LEEDS became the cosmopolitan capital of world cuisine this weekend for the Yorkshire Food and Drink Show.
The three-day show began on Friday, with more than 100 exhibitors, and brings the 17-day Leeds Food and Drink Festival to a close.
Stalls selling food from India, the Middle East and the Caribbean stood shoulder to shoulder with others selling meats, cheeses, pies and puddings from all over Yorkshire.
It also boasted live cookery demonstrations, craft ale tasting sessions and cocktail classes.
Few could deny Saturday’s heavy rain had an impact on turnout this year.
“It’s not like we are selling tinned tomatoes,” said regular Francesco Mazzella of Leeds-based Casa Mia. “If you lose a day, you lose a day. It’s not like you can make it all up tomorrow.”
But he was equally adamant the event is an important one for businesses like his - both in terms of income and reputation.
“Last year, the weather meant it was one of the busiest but, even if it rains, it’s important to be here,” he said. “It’s good public relations as people will see us and learn about us and then maybe they will come to the restaurant in Chapel Allerton.”
Leeds’ Revolution bar has its permanent home just outside the festival entrance but deputy manager Jack Lucas was running a cocktail bar inside too.
“It’s a great event and helps with footfall across the whole of the city centre,” he said.
“As for the weather it’s always a bit of a roll of the dice but, even though it rained on Saturday, the atmosphere was great and didn’t put a dampener on anything. It’s great to see people learning something about different cultures through food and drink.”
Julie Pryke from Farnley admitted to visiting the event regularly - and attended twice this year. As it rained on Saturday, she and her daughter came back yesterday to make up for it.
“It’s a bit of a ritual for us,” she said “It’s brilliant because there’s something different every year. I love trying all the nibbles.”
And Richard Hunter and partner Laura Lennard-Jones from Headingley agreed the festival had maintained its standards.
“It’s fantastic - just as good as last year. There’s always so much to see and to try. It’s a great showcase for local businesses - and long may it continue.”