Travelling and eating are perhaps two of our favourite pastimes. So we were both delighted when we got invitations to the Moretti Gran Tour hosted by Birra Moretti. Since I only just got back from a recent trip to Florence with the boy, I couldn't wait to revisit some of the wonderful flavours of Italian cuisine. Secondly, it gave me something different and fun to do on my birthday!
So after a 4 hour drive back up to Manchester from Kent and a quick power nap, I headed down to the Old Granada Studios in Manchester to meet up with Lola and our bestie, Kerry.
The Moretti Gran Tour is a pop up street food event that will be showcasing the best of the UK's Italian street food vendors serving exciting pastas, tasty pizza and refreshing gelato! All whilst listening to music provided by Warehouse Project resident DJs and sipping on a cool pint of Birra Moretti beer.
On arrival we were given a map to guide us through the tour. It listed the vendors, what they had on offer and which region they represented. The Ravioli stuffed with butternut squash with speck by the Cooking Cooks sounded scrumptious!
We made our way into venue that used to be home to Coronation Street, Corrie fans can get tickets for the tour until late 2014, and made our way straight to the bar for a much needed drink.
After a little catch up, we made our way to the Arancini Brothers to try their tasty Risotto balls. I was surprised to learn that saffron was a feature in Sicialian cuisine. The mushroom arancini was so delicious that I had to have two! A pattern emerges...
Gnocchi was next - from Pasta E Basta - and there were two gnocchi dishes to choose from: Pork vs Beetroot. All three of us agreed the Beetroot was the winner with its sweet and creamy flavour. So after initially opting for the pork Lola and I went back for cheeky seconds of the beetroot.
Whilst waiting for our gnocchi order, we odered the tastiest Panzerotti Fritti (a fried calzone) from a Cheeky Italian with an east-end twang. He did ensure us that he is half Italian and should have brought along his very Italian dad for more authenticity! We will definitely try to catch their van next time we are in London if only for the Panzerotti Fritti.
The Ravioli by the Cooking Cooks, whose description initially caught my eye, tasted as good as it sounded! The pasta was cooked to perfection and the addition of speck was a highlight.
By now, we were quite full but couldn't resist Giacomo's moustache or his Torta Fritta which was served with Parma ham straight from a farm outside Parma. Yum! He exhibited his skill and love for italian cuisine during one of the many cooking demonstrations held that evening. We were able to watch how all of the food we ate was made with some vendors hosting demonstrations
Kerry who had not eaten any of the pork dishes, confirmed that the Pizza Pilgrims deserved their award winning status after munching on a slice of the margherita pizza.
We didn't get to try the Porchetta by Forza Win, due to the 30 minute cooking time, but it looked very tasty!
After more Birra Moretti and a shot of espresso by Terrone & Co, it was gelato time! And of course i tried most of the eight flavours brought to the event by Gelupo. After having a scoop of the sicilian lemon and sage followed by the sour cherry, I agree with Vogue that Gelupo's ice creams and sorbets are "happiness in a pot"! If you cannot make the Moretti Gran Tour and ever find yourself in London, visit their shop in Soho.
So if all of that sounds good to you, trust me it was, join the #morettimovement and head down to the street food market at Old Granada Studios, in Manchester, this weekend 17th - 20th of July 2014. If you can't make it up north, the tour is in London from the Thursday 31st of July to Sunday 3rd of August. Tickets cost £10 and include one free Birra Moretti, two dishes of food, a coffee and gelato. Dinner sorted!