In keeping with our recent trend to include some events happening outside of the great City of Leeds, I was asked to cover Chow Down, a food festival held in Halifax. I lived just outside of the town for several years so jumped at the chance to go on a sentimental journey to a place I once called home.
The festival was inspired by The Great Exhibition of the North, with a food line-up curated by Leeds Indie Food. There was another cherry on the cake in that the venue was the newly restored Piece Hall. I was so impressed by the place that I have written a separate article about it.
I have rarely seen Halifax looking better, with almost unbroken blue sky throughout the event. I have also rarely seen a foodie event which was better attended than this one. We may be getting a bit blasé about street food in Leeds, there being several great temporary and permanent places to partake. Indeed some of the stalls will be familiar to regular Leeds aficionados, with the likes of Golden Balls, Wagyu Lookin’ At and Greek Street Food, all of which have done a stint in Trinity Kitchen.
There were several others selling Chinese food, Burgers and Pizzas, I sampled a fried ham and cheese calzone, as well as the quirky Froconut which sells vegan ice cream in coconut shells.
The drinkers have not been forgotten either with The Prosecco Van, Sela Bar and one providing cocktails. There was a large beer tent carrying craft ales and cider which was very well staffed, meaning that service was quicker than might have been expected given the size of the crowd. Why is it that we English will form an orderly queue for just about anything except a beer when it is the order of the day to jostle? None of that here though.
In addition to the food and drink, there were craft stalls and a gazebo where the children could use the crayons provided to colour books, and a table tennis table was also set up for the more energetic of those present. No festival of any sort would be complete without music, which at the time of my visit was provided by up and coming Leeds-based jazz group Skwid Ink, and very good they were too.
The Piece Hall is in the town centre of Halifax about 100 yards from the railway station and the bus station. The bus journey from Leeds to Halifax is a bit of a roundabout route but the train takes only about 35 minutes. Follow the signpost at the station car park entrance.
Chow Down continues with a changing set of vendors over the summer, the dates being 20th to 22nd July, 31st August to 2nd September and 28th to 30th September, which are all Friday to Sunday. This meant that I didn’t have to say goodbye to Chow Down, just ciao!
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.