Daughter and I have spent the afternoon at The BBC Good Food Show at The National Exhibition Centre. It’s something we’ve done a few times in the past and thoroughly enjoyed. I caught the train to Birmingham International at what I thought was a reasonable cost of £8 return. The line has recently been upgraded and we now get three trains an hour. The train interiors could do with an upgrade but they’re adequate, reasonably comfortable and well heated, and it’s a lot better than driving there.
The first part of the journey is through the Worcestershire countryside and it always reminds me of what a lovely county I live in. Train stations, it has to be said, are not terribly glamorous, although Bournville is a little more interesting than some. Cadbury’s is right on the doorstep and the station is painted in Cadbury purple. I did attempt a photograph but it wasn’t successful when taken through the train window. I changed trains at Birmingham New Street and caught the London train. Two stations along it stops at Birmingham International where daughter met me. From there it is a short walk, all undercover, to the NEC. I have no idea how many stands there were – perhaps 250, selling all manner of food & drink and food-related products. Many are small independent companies but some of the multiples are represented too.
I don’t like crowds but by avoiding the weekend, it wasn’t bad at all. Past experience has allowed me to be well equipped for the shopping. The first time we went I arrived with just a handbag. What a mistake! My hands were raw from all the carrier bags and then I noticed that all the seasoned ‘Good Fooders’ were using shopping trolleys. I can’t imagine using it anywhere else but the one I bought there and then has accompanied me to the show ever since. In the past we’ve attended demonstrations by Dhruv Baker and Shelina Permalloo (winners of MasterChef 2010 and 2012) but I didn’t know the chef today – Paul Kelly. apparently he is something to do with Bronze Turkeys. Nevertheless, it was interesting to watch.
Both daughter and I are more than a little in love with Joe & Seph popcorn. The company produces bags of savoury popcorn in numerous flavorful combinations, my favourites being Camembert, Goats cheese & black pepper and Stilton & walnut. They didn’t have the latter so I substituted Marmite flavour. I’m one of the ones who love the stuff. The offer price for six bags was 25% cheaper than usual so we split a bag of six. Above is daughter buying falafel – one of her favourite things to eat.
I still got my Stilton & walnut fix though – in a loaf of ciabatta. There were lots of different ones to try and I just know it’s going to be the perfect accompaniment to some of the delicious Lymn Bank Farm cheeses. Four of them are now safely stored in the freezer ready for Christmas. I’ve bought the ginger one in the past and I know it’s exceedingly yummy!
Both great fans of flavoured oils we also split a selection of these It is a lot cheaper to buy them in multiples. I also bought a selection of ‘spice drops’. These are concentrated oils to use as flavouring. For example, one drop of the orange oil is equivalent to the grated zest of an orange. I chose orange, lime and rose. Another Christmas treat – a bottle of Limoncello. First tasted in Florence (and again in Rome) this is one of the very few alcoholic drinks that stops me from being teetotal.
Just before coming home we treated ourselves to marshmallows with white melted chocolate from the chocolate fountain stand. Shamelessly decadent but sooooo amazing!
Husband got a giant Danish pastry as a thank you for driving me to and from the station.