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Eats and treats keep us happy at twelfth annual foodie festival

TWELVE years in, and Bolton Food & Drink Festival is still going strong, with a buzzy atmosphere and some fab new events when we swung by on the Saturday of bank holiday weekend – from a pastie tasting to a pop-up fine-dining restaurant.

Joining the throng of 267,000 visitors, we spent the morning perusing the purveyors of fine fayre – 220, to be precise – and watching some of the cookery demos and live entertainment on offer, before popping to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Four long tables were packed with kids and parents furiously decorating masks; the industrious craft time rewarded with a picnic and an energetic musical performance of the story of Alice in Wonderland.

From the sidelines, we then took our place at one of the large round tables in the main marquee for the Pastie and Beer Tasting. TV chef Simon Rimmer introduced beer sommelier Annabel Smith and local institution Carrs Pasties, who dished up six different pasties and six beers to match. Who’d’ve thought there was such an art involved! 

Highlight of the day, however, was Manchester House chef Aiden Byrne’s special pop-up, Made In Bolton. With a choice of three courses – how about rabbit, chicken and Manchester tart or seafood bisque, ox cheek and chocolate millefeuille – and some fabulous wine from Aldi, it was a great evening spent eating, drinking and chattering.

Bolton Food & Drink Festival just gets better each year and is a brilliant experience for foodies and general festival lovers alike. All in all, nothing’s going to stop us missing the festival next time round!

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