First up along the ‘main street’ were Smak! the Polish kitchen, who were serving up a variety of traditional Polish sausages plus their meat-stuffed pierogi (dumplings). Opting for the pork and beef sausage infused with fresh garlic (because when it comes to garlic, who can say no?), it came covered in onions and cosied up in a toasted brioche bun. It was packed with flavour and perfectly accompanied by their salt-water gherkins, whose tanginess cut through the rich meat. Using only prime cuts of meat for their sausages, which are cured and smoked on farm locally, the taste truly told the whole story.
Another Polish tradition, the dumplings came packed with either pork and beef sausage or a veggie option of country style cottage cheese, potatoes and onions. After being smothered in bacon lardons and spring onions and accompanied by a pot of sour cream, they made for a marvellous treat.
Not their first time at Belgrave Feast, Smak! are Leeds locals and can be found at food festivals, events and galas serving up all of the above plus guest dishes, including stews and soups. Check out their Facebook page for details of their upcoming appearances.
Next in line were Manchester-based Fat Annie’s who were also offering sausages (So. Much. Sausage), but these were of a different tack. With six different varieties to choose from (four of their usuals plus two specials), including traditional German Bratwurst for those missing the Christkindlmarkt and Spanish style chorizo sausage for punters wanting a kick, the people of Leeds were spoilt for choice.
Their veggie offering was the Mr Green, a vegetable blend sausage served up with pickles and crispy onions for a blend of textures that definitely didn’t leave anyone missing the meat, and their specials were twists on their usuals, piling them up with additions including red cabbage, American cheese and secret sauce!
If you missed these dogs or just can’t wait to taste them again, they have a spot in Manchester where they dole them out on a regular basis as well as gracing Leeds from time to time at other markets and street food events. Find out more here.
How do sticky risotto balls, brimming with cheese and homemade pesto then deep-fried and topped with rich tomato sauce, sound to you? These are arancini, a Sicilian inspired street food, and the ladies from Golden Balls are the new kids on the block serving them up in Leeds. Becky Peartree and Francesca Taylor are both final year Leeds University students who are now living the dream of setting up a street food business. They’ve been building up their trade before hitting big event Belgrave Feast, and it’s safe to say they smashed it!
Given the choice of ‘The Mozza Momma’, risotto stuffed with boccocini mozzarella, sunblushed tomatoes and homemade basil and pistachio pesto, ‘The Green Goddess’ filled with garlic spinach and creamy ricotta, or their Valentine’s special ‘The Aphrodite’, beetroot risotto with goats cheese and thyme and walnut pesto, it was a toughie, so we ended up trying them all. It’s evident that each combination of flavours has been thought out until perfection, with the fresh homemade pestos and choice of accompanying sauce (one mild, one spicy, both tomatoey and rich) completing the mouth watering street food dish. Garnished with sea salt, decorative edible flowers and balsamic glaze, not only did they look a picture, but flavour-wise, I cannot recommend them enough.
Another thing these Golden Gals were doing right were offering taster portions of both their mozzarella and marmite arancini balls – perfect for those wanting to fill only a small gap or who just needed that little bit extra after their full portion!
Look out for Golden Balls at upcoming events in Leeds by checking out their Facebook page.
Next up were some twists on the American classic, grilled cheese, from Meltworks. Coming up to Leeds from Lincoln for their second Belgrave Feast, their flavours included seafood with the ‘Crabby Melt’, meaty goodness from the ‘Beef Works’ which packed in red brisket and barbecue sauce and veggie favourite ‘Avo + Chilli’ that included three different cheeses and their homemade spicy chilli jam. Their offerings were squashed and toasted between two slices of organic sourdough bread, and served up with their Chick Pea Fries and a tomato and piquant pepper dip. Ramped-up, no-nonsense cheese toasties.
The guys at Meltworks are seen roaming around the North and the Midlands in their street food van…catch them at their upcoming events. Details on their Facebook page.
The Mac Shac
Another stall showcasing an American classic this month were The Mac Shac. Their focus is on getting a great mac and cheese base and allowing you to ramp up the flavours any which way you want with their variety of toppings and sauces.
If you’re not keen on the really cheesy stuff then this is for you. It’s not too sticky, not too cheesy and doesn’t over face you. I opted for a taster portion topped with Tandoori broccoli and cauliflower and their milder chilli sauce. Adding to the flavour and giving the pasta a kick, it went down an absolute treat. Other toppings for pimping up your meal included bacon, chorizo, jerk chicken and veggie chilli, the perfect comfort food for a chilly February day.
Keep an eye out on their Facebook for their upcoming events.
And now for the puddings. When I first arrived I was a little worried for the Doughnut Guy, tucked up in the corner looking rather lonely, but that’s just how the Feast works. Soon after the people of Leeds had had their fill of the savoury, they started on the desserts and an orderly queue formed.
He was serving up hot, miniature, freshly made doughnut balls covered in salted caramel or chocolate sauce. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside and rolled in either normal or cinnamon sugar, then topped with pecans, marshmallows and sprinkles, they made a great end to the mounds of food we had put away during the day.
Want these amazing doughnut balls at your event? The Doughnut Guy can cater loads of different occasions and tailors his sauces to your needs! Find out more here.
With the residents Dough Boys and their thin and crispy pizzas, Patty Smith’s juicy burgers and the tasty bakery treats of Noisette Bakehouse (you have to try their salted caramel brownies), Belgrave Feast showcases street-food talents far and wide, and this extraordinary line-up made for yet another successful festival.
The Feast takes place on the second Saturday of every month, so keep your eyes peeled to see who’ll feature next!