The BBC Good Food Show is a mecca for people in the food and restaurant trade. With a plethora of exhibitors from huge multinational brands right down to tiny independent producers, there’s a whole range of things on offer, as well as a celebrity chef filled line-up in the Supertheatre.
I have to say, I felt like there was less diversity in producers this year than compared with the Winter Good Food Show last year. There seemed to be a lot of people with very similar products, including a lot of rapeseed oil and a lot of gin, but the addition of getting access to Gardeners World Live made it a full day’s entertainment with a great outdoor element.
First up, I managed to nab a seat in the Supertheatre to see Michel Roux Jr cooking live. He made a delicious looking dish with in-season courgettes and a super easy olive fougasse.
He also promoted his new offal cookbook with recipes for nose to tail eating, which should prove to be interesting reading when it comes out!
As well as sampling a ridiculous amount of food, from tapas cones to beef jerky, the shopping is really what I go for.
My pick of the producers village
The Garlic Farm is a brilliant place with some of the tastiest and biggest garlic bulbs I’ve ever had. If you’re visiting the Isle of Wight this summer then I highly recommend a trip. They were exhibiting this year at the Good Food Show with a selection of fresh garlic, chutneys and sauces. I picked up a traditional garlic plait with fat, juicy bulbs of garlic to last me at least a few months, and a bottle of their honey and mustard dressing, perfect for summer salads.
Demijohn the liquid deli had a beautiful display at this year’s show, with a selection of flavoured spirits and fruit vinegars.
I’ve got a real thing for fruit flavoured vinegars, so I bought a beautiful two bottle set to fill with their Elderflower vinegar in one side and Tayberry vinegar in the other. As well as being full of delicious vinegar, the bottles are pretty enough to display in the kitchen or on the dining table.
Charlie & Ivys have been on my radar for a while, mainly for their gorgeous looking bread dippers. I was very happy to see the whole selection on offer for tasting at the show, so of course I had to test them all out. I bought mini bottles of my three favourites: garlic, chili and ginger; juniper, balsamic and lemon and smoked garlic and black peppercorn. The juniper and lemon was my favourite with zesty citrus, tangy balsamic and slightly perfumed juniper berries.
Flapjackery caught my eye with their flapjacks the size of house bricks! As well as being huge, these flapjacks had the luxury treatment with various toppings. I took home three flavours: jaffa cake, rocky road and strawberry white chocolate. They were rich, squidgy and buttery and one flapjack was enough for two people. Jaffa cake was the most highly flavoured but all were tasty.
Gardeners World Live
I’m not much of a gardener, living in a second floor flat with only a communal patch of lawn to call a garden doesn’t help, so the displays Chelsea Flower Show style creations were somewhat lost on me, though I did think these lilies were particularly beautiful.
There was one exhibit which really inspired me, where local schools were each given a wheelbarrow and challenged to create a meal in a barrow.
With their favourite recipes in mind, each school planted the vegetables and herbs to create their meals. From the first place winner margherita pizza and salad, to ratatouille and even more exotic dishes like sweet and sour soup, it showed that you can be creative and grow your own, even in a small space.
If you’re a dedicated foodie and love spending hours just wandering around, sampling things and discovering new products, then the Good Food Show is a great day out. You can get tickets for the BBC Winter Good Food show now ready for the event in November.