The BBC Good Food Show Winter headed back to Birmingham this November for four days of food and drink delights. We were lucky enough to head along to the penultimate day of the event to see what was on offer from some of the best-known and most exciting newcomers - and grab some free samples!
Attracting some of the biggest names of the cooking and baking world, including previous Bake Off winners Edd Kimber, stars of the show Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, James Martin and TVs Hairy Bikers, the Good Food event is known for giving visitors that chance to see the stars up close and personal talking about their latest book and cooking live in front of them.
We got the chance to catch both of Michel Roux Jr's appearances, which were both as interesting, witty and informative as expected. Discussing his favourite dishes, plans for 2017, upcoming rivalry with his daughter, who is launching her own cookbook next year, as well as cooking up two simple yet incredibly detailed dishes in the Super Theatre, his passion for and love of food always shone through.
It was very clear the Roux loves what he does and even with becoming a 'celebrity' chef still make the time and effort to return to his restaurant and be hands on.
The large exhibitors section of the event is where the real action is at. Exploring the variety of options on offer we began to notice a trend and it was easy to see what was the current 'thing' in the world of food and drink.
There is no such thing as too much cheese and there was plenty on offer at the Good Food Show. Visitors could sample every flavour and strength from a whole host of brands with every cheese company having their stall jam packed with people wanting to get their hands on a free sample. Our favourites were from the Snowdonia Cheese Company's, their Black Bomber cheddar was the one; get your hands on some if you can for sure. With Christmas just around the corner, it was unsurprising to see cheese being brought at such a high rate. It's that perfect addition to any gathering over the festive season be it pre-Christmas drinks, a New Year party or just to snack on whenever you feel like it!
Gin everywhere. From cucumber gin to the traditional types many people love, there were endless amounts of it. Brands including Gun Dog Gin and Daffy's Gin seemed to have a lot of fans, all enjoying the samples. It is clear that it is the 'in' spirit right now and whether it is mixed with tonic water or thrown into a cocktail, it's the thing people can't get enough of. So we can't comment much on the gin, despite there being lots of it. Seriously, who likes that stuff, but we can comment on beer and vodka! Hiver Beers stood out by a mile with their honey beer, their beer and ale both smelt like honey but tasted nowhere near as sweet as you would imagine. It was a new combination that worked perfectly. Toffee and milk vodka were the two other big trends in the spirits. It's safe to say that milk vodka is certainly an acquired taste, sample before you buy is the best advice here!
Salted Caramel left, right and centre. From endless sauces to popcorn and brownies, everything contained and was topped with salted caramel. Something we absolutely have no issue with at all. The Brownie Bar was the ultimate location for it, though. After having seen the pictures of what they had on offer all across social media, a visit to them was always going to be on the cards. The choice, without even having to think twice, was the salted caramel brownie and it more than lived up to expectations. With added salted caramel sauce, of which there were too many exhibitors to name offering their take on it at the show, the brownie (or any cake for that matter) improves massively. Everyone should get on board.
A slightly odd popular area of food across the show was artisan sausage rolls and pork pies. Gone are the days of the standard meat and pastry combination, now it is about those added ingredients to bring something new. Coopers Gourmet Sausage Roll company had a couple of stalls at the show and given the public's love of pastry goods inevitably were doing a fantastic business. We went for the Hickory Smoked BBQ pork which was a perfect winter warmer, but the brand had so much to offer the choice was a tough one. From the Christmassy cranberry and stuffing to a more traditional combination of cider, apple and pork visitors were spoiled for choice.
With so much on offer to try and a whole host of top chefs to hear from, The BBC Good Food Show Winter was a foodie heaven. The show is back in Birmingham in the summer and there are sure to be some more delights on offer - who knows what will be in fashion then!
Did you go to the Good Food Show or are you now feeling inspired to try something new? Let us know!