Taste of Christmas
In an attempt to get myself into the spirit of Christmas, I decided to go along to Taste of Christmas. It’s a bit of a trek across town for me, but in all honesty, I think ExCel is a much nicer exhibition centre than either Earls Court or Olympia. So, why not…
[sfwp id=458 img=itemprop.png]4 December 2011[sfwp id=1 img=closediv.png] was first day of the show. It was relatively quiet when I arrived at about 11.30am, but by mid-day it was a lot busier. Now, my personal experience of Taste London was a bit coloured by the weather (it rained pretty much throughout the show last summer). So I was grateful for being indoors this time.
There were a number of show regulars…stands I’ve seen pretty much at every show I’ve been to. But, of course the Taste events do have their own special attractions, and there were a few notable newcomers.
My first, simple pleasure was tasting sausages from the Great British Sausage co. Very good quality sausages made with 100% pork shoulder and natural casing. Yes there’s a bit of me that regrets not buying some to take home…but then, I do end up with FAR too much food!!
A little further into the show I found some really fabulous samples of food from Puglia. There were small balls of rice with crispy vegetables wrapped in a tea infused tuna carpaccio and served on a courgette and mint puree, some fabulous burratina cheese with porcini mushrooms
and those great little biscuits that Italians seem to make so well. I was very impressed and even went to check out the hotel which looks amazing. My next trip to Italy is to Tuscany and Puglia is nowhere near. But, I’ve got it on my list – not only is there fabulous food but being in the south of Italy and by the sea, there’s also the promise of great weather and beaches!
I popped along to the Angela Malik cookery school which was in full swing. We’d already tried making one of the dishes she is demonstrating and I’d recommend it to anyone who is going to the show. Angela is a charismatic teacher who manages to make everything look simple and logical and who helps you make quick easy Asian dishes you CAN do at home! I went to the show preview event at her cookery school and you can read more about that here
On to the restaurant stands which were buzzing! Now, I really didn’t need to eat much…or I would have sampled something from every stand. So although I love Asia de Cuba, I skipped their menu because I’ve eaten at the restaurant. That despite their fabulous looking Prawn dish
Instead I was tempted by the Cinnamon Club Rump of Lamb on masala mash with saffron sauce, which was superb and amazingly pink and tender despite the challenging kitchen conditions. In fact I was SO tempted I forgot to take a picture!!!! Here instead is the display food…which really doesn’t do justice to what we were served.
As I said I didn’t really need to eat…so my next stop was to get a glass of something fizzy. I found my way to The Real Champagne Company where the friendly founder explained a little bit about his plan to bring grower produced champagne to the UK. I thought his plans were really special. The concept of a ‘tasting’ box of champagnes delivered on a regular basis with a mix of vintage, reserve and tradition bottles for an average under £30 per bottle is something I do think would attract some interest. And, now I’ve got a wine fridge I might just order a case for myself;). What is unique about The Real Champagne Company is that they are aiming to introduce us to high quality champagnes that are not major champagne houses. Worth checking out their website for details of some of the really very fine bottles they offer.
My final stop was to catch up with the people at Do You Like It. I did their new survey and am looking forward to finding out what wine I should be drinking! I have to admit, I like wine. I like most red wines. I like most dry white wines. And that’s about as much as I know! So, a little bit of help from their new computer system will be fantastic. I’m going to find out more about Do You Like It to post on here, because it sounds as if it will be a very useful resource.
To summarise, I really enjoyed Taste of Christmas. Rather more than Taste London, partly because of the indoor venue and partly because I escaped the crowds by going early on Friday. And I have a few new things on my wish list and watch list!