Things to do in Manchester

Spring in the Suburbs

West Didsbury
West Didsbury

As the days grow longer and the temperatures a little kinder we recently celebrated with a weekend exploring two of Manchester’s lively suburbs, Chorlton and Didsbury. First up a browse in Didbsury’s Cocoa Cabana, the chocolate shop that featured in the Observer Food Monthly’s 50 top foodie picks. The marble-topped counter is piled high with tempting homemade truffles, whilst the mini-wooden pantry features chocolate bars wrapped in the prettiest paper. Take a seat at one of their tiny bistro tables and you can enjoy thick real hot chocolate to rival that of any Provencal café.

Cocoa Cabana
Cocoa Cabana

Next it was on to Chorlton’s bustling Barbakan deli. Here we stocked up on tasty eastern and Mediterranean salads, falafel, hummus and some of their award-winning artisan breads. Take a ticket and join the queue which snakes past shelves full of European specialties. The atmosphere on a Saturday morning is not far off that around London’s Borough Market, packed with fellow greedies who love their food.

Artisan bread from Barbakan Deli
Artisan bread from Barbakan Deli

A stroll down west Didsbury’s high street is a good way to work off lunch, and don’t miss a quick look in Moth, our favourite little homeware shop.   Feeling hungry again?  And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon has some lovely cakes and loose-leaf teas; it even featured in The Independent’s Top 50 Tea Rooms.

Spring buds
Spring buds

Sundays are all about long walks and roast dinners, so after a jaunt round Chorlton Water Park we headed off to Jem&I. Their Sunday menu featured classic dishes that were simple but well cooked. The seafood fritto misto starter was fresh and tasty but it’s the main dish and puddings that really stood out here. The roast beef was perfectly cooked, tender with not an ounce of fat and it came with a fluffy Yorkshire and a colourful side dish of veg.  As good, if not better, than grandma used to make. The puddings were old school favourites such as sticky toffee or rhubarb and apple crumble and left us reminiscing about childhood memories whilst sitting back and admiring the Neil Rowland photography. A perfect end to another food filled weekend.

Jem&I
Jem&I

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