Food shows are always worth a visit as there’s always some thing new to see and this years BBC Good Food show was no exception. There’s always new faces from the various reality TV shows such as Masterchef and the Great British Bake Off, along with the old favourites from the celebrity chef world.
The Winter show saw thousands of food lovers converge on the NEC in Birmingham. With hundreds of stands, showcasing some fantastic quality food and drink products, it was the ideal place for a spot of leisurely Christmas shopping.
Well known celebrity chefs entertained the crowds at the 8 cookery stages and theatres, with a range of cookery demonstrations, and as well as being interesting and entertaining, there’s always lots of great tips on how to improve your cooking skills. I picked up quite a few helpful hints when I attended a session with Irish chef, Rachel Allan and Yorkshires old favourite, Brian Turner.
Being part of the BBC Good Food Show Blogging Community, also gave me an opportunity to chat with some of the producers to find out more about their products. Some were lucky enough to be ‘BBC Good Food Show Bursary Award’ winners, awarded for their excellent products and given the opportunity to exhibit at the show.
And some just had great produce that caught my eye.
One stand I Couldn’t pass was Scotland’s Ramsay of Carluke . Andrew Ramsay was proudly showcasing his award winning, delicious bacon, haggis , black pudding and sausage products. Andrew and his family have been producing bacon for over 150 years in Scotland’s Clyde Valley. He had every reason to be smiling as he told me that chef Tom Kitchen was serving Ramsay’s haggis at No 10 Downing Streets ‘St Andrew’s day’ dinner. All the products are available at stores throughout the country and on line at http://www.ramsayofcarluke.
Promoting Scotch beef and lamb was Jock from Moray based MacBeths Butcher along with staff from Quality Meat Scotland. The family run butcher provides high quality beef from their own herds, with lamb and pork coming from nearby farms. There was some fantastic looking cuts of meat on their counter and lots of advice on cooking and recipe booklets from the staff at Quality meat Scotland. Macbeths meat and game is available on line at http://www.macbeths.com. For further information on Scotch beef and lamb products, see http://www.scotchbeefandlamb.co.uk
Soralina UK is a small family business selling an outstanding range of olive oils, Italian pastes and pasta.Launched in 2012, the company source their oils and other authentic products from small artisan producers in the Abruzzo region of Italy. The pastes, which come in a range of flavours, asparagus, artichoke, black olive and chilli, will add great flavour to dishes such as risotto, pasta or even grilled meats and fish. Further information from www. soralina.com
One not to be missed and definitely in the deliciously different category was Pembrokeshire Beach Foods Co with their colourful, eye catching stand. A worthy winner of a BBC Good Food Show Bursary Award, the company have cleverly used foraged seashore ingredients found on the Pembrokeshire coastline to produce a range of seaweed based products. After testing out the concept on the UK street food scene and festivals,they went on to develop some including fantastic tasting products such as Ship’s Biscuits,cakes, Lava Bread Pesto and seaweed flavoured butters.
Another BBC Good Food Show Bursary, ‘Edwards Cordial’ is a relatively new brand of cordials and are quite different to any others I have tasted. Using fresh natural ingredients from his local area in East Anglia, Edward has a produced a range of flavours that reflect the natural larder of the area. These include Rhubarb and Lavender, Blackcurrant and Basil , Strawberry and Mint and Spiced plum. Delicious just as a drink or they can included as a mixer for a cocktail. The warming flavour of the spiced plum would work well as part of Winter cocktail or mulled wine. Further information at http://www.edwardscordial.co.uk
Former Masterchef finalist and now Chocolatier, Ben Axford is also a very worthy recipient of a BBC Good Food Show Bursary Award. His handcrafted luxury chocolates are made using quality natural ingredients and Ben’s is the only company in the UK using vintage chocolate, chocolate from 2009 beans. I was lucky to chat with Ben and taste some of the range, including his decadent ‘Salted Caramel Collection’ ‘Two Chilli Milk Chocolate Truffles’, ‘White Chocolate and Pistchio Truffles’. If you are looking for a special chocolate gift, this range is well worth trying. Every chocolate is handcrafted and individually decorated before being placed into a luxury handmade gift box.The range of chocolate treats are packaged in cellophane bags and finished with luxurious ribbons and labels. Definitely an ideal gift for that special person or if you want a special treat for yourself. Further information at http://www.benjaminchocolatier.co.uk
I also took part in an interactive session with chef Marcus Bean in the Magimix theatre and that gave me an opportunity to use some of their appliances. Although I own some Magimix appliances, it was good to get the chance to use some of their other appliances, and get some useful tips from the Magimix staff.
My trip to the show was very worthwhile. If you are interested in food, new products and equipment or want to see your favourite TV chefs in action then this is the place to go. The next show will be the Summer Show in June 2014 and details are available at http://www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com