The 21st annual Manchester Food and Drink Festival, a celebration of the city’s constantly evolving food culture, takes place from 27th September to 8th October 2018.

The urban food festival promises a jam-packed programme, including collaborations with many of the city’s most talented foodies, from brewers to ice cream makers and chefs to gin distillers.

It will all come together at the revamped Festival Hub on Albert Square.

“We called it The Hub when we first started out on Albert Square, as a casual comment on it being the centre of everything,” said MFDF founding director, Phil Jones.

“As the festival and Manchester has evolved, our beloved ‘Hub’ has really lived up to its name. It has come to embody the heart and soul of MFDF and is its own little foodie neighbourhood, popping up once a year as a place that food lovers can hang out for 11 wonderful gastronomic days.

“It is a melting pot of everything that is fantastic about Manchester and its food scene. This year we’re giving The Hub a makeover and bringing even more of our greatest events there, whilst still taking in some of the city’s most spectacular venues too.”

As well as local talent, MFDF will attract some big names from further afield with Jasmine Hemsley and Jay Rayner already announced. The nation’s biggest food party culminates with the MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards in the spectacular setting of Gorton Monastery on 8th October.

Here’s some of the highlights:

Cottonopolis ‘Battle Royale’ Secret Supper Club

Cottonopolis’ Secret Supper Clubs take immersive dining experiences to the next level. This one will be their most ambitious yet as the Dining Dome will be transformed into a specially curated dining production of Battle Royale, but with a little less dystopian carnage! Thursday 27th & Friday 28th Sept. Ticketed.

MFDF & Albert’s Schloss Present: The Jay Rayner Quartet

The country’s most famous restaurant critic, Jay Rayner liked Albert’s Schloss when he visited earlier this year for his Observer column. So he has agreed to bring his jazz quartet for a night of music, storytelling, food and drink. Jay’s quartet will perform a repertoire from the great American song book with some numbers about food and drink. 28th September, Albert’s Schloss, from 6pm. Ticketed.

Jasmine Hemsley & Trove Supper Club

Well-being goddess, lifestyle guru, founder of Hemsley + Hemsley and author of East by West, Jasmine Hemsley is coming to Manchester for a special collaboration with MFDF and the award-winning artisans of Trove. The Ayurvedic menu inspired by Jasmine’s latest book will be paired with Trove’s natural wine collection. 29th September. Ticketed.

Family Food Fest with Clint Boon

Join Clint Boon and friends as the Festival Hub goes extra family friendly for a Sunday Fun-Day. The Dining Dome will be given over to foodie fun for mini masterchefs – from pizza making to arts, crafts and entertainment. A chilled-out family friendly disco courtesy of Clint Boon will take over the marquee. Sunday 30th September. Free.

Manchester Shares – Small Plates Safari

Try out as many Manchester restaurants as you can with a signature plate along with a beer, wine or spirit for just £5. Anyone visiting all the restaurants on the safari will be in with a chance of winning a stay at one of Manchester’s finest hotels. Restaurants include Tampopo, Lunya, Ashas’s, Fazenda and Tast. 30th September – 4th October.

The Rabbit in the Moon Pop-Up Supper Club

Head Chef John Granaghan at Rabbit in the Moon is bringing his stunning, space age plates of food to the futuristic MFDF Dome for one very special night only, with an exclusive menu curated especially for this unique MFDF experience. 1st October. Ticketed.

Caviar & Champagne Tasting with Ed Baines

Manchester’s Randall and Aubin team up with The Gourmet Caviar House to present a rare gastro opportunity. Guests will be guided through Randall and Aubin’s house champagne matched with exquisite caviars, all by chef Ed Baines and ambassadors from the Gourmet Caviar House. 2nd October. Ticketed.

A Trip to Brazil Gastro Guide with Francisco Martinez & Fazenda

Francisco Martinez, executive chef at Fazenda and former chef at five-time winner of Best Restaurant in the World, El Bulli – has designed a one-off menu exclusively for MFDF. Expect an avant-garde eight-course menu paired with wines from Brazilian producer, Miolo. £50 per person with profits donated to Action Against Hunger. 3rd October. Ticketed.

Hatch Pop Up Supper Club

Hatch, the new pop-up food and retail destination on Oxford Road, will be taking over the Dining Dome for a special supper club. Each course will be provided by one of their home-grown independent street food heroes. The menu will be paired with beers from Öl, Hatch’s on site nano brewery, with coffees and desserts from coffee house Takk. 4th October. Ticketed.

Action Against Hunger’s Moveable Feast

Action Against Hunger and MFDF bring you the opportunity to access the exclusive private spaces of a range of amazing restaurants on one special evening. Diners will enjoy a course at each restaurant, and money raised will support Action Against Hunger’s work ending child hunger in over 45 countries around the world. 4th October, various venues. Ticketed.

Spanish Feast by Lunya, Baraxturi and Evuna

The city’s Spanish food scene just keeps getting better and better. This banquet sees three of Manchester’s finest get together for a collaborative feast taking in the most delicious of Spanish cuisine – from Catalunya to Basque country and other regions. Expect authentic, artisan ingredients and stunning wines. 5th October. Ticketed.

The 11th Big Indie Wine Fest

Manchester’s finest independent merchants will create a heavenly wine experience suitable for connoisseurs and novices alike over three days. Expect a stunning breadth of wines from around the globe from merchants like Commanderie Bordeaux, Cordoniu and Veeno. 5th, 6th & 7th October, Manchester Hall. Ticketed.

Double Dutch G&T bar

Created by Dutch twins Joyce and Raissa de Haas, Double Dutch’s products use only natural ingredients blended with the highest quality water from the north of England to create crisp and fresh mixers. Grab a gin with Double Dutch mixers including pomegranate and basil or cucumber and watermelon. Open from 12pm – 11pm daily.

Manchester Brew Fest and Cider Fest

Manchester’s beer boom continues and this year the festival will serve up craft beers from  brewers like Blackjack and Cloudwater alongside hits from some big north west brewing families including Robinson’s and JW Lees. The MFDF Cider Bar will bring refreshing ciders, from Weston’s to Addlestone’s and Sheppy’s to Bad Apple. Open daily.

MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards

The sparkling culmination of MFDF, the Gala Dinner and Awards will take place in the gothic surrounds of Gorton Monastery. The most coveted and highest profile food awards in the north of England, the shortlist will be announced on 27th June. 8th October, Gorton Monastery. Ticketed.

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