From Bolton Food Fest to ABC's Tap Yard and a dinner party at the end of the world, Confidential cherry picks the best of this summer's food happenings
There’s a lot of creative, cultural, fun stuff going on in Manchester this summer - art, music, theatre, poetry, dance - but we’ve still got to eat and drink (it's usually the best bit anyhow).
So below you'll find a handy calendar of the best food-based happenings taking place across the city (and beyond) over the coming hotter months, from Bolton food fest to B.Eat Street and ABC's brew yard.
So grab a beer, a bagel and plonk your bum in the sun, because looks like we're in for a belting summer.
Alphabet Brewery's Brew Tap & Food Yard – Every Saturday 12-10pm from 6th May
Having hosted the occasional street food event in recent years, Manchester’s Alphabet Brewing Co ramped things up recently by launching a brand new weekly Brew Tap & Food Yard on 6th May (kids & dogs welcome). Every Saturday, the focus will be partnering the best food with the beers on offer. Alongside resident burger kings, Almost Famous, a variation of three independent street food traders will appear on weekly rotation from; Dim Sum Su, Oh My Glaze, Proove Pizza, Olo Kitchen, Chaat Cart, Diamond Dogs, Burnt Onion, Well Hung, Que Delicia, The Pizza Maker and Bali Beach Hut. Musical beats will be provided by Pasta Paul and guests. Admission is free. Beer is not.
Alphabet Brewing Co, 99 North Western Street, M12 6JL
Castlefield Food Festival - Thurs 11th - Sun 14th May
Now in its third year, organisers of this free food and music festival are expecting to see up to 50,000 visitors fill Castlefield Bowl to enjoy street food, produce from local farmers, real ale, craft gin and quirky cocktails, along with chef demonstrations and masterclasses. There will be a number of special events held between 11th - 14th May, but we’ve picked out 'Tea-Sup', a Famous Five inspired campside cook-out with Rob Owen Brown on the Thursday and Friday evenings. After handing out ginger beer cocktails on arrival, Chef ROB will take 20 guests on a fun forage for fresh herbs and spices before leading a hands-on camp fire cooking experience (meat-based on Thursday, fish-based on Friday.) After supper, there’ll be much marshmallow toasting and swapping of tales around an open fire.
Entry free, tickets for Tea-Sup are £22.50 from Castlefield Food Festival
NQ Makers Market - Sun 14th May, 11am-5pm
More street party than food market, the latest NQ instalment of Makers Market will again set up in Stevenson Square on Sunday 14th May, with over 100 artisan traders - from bakers to brewers to cheese makers - selling their wares. Expect South African biltong from Weston, rocky roads from Weenies Bakes, curry and bao from Wallace & Sons and homemade doughnuts from the fantastic MCR Doughnut Co... oh and beer, plenty of beer, plus music, dancing and other less edible stuff.
Makers Market is free entry - Stevenson Square, Northern Quarter
Moss Side Pride: Sat 13th May, 12pm-4pm
The brand new Moss Side Food Festival has been organised by a group of young teenage girls in conjunction with youth leadership charity RECLAIM. Together, they are keen to change the way people look at this inner-city Manchester area which was once plagued by organised crime and turf wars. The organisers believe that the next generation is still affected by the after-effects, so they are keen to showcase the more positive aspects of the local community. The free festival in Alexandra Park will offer face painting for children, music, arts and crafts, stalls from local businesses, sports events in the park and live music. There will be 20 local dishes available, reflecting the area's multicultural community; including Caribbean, Irish, Polish, Indian and Somali food. Food is £5 for adults and £2.50 for children under 12.
For more information visit Moss Side Food Festival
B.eat Street – Every weekend (Fri-Sun) until Mon 28th August
Manchester’s favourite food and booze pop-up, situated in the Great Northern Warehouse, offers a mish-mash of bars and food vendors with a large outdoor terrace. B.eat Street opens weekend from 12am-12pm, turning a quiet Manchester cul-de-sac into a buzzing drinker’s haven complete with sun terrace and beer garden. Resident food vendors Eat New York, who specialise in salt beef bagels, burgers, subs and dogs, will be joined every week by a rotating programme of pop-up stalls such as Dirty Revolution, Paella Y Tapas and Burger Bear.
B.eat Street offers up two new cocktail bars this year; Junior Jackson’s, a live music venue, and The Golden Pineapple, a Cuban-style cocktail bar inspired by Havana's historic La Piña de Plata. Both will offer draft beers and wines, as well as a mix of classic cocktails.
For more details visit B.eat Street
King Street Festival: Sat 3rd - Sun 4th June
On the first weekend of June, a stroll along Manchester’s iconic shopping street will involve al fresco dining, free fizz and tastings, gifts and goodie bags, a bandstand, pop-up parks and an art garden. Lots of the producers and restaurants will be taking part including Suri, El Gato Negro and Grafene, who will be hosting lawn games and offering gin cocktails.
King Street Festival, King Street Manchester
Eat & Drink Festival: Thurs 8th - Sun 11th June
The UK’s newest food festival (held alongside the larger Ideal Home Show at Event City) will incorporate The Foodie Lab - a live demonstration theatre where celebrity chefs such as Rosemary Shrager, Aldo Zilli and Aiden Byrne will be cooking with Gregg Wallace. There will also be The Drinks Lab, an artisan producers market, The Chef’s Table and ‘The Great Eat’ – a celebration of global and local street food.
Eat & Drink Festival, Event City Adult Tickets £12.50 (includes free access to The Ideal Home Show)
Festa Italiana Manchester: Fri 23rd - Sun 25th June
For three days from 11am-11pm, Festa Italiana in Cathedral Gardens will aim to recreate the all-day atmosphere of festivals across Italy, where the community comes together to socialise and enjoy great food and drink along with live music. The area in front of The Corn Exchange will become 'Little Italy' incorporating an authentic Italian fine food market, street food stalls and a chef’s collaborative attempt at creating a 50 metre pizza. A marquee will house a cookery theatre for chef demonstrations and a nonna’s pasta making station will teach visitors how to make genuine Italian pasta.
Festival Italiana Manchester, Cathedral Gardens - FREE
MIF: Four supper clubs with Paul Heathcote and friends – Sun 2nd, Mon 3rd, Sun 9th and Mon 10th July
Paul Heathcote is the Bolton-born chef who’s first restaurant in Longridge, Preston was awarded both a Michelin and Egon Ronay star within two years, as well as being named The Good Food Guide’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’. Paul has been credited as being one of the original high-end chefs to celebrate and promote Lancashire produce.
For MIF17 he has curated four Supper Clubs offering guests an exclusive chance to enjoy menus by fellow chefs who helped to define modern British cooking for over a decade; David Moore from London’s Pied à Terre; Steven Doherty head chef at Gavroche; Mark Hix who was executive chef for Le Caprice and The Ivy; and Carl Noller who was head chef at Simply Heathcotes in Preston. Each will cook for one night only at the Glass House in Festival Square.
Meanwhile, Altrincham Market favourites Honest Crust will be setting-up in the square as resident pizza pushers, whilst Gary Usher's Hispi bistro will also be there for the duration, serving their take on fast food. There'll be joined by Indian street food specialists, Manjit's Kitchen, and festival ice-cream stalwart, Ginger's Comfort Emporium.
Entry to Albert Square free. All supper club tickets include a glass of fizz, three courses and coffee - tickets £50 currently SOLD OUT, but more will be released nearer the time - see @MIFestival for the latest updates.
MIF: Dinner Party at the End of the World (ages 18+) - Tues 4th - Sat 15th July
Between 29th June and 16th July, the biennial Manchester International Festival will involve 18 extraordinary days of artwork and performances across theatre, galleries and public spaces. In amongst all the highbrow experiences are some interesting food-based events, such as chef Mary-Ellen McTague (Aumbry, the Real Junk Food Project) who has devised a series of dinner parties with a difference. Each evening, twenty guests will share a special ‘last supper’ of delicious but surprising food that explores themes such as survival, extinction, scarcity and opulence. McTague’s creative menu will imagine how and what we may eat come the apocolypse.
Tickets £50 - keep an eye out for more here.
Bolton Food Festival (August Bank Holiday weekend, Fri 25th - Mon 28th)
A staggering 263,000 visitors attended last year’s event, organised by Bolton Council in association with Aldi. The festival will also feature cookery demos from top regional and national chefs such as James Martin, Simon Rimmer and Ainsley Harriot. Michelin-starred chef Michael Caines will launch this popular four day food festival on Friday August 25th, before hosting a gala dinner the same night. Over the long weekend, there will be a speciality food, drink and crafts market with more than 200 traders, as well as live music, street performers, special events and children’s activities.
Tickets for the celebrity chef demos and special events are available from boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com
Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) – Thurs 28th September - Mon 9th October
This year will be the festival’s 20th anniversary and they plan to celebrate with ten days of special events and pop-ups as well as a celebration of street food and drink in the festival hub in Albert Square. Although more details will be released over the coming weeks, organisers have confirmed that clean-eating social media sensation ‘Deliciously Ella’ Mills will be making an appearance in the festival hub on Saturday 30th September. The best selling author will be hosting two ticketed pop up banquets (a lunch service and a dinner service) with a Q&A event and book signing in between. Ella and her team will also create a Manchester version of MaE Deli – the delicatessen and catering company she co-owns with her husband Matthew.
Of course, expect the return of the big indie wine fest, the 100 Greater Beers tent, multiple one-off banquets and the grand awards dinner finale.
For more details visit Manchester Food and Drink Festival