Hope you’re all having a lovely rain-free weekend, how have you been? I can’t believe we’re in May already; I feel I’m just about getting used to writing 2014. Been up to anything fun lately?
I was super excited to be invited to the pre-launch of the Bolton Food & Drink Festival 2014, which is just over three months away (this is where it’s OK to wish time away). In its ninth year, there were foodie shenanigans aplenty at The Renaissance Hotel in Manchester. Fabulous fellow foodies who rocked up included Andrew Nutter, Debbie Halls-Evans (pictured above) and business leaders filling us in on plans for this year’s festival which is going to be bigger and better than ever.
I totally acquiesce with larger than life chef Andrew Nutter who said: “I’ve been involved for the past few years and it’s fantastic to watch the festival grow. I’m really looking forward to this year’s event, not only will I be doing demos on the Monday but I’m also cooking the fish course for the Gala Dinner so it’s going to be a busy weekend!” I watched one of Andrew’s demos last year and on the back of that bought his book too. His passion for food comes spilling out in enthusiastic bursts and he’s a real treat to watch – try and catch one of his demos if you can.
One thing I’m looking forward to is the Gala Dinner. Something of a foodie, this dinner is right up my street (the seven courses will of course mean self-starvation the week before), but it’s got to be done. The £55 menu which includes an amuse-bouche and cheese board will be cooked by two-star Michelin chef Michael Caines, former Corrie actor turned chef Sean Wilson, award-winning Bolton chef Mike Harrison, and head chef at the De Vere group Matthew Taylor.
The festival will once again be launched by Michael Caines in Victoria Square on Friday August 22. Celebrity chefs on the menu to perform cookery demos are Italian stallion chef Gino D’Acampo on Saturday; celebrity Aussie chef, restaurateur and general good egg John Torode on Sunday, and James Martin on Bank Holiday Monday (no one does a dessert like our Sweet Baby James, he’s the Godfather of scrummy desserts). The four-day foodie spectacular will also feature a large speciality food and drink market in Victoria Square and surrounding streets, and free entertainment. If you haven’t checked out the German sausage tent, you’re missing out. Me and Gal Pal S are usually holed up there, because nothing is as wonderful, as marvellous as a hearty German sausage washed down with a pint (or two) of ice-cold European beer. Here is a selection of canapés served at the pre-launch. They were delicious and a real teaser of what to expect at the festival itself.
Being Bolton born and bred (I sound like a Warburton’s advert I know), I’m thrilled that this food festival has grown into the big beast it is today. Bolton is trailblazer on the foodie scene (sound oxymoronic but it’s oh so true) and this festival is great news for the local and regional economy. With Bolton firmly on the map (over 130,000 visitors came last year), this year’s festival is going to be another stonking success.
Market Place Shopping Centre and Bolton Market will also play a key role at the festival hosting free demos from top regional chefs. Tim Vaughan of the shopping centre, said: “We are thrilled to be supporting the highly successful Bolton Food and Drink Festival especially at the time when we have just started work to transform the Victorian vaults in the basement of the centre into family-friendly restaurants and licensed bars. With the number of visitors who came to the festival last year it is clear there is a thirst for quality food and drink in the town and we look forward to hosting many of the top names in Market Place Shopping Centre across the four days.”
Kudos to the organisers of this fantastic food festival, because Bolton officially rocks in no small part, down to your efforts – thank you. I’ll be at the festival for the full four days, I hope to see you guys there. For more foodie info, check out www.boltonfoodanddrinkfestival.com or search for #boltonfoodfest on Twitter.