Sunday, 22 March 2015

My favourite foodie day out

I kept my attendance at this year's BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham a secret for the simple reason that I was going to give my mum a ticket for Mother's Day.  She doesn't read my blog (or even know I write one) but I liked the idea of maintaining the surprise anyway.  Now that Mother's Day has been and gone, the proverbial cat is out of the bag and I can freely wax lyrical about one of my favourite days out ever, food-based or otherwise.

This is high praise indeed, particularly as I have only attended the event once.  I went along last year, again with my mum, and it was amazing.  I'm not usually one for big events – too many people can make my OCD kick-off in a big way – but I helped myself by getting there early, giving myself a bit of time to orient myself before the hoards arrived. 

Trust me, orienting yourself is a big deal at an event like this.  There is a lot to see and the NEC is a big place.  So much so, in fact, that I still felt like there were parts of the exhibition that I hadn't fully explored after a full day there.  The layout is kind of in sections, but very loosely so.  Most of the food stalls are muddled together but there is a cafĂ© and dining area, an alcohol zone (which, as a teetotaller, I largely overlooked), and a section devoted to kitchenware and awesome culinary gadgets and gizmos.  I continue to regret the fact that I didn't buy a whizzy whisk.  Honest to God, I saw someone buy about six of the blimmin' things as they claimed that they didn't know anyone who wouldn't love one.  They were so right.  I'm just crossing my fingers that I can rectify my error this time round.

Lemon and Poppy seed creamy white chocolate
Best chocolate ever
As you would expect, most of the stalls give out samples and freebies, so you can be pretty frugal without missing out on the fun.  The very first stall I saw last year sold brownies and I was in food heaven from there on in.  Personal favourites included the Seed and Bean chocolate company (whose lemon and poppyseed white chocolate is about the best thing I've ever tasted) and a chilli jam stall that allowed you to try everything from tame to blow-your-head-off concoctions in an ever-increasing succession of pain.  You could easily get away without buying a formal lunch but you're a stronger person than me if you can resist the lure of a full pig roast.  My mouth is watering at the very thought of it.

Live cookery demos and the opportunity to meet celebrity chefs is also a big draw for many people.  I had the pleasure of watching James Martin put together the most butter-laden three-course meal you can imagine.  However, as it was a Kenwood-sponsored event, my favourite moment was when the handle fell off one of their branded frying pans.  No sales initiated there.

As a final treat, a free goodie bag for all visitors means that you certainly take away more from the event than you paid for.  I got a whole clutch of food magazines, rice, a Hairy Bikers' curry sauce, posh crisps and other bits and pieces.  Oh, and a baking spatula, which is super cool.

Finding something that my mum and I can both enjoy, all day, in the same place, is a big deal.  And I can't wait to do it all again in June.

Tickets are still available and you can see more on their website.

Apologies for the blogvert but, honestly, it's like Christmas, Easter, my birthday and Wrestlemania all in one. Go!

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