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Saturday, 18 May 2013

Fiesta del Fuego: Chilli-Based Fun Hits Manchester's Northern Quarter this Bank Holiday Weekend

By and large, Mr Liz is a man of simple but definite tastes (except in matters of wife choice, obviously, where he is a man of sophisticated but definite tastes). He likes beer, for example, and he likes just butter on his toast, nothing fancy, and when I abandon him for an evening he likes nothing more than for me to defrost a mystery item (often a stew, or similar) from the freezer and leave him to eat it poured over chip-shop chips. There is little deviation from this pleasant but immovable Man Routine; indeed, I find the predictable nature of his requests enjoyably reassuring. And when it comes to food, when Mr Liz is allowed to choose he always asks me to make the same thing: chilli.

It is hardly surprising, then, that our kitchen calendar has a huge red ring metaphorically crayoned around the date of Saturday 25th May, with the words "Chilli Festival" carefully marked in excitable boy writing. For next weekend sees the arrival of Manchester's inaugural Fiesta del Fuego in the Northern Quarter, a celebration of all things chilli which will see High Street transformed into our own, homegrown version of a Mexican street festival (I know it's homegrown, as I have to append the very Mancunian words "outside the Fish Market" to the location descriptor). There will be stalls selling chilli products, a Mariachi band, and a piñata pit which promises to let a papier-mache chilli take the heat rather than the more traditional long-suffering donkey - but the real attraction looks to be the Chilli Smackdown: six familiar NQ faces competing to cook the best chilli and become "Fuego Champions". The full line-up has now been confirmed, and features Home Sweet Home, Kosmonaut, Liquor & Burn, Pancho’s Burrito, Kahlúa Coffee House and Soup Kitchen; entry to the event is free, but for £10 you can be a chilli judge and taste all the chillies as well as snaffling a cocktail from Kahlúa Coffee House - your last chance to try one before they disappear again as swiftly as they came.

The event runs from 12 noon, and full details can be found here. Still, as Mr Liz has his chilli-judging place already confirmed, he is happy to proclaim himself the real "Fuego Champion" in all of this...

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