Having attended the BBC Good Food Shows in Birmingham and London over the past few years, I was verging on the delirious hearing that it was coming to my home county of Kent. After a 20-minute drive I arrived to find plenty of parking and headed straight to the ‘supertheatre’ to watch Gennaro Contaldo and Thomasina Miers cook up some delicious-smelling Italian and Mexican food. Sweetcorn fritters and fried lemon and orange salad were stand out recipes for me. Thomasina Miers did fabulously considering she had been up most of the night with a sick 10 month old! As a regular at Wahaca it was good fun to see her cooking live.
Jolly Olly Smith, the wonderful wine buff, did a fabulous job keeping us entertained and managed to maintain a light-hearted conversation flowing between the three of them on stage. After being suitably entertained, I headed straight to the Show and was pleased to meet a selection of local, Kent producers including KentsKitchen, which wowed the crowds with freshly made curry using their meal kits. Produced in Sevenoaks, it is marketed as ‘restaurant food in 20 minutes’. The packaging stands out – transparent packs show a trio of ingredients in a tower – and covers a range of delicious meals including tagine, chow mein stir fry, firecracker sweet and sour, cottage pie, gado gado and beef redang. The gado gado kit includes infused garlic oil, gado gado curry paste and curry spices. The ingredients are handpicked and mixed for you, so you just need to add your choice of meat/vegetables.
KentsKitchen is preparing to launch Posh Noodles including Spicy Szechuan, Miso Prawn & Wild Garlic, Teriyaki, Beef Pho and Pad Thai. Sold online at http://www.kentskitchen.co.uk, the company is seeking retail distribution in the UK.
The Kent Cider Company (http://kentcider.co.uk) was also at the Show alongside a host of other alcoholic drinks companies including Toffoc (http://www.toffoc.com), a favourite of mine from North Wales, The Bubbly Champagne Company and Rubis Chocolate Wine, which was absolutely delicious (www.rubiswine.co.uk).
Garlic, chillies (habanero, scotch bonnet) and cheeses featured heavily, and sampling highlights were Snowdonia Cheese’s chocolate chip cheese, pickled onion cheese and their Black Bomber, which is a delicious feature in our local pub’s ploughman’s, and I couldn’t resist having a bite (www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk)!
Chan Cham sauces (www.chancham.com) were delicious and stood out for me versus other spicy sauces on show, particularly the scotch bonnet and black pepper cooking sauce.
The Garlic Farm’s Vampire’s Revenge (www.thegarlicfarm.co.uk) was my favourite of the wide range on offer with a deliciously sweet flavour from the plums and a kick from the habanero chilli, as well as, of course, a potent garlic note. It was really delicious.
The only energy drink that I saw was a welcome addition to the Show, as I'd not had a chance to sample it before. Pussy (www.pussydrinks.com) is a 100% natural energy drink that is caffeine free with had a fragrant, fruity and floral flavour. Having sampled many energy drinks during a recent functional beverages project, I was pleased to find one that had avoided the 'medicinal flavour' route. Pussy contains crushed grapes, lime juice, lightly carbonated water, milk thistle, guarana, Siberian ginseng, sarsaparilla and schizandra. Available to buy in Selfridges, Itsu, independent retailers, online and selected Tesco stores, I'd definitely buy Pussy again if I fancy a lift without plumping for my usual 'flat white'.
It was surprisingly quiet at the BBC Good Food Show, compared to other consumer foodie events, and chatting to many of the exhibitors, apparently Sunday was one of the busiest of the four days. I’m hoping that the Show returns to Kent next year, but whether some of the smaller producers will be interested in coming back again will depend on the leads gathered and worked on over the next few weeks. Fingers crossed!
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