We travelled over to the Eat & Drink Festival at Manchester’s EventCity to bring you the lowdown on what’s hot in the food industry today…
Billed as offering ‘the very best the country has to offer in the world of food and drink’, the Eat & Drink Festival certainly didn’t disappoint, with its unique combination of live cookery demonstrations, wine tasting, and a range of suppliers and producers on hand to share their expertise.
We love seeing artisan producers thriving here at Wine & Dine Yorkshire, so our first port of call was to head over to the bustling Artisan Producer’s Market to see what caught our eye. Of course, being proud advocates of Yorkshire, we naturally gravitated towards the wonderful stall set up by Yorkshire Drizzle. This home-run, family company consisting of the husband and wife team of Steve and Shirley – along with their daughter and son-in-law – shares a passion for food packed with flavour.
Yorkshire Drizzle offers a range of delightfully flavoured rapeseed oils and balsamic vinegars, all blended in the gorgeous town of Holmfirth. There’s a wonderful selection of flavours to choose from, but we were particularly fans of their passionfruit and sweet chilli balsamic vinegar, and their rosemary and garlic rapeseed oil. With rapeseed oil growing evermore popular, we’re sure this company will be going from strength to strength in the coming years – you heard it here first!
With our tongues suitably tickled, we ventured over to the Foodie Lab for some live cookery demonstrations. First on the bill was Filippo Pagani, from the award-winning San Carlo restaurant chain. Filippo cooked up an amazing risotto with scallops and peas, offering handy tips along the way. When listening to expert chefs like Filippo, it’s always an idea to take note of their most simple nuggets of wisdom because when it comes to cooking, it’s the little things that really set your food apart. Filippo talked about the advantages of using home-made stock, and how easy it is to make it. His expert tip was to add ice to the stock to shock it, which serves to enhance and preserve the flavour.
Next on the stage was MasterChef winner Simon Wood. He cooked up a wild mushroom, sage and chestnut ravioli using home-made pasta prepared live before our very eyes. Simon lit up the stage with eye-opening anecdotes from his MasterChef days, and talked about the intensity of cooking superb food, with the added pressure of the television cameras watching his every move.
After watching so much impeccable food produced on stage, our appetites were whetted to say the least, and we ventured over to the Great Eat, where a variety of meals from some excellent establishments were on offer. The smell of barbecue led us to Scrumpy Pig, who offered us a taste of their colossal pulled pork and chicken sandwiches. With pulled meats enjoying their day in the sun at the moment, it takes something special to be truly unique, and Scrumpy Pig certainly didn’t disappoint.
Rather fittingly, the final stop on today’s food journey was another of Wine & Dine’s regional compatriots. Operating out of Berryhills farm in North Yorkshire, under the ethos of ‘flavour you can swear by’, independent sausage company HECK had its own stall set up at EventCity, and we can attest that, yes, its locally-sourced products are indeed full of flavour you can swear by! The Keebles family prides themselves on producing farmers’ market quality sausages packed with flavour and inspiration. Though the family also specialise in burgers, meatballs and even vegetarian alternatives, here HECK showcased its rich range of taste-infused sausages. Our favourites by far, are their Plump Pork & Apple, Spring Chicken and Chorizo-style 97% ranges. Like most of its sausage products, the latter is made from 97% pork shoulder meat, with a spicy, Latin-inspired paprika kick.
We then washed it all down with a sample of Cazcabel Tequila, a premium tequila brand offering a whole range of tequila-based liqueurs. We highly recommend its coffee-infused tequila blanco – something that’s great on its own – but we guarantee it will brighten up any cocktail, too.
The Eat & Drink festival really is a food and drink lovers paradise, and was well worth the trip across the Pennines. Keep an eye out, because it’ll be returning to Manchester again with a Christmas theme from Thursday November 9th to Sunday November 12th. For more information, visit: www.eatanddrinkfestival.com