One day in my first year as a higher education slave, I was sitting eagerly on the X50 express bus on my way to the library to do some extra work. Or so I thought. I was expressly (and rudely) carted off into the town centre whereupon I noticed a stream of people filtering into Albert Square. I followed the crowd, seeking to discover its purpose. I delightedly found myself in the throng of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, and on the best possible day – the one devoted to chocolate. Clearly dreams do come true! All thought of extra library study had long since fled my mind.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival (September 21st–October 7th) is a wonderful, long-winded celebration of eating and drinking. The festival sprawls across Manchester, but at the heart of it all is the Festival Hub in Albert Square, which combines bars and stalls with live cookery demonstrations, eating competitions, beer testing and much more.
Check out the street food at the Hub; this year it sounds better than ever. Catalan noodle paella or doughnut mash, Spanish churros, French smoked duck and spicy pulled pork burritos – just some of the things that make me pre-emptively drool.
The event I most keenly await is Oktoberfest, at the Hub from October 5th-7th. Litre steins of malty, hoppy pilsner are provided by Veltins, one of Germany’s most established brauereien. Bavarian brass bands will accompany the event throughout.
Beer Fest (September 21st-26th) at the Hub will feature a 20 metre-long bar with over 100 craft beers and plenty of food to choose from. It’s open from noon until 11pm. I’d recommend Robinson’s Old Tom, a thick black ale whose alcoholic content is hideously high. Cider Fest will run concurrently with Beer Fest, featuring over 60 types of cider and perry. And that isn’t all; Hawaiian-themed bar The Liars Club is setting up a cocktail shack to display a bit of theatrical mixology and offer some exotic cocktails.
I am also greatly looking forward to the cake day on October 7th. It seems to have replaced the chocolate day, so I hope I’ll accidentally end up on the X50 again. For more information on the delights of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, visit http://foodanddrinkfestival.com/