The launch of this year’s food and drink festival was held at Albert’s Schloss in Spinningfields, coinciding with the introduction of Albert’s Schloss’ new winter menu.
A taster menu was provided, with their new dishes adapted into canapés, as well as brand new cocktails and beers for tasting. The standout dish was the Berliner spiced lamb with pomegranate, fennel and hummus, but the vegan/vegetarian canapés were disappointingly lacking in flavour in comparison. It begs the question as to whether the canapés are adapted too much from the original dish – losing some of the flair that usually comes from the Albert’s Schloss kitchen.
However, all was redeemed with the Winter Pornstar cocktail. Unlike the Plum Spritz, which was a little too heavy on the soda water, compromising the tangy, fruity flavours, the Winter Pornstar was a perfect balance sweetness and acidity. Made from Absolut Vanilla Vodka, crème de fig, apple, lemon and honey wine, this drink prompted one of the guests to declare it tasted exactly how butterbeer should taste. (If that’s not a compliment, I don’t know what is).
Following the 1920s themed evening at Albert’s Schloss – complete with jazz singers and a Charlie Chaplin impressionist – guests were given vouchers to sample some of the food and drink on offer at the festival.
Despite not having the innumerable stalls that the Christmas Markets offer, Manchester’s Food and Drink festival has an eclectic selection of food available; and has a calmer and more enjoyable atmosphere. There are also live music acts performing and a VIP tent to keep visitors entertained whilst they wine and dine in Albert Square.
Some highlights from the festival hub include Vive La Crêpe; a crêperie providing sweet and savoury flavours, stuffed full of ingredients. Cottonpolis; a Japanese junk food vendor from the Northern Quarter, and Double Dutch G & T Bar; who use flavoured tonics paired with all manner of gins to create interesting and new variations of the classic mix.
The food and drink festival offers both free and ticketed events, but the hub itself is still worth a visit. It promises to keep the people of Manchester fed with delicious food until the 7th October, and luckily for us – Albert’s Schloss isn’t going anywhere.