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MCR Food & Drink Fest 2014: This Week's Top Picks

Grub, grog and Gary Neville making sausage rolls... Here's what not to miss at MFDF this week

Published on September 21st 2014.

MCR Food & Drink Fest 2014: This Week's Top Picks

THE SEVENTEENTH Manchester Food and Drink Festival kicked off at Deangate booze den Elixir last week, for a ten day celebration of the city's soaring food stock.

So to make sure you don't miss the best of goings on this week, including Gary Neville making sausage rolls (slow down Gaz), here's a breakdown of the bits you should be making a beeline for.

Having seen off a barrel or two of a drunken butcher's special malt loaf brew (see here) in Elixir, the bash moved on to the nucleus of proceedings at the 'festival hub', which has commandeered Albert Square until Sunday 28 September.


Albert Square festival hubAlbert Square festival hub

Here organisers have thrown together a neighbourhood of back-of-the-van traders from the Hip Hop Chip Shop and the Jolly Waggoner vying for business alongside more established restaurants like the Albert Square Chop House and Red's True BBQ.

Shoring up the foodies are a handul of bars, a van full of wine and a vast Thwaites beer tent with long Bavarian beer benches for plenty of bottoms. There'll be a dizzying selection of 100 different beers from the best brewers and microbrewers across the week, which, when you think about it, is only ten different beers a day to try over the duration. Best not though eh?

Speaking of dizzying, there's a whole lot planned at this year's festival, including some stuff you can't chuck down your gullet. So to make sure you don't miss the best of goings on this week, including Gary Neville making sausage rolls (what can that man not do?), here's a breakdown of the bits you should make room for before the festival packs away on Monday 29 September...

Festival hubFestival hub

Wood-fired pizzaWood-fired pizza


With average highs of a balmy 17°C expected this week, popping to the festival hub for a lunch or two outdoors will bat a Greggs buttie out of the park. Local game burgers, wood-fired pizza, quirky fish and chips, chicken schnitzels, thai curries, corn beef hash, naughty hot dogs, falafel wraps, Yorshire pies, low and slow BBQ, Mexican scran or Malaysian noodles, all washed down with a swift lunchtime ale... well... gotta squeeze the last out of summer haven't you?

Festival Hub | Albert Square | Until Sunday 28 Sep | Midday to 11pm


Aside from the grub in the hub, the focus of MFDF is their huge regional beer festival, with over 100 beers from the likes of Manchester's Marble to Bolton's Bank Top brewers taking to the vast Thwaites beer tent over the duration. To help the nectar down will be a great number of local solo artists, bands, DJs, choirs, and even some have-a-go open mic'ers. No chucking at the stage... this isn't that kind of festival. And put that back in your trousers, sir.

Beer Tent | Albert Square | Mon 22 to Sun 28 Sep | Midday to 11pm

Grub in the hubGrub in the hub

There'll be 100 beers at this year's festivalThere'll be 100 beers at this year's festival


Performing on the Eat, Drink, Dance stage on Wednesday 24 from 7pm will be Manchester's premier diva and chanteuse (French for popular songstress), Lucy Hope, alongside dark psychedelic garage rock band, the House of Glass. Also performing on the evening will be infectious Manchester-based indie blues-rock outfit Turrentine Jones.

Festival Hub | Albert Square | FREE | Weds 24 Sep | From 7pm


As Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs prepare to launch Hotel Football, their new Old Trafford hotel venture later this year (former Manchester United team mates Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Philip Neville are also involved), Gary will be hitting the pans for a one-off demo alongside two-starred Michelin chef and the hotel's creative director, Michael Wignall, and Hotel Football's executive chef, Brendan Fyldes. The trio will be showcasing a number of signature dishes from the hotel's restaurant, Cafe Football, including sausage rolls and burgers. It's rumoured that Giggs might even show up with a crumble... at the back. Had to.

Hotel Football: Neville and Co. | Albert Square | Fri 26 Sep | 5.30pm | Tickets £7

And here's a crumble we've had at the backAnd here's a crumble we've had at the back


Continent-hopping DJs turned Manchester bar and restaurant owners, Luke and Justin Unabomber, opened Chorlton's bar-cafe Electrik back in 2009 - it became a hotspot in no time. This year they opened the more food-centric Didsbury eaterie, Volta, a casual dine sharer plate kinda place. Once again, hotspot, no time - though they did tell a big fat porkie pie about Prince eating there that did them no harm. Before this though they were globe-trotting superstar deejays, creators of the infamous and now deceased MCR club night Electric Chair. This promises to be a funky and FREE affair.

The Unabombers | Albert Square | Fri 26 Sept | 9pm | FREE


It's not just about the beer you know. This year's Big Indie Wine Fest moves to New Century House on Corporation Street from Fri 26 to Sat 27 September, with the best independent merchants in the region bringing a grand selection of some exclusive and exciting boutique wines that the supermarkets haven't got their mitts on yet. A £12 ticket affords you a glass to sample your socks off around the venue before settling on which to take home. Because you're going to buy a bottle aren't you? Yeah *hic* of course...

Big Indie Wine Fest 2014 | New Century House | Fri 26 to Sat 27 Sep | Fri 6pm to 9pm | Sat 2pm to 5pm and 6pm to 9pm | Tickets £12

The Big Indie Wine FestThe Big Indie Wine Fest


MFDF's Cheese and Chocolate Festival is a new concept for 2014, with an aim to celebrate two of the nation's favourite treats in one location. The discovery awhile back that chocolate and blue cheese shared multiple flavour compounds led Heston 'I'll combine anything me' Blumenthal to create a celebrated molten chocolate and blue cheese cake. Since then many more chefs have been at it and it's now set to become a recognized food trend. Still unconvinced? Fair enough. But there'll be a host of local cheese-makers and chocolatiers on hand to tempt you into having a dabble. 

MFDF Cheese & Chocolate Festival | Sat 27 to Sun 28 Sep | Albert Square | FREE

More from the Manchester Food and Drink Festival here.

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14 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

The weather's been fair so far and it's been packed on Albert Square which has been great. That first photo makes me laugh because up to now the bar staff have been a bit miserable yet keen for tips. No tips for flimsy plastic glasses and lacklustre service from me you cheeky monkeys! Ale does start out at £3.50 though. Directly opposite are some 'hipster-bearded-tattooed-pioneer styled up themselves' types that are manning [in a very bearded way] a cocktail bar from The Blue Pig. £5 a pop in a plastic glass? I think not. There's a good sized cider bar on-site too, but as there's no prices displayed I've given that place a miss. Is there more 'street food' this year? It seems so and the average price is around the £5 mark, although that is steep for a hotdog! Previous years seemed smaller and cosier than this year's festival and the main tent's depressing TBH. It's like walking into a white wide tunnel. The tables and benches are as flimsy as ever, so be careful when sitting down in the main tent. I've been a few times now and at different times of the day. It's been a bit 'Chorlton Mum' over the weekend, but a fairly mixed crowd during the day, and workers and suiters midweek early doors. Later on there's the 'I love a live band no matter what they're like' crowd, always looking as though they're forcing themselves to have a good time, with their crazy dancing and festival quirky band member dress sense. Evenings have been a bit disappointing, mainly because the security staff start getting a bit shouty and aggressive nearing closing time [11pm] and most of the food vendors have gone by then too, so make sure you drink up and get the f*** out!

AVOSeptember 22nd 2014.

You're right with the prices anon. They seem to be pretty high. £6 for a Nacho Dog at Dirty Dogs, £7 for the special schnitzel and £6 for large churros. Expensive but the food was of a very high standard. Surely the point of these sort of events is to showcase the quality of the food offerings rather than make huge profits?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

I agree Avo. Maybe the MFDF rates are high.

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

I also agree about the prices, a crepe and a ginger ale cost me £8 for lunch! It's more expensive than the Christmas Markets!

4 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

Well at least the attendees of the Labour Conference can claim it back as expenses. Hang on, isn't that tax payers money?

Fitz LinsonSeptember 22nd 2014.

No, it'll be funded from the Labour party coffers - try again tosser.

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

Stick to your hobby of shaving Fitz. Your posts on the shaving forums are much more civil.

AnonymousSeptember 23rd 2014.

Don't be silly - they are all spending the big taxpayer bucks in the Radisson!

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

It's the mysogony of the left Again

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2014.

This festival is a big deal in the city centre at the moment, I'm surprised Mancon's not been giddy about it. Not even an obligatory photo of Garner with his ruddy face full of food. Has Mancon fallen out with the organisers?

Trish KarneySeptember 22nd 2014.

Enjoyed a pleasurable day there, and was a nice ambience, but the place was riddled with stalls selling pigging hotdogs and other dirty dude food.

AnonymousSeptember 23rd 2014.

My word it is poor, no cooking shows, no tastings, very basic drink and food, horrible lay out of the beer tent, the same traders as at every other Manchester event, Hip Hop Chip Shop run out of onion rings by 6 on Saturday which is just embarrassing and the churros place decided it was a good idea to make you queue once to pay, take your warm chocolate and then queue again for the churros by which time the chocolate was cold. A couple of years ago they had the Liars Hub which was at least fun, no fun to be had this time around.

Dennis MasseySeptember 24th 2014.

It's just so overpriced!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 24th 2014.

Anything on Albert Square is, but then the street food folks are ripping their customers off big time anyway.

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