The three-day finale to the Leeds Food & Drink Festival – Yorkshire Food & Drink Show 2014 was in Leeds city centre across 6th-8th June. The name and status of the event suggested it would showcase Yorkshire based producers whether they be restaurants, bars, cafes, street food vendors, bakers and so on.
Squeezing in a quick after work visit on Friday, I headed straight for the Handmade in Yorkshire area of the festival. To my surprise they were perched off the Headrow on Victoria Gardens, I was expecting them in Millennium Square.
It was great to see a good mix of stalls offering a varied range of cuisines. These Yorkshire based food purveyors included many regulars on Leeds’ food scene, such as The Greedy Pig, Asfaneh Kaviani and Le Petite Banh Mi, El Kantina. I’d expected it to be much busier and wondered if that was due to lack of publicity, but also the fact that these local establishments hadn’t been included in the main festival space. Did people even realise this was going on just a few minutes walk from Millennium Square!!
The following images show selection of goodies from Handmade in Yorkshire:
Whilst wandering around I fitted in a mini feast from the charming lads at Le Petite Banh Mi, the lovely ladies at Pitta Palace and multi-talented Mario at Gusto Italiano. Le Petite Banh Mi are a duo combining Vietnamese and French influences, marrying the bread from Garforth’s star baker Dumouchel with the ingredients and flavours of Vietnam.
I tried the five-spiced pork and the beef, I liked both, but definitely preferred the beef with it’s punchy flavours from lemongrass, garlic, pepper and chilli which were all very evident. These guys have only been doing this a short time so I look forward to seeing them at many more events.
I also got to meet the ladies who run Pitta Palace, using locally sourced ingredients to make great tasting fillings for their wraps. A quick taste of their yummy slow cooked Piri-Piri chicken and their flavourful Thai-style beef was enough to make me remember them for next time!!
A quick hit of caffeine in the form of a lovely Cappuccino from Gusto Italiano and I was good to move onto find more local food heroes.
I didn’t have to wander far to find some, lined up just around the corner on Cookridge Street were well-known street food vendors Fish&, Indie Ices and Señor Churro amongst others, who’d been relegated onto the side street.
A quick chat with Mike from Indie Ices and a few minutes to savour one of his delicious Kulfi, gave me enough time to see many people just using the street to get to Millennium Square, most walking passed the street food vendors.
Nearing Millennium Square I could tell it was busy, just from the noise and entering it I found the place absolutely rammed. My aim was to hunt for more Yorkshire based establishments, and even though there were some I was a little perturbed to see chains and businesses which weren’t even from Yorkshire. Maybe it shouldn’t bother me so much as they are probably using locally sourced produce etc, but local businesses do that just as well. Such a shame as Leeds and its surrounding areas has plenty to offer to satisfy people, shouldn’t the festival be championing these a lot more? I literally scooted around as quickly as possible taking these photos along the way:
I didn’t really want to get sucked in, so headed back to The Greedy Pig for a Bone Marrow Slider that was just as good as the first time I tried one at Belgrave’s Street Feast.
Yeah, it was great to have Millennium Square heaving with people, but the festival could have been so much better. If only the organisers had really made the most of showcasing what’s great about Yorkshire’s food and their producers. I hope for something better next year! Did you visit the Festival, what were your opinions on it?