This year’s Manchester Food and Drink Festival promises to be a true Mancunian celebration of everything that is gastronomically great up north.

MFDF first blazed a trail 19 years ago, making Manchester the home of the UK’s first urban food and drink festival. Today it remains the biggest and brightest event of its kind, while Manchester’s national and international status grows year on year.

This year’s Festival will feature some of Manchester’s most talented chefs and spectacular locations, finest restaurants and coolest bars, most innovative brewers and the region’s food heroes.

As ever, MFDF will be an opportunity to see some of the finest talent in the region (and nation!) perform gastronomic alchemy – whether it’s before vistors’ eyes at the live cookery theatre or serving it up on a plate at a banquet, MFDF is a time to watch, taste and learn.

As well as local heroes like Adam Reid and Claire Kelsey, culinary stars will include Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, who will be performing in the Live Cookery Theatre and sharing her home grown baking tips; Jackie Kearney, Master Chef runner-up, author of Vegan Street Food, and general street food legend, who will be displaying her meat- and dairy-free super powers with an experimental vegan banquet; and Nacho Manzano, three Michelin starred executive chef of Iberica, who will be visiting Manchester especially for the Festival and hosting a one off, extra special MFDF event.

The Festival Hub will remain at its traditional home on Albert Square and will be a better than ever bespoke, pop-up food village, open from 12noon – 11pm daily. As ever the Hub is free and fantastic, but 2016 will see the Festival’s beating heart get a makeover, with a whole new design, layout and some exciting additions too. It’s where you’ll find the city’s best mix of street food traders, Marstons Ale Trail Bar, Vin Van Voom Wine, the MFDF live music stage and the now legendary Manchester’s 100 Greatest Beer Bar.

MFDF will be teaming up with Allied London to bring a celebration of food, culture and the city’s spectacular landscape to Manchester, the likes of which has never been done before. Hidden Banquets will allow festival-goers to explore some of the city’s secret, undiscovered and downright jaw-dropping spaces, in association with the nation’s most talented and exciting chefs, all in the context of Manchester’s cultural identity and heritage. Each banquet in the series will take in a different, remarkable location, feature a different exceptional chef, and will be themed around the most iconic aspects of Manchester’s heritage, identity and contribution to the world. The first banquet to be announced is ‘Innovation’ with Aiden Byrne at London Road Fire Station.

This year the Festival will be celebrating the country that has perhaps given the world more cuisine to treasure than anywhere else – Italy. MFDF have teamed up with Manchester’s very own authentic Italian food business, Salvi’s, to stage a weekend dedicated to the likes of buffalo mozzarella, gorgonzola, prosecco, pizza, gelato, olive oil, salami, Parma ham, primitivo and stacks more. Salvi’s will be inviting their favourite producers from Naples and the Campania region to the Festival for one weekend of blissful banqueting at the Festival Hub.

Following the success of last year’s Great Manchester Bake Off, the search will be on again for Manchester’s greatest bakers! MFDF will be inviting the region’s hottest amateur bakers to enter the race to become Manchester’s second MFDF Bake Off Champion. Entrants will need to register, then will be invited to bring their creations to the first heat to be judged by MFDF’s answer to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Finalists will be chosen at the first heat when they’ll be challenged to bring another creation to the Festival Hub on the 9th October, where a huge Festival Bake Sale will be taking place!

This is juste a taste of what to expect. Better put the date in your diary.

Are you a food & drink hero?

The Festival is calling on all food and drink heroes in Greater Manchester and beyond to join in the celebrations and contribute to the programme. Interested parties should email alexa@foodanddrinkfestival.com.

29 September – 10 October 2016

www.foodanddrinkfestival.com

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