The Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) is returning this week, celebrating the city’s restaurants, bars, traders, producers and more.
Running from the Thursday 16 to Monday 27 September, the event centres around the Festival Hub on Cathedral Gardens, alongside other events and offers at venues across the city.
It’s been two years since the last MFDF and so it’s a welcome return for staple Manchester food event which is now in its 24th year.
Here is everything you can look forward to across the 11 days of the festival.
As always, the Festival Hub is the centre of the Manchester Food and Drink Festival and this year can be found at Cathedral Gardens. There’s street food, live music, an artisan market and takeovers by Manchester restaurants.
The Hub is open across two long weekends from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 September and from Wednesday 22 to Sunday 26 September.
In between the two weekends, there are various events taking place at the Hub and other things happening across the city – more details on all that below.
Manchester’s biggest chippy tea – 22nd September from 5pm
Chippies, traders, pie shops and restaurants are teaming up to create Manchester’s biggest ever celebration of the humble chippy tea. The line up includes Anchors of Didsbury, Hip Hop Chip Shop, JJ Vish and Chips and Street Urchin, who will each will serve their own take on the classic.
There’ll be fish, chips, vegan twists, fizz, beers and, to finish, boozy ice cream from A Few Scoops. It’s free to enter and walk ins are welcome. More info here.
Bull and Bear Takeover – 20th September from 7pm
Tom Kerridge’s Bull and Bear is taking over the Hub with a take on street food – a pub grub inspired menu creating especially for MFDF. The three-course menu includes potted Loch Duart Salmon, a Braised Beef and Blue Cheese Pie, and Banana Custard with Dates, Pistachio and Honeycomb.
Tickets cost £55 and are available to book here.
Schlosstoberfest – 23rd September from 5pm
Albert’s Schloss is taking over the Hub on Thursday 23 September, with an Oktoberfest themed celebration. Schloss will be serving Bavarian favourites like bratwursts and pretzels in the MFDF Street Kitchen. There’ll be beers, lederhosen and Schloss’ signature high-energy live entertainment.
Free to enter, more info here.
Eat Well x Mana dinner
Manchester’s only Michelin-starred restaurant is hosting a special fundraising dinner, raising money for Eat Well Mcr. Each course of this dinner will be cooked by a different top Manchester chef including Simon Martin of Mana, Eddie Shepherd of The Walled Gardens, Anna Sogaard of Erst, Ben Humphreys of District and Mary-Ellen McTague of The Creameries.
Tickets are sold out for the event but there’s a chance to win the final pair of tickets by entering their prize draw which can be entered here. Tickets for the prize draw cost £20 and the winner will win two tickets for the event worth £400.
For each long weekend at the Festival Hub, there will be a different line up of local street food traders.
The first weekend (16 to 19 September) will feature burgers from What’s Your Beef, South Asian inspired street food from Aunty Ji’s, Breton crepes and galettes from Maison Breizh, and wraps and wings from Oh My Glaze.
For the second weekend (23 to 26 September), the traders will be Halloumination serving halloumi fries and halloumi burgers, I Knead Pizza with fresh Neapolitan-style pizza, Spoons Desserts serving crepes and waffles, The Spinn with their US-style dirty burgers and Northern Soul Grilled Cheese with their infamous toasties.
Also on the second weekend, Eat Well Mcr are hosting a street food stall to raise money to provide meals and support to people sidelined by poverty. Each day from 24 to 26 September, there will be a different restaurant partner taking over the stall, serving a special MFDF menu where all profits will go to Eat Well Mcr.
Across both weekends, there will also be street food dishes from popular Manchester restaurants at the Just Eat Street Kitchen. The line up includes pan-Asian chicken shop Peck and Yard, Spanish restaurant La Bandera, Vertigo Plant Based Eatery and vegan chippy JJ Vish and Chips.
Open from midday to 7pm from Thursday 16 to Sunday 19 and Thursday 23 to Sunday 26 September, the artisan market will showcase some of the regions best independent food and drink producers and suppliers.
On the first weekend, the line up includes Chorlton Bread Co, Cafe Cannoli, Devil Dog Sauces, Cocoa and Bloom, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Manchester Cheesecake Co, Eat Well, Bread Flower, Twisted Wheel Beer Co, Prestwich Gin, O’Donnell Moonshine and Jack Berry.
For the second weekend, there will be stalls from Companio Bakery, Paradiso Authentic Italian, Chorlton Cheesemongers, Eat Well, The Gourmet Brownie Co, Ribble Valley Gin, HM Pasties, Crozier Drinks and O’Donnell Moonshine.
More information here.
There are three bars at the Festival Hub: the Manchester Beer Bar, featuring local breweries like Burton Road Brewing, Northern Monkey, Pomona Island Brewery, Bollington Brewery, Brightside, Blackedge, Thirst Class, Stubborn Mule, Bank Top and Silver Street.
The Franklin and Sons Gin and Tonic bar will serve a menu of G&Ts each made using their 100% natural tonics paired with different flavours of Finders Gin.
Across the city
MFDF Wine and Fizz Fest – 17 & 18 September
Taking place at Halle St Peters in Ancoats, the Wine and Fizz Fest will give attendees the chance to taste their way through dozens of wines from independent drinks retailers and producers from across the region including Decent Drop, Grape to Grain, Le Social and UKiYO Republic.
As well as tasting wines, guests can book into tutored masterclasses and buy bottles to take home. There will be live music for each of the three sessions and food will be provided by Cafe Cotton. Tickets cost £12.50 – book here.
As part of the Festival Fringe, there are various supper clubs, dining events and tastings taking place throughout the 10 days of MFDF.
This includes a collaboration between Ancoats restaurant Elnecot with natural wine suppliers It’s Alive on Tuesday 21 September,
At Kampus, there is a mini food festival taking place with various events hosted by Kampus residents in the Bungalow throughout MFDF. This includes a bespoke five course menu from Tine throughout the festival, tastings and an all-day disco from Le Social, and Jewish-inspired supper club hosted by baker and florist duo Bread Flower.
Restaurants, bars and venues across the city are offering special deals, discounts and set menus which are available throughout the festival dates.
See the full list here.
It feels like a very apt time to celebrate the food and drink industry. Much has changed since the event last took place in September 2019, and so the awards will celebrate those who have worked hard to achieve great things in food and drink over the last two years.
The MFDF Awards Ceremony takes place on Monday 27 September where the winners of the awards in the various categories will be announced.
There’s still time to vote for your favourites in each of the categories. Voting closes at midnight on 20 September. Vote here.
The Manchester Food and Drink Festival is taking place from 16 to 27 September. For more information and to book tickets for various events, visit: foodanddrinkfestival.com.