Góbéfest 2023: A celebration of food, drink and music from the Carpathian Basin 

Góbéfest returns from Friday 23 - Sunday 25 June.

By Emma Davidson | 15 June 2023

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Image: Góbéfest

The UK’s only free festival dedicated to food, drink, music and culture from Transylvania and the Carpathian Basin is returning to Manchester at the end of this month.

Góbéfest 2023 will take over Cathedral Gardens from Friday 23 – Sunday 25 June, bringing with it a range of culinary delights, dancing, music and family entertainment across the weekend. Now in its 17th year, the festival runs each day from 11am-11pm and pays homage to the lesser known expanse of Eastern Europe. 

The Carpathian Basin, also known as the Pannonian Basin is a huge plain spanning several countries, including; Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, Ukraine and Slovakia. Góbéfest brings together a range of traders offering favourites from across the region, including giant pans of slowly simmered stews, to fried flatbreads and show-stopping cakes. 

The Góbé Grill is new for 2023. Image: Góbéfest

New for 2023, visitors can expect food from the Góbé grill, a traditional Hungarian and Romanian barbecue offering three types of spicy grilled sausages, mititei (barbecued Romanian skinless sausages made from pork, lamb and beef) and meaty and vegan gulyás (goulash) all cooked by local Hungarian people.

Another new trader for this year, Transylvanian Desserts will be offering spit-roasted kürtöskalács (chimney cakes) filled with different flavours of ice cream, as well as Hungarian cheesecake and beigli, a traditional sweet roll filled with a swirl of poppy seeds. They’ll join award-winning bakery Parázska Chimney Cake known for their chocolate and chilli version of the kürtöskalács.

The Langos Factory will be on hand with their deep-fried lángos, Hungarian flatbreads topped with creme fraiche and cheese and stuffed cabbage leaves, whereas Levenshulme-based Delicii Românești will be bring Romanian plates including ciorbă de burtă (tripe soup), fasole cu ciolan (beans with pork) and tochitură, a dry dish made of cubed pork.

Hunagrian kürtöskalács, also known as chimney cakes will be available from various traders across the weekend. Image: Góbéfest

There’ll also be food from London-based bakery Papanași Românești, who will be selling waffles alongside their cottage cheese and sour cream-filled doughnuts, topped with fruity jam. Pompas Mezes’ Hungarian honey bread is another dish not to be missed at Góbéfest this year. Intricately embellished, the bread often features designs reminiscent of lace and embroidery. The honey preserves the bake, so it can be kept for over 10 years in its sealed packaging.

A food and drink festival would be incomplete without a good bar, and at this year’s Góbéfest, Manchester Union Lager will provide pints across the weekend, alongside a Szicsek palinka bar pouring extra strong fruit spirits.

Aside from the food and drink, there’ll be a range of artists and performers taking over the main stage of Góbéfest this year, including The Children’s Philharmonia of Szentegyháza, a unique ensemble founded 40 years ago in the Hungarian-speaking Transylvanian community of Vlahita. They’ll be joined by folk five-piece Yek Duy, Michal Borkowski, Finom Band, Csjilla and more. Góbéfest has also announced family activities including a Bulgarian folk dance workshop, a zither tuition workshop, kalocsa painting masterclass and a Romanian folk music session. 

Góbéfest 2023 is completely free to attend. You can view the festival’s full programme below.