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Everything you need to know about Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2023

The UK's biggest and best food festival is coming back to Bolton this summer and celebrating it's 18th birthday

Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2023 takes place over the August bank holiday weekend from 25th to 28th August – the festival is free to attend with a wide variety of entertainment, activities, and food and drink traders that the whole family can enjoy.

Last year, Bolton Food and Drink Festival welcomed over 460,000 visitors over the four-day bank holiday weekend, making it one of the biggest and most popular foodie festivals in the country – and with this year marking the festival’s 18th birthday, organisers are expecting an even bigger turn out for 2023.

The food traders

You are in for a treat (quite literally) this year as over 170 traders have been unveiled as part of the award-winning festival’s 18th birthday celebration.

With hundreds of thousands of visitors set to flock into Bolton town centre on August bank holiday weekend, there’s something for everybody to enjoy.

Located on Victoria Square, Le Mans Crescent, Oxford Street, Market Street, Deansgate and Newport Street, you can get your hands on everything from yummy sweet treats and hot food from around the world, to unusual drinks, baked goods and lots of unique handmade gifts such as jewellery, arts and crafts and luxury pamper products.

To top it all off, there is an extensive range of offerings to cater for all diets including gluten free, vegan, halal, kosher, organic and vegetarian plus plenty of healthy food options.

Market highlights

Starting your shopping journey on Newport Street, take a trip to Turkey and pick up some lunch at Istanbul’s Kitchen, sample the delights of Italy at well-known Franca’s or grab a juicy burger at What’s Your Beef.

If you’re looking for something closer to home, why not take back some scrummy scones, jam and clotted cream from Signature Scones.  Enjoy in the garden after kitting it out with handmade garden furniture at Charles Taylor Trading and some pretty flowerpots from Kiec Garden Products.

On Victoria Square you can take a trip around the world with Spanish paella and a Polish BBQ from Dobra Kitchen before visiting Greek Street Food, Halloumination, Thai 2 Go and rounding off with Chinese at festival regular, Little China Noodle Bar.

If you’re looking for some unusual ingredients or gifts, you can find cheese, sauces, pickles and chutneys at The Great British Cheese Co, handmade vintage cordials at Mr Fitzpatrick’s and for those with a sweet tooth, cakes, brownies and cheesecakes at Vegan Infinity.

If you wander down both sides of the town hall you will be drawn in by the sights and smells from Turkey, India, Asia and Africa and the Caribbean and some seating areas where you can enjoy your finds.

Moving on to Oxford Street, you’ll be greeted by festival partners, Carrs Pasties stocking a wide range of baked local delicacies (pasties!) including the brand new The More Cheese, Ham and Chilli Jam Pasty.

Pick up one of 28 varieties of coffee beans at Flavour Art Coffee, to go alongside a delicious treat from Bella’s Bakes.  It’s not only humans that can make the most of the fantastic produce, treat your favourite furry friends at Millie & Ruby’s Dog Bakery.

Grab a seat at the Reminisce Beverage Bus and soak up the bustling atmosphere while you sample a refreshing beer, a thirst-quenching cider or treat yourself to a glass of fizz.

A short walk will bring you to Deansgate where you can discover a world of spirits and liqueurs at The Bolton Gin Company, olives, oils and vinegars at the Gift of Oil and scrumptious fudge at the Fudge Factory.

If you get peckish on your travels you can pick up hot food at Wrap Ninjas, Acapulco or some Portuguese cuisine at Portu St Food. Topped off with some moreish flapjack at The Wilde Bakery.

Washed down with a crisp glass of wine or a fruity cocktail at Movers & Shakers Mobile Cocktail Co while you grab a minute to rest your feet.

Or take a little stroll onto Market Street to find plenty of mouth-watering food ready to go.  From pulled pork at Roly Poly to grilled chicken at Jason Jamie’s Oriental Charcoal Grill, not forgetting the ever-popular spiral potatoes on a stick at Chipstix.

After a busy day sauntering around the artisan stalls, why not sit and watch the world go by at one of the festival bars where you can also get your toes tapping with over 60 live music acts.

The Festival Music Stage and Bar will once again be located on Le Mans Crescent and the Acoustic Bar will be on Victoria Square.

You’ll find the Reminisce Beverage Bus on Oxford Street and Movers & Shakers Mobile Cocktail Co on Deansgate.

Market stalls are open 10am until 6pm everyday (5pm Monday).

Live music and bars are open 11am until 10pm everyday (6pm Monday).

If you’d prefer to be wined and dined in the luxurious Albert Bar, tickets are on sale for the lavish Bottomless Brunch where you can choose from the luscious brunch menu and enjoy alongside unlimited select cocktails and prosecco for an hour and half.

Is it even a festival without a wristband?  Grab a festival wristband for only £1 and everyone who purchases will be entered into a prize draw to win a brand new Samsung tablet.  You can also treat the kids to a branded children’s apron to help with those messy hands!

Family entertainment and free children’s activities

There’s some fantastic entertainment planned, with loads of special activities and free events taking place right across the festival site.

Brimming with food, drink, arts and crafts traders, fantastic live music on our main stage and acoustic bar as well as some of the country’s best street entertainers, 2023 promises to be the best year yet!

Kids (young and old) like to be entertained and this year they’re bringing back the fantastic family zone on Le Mans Crescent, right at the heart of the festival, and fun, free children’s activities all weekend.

Celeb chef demos

Celebrity chefs include TV icon Gok Wan MBE, Mowgli Street Food’s Nisha Katona MBE, Saturday Kitchen chef James Martin and Michael Caines MBE who has held two Michelin stars for 18 consecutive years.

Kicking off the show on the Saturday is festival newbie and much-loved chef, stylist, DJ, author and presenter Gok Wan, taking a spin in the kitchen and showcasing some of his delicious Chinese cooking.

Lazy Sundays are out and sensational Sundays are in as Mowgli phenomenon, Nisha Katona, wows guests with her infectious passion for Indian food, bringing new, simple recipes to Bolton.

As usual, Monday is headlined by festival icon James Martin, whose ever-popular cookery demos bring with them a love of cuisines from around the world and a lesson on how to recreate some tasty dishes.

The rest of the weekend’s recipe is equally as exciting as the team behind the record-breaking festival have organised a whole menu of special events to go on sale soon, including Bottomless Brunch, comedy dining experiences and a one-time DJ set by Gok Wan and friends.

All topped off with lots of regional chef cookery demos, over 200 market traders, two live music stages, fun children’s activities and plenty of strolling street entertainment.

Buy tickets for chef demos online or at The Octagon box office (Tues – Fri, 11am – 6pm and Sat, 11am – 3.30pm)

All demos last an hour and are £15 for a standard seat and £20 for a VIP seat. Concessions are also available.

MasterChef 2023 winner Chariya Khattiyot

A few months ago, Chariya Khattiyot left the MasterChef kitchen for the final time with trophy in hand after judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace announced their newly crowned champion.

Up against exceptional finalists Anurag Aggarwal and Omar Foster, Chariya’s triumphant victory was hailed as the ‘greatest ever win’ in the show’s history as she became the 19th amateur cook to be awarded the coveted title of MasterChef winner.

Taking on 44 other ambitious contestants at the start of the competition, Chariya broke down in floods of tears completely overwhelmed with her unbelievable achievement while judges Torode and Wallace were also visibly emotional and teary-eyed at her reaction to winning the show.

Now following her victory in June, Chariya’s professional cookery debut has been announced as she joins the chef line-up at the Bolton Food and Drink Festival 2023

Chariya is set to host a cookery demonstration on Saturday 26th August at 1pm on Bolton’s Town Hall Square, with a dedicated stage that will be transformed into an outdoor industrial kitchen.

What makes Chariya’s professional cookery debut even more special is that it is completely free for the public to attend, meaning fans of MasterChef can come along on Saturday for a special face-to-face demo with the shows reigning champ.

Her love of cooking stems from growing up in Northern Thailand with her grandfather, who with very limited means taught Chariya how to make the most out of what they had and get the best flavours from their food, something that she is passionate about championing throughout her future endeavours.

Guests attending Chhatriya’s cookery demonstration can expect a Northern Thai inspired menu, similar to that which she showcased on the hit BBC show.

Over the weekend there are also a number of ticketed events including celebrity chef demos, bottomless brunches, and an extra special DJ set at The Afterparty with Gok Wan.

Buy tickets for chef demos online or at The Octagon box office (Tues – Fri, 11am – 6pm and Sat, 11am – 3.30pm)

All demos last an hour and are £15 for a standard seat and £20 for a VIP seat. Concessions are also available.

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