Marie-Claire Micuta reports back from the Huddersfield Food & Drink Festival Taste Trail.
It’s not often you get a free lunch. Well today not only did we get a free lunch, we also got free wine and even dessert. ‘Was there a catch?’ I hear you ask. And the answer is no. All we had to do was work out which restaurants we wanted to visit and turn up. Yes it was a simple as that. It’s all part of the Taste Trail, now in its second year and a fringe event of the Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival.
And an added bonus this year was a free wine tasting by Rob Hoult from Hoult’s, sponsors of the trail. Not only is Rob a wine expert he is also very entertaining. So in under an hour we had an enjoyable wine journey around the world which included Italian Prosecco frizzante, South African rosé and French and Australian red wine.
Then as the clock struck two, it was time for our food journey of 10 restaurants around Huddersfield to begin. We began with a taste of Mexico at Gringos and sampled their famous beef and chicken fajitas. We then moved across the globe to India and got to try some sexy mushrooms and chicken tikka at Balooshai.
Next stop was Europe at Bradley’s where we had one of my favourite foods of the day and a new creation by the chef – a pineapple soup with fresh mint and vanilla foam. It was great to see a restaurant experimenting and asking for feedback.
It was then back to the India at Chilli Lounge and last year’s winner of the Taste Trail. With an array of different curries including meat, fish and chicken you can tell that they were pulling out the stops to retain their crown. At this point we were beginning to feel quite full so thankfully we got a bit of a breather at our next stop, Scarlet Restaurant at Casino Red, as their selection of canapés were running low.
Argentina was next and Argento’s provided mini samples of meat dishes, a glass of their house red and slice of cake. Lebanon was the final stop on our culinary world tour and we got to try a variety of dishes including falafels, hummus and stuffed vine leaves at Med-One. At this point I’m afraid we had to admit defeat. Not even the scones at Keys, charcoal Tandoori dishes at Chutney Mahal and Memsahib’s tasters could sway us although we did hear lots of good things about Chutney Mahal.
It was a fantastic day and a great way to sample some of Huddersfield’s restaurants. It also felt like being part of a special food gang as you kept spotting people along the trail with their leaflet and you could compare notes with strangers who felt more like friends for the day.
The Taste Trail started last year along with the Real Ale Trail. The aim was to get people to try out different restaurants and pubs in the town centre that they would want to go back to as well as getting more local businesses involved in the food and drink festival. And it seems to be working.We met a couple at the end of the Taste Trail who have already booked to go back to the Chilli Lounge on Monday.
But don’t worry if you missed this year’s Taste Trail, some of the restaurants will be at this week’s Huddersfield Food and Drink Festival which starts on Thursday (11 August) and runs until Sunday. There’s also still time to do the Real Ale Trail (also runs until Sunday) and why not create your own taste trail and start sampling some of Huddersfield’s great restaurants?
The Huddersfield Festival of Food and Drink takes place from the 11th -14th August. For further information & a detailed programme of events, visit the Huddersfield Festival of Food & Drink website.
Marie-Claire Micuta runs an underground tea room called Cafe Nouveau at Home in Huddersfield where she opens up her grade 2 listed Edgar Wood house for monthly themed afternoon teas. She also makes celebration cakes and cupcakes under the name of Nouveau Cakes. Her passions include food, wine and Huddersfield and occasionally blogs about all three!