The gin revolution arrives in Lancashire at The National Festival of Making

7 May 2019

A liqueur tasting of pear drops from Oswaldtwistle, authentic Bavarian bakes from Bolton and pies of all shapes and flavours from across Lancashire hit the streets of Blackburn for a third, taste-bud tickling year as The National Festival of Making welcomes the finest in food and drink innovation over Sat 15 and Sun 16 June 2019.

Batch will be one of four Lancashire gin distillers at The National Festival of Making

As part of the vibrant street festival, Blackburn’s King William Street and Cathedral Square will become hubs of fresh cooking, with Mexican churros and hot chocolate, fresh, spicy Malaysian dishes and calorie-laden puddings, all being passed over the counters of mobile kitchens. For a second year, the Taste Lancashire marquee, part of the food and drink campaign from Marketing Lancashire, will be resident to bring visitors a curated selection of the county’s most renowned, independent culinary producers.

Pictures Martin Bostock. Brindle Distillery, Holmes Farm Sandy Lane Brindle Chorley Lancashire
Mark Long of Brindle Distillery, producers of Cuckoo Gin

Making is hungry work and, once families have had their fill of the numerous creative workshops and demonstrations, local pie heroes, Pie Mezzanae will be on hand with a truly inspired range of fusion pies. A refined range of flavours includes the Burger Pie, the Chicken Taco Pie and Veggie Masala. It’s a (pastry) case of more pies of the traditionally delicious kind as Shirleys Homemade Pies joins the line-up from nearby Poulton-le-Fylde. Borne of a love of baking that helped her escape stress and anxiety, Shirley’s Steak and Kidney and Cheese and Onion Pies are the stuff of modern Lancashire legend.

Clare and John Wignall produce single variety rapeseed oil on their farm

True talent spotters, The National Festival of Making originally brought Deli Delite out onto their native Blackburn streets for the first festival in 2017 and they’ve been back every year since, providing an authentic taste of India in curries, wraps and flavoured, shaved ice. From a little further around the North West comes British Street Food Award-winning Nasi Lemak’s unmissable Malaysian kitchen and Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, providing all manner of decadent puddings, both hailing from Manchester. Cheshire is well represented with the arrival of Hanky Panky Pancakes from Chester, bringing along their stacked and smothered US-style pancakes and freshly ground coffee.

Calyx Drink will once again return with Marketing Lancashire to The National Festival of Making

Amongst the three, modern Lancashire gin companies to present their locally-distilled spirit in the Taste Lancashire line-up is Cuckoo Gin, named one of the best in the world and made entirely on a farm in Brindle, using local spring water and carefully-sourced botanical flavours. Established in the early 19th century, Mr Fitzpatricks is an institution that began life in Dublin, yet flourished in Rossendale, producing vintage cordials for generations of thirsty Lancastrians and nationwide customers. Visitors to the festival will be able to grab a bottle of their Sarsaparilla and Dandelion and Burdock, both tasting even better when sun shines.
Commemorating Oswaldtwistle’s industrial past in novel ways, the newly established Hoyle Bottom Spirits joins the line-up with a just-launched pear drop liqueur, marking the fact the town is home to the world largest pear drop. Popular visitor attraction The Bee Centre at Samlesbury Hall produce a range of honey products from their Lancashire bees for festival visitors to buy, whilst quizzing their bee experts on everything to do with nature’s tiny, buzzing heroes. Honey is great on toast, but it’d be nothing without a generous swipe of butter and Our Paula’s produce a range of flavoured butters from Chorley, including dairy free varieties, alongside other irresistible spreads such as hummus and pate.

Black Powder Gin, produced in Weeton, will be sold at the event

Lauren Zawadzki, co-founder of The National Festival of Making, said: “At the heart of small batch, independent making and inspired, kitchen table businesses is food and drink. Many of the producers visiting The National Festival of Making in 2019 started out exploring their kitchen passions as a hobby before realising their skills and ideas could attract customers, each with an inspiring story that are very much part of the festival experience. This year’s line-up leaves nothing to chance, offering a huge range of local, national and international flavours to please everyone.”
Rachel McQueen, chief executive of Marketing Lancashire, said: “We established ‘Taste Lancashire’ to champion locally made produce, the people who make it and the wonderful array of places it can be enjoyed. From incredible producers, delis and farm shops, to some of the county’s most celebrated gastro pubs and restaurants, we believe Lancashire is England’s tastiest county. We’re proud to be showcasing a collection of producers and retailers within the Taste Lancashire marquee at this year’s National Festival of Making. Some of the best produce in the world is made here in Lancashire, and we look forward to seeing visitors leaving with bags full of delicious homemade food and drink.”

The full list of food and drink traders now confirmed to appear at The National Festival of Making 2019, with more to come, is:

• Shirleys Pies – tasty, homemade, traditional pies
• Ginger’s Comfort Emporium – piles and piles of decadent puddings
• Hanky Panky Pancakes – syrup smothered, stacked pancakes
• Sleazy Tiger – South Indian thalis, street food the way it’s eaten in Kerala
• Wah Wahs – deep fried Mexican churros, hot chocolate and spicy treats
• Pie Mezzanae – the famous Lancashire-baked pies with surprising twists
• Belgian Waffle Tuk – does what it says on the tin – delicious Belgian waffles!
• Chicken Little – crispy, tender chicken pieces served from a cute tuk tuk
• Burger and Lobster Brothers – doing what they do very well, this is the place for burgers and lobster
• Deli Delite – festival regulars bringing the spice with their curries and wraps
• Nasi Lemak Manchester – absolutely irresistible, authentic Malaysian dishes to savour
• Wignalls Yallo – Rapeseed oil from Standish Hall Farm,

The Bee Centre will be selling products made with honey produced by their Lancashire bees

• Batch Gin – multi award winning gin made in Burnley,
• The Bee Centre – honey products from Lancashire bees,
• Bowland Food Hall at Holmes Mill – a selection of what’s on offer regularly at the popular foodie destination
• Bowland Brewery – described as ales of outstanding natural beauty, brewed in the picturesque heart of Lancashire
• Cuckoo Gin – gin made on a farm in Brindle,
• Calyx Drinks – soft drinks made from flowers in Burnley,
• Heritage Kitchen – chutneys, relishes and marmalades made in Bacup,
• Black Powder Gin – gin distilled at Preece Hall Estate, Preston
• Mr Fitzpatricks – vintage cordials produced in Rossendale,
• Our Paula’s – flavoured butters produced in Chorley,
• Hoyle Bottom Spirits – producing Tinker Brook Gin,
• Nowt Poncy – low sugar/healthy cooking sauces from Rossendale,
• Panache Natural Flavour Infusions – producing flavour infusions, an ingredient popular with budding and expert mixologists,
• Love Cheesecakes – handcrafted cheesecakes from Poulton,
• Pretzel and Spelt, Bolton – Bavarian goodies and Alpine bakes from Bolton,
• Ripplehead Ices a traditional ice cream van

The National Festival of Making, returns to Blackburn, Lancashire for its third year in 2019, with the free-to-attend festival moving to a summer date for the first time. Of the 40,000 people visiting the 2018 festival, 10,800 took part in over 100 workshop sessions, engaging with makers as diverse as leatherworkers, engineers, ceramicists, chefs, technologists and fashion designers.

The immediate impact on the local economy of the two-day event has been estimated at just under £1million in visitor spending over the festival weekend with over half of visitors visiting local restaurants, bars and shops during their visit. With 91% of visitors, 41% of whom were under-21, stating that they had been inspired to explore new making skills, the festival’s long-term aim is to continue raising national and international awareness of the societal and personal benefits of making, moving visitors to consider their own talents, aspirations and making potential.

The promise of ‘a new kind of festival for a new age of making’ was made by co-founder, director, and Lancashire-born designer, Wayne Hemingway. The pledge by the Red or Dead founder (which established its manufacturing base in Blackburn in 1983), now leading HemingwayDesign to realise socially-conscious, creative design projects and festivals, has led to a one-of-a-kind, town centre event successfully uniting food and drink, technology, major manufacturing, engineering, art, craft and design.

The National Festival of Making and Art in Manufacturing recently announced funding commitments from Arts Council England, which has confirmed grant funding support for the festival for both 2019 and 2020. These projects are made possible by money raised by National Lottery players. Further support is provided by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and a range of private sponsors.

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