Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Taste of London Festival

As part of my birthday celebrations, my girlfriend had bought me tickets to the Taste of London festival, which luckily fell on the weekend just after my birthday.

It was a really good day out, the clouds looked threatening the whole day but it stayed dry for us. We went for the Saturday afternoon session, form noon till 4 pm and there were over 8000 people there sampling food from about 40 of London's top restaurants.


We tried food from a whole host of top chefs, from restaurants like Bumpkin, Cafe Spice Namaste, Fortnum & Mason, Launceston Place (and this was a good introduction to the following day when we went there for lunch - more to come on that later), Orient Express and Trinity. I took loads of pictures, so will tell a bit more about each of the places in a later post.

Apart from the top restaurants, there were all kinds of other stalls going on, most of them offering free samples and tasters. The first thing we did when we got there though was went to a free wine tasting introduction, just a very quick 10 minute intro to tasting wine and matching the flavour of the wine with the foods. We were given a glass of red, then white, and shown how to swirl the wine around the glass, and look at the legs to see how much alcohol and sugar are in there. Then take a sniff, and try and detect the different flavours. I have been on a wine tasting course before, but I don't think my nose is yet fully attuned to it... when the somellier told us what he could smell, it clicked and I thought "O yes, I can smell that", but apart from that just general fruity smell is what I can detect. Berries, vanilla and a bit of oak in the red, citrus scents in the white. But then when the guy said there were, for example, hints of melon in there, it starts to make sense. Anyway, that was quite a good start to the day.

Amongst the other free stuff was some chocolate, a favourite of my girlfriend. It was from a chocolate company called New Tree, and it was a new one on me. They had some really unusual flavours, like the "Tranquillity" lavender chocolate. This is a flavour I would normally associate with old ladies, but it worked pretty well. Then there was apricot, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, and the rather racily named "Sexy" which was made with dark chocolate and ginger.

We went on and bought a beer then, Chang, which is a Thai beer and came with complimentary Thai snacks - as you can see here, some spring rolls and fish cakes. A nice little nibble whilst walking around the show.


There were all kinds of things to look at whilst walking around, including a garden laid on by Rocket Gardens of Cornwall (my home land so I have to give them a plug). Now I will admit I found the guy running the stall, who turned out to be the owner of the company, a bit sarcastic and annoying but still he had a good concept and I recommend you check it out. Sorry, I forgot to take any pictures.

But I did get a shot of this lovely ice statue - advertising some beer or other, I forget which one now!


And another nice picture, a spit roasting pig. Pork seemed to be the order of the day for me, and I think I had about four or five different pork based dishes! I don't normally eat much meat, and even less pork, so this was a bit of a change, and quite a tasty one too.
Throughout the day there were various chef's performing in the Taste Theatre, which as you can see below is a bit like a TV cookery program but you get to be in the audience. We managed to catch Gary Rhodes, who seems to think he is very good looking I must say, and kept making bad jokes about how young and good looking he is. Anyway, he did make some quite nice recipes in half an hour - a smoked duck and orange salad, and then then a fish dish - I think it was pollock! Unfortunately no tasters with this though, I don't think he made enough for everyone.


All in all a really good day, it was a shame that it only lasted for 4 hours since we could have stayed there longer and felt somewhat rushed to go round it all. I guess though that if we had stayed much longer, we would have eaten and eaten until we could eat no more.

I still have more to post on this, including some sausage making, a bit more about all the food we tried, and some new oil which I discovered there!

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1 comment:

ankur said...

chocolates and beer ..... what a combination!