Charlotte Liu picks out ten highlights of the foodies’ weekend
The weekend of 27th to 29th November was an early Christmas treat for the foodies of London. Proclaimed to be a culinary wonderland, the festival did not disappoint with its array of artisan food stalls, trendy kitchen gadgets, and chefs’ masterclasses. I was so keen that I went on Friday, then again on Sunday. Here are my top ten picks from the event:
The range of homemade Hungarian salamis and sausages at this stall would be enough to satisfy any meat lovers’ cravings. There was, of course, the traditional pork salami, but also salami with buffalo, goose, and even catfish meat – all fantastic with a well-balanced smokiness. In keeping with the truffle trend of recent years, there were wild boar and venison sausages infused with the earthy flavour.
Cheeky Food Co.
This company with a catchy name was started by Swati Biwal just four months ago. Inspired by her Indian heritage, the Cheeky range of pickles, chutneys and sprinkles bring a punch of flavour to quick meals – perfect for students on a busy weeknight. Try some Silly Sesame over a stir-fry, or Messy Mango pickle to liven up that microwaved chicken tikka and rice.
Carlo was kind enough to let us sample his gianduia creations made with the best Piedmont hazelnuts. The Nocciolato bars in milk and dark chocolate have a delicate balance of cocoa and nuts, and the Creme spreads – available in flavours including gianduia, cocoa, coffee, milk, pistachio and almond – are beautifully creamy and rich. Carlo tells us that Italians enjoy the Creme with freshly baked bread, but I would scoop it straight from the jar!
Vegans were not forgotten at the festival – in fact, they were in for a guilt-free treat with Nutty Cacao’s variety of vegan, gluten-free, and sugar-free raw desserts. Their peanut butter bites and caramel slices would not leave you missing the ‘real thing’, and their avocado lime mousse even fulfills one of your five a day. What more could one ask for?
Forget the debate about which country has the best olive oil. OilVie’s product, made from Kalamata olives, has a wonderfully smooth texture, subtle sweetness and fruity aroma. It was so good that I embarked on a 30 minute hunt for a cash machine to get my hands on a bottle. The company has dared to call it the oil of life – and they are probably right about that.
The festival also had something to offer for those who like an apéritif of the classic G&T. Come aboard the current wave of gin popularity with Chilgrove’s handcrafted London Dry Gin. Their spirit is distilled from grapes with natural mineral water from the chalk Downs in rural England. The fine botanical notes are testament to their exceptional standards of distillery using traditional methods dating from the 17th century.
Nova had two exciting gadgets on show. The spiraliser helps you make perfect courgette noodles or sweet potato crisps with minimal waste, and has an ergonomic design for the comfort of both right and left handed people. The muli-quirl whisk is German-engineered, giving it a claim to the world’s most powerful hand-held whisk. Simply push the handle down and release for the whisk to spin ten times in each direction, bringing cream and egg whites to stiff peaks in barely any time.
Flint & Flame
Endorsed by Monica Galetti, presenter of MasterChef: The Professionals, these knives truly live up to the exacting standards of any professional chef. Flint & Flame use German carbon steel and boasts its Centre Point Balance technology for control and precision that make slicing, dicing, and mincing a dream. Sadly, their hefty prices make them items students must put onto their wishlist for the future.
Rahila Hussain, winner of Food Glorious Food in 2013, gave an interactive demonstration of how to make her urid dal in fenugreek sauce. Drawing on her experience as a secondary school teacher, she invited the ‘class’ to press white lentils between their thumb and forefinger and get a feel of its texture, and got them to field questions. At the end, the audience stood over the pan, scooping the dal up with naan and savouring the fragrance of fresh herbs and spices.Have a look at Rahila’s recipe!
Cake and Bake Theatre
My personal favourite from the festival was watching the Bake Off stars in action. Foodies turned up in droves to see this year’s winner, Nadiya Hussain, though many could only just about get a glimpse of her festive bakes. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity of speaking to Richard Burr, last year’s finalist, and even lent him a cheeky bit of help with his fruity Swedish wreaths. It was a perfect way to round off the festival and herald the start of the Christmas season. Check out Richard’s blog post on the foodies festival:
Featured image credit: Her Favourite Food