Leeds Indie Food festival returns for the third year this 11th-28th May, offering up almost one hundred exciting food and drink events over eighteen days.

We spoke to Festival Director Matt Dix (pictured below, left, with Simon Fogal, right) to find out more about LIF 2017.

It’s impossible to highlight the “best” or “most exciting” events across the festival, because of the sheer range (this year sees the festival broken up into strands of Eat, Drink or Do). Nevertheless, we couldn’t help getting very excited for #FindtheForest, a collaboration between Balcombe & Smith and Fiction which sees diners eating outside by open fire pits at an as-yet undisclosed urban garden. Unfortunately it’s sold out – but “we’re looking to add an extra night for that one due to high demand,” Matt reveals. Watch this space.

Matt also highlights the Yorkshire Wine School takeover, happening on the festival’s final weekend, for Meet the Merchants Wine Fair. “There’ll be independent merchants from all over the region plying their wares,” he tells us, “and your ticket includes unlimited tasting so it’s set to be a super festival finale!”

This year’s festival hosts three strains – Eat, Drink and Do. We asked Matt, why these three categories? “We’ve always had a real variety of events – I think the amazing diversity of what’s on offer at the festival is one of the things that makes us unique,” he begins, “so we wanted to makes that as clear as possible. You can’t just eat solidly for two weeks (believe me, we’ve tried),” he jokes, “and we know we have a pretty packed programme, so we wanted to provide a route into exploring everything the festival has on offer.”

In essence, then, the Eat, Drink, Do categories merely make it easier for the festival goer to sort through the events and work out which ones appeal most to them.

“We’ve got everything from wine tasting to learning about the history of IPA in the Drink strand. The Do strand is pretty special too,” he continues. “You can catch a film from our documentary collection curated by Film Fringe, check out an art or photography exhibition or even learn a new skill like professional food photography or chocolate making.” Don’t worry, though; despite this range of exciting events, Matt is quick to assure me that “we’ve still got all the innovative and cool dining and street food events you’d expect in the Eat strand too.” What a relief.

Passports cost £10, and entitle the owner to percentage discounts at every LIF venue, as well as priority ticket purchasing and discounts. For more information on Passports and LIF’s full range of events, go to leedsindiefood.co.uk

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