AN event at the Corn Exchange featuring robots made out of chocolate and a cheese and music matching session will confirm Leeds “as the epicentre of cool food and drink in the UK”, organisers say.
Cornucopia Underground on September 20 aims to highlight the strength of the growing independent food and drink scene which has helped cement the city’s status as one of the North’s top dining destinations.
It will see organisers the Leeds Food and Drink Association (LFDA), a not-for-profit, membership organisation for food and drink businesses, take over the whole basement of the Corn Exchange from 10am until midnight.
Co-organiser Nick Copland said: “Never before has the Leeds food scene felt so vibrant. There are literally hundreds of restaurants, cafés, street food vans, bars, food clubs, producers and people who are putting our fair city on the national food map.
“We’re so proud of all of their energy, passion, creativity and hard work and we wanted to share them with everyone in a one-off event in one of our most iconic buildings.
“Leeds may not have a Michelin-starred restaurant or a raft of celebrity chefs. It’s not Ludlow, Bray or Padstow. It doesn’t share its name with famous food like Melton Mowbray pies or Pontefract cakes.
“Despite this, Leeds is bubbling over with exciting and innovative food and drink, bursting with clever collaborations, creative culinary experiences and unique and wonderful bars, cafés, delis, restaurants and street food.”
The central area is open to the public during the day, with dozens of food stalls offering local produce including cheese, pickles, jams, bread and cakes from 10am to 5pm, as well as free music and entertainment and a Prosecco cocktail bar.
From midday, local firms will create a series of ticketed micro-events in the secret alcoves that surround the central open area, with tickets available on a first-come, first-served basis.
These include a yoga session with gluten-free snacks from 2 Oxford Place, ‘apocalyptic beer cocktails’ made by North Bar and a ‘cheese and music matching experiment’ organised by Chapel Allerton cheesemonger George and Joseph.
Other highlights include chocolate robot making, a competitive wine-matching event pitting independent supplier Latitude against Yorkshire Wine School, and an event called ‘The Periodic Table of Cheese Challenge’.
The finale will see a ‘great Leeds buffet’ featuring cheese from Homage2Fromage, bread from Leeds Bread Co-op, pies from Greedy Pig, cakes and puddings from The Sunshine Bakery and Moroccan cuisine from Cafe Moor.
Entertainment includes music from The Tom Hingley Band, led by the former lead singer with the Inspiral Carpets, and a show by La Belle Burlesque.
Fellow organiser Jo Murricane said: “We set up LFDA because we want to make Leeds more famous for food and drink. Leeds is full of people with shared purpose – we are cheerfully competitive – as if we are trying to out-do one another, but without losing a sense of co-operation.
“This attitude extends to staff and customers, creating a warm welcome, but also encouraging innovation and some risk-taking. This unique combination means anyone who loves food and drink is in for a real treat in Leeds.”
Tickets are available by visiting www.foodanddrinkleeds.co.uk.