Manchester Food & Drink Festival Finale
A walk round the MFDF Fine Foods Village in St Ann’s Square proved very pleasant, if rather costly. Sean Wilson (he of Coronation St fame) was on hand to promote his Saddleworth Cheese Company. This produces some really terrific cheeses, including Muldoons Picnic (a local term given to a room of screaming kids) which is a very tasty crumbly Lancashire.
However, he’s not the only artisan cheese maker in town and I also picked up some delightful Tomato & Basil cheese. Instant pizza as someone commented; it had the appearance of salami and was wonderfully spicy. It made only a brief appearance in the Tyson fridge before being paired off with a cheeky Ciney Blonde.
All that cheese was making me hungry, so a lunch stop was in order. Where else but the MFDF finalist (and eventual winner, congrats) the Marble Arch? And what else but to try but their cheese selection?
You get to choose 4, 9 or 12 cheeses from a list that includes the likes of Stinking Bishop, Cotswold Brie etc. It comes served with plenty of proper bread, butter and cheese biscuits. No extraneous apples, pork pies or side salad here. Accompanied by the delightfully hoppy W90 and the mellow tones of The Boss in the background, it was a top-drawer performance from the MA.
Saturday saw the return of the MFDF wine event, this year labelled the “Big Indie Wine Fest”. Like the whisky festival, it had a new home-the People’s History Museum in Spinningfields. Some debate raged over whether last year’s venue was better but this didn’t stop the usual suspects enjoying themselves. Even Mr Chorlton Chambers made an appearance.
Drinks sampled ranged from the heavy hitting Spanish 14% red Old Vines Garnacha 2009 (caramel and spices) to the light and gooseberry rich NZ Fern Bay Sauvignon Blanc. And several more, naturally, in between. There was also beer available for when you were wined out. Cerveza Quilmes is Argentina’s best selling beer. Blond and thin, it proves they should stick to making wine.
The post festival party was held at the Mark Addy. Yet another MFDF winner: Best Newcomer. The food was good, except for the mushy peas not being mushy, but what’s the deal with the beer? Nice to see real cider on the bar, but we were faced with a choice of four decidedly dull beers. Not even Taylors Landlord which, according to their website, they always have on. Not good enough at £3 a pint.