Taste of Christmas opened in London yesterday at the Excel. I took the afternoon off with a view to relaxing and picking up some Christmas shopping.
I started at Action Against Hunger’s cloakroom. The team were also selling a wide range of Christmas gifts, wrapping presents and had a shop ‘n’ drop area.
I had been given some “crowns”. The currency of the day. Most of the food stalls were trading in these but it seemed they were also accepting cash so I think it was a novelty thing more than anything else.
Getting into the ‘spirit’ of Christmas
First off I headed to the alcohol. I’d had a hectic morning at work and a few tasters would certainly put me in a Christmassy mood and warm me up. I loved this beautiful Botanist gin. It’s made by the Bruichladdich distillers from 31 botanicals – 22 are native to the Isle of Islay in the Hebrides and are foraged by hand. The lovely man at the stall told me all about the process and their unique copper still called Ugly Betty.
Next up I stumbled upon the Zacapa Rum, chocolate and cheese pairing session. It was fascinating. Who knew how many iterations this glorious amber liquid goes through at such high altitudes to maintain the purity of taste. It actually went really well with the cheese and chocolate they presented but I must admit I will be making the Zacapa soaked dates this weekend. Perfect on the Christmas cheeseboard.
I then headed over to Namaste Wines. They told me all about the history of Indian wines and gave me lots of tastings. My favourite was the Chenin Blanc.
Christmas Foodie Gifts Galore
There is so much choice at the show. You’ll be able to pick something for everyone. My favourites were…
Virgin Olive Oil from the charming and humble producers One from Crete. The branding, packaging and ethos is beautiful.
This amazing White Truffle Honey from Umbrian producers San Piettro a Pettine . They also had a range of truffles and oils.
A unique range of lemonade mixes from the American Food Company.
A huge range of interesting sauces from Original Juan Speciality Foods
There was a large stand promoting food from Flanders and I spotted these wonderful botanical jellies at £3 per bottle.
I really liked this Ginseng Spirit by Kamm and Sons made with 45 natural botanicals. It was a bit medicinal tasting on its own but paired with bitter lemon it was stunning.
Great stage demonstrations by top chefs
Of course, foodie festivals are no complete without the demonstrations by top TV and celebrity chefs. I listened in on Vivek Singh…
and Jun Tanaka.
Learning Chef’s Secrets
A really lovely addition to the show is the Chefs Secrets Cook-a-long. The show’s main sponsor is Electrolux and this a great opportunity to have a go at using their beautiful induction hobs. I went along to Simon Hulstone’s session and made Egg Nog Bread with Clotted Cream, Mincemeat and Caramelised Apples. It was delicious!
I had a brilliant afternoon. Thank you to Electrolux for inviting me along and to all the stall holders who took some time to talk to me.
Tickets for Taste of Christmas
If you’d like to go, tickets are priced from £18.50 and there are various experiences you can buy. The show is on at ExCel London today and tomorrow from 10 til 6pm.
- Electrolux at Taste of Christmas
- Taste of Christmas Flickr Photo set
- Taste of Christmas website
- Taste of Christmas (dojoburg.wordpress.com)
- The world’s most expensive Christmas dinner: menu revealed (telegraph.co.uk)