10 things to look forward to at Manchester Food and Drink Festival
MFDF16 general

Manchester Food and Drink Festival – now in its 19th year – is celebrating another astounding year for Manchester’s food and drink scene from 29 Sept until 10 Oct, and there’s plenty to get excited about.

Here are some hand-picked highlights from the UK’s largest urban food festival to add to your diary.

A series of hidden banquets

MFDF16 London Road Fire Station
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016

Festival-goers will have unique access to some jaw-dropping ‘secret places’ in a series of one-off hidden banquets by top chefs and talented foodies. Highlights include ‘Innovation’ by Aiden Byrne at London Road Fire Station, ‘TV’ by MilkJam at Old Granada Studios, and ‘Industry’ by Duck and Waffle’s Dan Doherty at The Bonded Warehouse.

A city centre tapas crawl

Celebrate the blossoming of Spanish cuisine in Manchester with a tapas crawl that could be done nowhere else in the UK, incorporating a ‘Magnifico Seven’ restaurants sited along, or just off, Deansgate – Evuna, El Rincon, Tapeo, Iberica, La Bandera, El Gato Negro and Lunya.

Five of the best Spanish restaurants in Manchester

100 Greatest Beers Fest

MFDF16 beer
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016

Showcasing all the new wave breweries that have sprung up in the city, you’ll find beers from the likes of Cloudwater, Runaway and Alphabet alongside comparative veterans such as 7 Brothers and Squawk at this beer festival.

Baratxuri’s pop-up pintxos bar

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Ramsbottom’s Baratxuri (who specialise in in pintxos – those tapaslike tidbits you nibble in the bars of San Sebastian and Bilbao) are taking over the Festival Hub guest restaurant on 7 Oct. Enjoy authentic dishes including txistorra (a chorizo sausage roll) or txangurro a la donastiana (a spider crab tartlet), plus lashings of txakoli – traditional Basque wine.

A pop-up restaurant by Adam Reid

MFDF16 Adam Reid
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016

Adam Reid is head chef of The French by Simon Rogan, and is representing the North West on The Great British Menu on BBC 2 this Autumn. Get a taste of his exceptional talent with this truly inclusive tasting menu, served in a specially created pop-up restaurant at The Hub from 4 – 6 Oct.

Street food at the Festival Hub

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Albert Square goes global with an array of vendors selling food that ranges from the homely to the exotic. You can look forward to dishes from Bakchich, Diamond Dogs, Chaat Cart and Los Churros Amigos for the first half of the Festival, then the Hip Hop Chip Shop, Eat New York, Iberica and Mac Factory for the second half.

Take a look at B.Eat Street’s new home – and their mouthwatering food

An experimental vegan banquet with Jackie Kearney

MFDF16 Jackie Kearney
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016

MasterChef runner-up and street food expert, Jackie Kearney, is hosting a six-course vegan banquet on 8 Oct. Expect artichoke oysters with seaweed caviar, do-it-yourself experiments with raw food, and a spectacular one-off dessert designed by Manchester’s very own MilkJam.

Live Cookery Theatre

MFDF16 Aiden Byrne
Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016

Catch a cookery demo from a range of guests including El Gato Negro’s Simon Shaw and Evelyn’s Byron Moses on 1 Oct, and The Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain and Aiden Byrne from Manchester House on 8 Oct.

Gin Garden and Gin Safari

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Returning to Manchester Food and Drink Festival for the second year in a row, Fever-Tree are sharing their love for the nation’s favourite drink, the gin and tonic. Try an exciting array of gins, discover the best gin spots in the city on a Gin Safari, or brush up on your juniper-infused knowledge at a Fever-Tree masterclass.

Five of the best places to drink gin in Manchester

The MFDF Festival Fringe

Catch a range of Fringe events, including chef Mary-Ellen McTague cooking a feast made entirely from food that would otherwise go to waste, a special España Moderna menu at El Gato Negro, Dining in the Dark at Scene Indian Street Kitchen, and Robert Owen Brown’s Edwardian themed Ancoats Supper Club.

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival runs from 29 September until 10 October 2016 – foodanddrinkfestival.com

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Main image: Manchester Food and Drink Festival 2016