I can’t believe it’s been a week since the Bolton Food Fest. It’s one of the biggest food festivals in the country. Latest figures show over a whopping 200,000 people were in attendance (THAT’s why it was so crowded), with many making the trans-atlantic foodie pilgrimage from far afield as Cyprus and Australia.


So, what’s so great about the Bolton Food Fest? Isn’t it plain to see by this lovely BBQ photo above? Chargrilled fish had me doing my best meerkat impression as I sought the delicious scent from across town. The festival is a must-see for any self-respecting foodie. I’ve been going for six years with Gal Pal S (my foodie partner in crime) and I’ve seen it grow into something rather special. It makes for a wonderful family day out.

Aubergine Gau Bao_Sue Lee

There were foodie stalls aplenty, selling scrumptious treats from artisan bread to steaming Spanish paella. Chutneys, kitchen utensils, sartorial accessories, beer, wine, arts, craft and of course the very best of local produce is what makes Bolton Food Fest THE place to be for the last bank holiday of the year. This photo above is Su Lee’s Gau Bao (TY Sanj for the introduction). Gao Bao’s are light and fluffy steamed buns; this one came with a meaty slab of spicy aubergine, which was highly yum-tastic.

Hungry Gecko Pulled Jackfruit


This photo is Pulled Jackfruit from the Hungry Gecko. Really spicy, lovely for blowing away those fusty cobwebs (and great recommendation if you have a head-cold too). This bun was delicious, and the filling gorgeous with a squirt of lime for a tangy kick. I’ve never had jackfruit before, and I found it to be a lovely substitute for meat. The texture is quite dense and feels almost like an artichoke heart (I will definitely do a recipe with jackfruit in the very near future).

Having a sprinkling of great chefs for that celebrity sparkle is the icing on the cake and Bolton is now firmly on the map by having the likes of James Martin, John Torode, Michael Caines, Lisa Faulkner et al patronise our small town with a big heart.

Luis, Phom, Lisa demo

The cookery demos were packed to the rafters as usual. I was fortunate to speak with some very special chefs (more of that in a standalone blog post). In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek photo to whet your appetite on what (in my humble opinion) will be a thoroughly fabulous feature.

The 10th annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Victoria Square, Bolton, Lancashire. Masterchef's John Torode during his cookery demonstration. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 30, 2015.
The 10th annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Victoria Square, Bolton, Lancashire. Masterchef’s John Torode during his cookery demonstration. Picture by Paul Heyes, Sunday August 30, 2015.

I could wax lyrical about how much I enjoyed the festival. Here are my top five standout moments:

  1. Nkono’s Jerk Salmon (heaven on a plate)

Nkono 3_Jerk salmon

  1. Slattery’s Afternoon Tea (food review on this coming very soon)
  1. May Wakefield’s chef demo (and tasting her delicious Tom Yum soup, spicy Thai curry and Pad Thai)

May's Tom Yum soup

May's Spicy Thai curry







  1. Delicious chocolate from Chocklearty and Rivington Chocolates (I’m in middle of doing a chocolate feature, more of this in a standalone post)


  1. Having a slice of Kimmy the elephant, made by baker extraordinaire Rose Dummer (I have an exciting Q&A on Rose coming very soon, so keep your eyes peeled)

Mayor of Bolton Carole Swarbrick with Rose Dummer

The weather played nice (mostly) and it was a lovely fun day out. I’ve already earmarked next year’s festival in my diary (and I think you should too). A massive congratulations to Bolton Council and its sponsors for putting up such a fabulous show.

thank you

A special note of thanks to Bolton Council’s lean, mean PR machine. Salma, the two Karens’ (they could be twins, but aren’t) and everyone else who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. I’m already looking forward to 2016, see you then!