It’s 9.47 am and we’ve already tucked into one of the nicest slices of Black Pudding in the world, various flavours of sausage and a tot or three of heavenly El Dorado rum. Welcome to the BBC Good Food Show, something of an annual institution for food lovers, gourmet bargain hunters and celebrity chef stalkers. There’s something wonderfully decadent about wandering the halls nibbling, sniffing and quaffing some of the best food and drink around.
It’s a bit like the last day of the Roman Empire...minus the orgies...although the queue of slightly flushed looking ladies of a certain age gathering around a James Martin book signing did look like it could get a little steamy at one point. Speaking of celeb chefs the place was overflowing with them. Marco Pierre White was spotted making gravy over at the Knorr stall, Brian Turner seemed to be everywhere and later in the day none other than the legendary John Craven rocked up at the Saturday Kitchen for a nibble.
Yes, John Craven. Okay he might not be a chef but still we’re not worthy.
Given the timing of the show it’s the perfect opportunity to stock up with a few liquid treats for Christmas, with spirits, wines and a great selection of real ales on offer. We went for a bottle of Sipsmith’s rather excellent V.J.O.P gin which will frankly be lucky if it lasts until December 25th.
Travelling by public transport placed a bit of a limit on what we could carry, although the better organised foodies drag increasingly laden trolleys around with them and you can normally stash your hoard in one of the drop off points to collect later...if you can remember where you left it after that last liqueur tasting session that is.
With Sunday being the last day expert Good Fooders know the score and as the afternoon wears on some stallholders are keen to do a deal or two leading to some pretty impressive bargains from both the big brand names (Bahlsen Biscuits were particularly generous) and smaller producers (the fabulous Furness Fish and Game purveyors of some of the best bird within a bird within a bird combinations around). Arguably the best bit is the cheese auction though. The Good Food Show hosts the cheese awards and once the judging’s been done many of the entries are sold off for less than the price of a Dairylea Triangle...or in some cases just given away by the dry humoured dude in the bowler hat.
For £20 we came away with more cheese than any sane person could want....we blame the after effects of Mr Vikkis Nasty Naga Nuts, possibly the hottest nuts in the world since Beckham posed in those pants.
Great food, oodles of free samples, the chance to chew the fat (literally and metaphorically) with some passionate producers and bag a bargain or six, the BBC Good Food Show’s a tasty treat from start to finish. If you can’t wait until next Winter pop along to the Summer version next June (12th – 15th June 2014). Tickets on sale right now (now there’s an ideal Christmas present idea for you!).