BBC Good Food Show Winter
An annual festive food fest that’s definitely worth a visit. Crammed with sellers of all things food and drink, from larger companies to small artisanal producers, there is definitely something here for anyone who likes eating food. As well as the stands, there are also workshops to get involved with, and various stages to watch live demos and chats with the experts, including the Big Kitchen, which hosts the bigger culinary stars for a larger audience (you need to book the Big Kitchen when buying your ticket). Having worked at the Show last year, I was really excited to visit and enjoy it this time, and I wasn’t disappointed!
Photo credit – https://www.bbcgoodfoodshow.com/birmingham-winter/gallery
I went with my fiancé, Chris, and my parents, and as Dad drove us up to Birmingham, we were on his schedule – and it was a very early start! My alarm went at 6am and I duly snoozed it 3 times before dragging myself out of bed and into the shower. It was a struggle after coming back from holiday on the Wednesday and going back to work on the Thursday, but food and drink are strong motivation! On the positive side, we were there almost as the show opened, so had a bit of time to wander around before it go too busy, and make a few early purchases to collect later on. We had a hot drink to start proceedings, and felt fully prepared for a busy day of Christmas shopping ahead. Christmas shopping, right?!
So having gone with the intention of buying Christmas presents, in reality, I left the Show having only treated myself. (Oops!) However, while my day wasn’t productive in the way I had intended, I did have great fun doing it! I tasted gins, fudge, ice-cream and more without a single thought of buying gifts, but I’ve decided it’s fine. You have to treat yourself every once in a while – and what better time than at Christmas?
Needless to say, there was a lot of eating and drinking going on in our group. (That’s what you’re supposed to do at a food show I desperately told myself, as I reached for the next sample…) As it turns out, Chris is completely incapable of walking past a stand offering tasters without sampling every single one available, and to be honest, Dad was just as bad. Mum and I were a little choosier, in a bid to ‘be a bit good’, by when offered something as tempting as rhubarb gin, can you really say no? We didn’t. But more on that later…
All of that walking around and tasting was hungry work, so it wasn’t long before we stopped for a fairly early ‘lunch’ at around 11am (I blame the early start!). Bread rolls bursting with sausages and bacon filled more than a little hole, and we were back on our way. Because we stopped to eat so early we also had another snack later in the day, when conveniently we were passing Joe Delucci’s Gelato (if you haven’t already, try it!). I can confirm that banana and mint don’t necessarily go together, but are delicious as independent flavours. Just the extra energy we needed to get us to the end of the day, and as the 3 girls serving at the stand were singing and dancing while they scooped, I think we went to the right place!
As part of our super ticket, we had also booked a live demo in the Big Kitchen, with Tom Kerridge. He was brilliant, managing to cram in 2 meal recipes and a dessert, with plenty of tips and advice along the way, and the opportunity to get your questions answered. I was desperate to try his venison chilli con carne, and it’s definitely one I’d like to try cooking at home! A special mention also goes out to the camera man – some questionable activity and a lot of sneaky nibbling added a humour element to the show. It all fitted together really well and to top it off we had seats just a few rows from the front!
After the show, we had plenty of time to walk back around the stand outside and buy the things we wanted (for ourselves) and collect our purchases from the morning. So what did I buy? Here’s a quick look inside my BBC Good Food Show shopping bag…
55 Above Rhubarb Gin – http://www.55above.co.uk/
This was the first thing I tried at the show, and it’s easily one of the best. It’s handcrafted in small batches, infused with sweet English rhubarb.
The taste is much sweeter than a gin would normally be because of the rhubarb, and feels much more like a liqueur than a gin. Because of this, it’s delicious either alone or with a splash of tonic or soda, and would make a tempting festive addition to your Christmas day bubbles! – Rhubarb Gin Prosecco anyone?
McQueen Gin – http://www.mcqueengin.co.uk/
Photo credit – http://www.mcqueengin.co.uk/product/dry-gin/More gin – I know, I know. But this is a dry one, botanicals only here. It’s completely different to the flavoured gin above and therefore I needed to buy both. (I knew you’d agree!)
Made using Bulgarian Juniper, Grapefruit, Lime, Vanilla and Grains of Paradise, McQueen is full of flavour, and really is scarily drinkable. It’s produced in small batches in Callander, Scotland, and packaged in beautiful bottles that are wax-sealed by hand. This would make a perfect present for any gin lover this Christmas. Like me.
Photo credit – http://www.mcqueengin.co.uk/product/dry-gin/
Fox’s Spices – https://www.facebook.com/FoxsSpices/
Since Mum discovered these guys at the BBC Good Food Show Winter last year, I have gradually become more obsessed with their product. They offer a huge range of spices, from the ordinary, to the unusual, to the things you will never find in Tesco, and they’re all of an extremely high quality. As I’ve recently moved out from the cosy wing of my parents’ house (and Mum’s kitchen cupboard stashes of ingredients) I’ve had to build up my own collection of spices and herbs. Let’s just say I stocked up. Let’s say, the carrier bag was pretty heavy. But I feel like I’m ready to cook anything. Almost.
BBC Good Food Mag – http://bit.ly/2nDwxkx
It seems ridiculous, being as obsessed with food as I am, but until now I hadn’t actually read the BBC Good Food Magazine. So when I saw there was an offer on for 5 issues for £5 I decided that this was the time to try it. With the option to cancel after the 5 issues, I don’t feel tied into a contract, and it gives me a good few issues to see what I think! Plus, they were giving out free issues of several BBC Food Christmas titles, and a goody bag with sign up – so I have lots to read in the next week or 2 in preparation for festive feasting! (This bag was almost has heavy as my spices…)
So that’s my round up of the BBC Good Food Show Winter 2017. It was a great day out and a brilliant opportunity to test new things, and treat myself too! Just not so good for present shopping as it turns out…