Festa Italiana, the free-to-enter weekend-long festival celebrating Italian food, drink and culture is returning to Festival Piazza this August bank holiday weekend for its fifth year in the city.
Taking place from 26 to 28 August 2022 at Cathedral Gardens in Manchester city centre, it will bring together some of the city’s best Italian and Sicilian eateries alongside a host of live music, Italian bars and special chef masterclasses.
Featuring street food pop-ups from the likes of Pasta Factory, T’arricrii and Lucky Mama’s, to a dedicated Aperol Spritz bar and Airstream bar selling Italian craft lagers, and a special intimate chef’s dinner event, there is a lot for foodie fans to get excited about this year.
What is the street food line-up at Festa Italiana 2022?
Over the course of the weekend, foodie fans can enjoy sweet treats from Café Cannoli, wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas from I Knead Pizza and Proove, and ‘rasta pasta’ from Chorlton-via-Eccles favourites Lucky Mamas.
T’arricrii will bring along handbuilt arancini and fritto misto, whilst the Pasta Factory will be on hand with its authentic plates of fresh Puglian-style pasta dishes.
Elsewhere, there’ll be sweet treats from festival founders Salvi’s, doughnuts from Destination Doughnut and grilled paninis, cakes, drinks and snacks from Kickback Coffee.
What bars are on offer at this year’s Festival Piazza?
The main festival bar will serve Italian favourites including fine Italian wine, Ponte prosecco, Luxardo, gin and tonics and other popular Italian spirits.
An Airstream Bar from Birrificio Angelo Poretti will serve Italian craft beers, whilst an Aperol Spritz bar will be on hand serving up everyone’s favourite low-ABV aperitivo. Soft drinks and coffees will also be available on-site across the weekend.
This year, Compagnia Sole Luna will bring traditional folk music from Naples, revisited in a folk-rock style from southern Italy.
There will also be a full lineup of local artists and bands including the city’s best-loved opera singer The Manchester Tenor, while DJs will be spinning records each night.
What events and masterclasses are taking place?
Festa Italiana Feaast – Dine with legendary Italian restaurateurs, authors, and UK TV favourites at the Festa Marquee
On Saturday 27 August an intimate chefs’ table dinner featuring top-class Italian TV celebrity chefs, Gennaro Contaldo, Giancarlo Caldesi, and Aldo Zilli, hosted and cooked by Salvis-owner Maurizio Cecco, with fresh pasta made from scratch by Carmela Serano Hayes. Guests and chefs will dine alongside one another, enjoying a four-course meal and drinks reception hosted by Gin Mare.
Carmela’s Kitchen – Carmela Sereno Hayes will be hosting ‘Carmela’s Kitchen’ across the entire weekend, with free drop-in sessions on the hour, every hour teaching pasta-loving adults and kids how to make the perfect pasta.
Friday 26 August
1.30pm – Festival founder Maurizio Cecco hosts a cooking masterclass with his daughter Sienna.
2.30pm – The team from I Sapori di Corbara Tomatoes will be flying in from Naples and doing a talk showcasing the brand and their products
3.30pm – Giulia Martinelli of The Pasta Factory will be showyou how to be a pasta master
4.30pm – A drinks masterclass from the Luxardo Maraschino team, whose versatile cherries are used in desserts and drinks across the world.
5.30pm – A drink making Campari masterclass.
Saturday 27 August
1.30pm – Maurizio Cecco hosts a pasta masterclass
2.30pm – Masterclasses and book signings from Gennaro Contaldo, UK brand ambassador for Parmigiano Reggiano, (Saturday Kitchen, Two Greedy Italians, Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast)
3.30pm – Masterclasses and book signings from celebrity chef and award-winning restaurateur, Aldo Zilli (The One Show, This Morning, Celebrity Masterchef)
4:30pm – A drinks masterclass from the Aperol team, showcasing the methods behind some of the most loved Italian drinks
Sunday 28 August
1:30pm – Masterclasses and book signings from Giancarlo Caldesi (Return to Tuscany, Saturday Kitchen, Sunday Brunch
2:30pm – Gennaro Contaldo returns for a masterclass
3:30pm – A masterclass from Great British Bake Off 2021 winner Giuseppe Dell’Anno
4:30pm – A very special pizza making masterclass by the team from Pizzeria Da Michele
When is Festa Italiana 2022 and what are the opening times?
Festa Italiana 2022 will take place from 26 to 28 August 2022 at Cathedral Gardens.
It will open across the weekend from 11am to 11pm, Friday to Sunday.
How do I get to the Festa Italiana festival hub?
Located opposite Manchester Victoria Station, the Festa Italiana festival hub sits in Cathedral Gardens. It can easily be accessed via tram, bus or train and is a short walk from Manchester Piccadilly.
Cruel irony as beautiful country pub is named one of the UK’s best – two days after it closed for good
One of the north’s most beautiful country pubs has been crowned as one of the best gastropubs in the country – but the news came just as it closed for good.
In a bittersweet turn of events, the Moorcock Inn – just half an hour from Manchester – received a nod from the prestigious Top 50 Gastropubs, which took place on the same weekend that the pub shut down.
While the other winners on the list were celebrating their accolades, The Moorcock staff were throwing one final farewell party in their windswept corner of Norland Moor.
The cosy Sowerby Bridge restaurant, famed for its local and wild ingredients, announced its closure with an emotional statement last spring but saw out the rest of 2022.
Owners Aimee Turford and Alisdair Brooke-Taylor wrote that the decision to shutter The Moorcock Inn was prompted by the end of their five-year lease, as well as the ‘unstable world’ of rising costs, supply issues and ‘looming recession’.
In the end, the raft of awards and critical acclaim it has earned over its years wasn’t enough to keep the business afloat.
The platform said: “Unfortunately the pub has had to close its doors just days before the list announcement, but read all about it below.
“The pub offers an ever-evolving seasonal menu alongside views over West Yorkshire’s Ryburn Valley and is an all-round charmer of a gastropub.”
Upon reviewing The Moorcock Inn, our food and drink editor found the venue to be full of surprises and warmth, from the outdoor barbecue where a chef cooked meat over coals in a blizzard to the snug bar itself showcasing an extensive drinks selection.
She wrote: “Let’s just say, the locals here are blessed.”
Our review of The Moorcock Inn’s food offering celebrated crispy potatoes served split in a heap of small dish of yeasty mayonnaise, a whole charcoaled flounder smeared in butter, and crispy pig tails with apple sauce and artichoke.
The restaurant was famed for its nose-to-tail ethos, from the butchering and dry-aging taking place on site to the homegrown vegetables to the handmade crockery.
The Manc’s review concluded: “This is a glorious pub, serving glorious food. This new offering feels wonderfully relaxed, combining the best of both restaurant and bar menus. We completely see what all the fuss is about.”
The Moorcock Inn was one of the greats and will be sorely missed – but at least it got to go out on a high.
Featured image: The Moorcock Inn
This Manchester restaurant serves an all-vegan roast with ‘meat’ and all the trimmings
A Manchester vegan restaurant is serving an all-vegan roast with mock ‘meat’ and all the trimmings, putting an ethical twist on the British Sunday classic.Keen to see if it’s worth the hype, I took a trip down to try it out for myself – and left feeling pretty impressed.
Not being a vegan personally, I enlisted the help of two friends of the plant-powered persuasion to accompany me to get a real feel for every option.
Suffice it to say, it was a success and, whilst I won’t be converting to veganism any time soon, it’s nice to know that there are options out there for when I feel like being ‘good’.
With three different roast choices on offer, Wholesome Junkies is the first restaurant in the city centre to venture past the usual vegan choices of mushroom Wellington and roasted squash and go all-out with a variety of mock meat options.
Meats have been created in partnership with Liverpool vegan brand CB Sushi, using their mock beef and turkey joints to give vegans the feeling of a ‘proper’ roast.
Think glazed ‘turkey’ filled with stuffing, medallions of ‘beef’ and crispy deep-fried oyster mushrooms, all served with lashings of onion gravy, ‘buttered’ seasonal greens, glazed carrots and parsnips, deep-fried stuffing balls, crispy roasties and fluffy Yorkshire puddings created by Mabel’s.
Having tried all three, I have to say that my favourite was the turkey. It’s actually my least favourite meat to eat, so it was something of a surprise to find I enjoyed the vegan version much more than the real thing.
The texture was spot on, and there was none of the dryness you typically associate with the bird. Washed down with a pint of locally-brewed Cloudwater Fuzzy Hazy Pale Ale, it absolutely hit the spot.
Coming in a close second was the deep-fried oyster mushroom roast, which was so packed with flavour that it almost felt like I was eating fried chicken with my Sunday dinner.
As for the beef, it didn’t really do it for me – tasting more of herbs than red meat, but then, I don’t suppose there are many vegans queueing up the block for a bloody meat substitute.
Wholesome Junkies has long been a favourite with Manchester vegans. First shooting to fame in 2018 with an appearance on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu, owner Chelsea appeared on the show to ask for 95,000 to open her own vegan junk food restaurant.
Prior to that, she’d been running her Wholesome Junkies concept as a street food pop-up at sites like Grub and Ancoats General Store.
Whilst her bid to impress the BBC judges was not successful at the time, the TV appearance put her on the map and within a year she had her own Arndale market stall.
Fast forward a few more, and in 2022 she opened her first bricks and mortar restaurant – taking over the former Umezushi site at 4 Mirabel Street.
Since moving in, she’s completely transformed it: decking it out in bright colours and filling every corner with quirky little ornaments and decorations.
Strings of fairy lights, hanging mushrooms and frames filled with pictures from local artists all make the small space feel incredibly warm and welcoming – and our visit the restaurant was absolutely packed.