The BBC Good Food Show Summer returned to the NEC in Birmingham Thursday 13 – Sunday 16 June for four days, packed with the latest products and trends, inspirational tips and advice topped with a host of famous faces.
A star-studded line-up of some of the world’s top chefs attended, with Ainsley Harriott returning to the Show for the first time in over a decade. He took to the Big Kitchen stage alongside Michelin masters Tom Kerridge, Raymond Blanc and Michel Roux Jr, and Show favourites Mary Berry and Nadiya Hussain. Plus, TV cook and author Prue Leith.
Visitors could browse, shop and taste their way around an amazing selection of hand-picked artisan producers and well-known brands. From the latest and innovative kitchen gadgets to the freshest seasonal produce and exciting products.
I was lucky enough to attend with a press pass from
The Ticket Factory and was greeted with a slightly overwhelming amalgam of fascinating stalls and stages.
The Stage Is Set
Even by mid morning the large hall was buzzing with foodies, chefs and exhibitors all wandering around following their noses and turning up at various stalls, like bees buzzing from flower to flower, sampling the next tasty tipple.
I spent the first few minutes just drifting aimlessly and decided it was time to stop and try a few food and drink samples. There really was too much to cover, here are some highlights of my day.
Mill House Roast from Sutton Coldfield were promoting their finest British produce with a locally sourced pig which was spit roasted. The pork baps proved extremely popular as was the crackling. The Knife Sharpener Guy stood nearby, demonstrating razor sharp knives – plenty of chopping going on beneath his finest bowler hat!
“No Preservatives, No Additives, Gluten Free” is the tag line for Punjaban curries and pastes. Free from any artificial ingredients, with hand made bases, to start your authentic curry – the aromas of the samosas were irresistible. A taste of Glen Moray Fired Oak, Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky warmed my cockles and helped fuel my meandering.
A stop-off at the BBC Good Food Stage was a perfect chance to see a personal fave Raymond Blanc, who gave an empassioned gesticulative speech which captivated the audience and was a welcome chance to sit down for a moment.
A Coopers Gourmet Pork & Duck sausage roll glazed with orange marmalade was hard to resist, as was a swig of Mr Black cold brew coffee liqueur.
Back to the food frolicking and onto Sticky Chocolate Ltd‘s hand made chocolate slabs, all the way from Blackpool. In sharp contrast I then sampled some sausages from Continental Cottage‘s European meat stall washed down with a taste of Smashing Wines who specialise in quality French wines, promoting small producers who respect the environment and their vineyards, concentrating on producing natural, biodynamic and organic wines.
A Coopers Gourmet Pork & Duck sausage roll glazed with orange marmalade was hard to resist, as was a swig of Mr Black cold brew coffee liqueur. Chef Bernie‘s hot sauces were causing a stir, and Sawley Kitchen‘s award winning Yorkshire biscuits provided a sweet crunch soon after. Toffoc toffee Vodka liqueur, traveled all the way from Anglesey, North Wales, handing me a small sampler to take away which was glugged later that day and can highly recommend. Whilst on the alcohol tip, a microwaved Tipples Irish Coffee proved an additional pick-me-up.
Schoolyard Chillies from Scotland were an interesting refuge from the madding crowd. A social enterprise that exists to provide some of the finest chilli products whilst helping Ghanaians improve their lives by working with small, independent farmers. The team provide locals with seeds at affordable prices, access to agricultural training, and a guaranteed route to market for their chillies. In return, Schoolyard Chillies ask that no children are removed from school to work on their farms – a brilliant concept!
Pop Corners Veggie Crisps were tasty made from vegetables, and a stop-off at the Thatchers Cider stall quenched my thirst followed sharply by the smiling faces of the Masons Dry Yorkshire Gin stall. Then it was time for tea! A dairy free Bollywood Chai Latte from Tea People and a rum infused tipple from Noveltea hides an intriguing story of tea and botanicals from around the world.
One stall I was pleased to stumble across was Brum’s very own Tan Rosie Handmade Caribbean Food. Mother and daughter team Monica and Lee founded Tan Rosie Foods in 2010 creating tantalising Caribbean food inspired by family recipes from Grenada and Carriacou. I purchased a packet of fiery naga chilli fudge which blew my socks off (and those back in the office). Moreish as the chilli fudge was, I found the avocado dips of Hunter & Gather a cooling tonic and an entertaining pose from the stall holder.
My tour of the BBC Good Food Show Summer fair was concluded with a sit down and rest whilst watching the brilliantly inspiring
Nadiya Hussain who was giving a talk including a bit on anxiety which I found interesting – a real highlight and a captivated audience.
If you missed the show look out for the Winter edition, which I am told is even bigger! In all, a fab day out and my feet and taste-buds were worn out, round of applause to all those who showcased their products, the speakers, and all the staff who help organise this prestigious event.
Review by Nick Byng for Grapevine Birmingham.