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The 18th Manchester Food and Drink Festival will take place from the 10-21st September. 

Festival organisers have today announced the cornerstone activities and schedule that promises a fresh, revitalized programme, a bigger range of exciting partners and experts, and a return to years gone by with a full "Festival Fringe" taking place in the city's most exciting establishments to complement activity at "The Hub" on Albert Square.   

The first tasty programme announcements, made today at a special launch event for press and restauranteurs, were:

1)    The MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards in Partnership with Harvey Nichols.
Manchester Cathedral
21st September 2015.

Manchester Food and Drink Festival is delighted to announce that this year's MFDF Gala Dinner and Awards will take place at the stunning Manchester Cathedral.  Also partnering the event for the very first time, Harvey Nichols will be providing dinner and are already busy curating a bespoke Manchester banquet for the occasion. Awards will be presented in 12 categories this year. Businesses are invited to nominate themselves as of the 29.04.15 

2)   The New Improved Festival Hub
Albert Square
10th - 20th September

The heart of the action, the Festival Hub, will remain at its traditional home on Albert Square, and will continue to provide the specially built city centre food-village that Mancunians have come to know and love. This year's Hub will be a bigger, better incarnation than ever before, featuring its own specially created festival event space where master-classes, mini fests, parties, demonstrations, banquets and more will be popping up throughout the Festival. Official Festival Brewers, Thwaites, will be hosting the Pub at the Hub, and the 100 Greatest Beers Bar will be the best yet, sprawling out to host even more of the amazing local brewers Manchester is currently enjoying. The live music stage will be better than ever and of course there'll be tonnes of streetfood, wine and cocktails too. 

3)    MFDF Biospheric Foundation Partnership
Festival Hub and Manchester Museum
Throughout the Festival and 12th September

Manchester Food and Drink Festival has teamed up with the Biospheric Foundation for 2015 to create some exciting new food projects.

MFDF have commissioned a Mobile Urban Mushroom Farm, which will be built on the Festival Hub, and will allow Festival-goers a chance to explore the world of hyper-localised mushroom farming. Visitors will then be able to taste the farm's bounty in the shape of a succulent 'schroomy feast from the neighbouring Biospheric Streetfood Mushroom Pod! 

MFDF, The Biospheric Foundation, Robert Owen Brown and The Manchester Museum will also be hosting the first ever "MFDF Bio-Historic Banquet" on Friday 12th September. Guests will dine under the shadow of a giant dinosaur skeleton, surrounded by some of the museum's most extraordinary exhibits whilst enjoying a completely unique banquet designed by Robert Owen Brown, created using products grown by the Biospheric Foundation. The menu will be inspired by the history showcased in the museum, as well as Manchester today, and diners will hear from the museum's curators between courses. A night after hours to remember...!
Tickets on sale soon. 

4)    The Great Manchester Bake Off
Across Manchester and Festival Hub
13th September

MFDF is proud to announce its first ever Great Manchester Bake Off Contest. The Bake Off invites the region's hottest amateur bakers to enter the race to become Manchester's MFDF Bake Off Champion. Entrants will need to register, then will be invited to bring their creations to the first heat to be judged by MFDF's answer to Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood... All will be revealed soon! Finalists will be chosen at the first heat when they'll be challenged to bring another creation to the Festival Hub on the 13th September, where a huge Festival Bake Sale will be taking place!
More details to be announced. 

5)    Drink A'Long Lecture with Fergus Henderson: Sunrise to Sundown Drinking 
Festival Hub.
12th September

There is a perfect drink for every time of day... Or so says Fergus Henderson. Whether it's a pick-me-up morning eye opener when nothing else will do after the night before, the most superb lunchtime glass of vino, a sublime sunset salute or an afterhours tipple to save the evening... The illustrious Fergus Henderson, of Michelin-adored St John Restaurant in London, comes to Manchester to share his incredible knowledge of liquid refreshment for one very special early evening session. Tickets on sale soon. 

6)    The Three Wine WOMEN
Festival Hub
10th September

Wine is a drink promoted more widely towards the female market, yet like hairdressing and cooking, when one surveys the 'top dogs' of the trade, it tends to be the men doing the swilling. MFDF has invited three of the UK's top wine experts to descend on the Festival and host a tasting of their very favourite wines... and they all happen to be women. BBC's Kate Goodman (owner of Didsbury's Reserve Wine Shop), The Guardian's Fiona Beckett, and Evuna Manchester's Jane Dowler make up a trio of talent to host an extraordinary evening of fabulous wines.  

7)    Big Indie Wine Fest
Manchester Town Hall
11th - 12th September

The celebrated 7th Big Indie Wine Fest returns to it's spiritual home in 2015, Manchester Town Hall, taking over the stunning Great Hall. The event is a celebration of exciting, exclusive and boutique wines from the best independent merchants including Pacta Connect, T-Wright Wines, Alpine Wines, Italy Abroad, Tour de Belfort, Commanderie de Bordeaux, Epicerie Ludo, Veeno and Carrington Wines.

There'll be suitable refuelling opportunities provided by fine food producers, ranging from local cheese producers, Cheshire Cheese to delicious deli items from Epicerie Ludo and Veeno. 

8)    The Liquor Market with The Drinks Enthusiast
12th September

The Liquor Market, hosted by the Drinks Enthusiast, pops up again in the decadent surrounds of Deansgate's Elixir bar. A chance to dive into the world of boutique spirits, the event offers intoxicating samples from the UK's best brand ambassadors with everything from single malts to rare rums on show. 

9)   Simon Rogan's "Week Gastronomique''
The French
September 15-19th

For one magnificent week only, Simon Rogan will be bringing his entire range of chefs and their extraordinary food (Michelin stars and all) to Manchester, as he hosts a culinary week to remember at The French. Each night during this festival extravaganza, a different chef from Simon's acclaimed portfolio of restaurant will take the reigns in the kitchen. Manchester should look forward to welcoming all of the Head and Executive chefs from Simon Rogan's Michelin star team including Mark Birchall, Group Chef,  and from L'enclume, Tom Barnes from L'enclume,  Dan Cox from Fera at Claridges,  Adam Reid from The French and of course Simon Rogan himself. Each will be presenting their very own, specially created festival menu.
Tickets on sale soon.

10)    Community Partnerships
Across Manchester
10th - 21st September

This year Manchester Food and Drink Festival will be collaborating with a range of community-focused organisations to bring together events that celebrate what we can grow, make and share here in Manchester. From 'pass it on' cookery skills workshops, and a Manchester-wide schools competition, to our very own MFDF Apple Press (Juicity!) by Moss Cider Project, this strand of the Festival is about providing a platform for some of the most exciting community projects in this city. 

11)        Chilli and Tequila Festival
Festival Hub
11th September

Mistress of the chilli and Queen of all things hot and spicy, Thomasina Miers, founder of the lauded Mexican restaurant group, Wahaca, and author of Chilli Notes, is coming to MFDF to head up a celebration of heat and hard liquor. Chill growers from around the UK will be showcasing their products, with Tequila brands doing the same, in one big tribute to gasp-tronomy!  Participants will be taking to the stage for chilli inspired demonstrations including Thomasina herself.  

 12)   Experimental Ice Cream Banquet with Ginger's Comfort Emporium  
Festival Hub
18th September.  

Ice cream luminary, Claire Kelsey, of Ginger's Comfort Emporium is creating a very special 6 course banquet for the Festival... consisting entirely of ice cream. The menu is top secret and not for those without a leaning towards a sweet tooth, but Claire's acclaimed, experimental (and highly addictive) approach to artisan ice cream craft, promises a stunning and fantastical feast and a fully rounded palate!
Tickets on sale soon. 

These are just the first elements of the Festival programme, and organisers promise a lot more to come. They are also calling for restaurants, bars and foodies to get involved in this year's Festival (contact details below).

Phil Jones, Festival Founder said:
"I'm proud to announce this exciting line up of events, which we hope the city will get as excited about as we are already. We've worked hard to make sure that this year's Festival is a true reflection of this astounding time for Manchester's food scene. This is only the first programme announcement, so keep watching this space as there's lots more in the pipeline. We officially invite every restaurateur, bar owner, grower, baker, maker and anyone who is passionate about food here in this city to get involved, and help us create a world class food festival here in Manchester. Roll on September and book some time off now!"

 To participate in this year's MFDF, interested parties should email:

Posted on 30 April 2015

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