Leeds Loves Food
A new tradition continued this past weekend with the Leeds Loves Food festival literally taking over the city. With events at The Light, the Merrion Centre, St John’s Centre, The Corn Exchange, Victoria Quarter, Oulton Hall Hotel, and Leeds Kirkgate Markets, it was almost difficult not to become a foodie for the weekend. Leeds Student‘s Victoria Gray reports…
The amazing Leeds Loves Food festival is in its seventh year, and constantly expanding. This year, for the first time, a Moroccan Market sprung up in the middle of Briggate, selling handicraft items from bags to tagines, and the heat of the past weekend added to the charming authenticity of the series of stalls, and meant you literally felt like you had left Leeds for Morocco.
Asda President, Andy Clark said “The Leeds Love Food festival shares that same ethos of bringing local producers together and celebrating the great food Leeds brings to our tables.” The festival certainly is unique to Leeds, with a combination of local producers and restaurants as well as those national ones who have made a local impact, something that really shows the community nature of the ever growing city. Over 50,000 people visited Millennium Square throughout the weekend, making this one of the biggest Leeds Loves Foods yet.
My housemates and I headed down to Millennium Square on Sunday for the Food and Drink Show, which was hosting a three day market for the second time, with stalls from the surrounding Electric Press, as well as restaurants and traders from all over Leeds and Yorkshire both cooking food for you right there, or selling some to take home.
After a tour of the stalls available and more than enough food and drink samples, we realised we’d have to pick our dishes carefully to avoid rolling home. I ate a huge, delicious paella from Viva Cuba, chicken satay sticks from Sukothai, drank rasberry mojitos from Revolution. I also sampled the delights of many more of the stalls, buying bramley apple and pork sausages from JGRE ltd and wine from Concept Wines, all recommended by their friendly sellers. Everything was delicious, and seeing it cooked right in front of you and eating it in the blazing sunshine made the experience even more rich, with everybody commenting that it was as if we had left Leeds for a exotic holiday.
it was as if we had left Leeds for a exotic holiday
We sat in the main body of the square where tables and chairs had been put out, presumably so people could relax and digest the huge amounts of food available, and watched the demonstrations that were being carried out while enjoying our food. Sunday saw exhibitions in the Theatre Kitchen from Leeds restaurants such as Zouk and Chino Latino, and throughout the weekend had hosted Gaucho, Malmaison, and many others, with celebrity guests such as Nikki Chapman and Alex James, who was demonstrating his new cheese line which will be sold in Asda, the weekend’s sponsors. The atmosphere was amazing, helped by the glorious weather, but everyone seemed to be in high spirits as a result of the combination of luscious tastes they had been sampling. Inspired by the demonstrations we briefly considered making our own sushi – it looked so easy! But the cost of the kit, and our own technical abilities being low, this dream ended fairly quickly.
The whole festival was an incredible experience and a great success, and as organiser Rachel McAlley told Leeds Student, “the weather was certainly on our side”.