FOOD: Manchester Cheese Fest - A Festival Like No Other
When I hear the word 'festival' I think of porter-loos, wet wipes and tents which for someone who loves their creature comforts, is my idea of hell. However, when I heard about a Festival dedicated to my favourite foodstuff, namely cheese, and that no tents or porter-loos would be involved, I knew I had to check it out.
Held at Bowler's Exhibition Centre in Trafford, CheeseFest was two day festival that brought together artisan cheese makers and food stalls for a cheese extravaganza. The Festival has been touring all around the country and last weekend was Manchester's turn.
|Just some of many cheese on offer from Fowlers|
Anyone who knows me or this blog knows I'm a massive cheese lover, so in my mind you can't go too far wrong with a cheese festival. After all, all you really need do is turn up and eat bloody cheese and folks, that's exactly what I did. Admittedly, there wasn't much else to do there other than eat cheese, try new cheeses, listen to a bit of music and watch live food demonstrations but I'm ok with that. After all there are worse ways of spending a day. I may sound like one cool customer but I have to be honest, I was looking forward to going to this for weeks and weeks.
Not only do I love cheese, but I really enjoy discovering and recommending them. I'm always on the lookout for new cheeses to try or new ways of using it in dishes.
|Shorrock Cheese' Lancashire Bombs|
One particularly interesting stall called Shorrocks Cheese was selling Lancashire bomb cheese. For those that don't know, the Lancashire bombs are wrapped in cloth, covered in coloured wax and left for a year and what results is a deliciously creamy tasting cheese. They come in two sizes with a variety that includes everything from garlic and herb, red onion, cracked black pepper and whiskey flavoured, which seemed particularly popular! I liked the taste of the luxury spiced apple and port bomb, with their traditional Lancashire bomb in its black wax, coming a close second. Here's a link to their website if you'd like to find out more: Lancashire bombs
|Sean Wilson's Saddleworth Farm cheese|
|Sean Wilson giving a live demonstration of his pizza making skills|
|You can't meet a good mac n' cheese|
|The Mac Shac|
Besides the Mac Shac, the other must try of the day was the Raclette Brothers. The London-based duo attracted quite a crowd with their popular dish and rightly so. I was salivating at the sight of their raclette cheese melted over garlic potatoes with cornichons and pickled red onion, a combination I've never had before and would certainly eat again.
|The Raclette Brothers drew quite a crowd|
Below was the boyfriend's lunch from Muffin Man & Co. With all the delicious cheese-related hot food stalls to chose from he opted for an all-day breakfast muffin with not a piece of cheese in sight! However, it did look and smell fantastic.
|Muffin Man & Co, with their all day breakfast Muffin|
Other stalls on offer on the day were Bake My Brie. I was very tempted by this one as brie is a particular favourite of mine but by the time I'd reached this stall, I was starting to break out into a cheese headache. Bake My Brie is pretty much what it says, baked Button Mill Brie served with chutney.
|Baked Brie anyone?|
|Bake My Brie and their Chutneys|
|A selection of the cheese sellers on the day|
|A sold-out venue|
My only grumble in an otherwise enjoyable day was that the event was held in a tricky venue to get to. Sat in the middle of an industrial estate it wasn't the easiest of places to get to if you don't have your own transport. Fingers crossed that the popular of this event ensures that it moves to a slightly better venue with transport links next year because I'd certainly make repeat visits for my cheese fix.