On the sixth day of Christmas, we went festiiii-vaaaallll-inngggg [sorry – these are going to get cheesier by the day. ;-)]
The Taste of Christmas Festival was held in the Excel Centre on the London Docklands this year. I had never attended before, but I knew one of my favourite bloggers (Londonbakes) had attended the Taste Festival, so when I saw a discount on tickets, I thought it might be a good way to find some delicious food ingredients. Since I had missed seeing some of the demonstrations at the Good Food Show, I came armed with the knowledge that I would need to queue early and often – and have no qualms about stepping on people’s feet.
But since we arrived around 11, we took a quick loop around the Centre. If any of you are heading to food conferences in London, I would definitely recommend arriving early – around lunchtime, it becomes very uncomfortable to push through the audience! The first stand we spotted which caught my eyes was NutShot – I am a lover of pistachios (as a child, I’d eat through a bag as an after school snack) and I really wanted to sample their spicy black pepper pistachios. It’s delicious – the spice really does complement the pistachio, but as a word of warning, it can be quite spicy!
The next stall was probably my favourite: Titchy Kitch is a company which is trying to get children interested and involved in baking. It’s an amazing idea and so they not only hold children’s parties, but they sell kid-friendly baking goods. I really loved these robot measuring cups (great for little boys who like to put things together!) as well as these Russian dolls (I love the idea of having 1/3 and 3/4 cups measurements, to be honest!) Their website is worth a serious browse regardless of whether you have kids! I had a chance to have a bit of a chat with them and I was really impressed by how passionate they were about getting children interested in creating their own food.
We then stopped to buy an absolutely amazing bite sized pastry from Choux. They had lots of delicious seasonal pastries, such as gingerbread and Christmas pudding, but myself and Beardy Boyfriend were torn between the salted caramel and the chocolate salted caramel (as were the lovely ladies at the stand.) So we tried one of each – and I have to say, I definitely preferred it with a hint of chocolate! They’re absolutely delicious and at a pound each, just a nice little taste of luxury. Apparently they have a market stall which travels around London – I’ve already started following them on Twitter so I can keep up with where they’re heading to!
We also bought some smokey lapsang sauce from Chan Cham (which was incredibly delicious on a stir fry on Monday night). It’s a nice family own business from Blighty and we really didn’t pay much more than you would for a bottle of Piri Piri sauce or Spicy Barbeque from Marks & Spencers.
This was pretty cool as well: The Celebrity Bake Book, which raises money for the Ben Kinsella Trust (which works to prevent knife crime in society) was also there. I had a flip through, and in addition to the foodies who you’d expect, there are recipes from a bunch of people you wouldn’t think of, such as MP Diane Abbott. It’s not really a groundbreaking, cutting edge cookbook, but it is worth a look for those who are interested in what celebrities (or more likely, their mothers) cook.
After that, we headed over to lurk around for about half an hour in order to catch Mary Berry’s demonstration (the theatre was bursting at the seams, so many people wanted to attend!) Mary Berry was really lovely and friendly while she made a chocolate cake and Rocky Road – very willing to chat about the Great British Bake Off and what all the contestant were like. She was very funny and very easy with the crowd – so I’d definitely recommend going to see her if you’re ever at an event she’s attending!
Overall, we really enjoyed it and I’d definitely attend a Taste festival again – but it certainly became a lot better value due to the discounted tickets (I would keep an eye out for deals from Amazon Local, Groupon or Living Social) Did anyone else attend? What did you think?