Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Leeds Food & Drink Festival 2007 - Preview

After a lost weekend in Dublin courtesy of a Stag I know, I return to Leeds to find the Food & Drink Festival preparations in full swing. Again, it starts on a weekday but I’m sure during it’s five day run there will be at least once chance to take a mosey on down. So what’s going on?

A quick flick through the brochure gives me an idea of some highlights. The always affable and almost-so-Yorkshire-you-can-taste-it pairing of Brian Turner and James Martin will have a large crowd, not least among the mothers of Leeds. For those with Gallic leanings, Raymond Blanc will be appearing on the 10th, ahead of the opening of much anticipated ‘Brassiere Blanc’ in Leeds later this year. No doubt that one will have food writers up and down Yorkshire in a cold sweat for at least, ooh - the opening weekend.

Apart from the celebs – who really need no introduction – personally I’ll be looking forward to demonstrations from two establishments close to my heart; Thomas Danby College, one of the unsung heroes of Leeds of providing training and vocations for chefs, bakers and butchers-to-be are putting in a couple of appearances. Thomas Danby work hard; very hard. Go see them. Also, a paella cook-off (gotta love a cook-off!) courtesy of La Tasca sounds good, as does the tapas and wine tasting event held by Sandinista – another bona fide ‘The Good Stuff’ hero when it comes to smart, affordable tapas with no pretension. Shepherd’s Purse Cheeses are also helping out the ubiquitous Olive Tree demo so make sure to pick up some of their wares.

Finally, some excellent ideas – Kirkgate Market will be offering various food tastings throughout Saturday, and a string of restaurants in Headingley will be offering ‘Menus for £10’ – great idea, especially when you consider Headingley is home to the peerless Salvos and Brett’s fish and chips – amongst others.
So that’s my rundown of the highlights – there’s more to the Leeds Food Festival than Harvey Nichols, you know. Shame there’s nothing highlighting the excellent pubs Leeds has to offer – an ale trail, perhaps next year? One can hope, eh?

The Leeds Festival of Food & Drink,
8-12 August,
Briggate and surrounding environs, Leeds.

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