Manchester Food and Drink Festival is running its 17th annual event from the 10th – 21st of September (It finishes today!). The urban food and drink festival is well-known nationally, with a base in Albert Square, it fans out to take over much of the city. The main festival in Albert Square is made up of a huge variety of street food vendors and local restaurants with pitches, as well beer, cider and vino tents, a huge marquee with a stage for live music and a private tent for events such as ‘The Great Manchester bake off’. The Square is a constant hive of activity, and you will be sure to find something of interest and to eat no matter the time of day. I went on Thursday the 17th of September, there are two waves of vendors for the festival, that change after 6 days, so this is the second group.
First stop… The Mac Factory. The guys are London-based and I have been following their story for a little while, without getting the chance to have a taste. So as you can imagine I was over the moon that they had tackled the M6 to Manchester. The Mac Factory have a permanent stall in Camden where they have been since January 2014, their gourmet 20th century Mac and Cheese has thoroughly taken off and it doesn’t take an expert to see why.
Unique in what they do, I have high hope for these boys, and one bowl of their mouth-watering Mac and Cheese only confirmed it.
In my opinion (Possible not the smartest sentence starter), the best way to sell food is for people to see it. Pretty basic stuff, but something The Mac Factory did extremely well at MFDF (Manchester Food and Drink Festival). Proudly showing off the selection they had on offer at the front of the stall, they had one of the busiest stalls that evening.
Indecisive as ever I let the owner choose for me, so this is the special they had on that day. Bologzagne – Creamy, cheesy Mac and Cheese topped with rich beef ragu slow cooked in a bottle of port, fresh finger chilli and coriander. Heaven in a cardboard bowl if ever there was one.
. From the owners of a very well-known Sausage company, The Crispy Duck Rotissie was next on the hit list.
Heading to MFDF after their recent return from Bestival (FYI I had to sell my tickets, not at all bitter or jealous about it), these duck connoisseur are taking the street food market by storm. A simple menu of 3 choices, with Duck being the star of the show of each, we were very happy. The one disappointment was that our Duck Platter choice came with fries and not the eagerly anticipated Duck Fat Chips also available.
Next up, a cuisine entirely different and extremely under commercialised (Maybe the next big thing?). Ladies and Gents…
The Chop Bar AKA Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
So we went for the Meat Plate (£8), this consisted of Jollof fried Chicken, Red red spicy bean and Jollof rice. African food in general is yet to be marketed to the masses, but it was great to see such a variation in the stalls available at MFDF, and someone representing delicious Ghanaian food. Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen has a home in Brixton, in the form os a converted shipping container. Increasing in popularity, soon to release a cook book and appearing more and more across the UK and Berlin, she may be the face of a future African food trend.
The only stall that had wooden forks left (Great that the festival was so popular – should probably supply more next year), Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen was going down a storm with all the happy eaters/festival goers.
So all in all Manchester Food and Drink Festival was an absolute delight. This is just a snap shot from one evening, but after talking to the traders they all seemed very pleased with how the whole event had gone. By giving independent and start-up food and drink businesses the chance the showcase their food in such a public way, it will do no end of help for their future success. And as a consumer the festival gives you the chance to try new food and eat at places you would not have even known about otherwise. Food festivals like this are basically a real life version of the EatFabulous concept; Helping you eat fabulously whilst supporting the independents. So on that note, thank you and well done to the organisers, I cannot wait for next year.
Links to the eateries;
The Mac Factory – http://www.themacfactory.co.uk/
Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen – http://zoesghanakitchen.co.uk
Crispy Duck Rotisserie – TBC
Let me know what you thought of this year Manchester Food and Drink Festival & feedback on your thoughts on this post. Enjoy the rest of your weekends. Stay Fabulous.