the Big Indie Wine Fest which had a similar M.O. except with, you guessed it, wine. I didn’t manage to attend either this year but, if last year’s Liquor Market was anything to go by, I’ve certainly missed out. I’ll definitely be making sure I book my tickets earlier next year!
The Festival has come to an end for another year as Autumn really descends, it is a real celebration of the food and drink scene in Manchester before the festive period is upon us. To really end the Festival on a high the winners of the Manchester Food and Drink Awards were announced:
Restaurant of the year: Manchester House
Newcomer of the year: Manchester House
Bar of the year: Manchester House
Chef of the year: Adam Reid (The French)
Pub of the year: The Dockyard, Media City
Food pub of the year: Eagle and Child, Ramsbottom
Coffee bar or tea shop of the year: Richmond Tea Rooms
Cheap eats of the year: Viet Shack, Arndale Centre
Best food and drink retailer: Epicerie Ludo, Chorlton
Best street food of the year: Mei Mei
Outstanding achievement: Tim Bacon (Living Ventures)
We may not have a Michelin star but with talent, passion and drive from people like this, I’m not sure I want one. Make sure you visit next year and you better stay over whilst you’re at it; the ale, cider and cocktails won’t drink themselves! If you are looking to get the latest deals in Manchester, I’d definitely recommend the cheap yet cheerful Ibis Budget behind Piccadilly train station. It’s close to the Northern Quarter too…. Well if you are staying out overnight you may as well make the most of the rest this amazing city has to offer.
In collaboration with Ibis.