Saturday, 13 June 2015

The BBC Good Food Show Summer

I went to the winter version of the BBC Good Food Show last year on something of a whim; when they advertised tickets for the summer show just a few weeks later, I bought tickets straight away.  I had the best time sampling food, watching James Martin in the Supertheatre, buying all the chocolate.  I just couldn't wait to do it all again.

Today was the big day, and it was worth the wait, although it was not as impressive a show as the November one had been.  I think this might be a seasonal issue. With the winter show, there are a lot of confectioners and such who obviously want to tap into the Christmas market.  As a summer show, there were far fewer sweet or novelty things on offer, with more space given over to infused oils, spice stalls, and wine.  This summer show was also paired with the BBC's big gardening event, so there was some space given over to flowery bits and pieces.  This was included in the ticket price (and I had a bit of a look around simply because my mum wanted to) but it meant that there was slightly less room for food than there seemed to be in November.  

But it was still well worth the effort.  I could have fed myself happily on little morsels of bread dipped in various infused oils alone.  Rapeseed oil seems to be the big thing, to the point that James Martin used it in his show in the Supertheatre, and there were some with dill, rosemary and chilli that were delicious.  I did find a stall where I was going to make some purchases at the end of the day, then I lost the stall and ended up not buying any oil.  Such is life.

Fudge was the confection of choice at the show.  There were some selling conventional flavours in blocks; others had it pre-boxed up and ready to go; there was even alcoholic fudge in wine and beer glasses, like this one from The Original Chocolate Dream Co.:


I bought it for my husband as a gift, but I have a feeling it could by the sickliest thing ever.  (Side bar: he says it's quite nice actually)

I didn't buy a huge amount in the end, although I did come home with an onion bhajee scotch egg (sorry, I didn't write down who from - I was in a frenzy of gluttony by this point) and some of the nicest macaroons ever:



The products from this stall were all gluten-free as well, so definitely worth a look if you have a wheat intolerance.  

One of my favourite things about these shows are the freebies.  Here's a selection of bits and pieces I accumulated on my travels (editor's note: some of this came out of the Good Food Show goody bag that costs £4, but you make the money back on the magazines alone):


The jar of spice-looking stuff is actually umami seasoning, which I was really pleased to pick up.  There was a stall selling umami dressing and it was, honest to God, one of the worst things I've ever put in my mouth.  Sorry guys, but no.  The seasoning, however, should add meaty, savoury depth to dishes without making my tongue sad.  Another megawin was an entire packet of Lotus biscuits (those little ones you often get with a cup of coffee).  I'm so addicted to these things that I fear they won't last the weekend.

At the end of the day, you can pick up another goody bag, free this time:



Not quite the haul that I got last time but, as a freebie, I'm certainly not going to complain.

Another highlight was seeing a demo from Michael Caines, who comes across as a thoroughly nice chap and an utter workaholic.  How he has time to run a kitchen, do all his charity work, and cook for the Williams team (plus family, other projects, etc.) is utterly beyond me.  I've seen him on TV a few times but had never realised that one of his hands is a prosthetic.  To see a man skin and cut a fillet of salmon, chop and prepare a salad, and put together a lovely balsamic dressing all one-handed really did put my knife skills and general kitchen competency to shame.  After the butter-drenched heart attack served up by James Martin, it was also nice to see a chef put together something that looked so healthy and fresh.  I'm gonna have to search out some of his recipes to see if he is my new chef crush.

Overall, it was a great day out and I have come back with a happy tummy and a few things that I look forward to trying.  I'm glad that I've got tickets to the Christmas show as it perhaps has a better range of stalls and more naughty nibbles than this more restrained summer variation, but I would not want to dissuade anyone from having a look around.  The ticket that I had wasn't even £15, so you've made your money back just by eating free samples.

But maybe steer clear of the umami...

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