Exclusive dinners, the region’s best pop-ups and a big chippy tea
The full programme for this year’s Manchester Food & Drink Festival has been announced and even Michael Eavis would've struggled to do a better job of rounding up the local foodie troops.
Now in its 24th year, the festival kicks off on Thursday 16 September and runs until 27 September bringing with it the best of the region’s food to Cathedral Gardens as well as events, entertainment and Manchester’s biggest chippy tea. Capping off the festival will be the annual Manchester Food and Drink Awards on 27 September which will take place in The Ticket Hall at Escape to Freight Island.
Mark it on the calendar and treat yourself
At the centre of the action will be the Festival Hub, taking over Cathedral Gardens from Thursday 16 Sunday 19 September and again from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 September. The free-to-enter space will host a revolving menu of independent streetfood outlets as well as an artisan market and live music and entertainment.
Elsewhere, with the help of some of the best restaurants and venues in the city, the festival fringe will be hosting a special run of supper clubs, tastings and dinners, including an exclusive all-star line-up at Mana and a sustainable wine evening at Open Kitchen at The People’s History Museum. Here’s our handy guide to the best bits from this year's festival.
TINE AT THE BUNGALOW | KAMPUS | 16 - 19 & 23 - 26 SEPTEMBER
Running throughout the festival, Manchester foodie supergroup Tine (Mana, Manchester House and The French alumni Josh Shanahan and James Lord) and current Kampus chefs in residence will be serving up an exclusive five-course set menu as part of the festival fringe celebrations. Expect the best in British and Irish ingredients, with some umami spins on classic British cuisine.
MFDF ARTISAN MARKETS | FESTIVAL HUB | 16 - 19 & 23 - 26 SEPTEMBER
It wouldn’t be a food festival without a market and this year, understandably, the stops are being pulled out. From moonshine to pasties, cheesecake to tiramisu, there’s something local, carefully made and beautifully presented at this year’s artisan market. Manchester Food and Drink Awards nominees Breadflower and Companio Bakery (16-19 September) will be there as will BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards nominees HM Pasties. Mark it on the calendar and treat yourself.
MANCHESTER BEER BAR | FESTIVAL HUB | 16 - 19 & 23 - 26 SEPTEMBER
You can’t do food without beer and beer is nice with food. Manchester is spoilt for good breweries which means the Manchester beer bar at this year’s festival is better than ever. Northern Monkey, Pomona Island Brewery, Burton Road Brewing, Bollington Brewery, Brightside, Blackedge, Thirst Class, Stubborn Mule, Bank Top and Silver Street. All great names for bands, all great news for beer drinkers in the Cathedral Gardens vicinity.
FESTIVAL HUB STREET FOOD MARKET | FESTIVAL HUB | 16 - 19 SEPTEMBER & 23 - 26 SEPTEMBER
If you love food but don’t like walking, the festival’s street food market is the ideal place to sample the edible corners of Manchester in one convenient place. A varied line-up of streetfood will be split across the two festival weekends with the first (16-19 September) including What’s Your Beef, locally and ethically sourced grass fed beef burgers; Aunti Ji’s, chai, coffee and East Indian favourites; Grandad’s Sausages; Bury banger aficionados; Mason Breizh, authentic Breton crêpes and galettes; as well as Oh My Glaze who’ll be bringing wraps, wings and halloumi.
The last weekend of the festival (23-26 September) will see an equally diverse selection of street food with something for all tastes, be it Northendon’s Mi & Pho bringing the bahn mi and pho or Northern Soul bringing their famous grilled cheese sandwiches.
MFDF WINE AND FIZZ FEST | HALLE ST PETERS | 17 - 18 SEPTEMBER
The wine and fizz fest is back this year setting up in and around the lovely setting of Halle St Peters in Ancoats. The region’s finest independent wine retailers and brands will be taking over, giving visitors the chance to sample some of the best wines from around the globe with experts on hand to guide you through each drop. Tutored tastings and specialist masterclasses will also be available on the weekend. Tickets start from £12.50.
BULL & BEAR TAKEOVER | FESTIVAL HUB | 20 SEPTEMBER
Tom Kerridge’s Bull & Bear will be bringing the pub to the hub on Monday 20 September for a one-off takeover with a pub grub feast and music takeover night. A range of local beers will be on hand too thanks to the festival’s Manchester Beer Bar. Menu items include potted Loch Duart salmon with apple jelly and cucumber chutney to start and a braised beef and cheese pie with English mustard for main. Tickets start at £55 and include a three-course meal.
MFDF X EAT WELL DINNER | MANA | 21 SEPTEMBER
One of the biggest events on this year’s food and drink festival calendar is the MFDF x Eat Well dinner which will see some of the city’s most celebrated chefs teaming up to raise money for Eat Well - a social enterprise which fights food poverty in Manchester. Top chefs including Simon Martin (Mana), Ben Humphries (District), Mary-Ellen McTague (The Creameries), Eddie Shepherd (Walled Garden) and Anna Søgaard (Erst) will be taking on a course each with the proceeds from the dinner going to the aforementioned good cause. Tickets are £200 and limited to 25 spots so get on them quickly.
ELNECOT X IT'S ALIVE SUPPER CLUB | ELNECOT | 21 SEPTEMBER
Lots of great supper clubs at this year’s festival, with Elnecot adding another to the roster, pairing up with their own wine suppliers It’s Alive. The Ancoats restaurant will be putting together a choice selection of dishes inspired by the British Isles complete with natural wine pairings. Expect Yorkshire hogget broth, a unique surf and turf and a rendang doughnut as well as other inspired options. Tickets are £65 per person.
MANCHESTER’S BIGGEST CHIPPY TEA | FESTIVAL HUB | 22 SEPTEMBER
Nothing to see here, move on. Just the biggest chippy tea in the entire city with a roll call of old and new-school lords of the fry putting their own batter-y twist on the classic duo. Anchors of Didsbury, Hip Hop Chip Shop, JJ Vish and Chips, Street Urchin and Lord of the Pies will all be chipping in with personalised versions including vegan fish and chips and bespoke seafood twists. No booking required, walk-ins welcome.
TAST MEETS THE MACALLAN | TAST | 23 SEPTEMBER
Choose Manchester Food & Drink Festival 2021. Choose Tast. Choose a five-course gastronomic tasting menu designed by Executive Chef Paco Perez and Head Chef Julià Castelló that includes octopus, oysters as well as yuzu and mango. Choose cocktails, wine and one limited-edition Macallan whisky that pairs with said meal. Choose Barcelona but also choose Scotland via Manchester. Choose a ticket that costs £125. Choose your future. Choose an evening sponsored by the water of life.
LE SOCIAL PRESENT THE LOW-DOWN | KAMPUS | 23 SEPTEMBER
There’s absolutely nothing dry about Manchester, which makes any event where there’s a concerted effort to lower the communal ABV a welcome one. With this in mind, shipping container wine champs Le Social will be presenting, nae celebrating, an evening of low- and no-alcoholic drinks in collaboration with Stores Suppy and Muri Drinks. Hosting in a secret location at Kampus (where could it possibly be?), you can bet your bottom dollar it’s going to be a million times better than a warm Becks Blue. Tickets are £5.
SUSTAINABLE WINE EVENING | OPEN KITCHEN CAFÉ & BAR | 23 SEPTEMBER
Kicking off a run of seasonal events inspired by their motto "sustainable, ethical, delicious", Open Kitchen will be hosting a sustainable wine tasting showcasing a selection of wines from the Bolney Estate in Kent, a winery known for its sustainable land management since 1972. Needless to say the carbon miles for each bottle will be notably less than your average supermarket plonk. Sampling six wines across the evening in all of your favourite colours, table snacks will be available as well as a wider small plates menu on the evening. Tickets start at £28. Keep an eye out for their other upcoming events too.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2021 will take place at Cathedral Gardens and associated venues 16 - 27 September. For more information click here.
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