Yes, festival season is upon us. Autumn in Manchester sees Manchester Food and Drink Festival, Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair, Buy Art Fair, Manchester Literature Festival and Manchester Science Festival. I think that’s it. Did I miss any off?
The Food and Drink Festival is looking mighty fine so far this year, so here’s my highlights.
Mr Manchester Is Ace always goes to the whisky festival with his friends, and I usually leave the area until he’s been decontaminated. The Lowry Hotel is hosting for the first time this year – they won’t know what’s hit it.
This year I’m going to the Third Big Indie Wine Festival at the People’s History Museum for a sensible evening discussing the merits of old world vs new world, and assessing the acidity, aroma and structure of some fine vinos. OR I’m going to go and swig as much wine as I can with my mates and get dizzy.
Some of the independent wine stores involving in showcasing their grapes are: Reserve Wines, Harvey Nichols, Hanging Ditch, The Vineyard and Origin Wine.
Other attention grabbers from the 2011 line-up involves the man himself, Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who will be giving a talk and cookery demonstration on Friday, October 14 at 1pm.
I love his whimsical olde English programmes where he jauntily whips up a feast for some village folk using berries he’s plucked from the hedgerows, a hand-reared salmon and some home-churned butter. I wonder what he’ll make of Manchester?
MFDF is also having a Best of British street food at the festival hub, which reflects the latest trend in gastronomy. Although I think perhaps that street food is at its best in parts of Asia, when you fear for your health (or guts) while simultaneously wondering what the hell you’re eating. Although you can, if you want, replicate that fear by purchasing a hot dog a 3am from a stall in the city centre.
I also love the idea of the Nominee Trail, which will be taking a group of food-lovers round a selection of the award nominees for best bar, best restaurant and best newcomer to decide for yourself who is the fairest of them all. Except will you remember them all when you’ve had a drink at each?
Other festival highlights include band Elbow’s new bitter, in partnership with Robinsons, to celebrate the launch of their new album, Manchester Chocolate Festival on October 8 and the tempting sounding Spirit and Cocktail Trail.
Manchester Food and Drink Festival takes place from October 7-17, with the main festival hub being at Albert Square again.