Manchester scran is not all just Eccles cakes and pie barms

Looky here, we’ve done an alphabetical list of the city's booming food and drink scene. Why? Because where else would we get chance to squeeze the great Mr George Bergier between an Eccles cake and a Manchester Kebab? Exactly...

A is for Ale

Manchester has officially emerged as the cask beer capital of Britain, following a major study into the beer sold in the city’s pubs and bars. In June 2017, The Manchester Beer Audit found 411 different cask ales on sale in venues throughout the Manchester City Council area, beating nearest rival Sheffield - which boasted 385 beers in its last survey - as well as Nottingham (334), York (281), Norwich (254), Derby (213), and Leeds (211). We’ll drink to that.

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Manchester is the official cask beer capital

B is for Bury Black Pudding

From relatively humble beginnings, selling blood pudding on a stall in Bury’s famous food market, the Bury Black Pudding Company is now the UK's leading retail black pudding brand. What’s more, it’s been recognised as a nutritionally rich superfood. Naturally high in iron and zinc, it has less than 3% fat and contains barley, a superfood in itself - providing blood glucose stabilisation, cardiovascular protection and cancer prevention, this ancient grain serves as more than just a bulky filler. If you enter Ramsbottom’s annual black pudding throwing competition, it could also be used to help you get a bit of exercise...

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Moor Hall served us the poshest black pudding we've had this year

C is for Chinatown

Many major cities have a Chinatown, but Manchester’s is the third largest in Europe. The streets surrounding the famous Faulkner Street archway house some of the city’s best and most long-standing restaurants. Explore a little deeper and you’ll discover fantastic fishmongers, supermarkets and excellent family bakeries selling sweet and savoury buns and pastries still warm from the oven.

Hos Bakery Chinatown
Ho's bakery in Manchester's Chinatown

D is for D&D

D&D, the well-heeled restaurant group which operates 34 restaurants worldwide, has followed the successful migration of other London-based brands such as Hawksmoor, Iberica, Randall & Aubin, Bill's, Cote, Byron, Wahaca, Be At One and Comptoir Libanais to Manchester. D&D has been confirmed as the operator to take control of the restaurant, bar and terrace space on the top floor of Allied London’s nineteen-storey project on Quay Street, which is due for completion by the end of 2017. Manchester’s highest restaurant will be another new brand for D&D; as ever, we’ll let you know what it’ll be as soon as we sniff it out.

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D&D will open Manchester's highest restaurant in Spinningfields

E is for Eccles cake 

This traditional northern sweet treat is a flaky, buttery pastry shell, filled with a mixture of currants, and raisins and sprinkled with sugar. From 1793, James Birch was the first person credited with selling them on a commercial basis from his shop on the corner of Vicarage Road in Eccles, but the recipe dates back much earlier than that. When Oliver Cromwell gained power in 1650, Eccles cakes were banned due to the Puritan belief that they had pagan connections. Nowadays, The Real Lancashire Eccles Cakes Company, based just five miles outside Eccles, produces the leading brand of handmade Eccles Cakes, still using the Edmonds traditional family recipe. They can be found in all leading supermarkets, delis and local corner shops, and the company even exports to Europe and America. 

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Lancashire chef Paul Heathcote's version of Eccles cake

F is for Food Festivals  

Nowadays Manchester hosts a festival celebrating all manner of cuisines including Spanish, Thai, Italian and even Gobefest, an official celebration of Transylvanian Hungarian food. It’s not just all about food either, there are festivals celebrating almost every type of liquid refreshment too (see here.) Manchester’s official Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) held every September and October for two weeks, is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year; with chef demos, street food stalls, citywide events and an awards ceremony. Bolton’s annual August Bank Holiday Food and Drink Festival is also worth a visit, with a great line-up of celebrity chef demos and food events.

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MFDF 2017 runs from 28th September to 9th October

G is for George Bergier

Northern wine royalty; past chairman -  The Guild of Sommeliers Manchester, Chambellan – Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne and Grand Maitre – Chante Flute Preux de Manchester, the city is lucky to have this superstar sommelier, who has been presiding over the wine cellars of The Victorian Chop House Company since 2007. Drinks industry bible Imbibe magazine gave him its Industry Legend accolade in their 2017 Personality of the Year awards. Check out what wine-matching nous (and amazing bin-ends) this veteran Polish-born sommelier brings to the table at Mr Thomas’s, Albert Square and Sam’s Chop House. With 32 wines available by the glass, it's the widest selection in the city centre. 

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George in the cellar at Albert Square Chop House

H is for Hot Pot

Arguably made world-famous by Betty Driver, the fictional Corrie character who made a popular version in the Rovers Return, the hot pot is essentially a hearty slow-cooked lamb or mutton stew with onion, topped with a layer of thinly sliced potatoes. Many Lancashire and Greater Manchester regional variations add vegetables such as carrot, turnip or leeks and some even throw in a few lamb kidneys. Pickled red cabbage or beetroot is the traditional accompaniment. The origins of this long-standing dish are uncertain, but it’s likely that the 'hot pot' refers to the heavy pottery dish used to cook casseroles in northern Britain. In the initial stages of industrialisation and urbanisation, because they often lacked their own cooking facilities, housewives would carry a pudding or stew to the village baker's oven and leave it there to cook.

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Betty and her famous hot pot Granada Television

I is for Indy Man Beer Con

With up to 200 of 'the finest beers from the best breweries' and more than 80 taps serving both cask and keg, the Independent Manchester Beer Convention (Indy Man Beer Con/IMBC) has proven to be a much-anticipated annual event on the ale lovers' calendar. This showcase of progressive breweries from the UK, Europe and USA will take over the stunning surrounds of the Grade II listed Victoria Baths for its sixth year. Expect a multi-sensory, headlong, hop-forward beerganza.

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IMBC 2017 will take over Victoria Baths from 28th Sept to 1st Oct

J is for Jam

Duerr’s is the oldest family-owned jam maker in England. They’ve been making quality preserves to their family recipes for 135 years and, what’s more, they’re based in Wythenshawe. From sunny citrus conserves to fruit-filled jams, marmalades, peanut butters, curds and classic condiments, Duerr’s has grown from Fred and Mary Duerr’s homegrown business into a global brand. The family has also contributed to Manchester’s world-renowned technical innovations, from the invention of periscopes used in World War One to creating innovative packaging techniques including the Orbit™ easy-open lid, Europe’s first squeezy jam bottles and even the world’s first bake-stable jam (rhubarb and custard).

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Jamtastic innovations from Duerr's in Wythenshawe

K is for Kebabs

Yes, we know the kebab was probably invented in the Middle East during ancient times and we’re not going to shoe-horn in a tenuous link to late night student fare. The reason we’ve included the humble kebab is because someone has recently gone and invented a Manchester version. The Refuge, the restaurant within Manchester’s Principal Hotel (formerly the Palace Hotel on Oxford Road) recently got together with Mancunian chef Robert Owen Brown to produce the Manchester Kebab; containing slow-cooked lamb shawarma, salad and Vimto sriracha, all wrapped in a, er, Yorkshire pudding.

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Behold, the Manchester Kebab

L is for Living Ventures

This company began in 1993 with one venue on Deansgate, JW Johnson’s restaurant and bar, opened by company founders Jeremy Roberts and the late Tim Bacon. Now, 24 years later, the successful group incorporates several sub-brands, bars and restaurants including Grand Pacific, Australasia, Manchester House, Blackhouse, Artisan, Gusto, Red Door, The Alchemist and The Club House across the UK. They have been responsible for training and employing thousands of people in hospitality and are one of the region's brightest success stories.

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Grand Pacific was the latest LV high profile opening this year