Festa Italiana returns with a spotlight on female chefs and a grand dining experience by Poretti

Festa Italian returns to Cathedral Gardens for its 6th year celebrating Italian culture.

By Manchester's Finest | 6 August 2023

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Manchester’s celebration of Italian culture, Festa Italiana, is returning to Cathedral Gardens with a delightful spread of Italian food, drink, and entertainment from Friday 25 – Sunday 27 August 2023.

The event will kick off with ‘Festa Italiana Della Donna’, dedicated to lauding the achievements of female chefs in the Italian food scene. Noteworthy participants include Sofia Gallo, former MasterChef UK contender; Carmela Sereno Hayes, a specialist in pasta dishes; Valentina Ambrosino, the lead chef at Salvi’s; and Sienna Cecco.

Saturday evening introduces the ‘Grande Tavola’, a collaboration between Birrificio Angelo Poretti and Salvi’s. This ticketed event promises a marriage of traditional Italian dishes and Poretti lagers, featuring delicacies such as the Fritto Misto, a rich assortment of Neapolitan street food.

Photo: Si Ronconi

Masterclasses will be a festival linchpin, conducted by celebrity chefs Gennaro Contaldo and Giancarlo Caldesi on Saturday, followed by Gennaro’s second session and a segment with 2021’s Great British Bake Off champion, Giuseppe Dell’Anno, on Sunday.

Visitors can expect an array of food vendors:

  • I Knead Pizza and Proove – Specialising in Neapolitan pizzas.
  • Purezza – Revolutionising pizza with fully vegan and gluten-free options.
  • The Pasta Factory – Presenting hand-made pasta topped with traditional and innovative sauces.
  • T’arricrii – Showcasing arancini, the much-loved Sicilian specialty.
  • Café Cannoli and Prendi Il Biscotto – Catering to sweet tooths with authentic cannolis and Italian biscuits, respectively.
  • Grandpa Greene’s – Debuting an exclusive ice cream flavour, supporting The Christie NHS Foundation Trust.
Photo: Si Ronconi

There will be a Birrificio Angelo Poretti’s airstream, a new spritz bar with Italian aperitivi, and Birra Murano unveiling its Italian-style pilsner. Moreover, the Salvi’s festival bar will be stocked with selected Italian craft beers, wines, and Prosecco.

Italian-turned-Manchester-favourites Compagnia Sole Luna will once again be flying in from scorching Naples to provide a traditional Neapolitan folk music, revisited in a folk-rock style. The music under the Festa sky will also feature local artists and bands, including the city’s best-loved opera singer The Manchester Tenor, Mojoband, and more.

Children and families can participate in ‘Carmela’s Kitchen’, free pasta-making classes helmed by Carmela Sereno Hayes across the entire weekend, teaching pasta loving adults and kids alike how to make fresh pasta from scratch.

Photo: Si Ronconi

While entry to the festival remains complimentary, certain events are ticketed. It will operate from 12pm to 10pm daily.