Updated: Sunday, 19th November 2017 @ 8:06am

Icing on the cake: Manchester Food Festival back with a bake-off for 18th birthday

Icing on the cake: Manchester Food Festival back with a bake-off for 18th birthday

| By Jonny Yates

The Manchester Food and Drink Festival (MFDF) will soon be back in Albert Square and the 18th year of this culinary delight is set to be its biggest and best yet.

The festival will run from September 10 to 21, with the bigger and better Festival Hub located in Albert Square, opening daily from noon until 11pm.

There you will find master classes, demonstrations, live music, endless choices of beer to drink, a chilli and a tequila pop-up for those who can handle it.

For the beer lovers there is the long standing regional beer festival which runs throughout the duration of the MFDF.

It will showcase 100 of the greatest local beers, including golden ales, wheat beers, well-balanced bitters and the darker pleasures of stout or porter, it is guaranteed to be sheer beer nirvana.

For those who would prefer something sweeter Fever-Tree Cocktail Bar will also be open all day at the Hub, with mini masterclasses taking place, and an opportunity to create your own ultimate gin and tonic.

There will be musical performances throughout the festival which will set the perfect atmosphere amongst the eating and drinking.

Some of the acts featuring at the Hub include folk singer-songwriter Thea Gilmore and Manchester based, indie-electro four piece, Slow Readers Club.

One of the highlights of this year’s festival will be The Great Manchester Bake Off, a first for the festival.

The cake-making challenge will take place on September 13 at 12pm and the 10 finalists will be judged at 2pm.

Finalist Emma O’Gorman spoke to MM about how she got involved with the competition, her baking inspirations and her passion for putting ‘the icing on the cake’.

She said: “My boyfriend spotted [the competition] on Twitter – he’s chief taster and my biggest fan so he sent it straight over.

“I experimented with Vimto buttercream what with it being invented in our fair city and luckily it worked!

“My favourite part of baking is the cake decorating so expect something very loyal to Manchester that is also a bit 'in your face' - think 'diabetic coma inducing'.

“I massively love Great British Bake Off – I even applied once. Mary Berry didn't want me, sadly.”

The judges include, Richard Burr, Great British Bake Off Runner Up 2014 and Charlotte O’Tool, Home Sweet Home Head Pastry Chef, who will be looking for cakes and bakes inspired by Manchester.

Phil Jones, festival director, said: “Manchester has some amazing baking talent...from the extraordinary cakes on offer in our fabulous tea and coffee shops.

“We can officially crown our very own Great Manchester Baking Champion.”

The Festival is also calling for bakers to host their own bake sale stalls on the same day, at the Great Manchester Charity Bake Sale, raising money for Forever Manchester.

Mr Jones said: “Baking is a wonderfully communal activity it’s something that can bring people together.

“MFDF felt that for a big community driven, charity cake sale, Forever Manchester were the perfect partner."

If none of the events in the Hub are to your taste there are many events taking place in the fringe of the festival.

The Secret Pantry is being held at the quaint Tea Hive on September 11 at 7:30pm, which includes a night of cocktails, six tasting dishes and vintage board games, with tickets priced at £25.

For something more glamorous, there is the dress to impress, Great Gatsby Tipsy Tea Party being held at the Fitzgerald on September 20 at 3:00pm.

For £40 you will go back through time learning the history of gin, perfect in the venue’s 1920 setting, followed by afternoon tea and hand crafted gin cocktails.

For more information on the Manchester Food and Drink Festival click here

Image courtesy of Pete Birkinshaw, with thanks.