On Saturday 16th November hubs and I went to the BBC Good Food Show at Olympia in Kensington, London.
Visitors have the opportunity to sample and buy from over 300 food & drink brands and artisan producers, and be treated to some of the nation’s favourite chefs and experts.
I suppose you could class hubs and I as a foodie couple – we love food! We love trying new foods, going to farmer’s markets, eating out, cooking, watching cookery programmes (our favourite channel is The Food Network!) and going to food shows! Whenever we go on holiday, you’ll find us trying the local cuisine or buying food souvenirs! So, spending a morning and afternoon at the BBC Good Food Show, for us, is a great day out!
We’d been at Kensington Olympia back in September for the Home Improvement Show (which I’ve yet to blog about!) and it’s a long old journey for us in Essex all the way over to West London, but getting to sample lots of yummy food makes up for that!
As a blogger, I was very lucky to have a media pass to get into the event and also had access to front row seats to watch Michel Roux Jr in the food theatre. After being in the presence of Marco Pierre White back in September and now Michel Roux Jr, for me as a foodie was amazing!
On arrival to Olympia, we were given our media passes and then headed straight upstairs to the Supertheatre where Michel Roux Jr was about to take the stage and cook Coquilles St. Jacques with something…that I didn’t quite catch, so luckily, I’d taken a quick video on my iPhone where I will let chef tell you himself!
Whilst cooking, he was being interviewed and went into detail about how to open scallop shells, how to cook them, and then finally showed how to plate up his dish – which did look delicious! I love scallops, but they are a luxury seafood aren’t they? Definitely not your every day food!
He also answered questions from the audience, one of which was “what would be your death row meal?!” His answer?…
With the cookery demonstration over, we headed out into the hall to start visiting the event stands and discover some new tasty treats to buy and bring home!
Chilli products featured a lot as we walked around the various stands – sauces, jams, jellies…from mild to scorching hot, if you love chillies you’d be hard pressed not to find something to buy from one of the artisan producers selling their wares. What I love about food shows is that you can try before you buy. Over the years we’ve bought lots of different unique products that you can’t find in your local supermarket.
One product we really enjoyed the taste of were the oils from Scarlett & Mustard, I especially loved the lime and chilli oil dressing – it was delicious, and I couldn’t help but keep dunking little pieces of bread into the pot. Of course, I had to buy a bottle! And also bought a bottle of the honey dressing and ginger & soy sauce dressing – all so, so good.
I got talking to the Julian, the founder, (along with his wife, who wasn’t there) of this brand of these sauces, marinades, dressings and oils. He told me the story of how they came to be, that it was his wife’s son who had managed to sell some bottles of dressing and made £76 doing so…and that is where the story began. You can read more on their website here.
He also allowed me to have a try of a new product which isn’t available to buy yet…curd. I am a sucker for lemon curd and was interested to be able to try out different flavours. By far my favourite was the blackcurrant and star anise curd which was, I can only describe as, heavenly! A lovely hit of blackcurrant and then a warm, not over powering flavour of star anise comes through. I’m not a big aniseed fan, so was surprised at how much I love the taste. Definitely one for the store cupboard when it is available!
There were a few stands with Japanese food for sale including the Japan Centre where we bought some really tasty, (and addictive!) Ohgiya Wasabi Tempura Seaweed Crisps. We bought a big bag of them after sampling some at their stand. The bag didn’t even last until we got home – we noshed the lot on the train journey!! We were also able to sample some sushi at the Yutaka stand where sushi making was being demonstrated and the opportunity to buy sushi making products at a discounted rate. Hubs bought a bag of goodies including sushi rice, wasabi and a rolling mat so that we can have a go at home – we love sushi! For his wedding present I gave him a sushi making experience which we both had a lot of fun doing.
Another stand which we came to was an organic food delivery company called Abel & Cole. I have always loved the idea of fruit and vegetable boxes, which is one thing that Abel & Cole provide. What I really liked about them was that they’re not afraid to put odd shaped fruit and veg inside -unlike supermarkets!! There’s nought wrong with wonky veg!
Not only do Abel & Cole provide seasonal fruit and vegetable boxes, but they also sell a range of dairy, meat, fish, food products – like pies and soups, drinks and even household products. They work with directly with farmers, growers, makers and bakers and all their packaging is recyclable as well.
These days we live in an age where so many things are pre-packaged or uniform, that we are probably all guilty of forgetting the roots of where food comes from. I plan to try out the service to see how we as a family get on with it and will be sure to report back to you all.
Of course, you can nibble your way around a food show trying out all the samples that are on offer, but there was also a pop up restaurant and street food vendors.
We decided to try out The Bell & Brisket food truck and one of their salt beef sandwiches. We chose to have a bagel rather than rye bread, and for £6 each we both received the most delicious salt beef we’ve ever tasted! I had ‘The Lord Rupert’ with with red cabbage and hubs had ‘The Viscount Kimchi’ with kimchi (a Korean pickled cabbage). They both had a spreading of mustard on the bagel, pickles and blow torch melted cheese – yummy and if you are in the city, do try them – they’re said to be the best salt beef bagel in London!
There were over 200 exhibitors at the BBC Good Food Show, and by the mid-afternoon the exhibition hall at Olympia was heaving with people! If you want to get in there and try (and buy!) as many things as you can, then I recommend arriving early. We noticed a big difference in the amount of people from when we arrived at 10am to when we left at around 3pm.
With so many different producer’s stands to visit it is impossible to see them all! I’m sure we missed out loads during our time at the show. But we nibbled on cheese and chorizo, drunk chocolate wine (yum – and bought some too!) and saw wine expert Oz Clarke.
We even witnessed a guy selling coconut cocktails – straight from the coconut…some scary, but impressive knife skills! Sadly, hubs does not like coconut so wouldn’t try this, and I didn’t either – by now we were well and truly stuffed and couldn’t fit any more in!
I didn’t take photos of the very tasty and very different pumpkin seed pesto made with the seeds and oil from pumpkins from Bucino. We did buy some products from the stand – I’m The Purple Pumpkin Blog – of course I’m not going to say no to trying out a pumpkin product!! I’ll be sharing with you very soon!
Nor did I take a photo of the Simply Cook stand. Simply Cook is a new concept where you receive recipe kits through your door – all you do is provide the fresh ingredients. Simply Cook kindly allowed me to take home a recipe kit containing recipe cards and taste ingredients (herbs, spices, stock etc) to create four different meals for two people. I am going to be reviewing this in a separate post, so please do watch out for it – I’m very excited to try it out as I just love the concept.
Finally, to end all meals, I have to have something sweet, and no matter how full you are, you can always find a little room for dessert! So many sweet treats were on offer – cupcakes, macarons, meringues…and all so, so tempting!
The most unique sweets I saw were the cutest of cute meringue drops from the Meringue Girls. The stand was busy so didn’t get to try anything, nor buy, but I’ve read on their website that they do pop up at street food events, so I hope to be able to try them out soon – although, they look almost too good to eat!
And so ends our day at the BBC Good Food Show in London – a fab event for the foodie! The London shows are now over for this year, but there are shows still to come in Birmingham and Glasgow…so if you love food, then why not attend – you won’t be disappointed!