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The Good Food Show: The Review

Ruth Allan gets trending in the biggest food show in the UK

Published on November 28th 2011.

The Good Food Show: The Review

IF you like eating and drinking, chances are you will love the Good Food Show which took place at the NEC in Birmingham this weekend. 

Walking around an exhibition centre sounds dull, doesn’t it, but there is amusement at every turn.

It’s massive for a start. More than 500 exhibitors fan out across aircraft-hanger sized halls to the tune of chewing and clinking. Stalls range from the lovely Port of Lancaster Smokehouse outlet which includes kippers cabinets and seaside chalkboards, to organic pollen sellers, fine oil vendors and experts in ham. In between, there are cookery theatres hosted by likes of Andi Peters and a city made of cheese. 

Walking around an exhibition centre sounds dull, doesn’t it, but there is amusement at every turn. Big fudge samples, handsome spice sellers and dudes waving olives at you on little sticks are just some of the sights and flavours, and there are weird things to try too. Ever craved wasabi brie? Or perhaps you’ve been dreaming about little ‘toaster pockets’ for, well, I’m still not sure. This is the place to answer those foodie questions at any rate - and more besides.

As a guest of Marks and Spencer’s, I started my visit at their stall for a demonstration of the new ‘Terribly Clever’ range. The two chefs on stage said “terribly clever” a lot. But they still managed to sell me one of the ‘corner-cutting’ jars. I fell for the ‘Terribly Clever Turkey Glaze’ which you rub on ten minutes before the end of roasting to give a rich, caramelized finish to your festive bird, buying one for me and my mum. 

Elsewhere in the arena, foodie trends emerged. I’d say that fondue sets, designer sausages and fusion spirits are in vogue. I tried toffee vodka and apple and blackcurrant brandy, both of which were disgusting. For the sake of research, I kept at it though, and finally hit a winner with the Edinburgh Raspberry infused Gin (Spencerfield Spirit Company, around £25 a bottle http://www.spencerfieldspirit.com/). Just think… pink G & T…mmm.   

One of the most endearing exhibitors I met was Nigel Taylor, pictured below, beside a Highland cow (also known as a kyloe). His hobby of raising cattle in Castle Douglas has turned into a full time job, with outlets that include Gordon Ramsey’s Foxtrot Oscar restaurant in Chelsea.

His company is called Barlochan Highlanders (http://www.bhbeef.com/) and the rich, marbled steaks come in at around £7. He assured me that the meat is intensely flavoursome. The Highland cow is where our relationship with beef started, he said, adding, somewhat unnervingly, that “other breeds are just dilution”. 

I got chatting to a lovely couple from Bacup too. They’ve come up with a ‘ready-to-roll’ pizza dough which they’re hoping will get stocked by Tescos.

Called Chris and Amy, the pair got married on Royal Wedding Day in April and launched their business three months ago. Under the moniker The Northern Dough Company, they’re producing something like Pillsbury Croissants in a can… for pizza bases. Chris is a fourth generation baker and his dad supplies Piccolinos and Est Est Est. One to watch, perhaps. (http://www.northerndoughco.com/aboutus/

One of the main reasons to hit the Good Food Show is to shop. Food and drink is not cheap, but tiny ladies dragging horse-sized carts was a common sight. In fact, loading up with a year’s produce is encouraged by The Good Food Show which sells its own brand wheelie trolleys. Much as this made me laugh, you can bet I’ll be at it with the best of them next time around. 

The Good Food Show is an bi-annual event, with a summer and winter edition. Tickets cost from £21, and the next one is 13-17 June 2012. 








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