Street food, daytime drinking and live music. What’s not to love at this years Food and Drink Festival!
Possible unbeknown to most students, what with the common fear of travelling too far from Fallowfield, the Manchester Food and Drink Festival is taking place this weekend in Albert Square. Attracting Manchester’s finest stalls, it was an event not to be missed.
Completely free to enter, this festival is a must for anyone with a love of street food, live music or good old daytime drinking. The festival plays host to various street food vans, with themes from across the world. Over 15 different food stalls can supply you with anything from churros to chicken chaat, hoi-sin duck to halloumi fries and shawarma to shakes.
Fan-favourite stalls include the hip-hop chip shop (a national fish and chip shop winner) and Tampopo; a Bangkok style street food who is also celebrating 20 years of business. From paella to, Indian street food to hotdogs; Moroccan wraps, fresh curries, hip-hop chip shops, crepes, and churros. The sensational food aromatises the city. It is impossible to not find something that you will enjoy!
Live music from local acts plays all day, starting at 11am and running through to 11pm at the weekend. The music, located in a marquee selling £5 cocktails and local craft beers, becomes increasingly upbeat as festival-goers become increasingly intoxicated. The selection of craft beers is fantastic, and the prices seem fairly reasonable, starting at £3.50 and peaking at £4.50 for the stronger beers (up to 7 per cent!).
Another popular attraction is the Fever Tree gin bar which offers a range of gins (local and otherwise) and tonics with a quaint tepee and deck chairs for relaxed afternoon drinking. The gin tent offers local gins and a variety of flavoured mixers; the lemon thyme and rosemary with local Didsbury gin is a fantastic option! These are, however, somewhat steeper at £9 a double and £7 a single, an issue which provides the only slight stumbling block.
Previously, the UK’s largest food and drink festival has attracted the likes of Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey. Saturday 30th September saw Deliciously Ella bring her cult cuisine to the rainy city. After a free Q&A session and book signing, Ella prepared a lavish feast for those lucky enough to get their hands on tickets. The three-course banquet seated at eloquently decorated tables featured creamy corn chowder, an assortment of family plates such as roasted artichokes, edamame hummus, herby black rice and finally, a mango sponge cake for pudding.
If, as I would suggest, someone wants to make a day out of the festival, they might need to be prepared to spend a little more than an average student day out. The price for food varies somewhat from cart to cart, but a main tends to be in the £6-£8 bracket. This is not a bad price all things considered, however it very quickly becomes incredibly difficult to walk past any of the food stalls whilst resisting trying a little something! Not all of the food is mind-blowing, but a vast quantity of it really is done to a very high quality, using local ingredients and cooked by people who love what they’re doing. This can mean that the festival gets to be a little pricey, however while the festival may not be the cheapest thing you could do with your weekend, I can guarantee that it will be one of the most entertaining.
After 20 years of celebrating the best food and drink in Manchester; this year had our taste buds tingling with the assortment of vendors there was no opportunity to go hungry. The Food and Drink festival of 2017 brought the best food, drink, guests and musicians. The festival culminates with a prestigious food and drink awards, despite the celebrations or commiserations; here’s to celebrating 20 more years of Manchester’s finest food and drink.
PS take an umbrella, this is Manchester after all!