Manchester is in for a treat this summer with the return of the UK’s biggest Italian food festival.
Described as ‘the country’s most exciting and vibrant festival of Italian food, drink and culture’, Festa Italiana is a unique celebration of all things Italy, and will once again be gracing Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens for the August bank holiday weekend.
The festival found life five years ago by the family-run Italian restaurant group Salvi’s, and was quick to grow in popularity, with over 38,000 people visiting during last year’s event alone.
And this year, a number of the festival’s most popular faces will be returning alongside some exciting new additions.
The festival’s famed workshops and demonstrations will take place once again, alongside some of Italy’s finest cuisine courtesy of celebrated Italian chefs Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch), celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur Aldo Zilli (The One Show, This Morning, Celebrity Masterchef), Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno, and, of course, Festa founder Maurizio Cecco.
Specialist pastaia Carmela Sereno Hayes will also join the line up, where she will host her acclaimed pasta-making workshops across the weekend.
And like previous years, some of Manchester’s most celebrated Italian food and drink traders will be dishing up their own takes of Italian cuisine,
On the drinks front, some of Italy’s most popular drinks brands will be on hand to help guests wash down their pizza and pasta, including Gin Mare, Luxardo and Poretti.
And brand new to Festa this year will be an Italian art exhibition, details of which will be announced in the coming weeks.
Alongside a line up of live musicians and entertainment across the weekend, there will also be activities to keep children entertained while their parents feast upon pasta, pizza and Aperol… so families need not worry.
Festa Italiana will take place at Manchester’s Cathedral Gardens across the late bank holiday weekend from August 26th-28th, and will be completely free to enter.
More details will be announced in the coming weeks – visit the Festa Italiana website to stay posted with news and updates.
Manchester restaurant named best in UK for a roast dinner
Roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and gravy are essential!
A restaurant in Manchester has been named as the best in the UK for a Sunday roast, with another Manchester eatery also ranking among the top five.
Both Manchester restaurants were the only two entries from our city but prove you can certainly get a decent roast here.
The study was conducted by bookmaker Betway and saw Hawksmoor win top place and Elnecot in Ancoats take fifth.
The research used in its index score was generated from the number of hashtags each location had racked up on Instagram as well as reviews given on Google and Trip Advisor.
Eateries from Manchester, London, Liverpool and Belfast came out on top and were among the top twelve across the UK.
The two Manchester restaurants were two of three from the North of England to make it onto the list. Hanover Street Social, in Liverpool, also came in as a strong contender in third place.
The 12 best restaurants to get a roast dinner in the UK, according to Betway, are:
- Hawksmoor Manchester
- Hawksmoor Seven Dials, London
- Hanover Street Social, Liverpool
- OX Belfast, Belfast
- Elnecot, Manchester
- Kyloe and The Scran and Scallie, both Edinburgh
- The Potted Pig, Cardiff and The Bothy, Glasgow
- The Plough, Birmingham
- Heaney’s Restaurant, Cardiff and Hawksmoor Edinburgh and The Butchershop Glasgow
- Roastit Bubbly Jocks, Glasgow
- Blacklock Shoreditch, London and Darcy’s Belfast
- Molly’s Yard, Belfast
M&S reveal full Christmas food range including festive Colin the Caterpillar
The M&S Christmas food range can be accessed online from September 26th
Marks and Spencer is already getting in the Christmas spirit as it has just revealed its seasonal food range with shoppers saying they’re ‘so excited’ to see it.
The M&S Christmas 2023 collection includes festive versions of cult favourites including Colin the Caterpillar and Percy Pig, as well as a huge return of its light-up, musical biscuit tins and chocolate boxes.
For the big day itself, M&S will launch the everything-in-the-box £45 Christmas turkey dinner that takes around 60 minutes to cook, making the special feast much easier to make but keeping it tasty.
There’s also a range of party foods and picky bits to nibble on including vegan snowman-faced bao buns, perfect for those who’ll skip the meat on their dinner this year.
Air fryer cooking instructions will be added to the packaging of party foods for the first time this year, as more and more households opt to cook this way during the cost-of-living crisis, as well as remaining on a four-for-three offer to offer value for shoppers.
M&S Cafes will launch their festive menus from November 1st, and the menu will include tasty Welsh Rarebit cheesy crumpets for £4.50.
The turkey toastie will also be back with the added option of adding a pot of gravy on the side to dip them into. Turkey gravy can be purchased for an additional £1.
And what would a dinner be without a delicious dessert to finish it off with? M&S have that covered too with a delicious variety to satisfy your sweet tooth, including a new take on the festive mince pie.
Desserts include new takes on the traditional yule log, as well as chocolate and hazelnut mince pies at £4 for a four-pack. The Christmas Colin the Caterpillar sees him dressed in a cosy icing Christmas jumper as well as a chocolate Santa hat priced £12, and will be available in stores from December 7th.
There will also be a bigger range of hampers than ever before with around 80 to choose from. Hampers will range from letter box ones for £20 all the way up to huge £1,000 ones, containing exclusive M&S goodies.
Shoppers can also get excited for the return of the light-up gin and fizz bottles, as singles or part of gift pack options – available online now.
Party food includes the return of M&S’s ‘best ever’ prawn toast, pulled beef and rosti towers and the viral sensation snowmen steamed bao buns, all priced at £7.50 per pack.
The Christmas food range will officially launch on November 1st though shoppers will be able to access the food items site online at M&S from September 26th. Food orders can be collected in-store from December 21st to 24th. To see the full M&S Christmas food range, click HERE.
Wetherspoons is slashing food and drink prices for one day only next week
Punters heading to their local Spoons boozer can enjoy around 7.5% off food and drink
Bargain pub chain Wetherspoons has said it will slash the price of its food and drink items for one day only next week.
The one-day promotional offer will be held on Thursday September 14th, which is National Tax Equality Day, and is part of a campaign to highlight the burden of tax on the hospitality industry.
Chairman of Wetherspoons Tim Martin said they want to expose the ‘vast disparity’ in how pubs and restaurants are taxed, compared with supermarkets.
He also hopes to highlight how a permanent VAT reduction would help benefit pubs and restaurants in seeing more customers come through their doors.
Those heading to their local Spoons boozer can enjoy around 7.5% off their order.
The drop in price means, for example, a customer spending £10 on a food and drink order could get it for £9.25 instead.
Wetherspoons has also added a VAT calculator to its website to show how much customers could save at their local Spoons boozer.
Mr Martin said: “The biggest threat to the hospitality industry is the vast disparity in tax treatment among pubs, restaurants and supermarkets.
“Supermarkets pay zero VAT in respect of food sales, whereas pubs and restaurants pay 20%. This tax benefit allows supermarkets to subsidise the selling price of beer.
“Pubs have been under fantastic pressure for decades because of the tax disadvantages which they have with supermarkets.”
He argued that the hospitality industry is ‘subsidising supermarkets’ due to these tax rules, adding: “We urge the Chancellor to tax equality between pubs and supermarkets.”
It’s not the first time Mr Martin has been vocal about the issue and has even accused some senior politicians of a ‘lack of understanding’.
Wetherspoons has already closed 29 of its sites this year with several more up for sale.
It now runs over 800 pubs across the UK and Ireland. The chain is set to report record total sales across its pubs for the latest financial year after having bumper Easter and May Bank Holiday trading weekends.