Last weekend I was invited to explore the Bolton food and drink festival and attend a Slattery afternoon tea picnic with demonstrations led by the one and only Nadiya Hussain. They pretty much had me at the word ‘Slattery’ as I loved that place when we went last year and I just haven’t had the chance to go back since.
I’d seen a lot of hype about the food festival, but I was at the stage where I couldn’t help but think – ‘meh’. Once you’ve seen one food festival, you’ve seen them all, right?
Sunday morning came and when I walked through Bolton town centre and saw the endless rows of stalls shining in the sunlight, well, my scepticism very quickly turned to excitement.
As I looked around at the variety of food, inhaled the intoxicating scents and soaked in the buzzing atmosphere of the crowds around me, I completely understood why people come from far to visit this event.
Strolling through the main festival square I was stopped by a lady who asked if I knew where Debenhams was, I replied that unfortunately I had no idea as I was not from Bolton and she laughed and said – “I’ve asked five people so far and not a single one is from round here’ – that right there was proof enough that Bolton Food Festival had pulled out all the stops to make a name for themselves.
I smiled at vendors as I walked around, determined not to fill up too much before my afternoon tea session, all of whom were friendly and inviting and proud of their creations.
I finally found the festival marquee and was relieved to settle down in the shade for a few moments. The tables were all set and there waiting for us was our Slattery picnic box (vegetarian for me), festival flask with coffee and of course a tea cup and saucer ready for that afternoon cuppa.
The marquee filled up quickly, not a single seat to spare and before long we were graced with the presence of the wonderful Nadiya Hussain. After watching her show that week, The Chronicles of Nadiya (if you haven’t seen it you really should!) I knew that she would have a lot to talk about but I really didn’t expect her to be such a wonderful presenter.
And that she was. Considering this time last year Nadiya was just starting off as a participant on the Great British Bake Off, she was able to captivate the whole audience and keep us thoroughly entertained as she demonstrated how to cook a wonderful curry from her recently released cook book (which sadly was sold out by the time I got there!)
Whilst she was busy talking us through how to cook (something I’m really not great at) we started tucking into our pre-prepared meal. So I loved Slatterys when I visited, and with good reason as even when they’re tasked with creating picnic sandwiches, they really do make it interesting. There was a roast vegetable one which was delicious! And lots of other little treats too. The portions were perfectly sized. Perfectly cooked. And they were all washed down with a fresh cup of tea served by the wonderful marquee staff.
After Nadiya had completed her demonstration she was then joined on stage by a few other famous faces, Jennie McAlpine (Fizz in Corrie), Luis Troyano and Rose Dummer. It was great to hear them all giving their opinions (some quite controversial!) and as a table of bloggers, we were even able to nip backstage at the event.
Speaking of bloggers, I made some lovely new friends at this event, all with wonderful sites that you should check out:
- Em from Manchester Confidential / Surviving Student
- Emma from Earth to Emma
- & Ria from Ria Amber Tesia
Hopefully I’ll get the opportunity to see them all again soon 🙂
After such a wonderful afternoon I was feeling incredibly guilty for misjudging this event. Yes I was excited to attend after watching the fantastic videos they published online (you can see some on my Facebook page, but go to theirs to catch them all). But it wasn’t until I walked through town did I realise how fantastically well put together this festival was. In all honesty, I had more fun there than I’ve ever had at the Manchester Food Festival! (I know it really does kill me to not side with Manchester, but alas I can’t hide my true feelings)
All in all, I’m excited to see what else is round the corner. Needless to say I’ll keeping a beady eye on events on the outskirts of Manchester from now on.
** Thank you to Bolton Council for inviting me to attend the Afternoon Tea Picnic in collaboration with Slattery. Of course all opinions are my own.**
Did you visit the Bolton Food Festival this year? What did you think??