Good Food

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.


  1. Oh, what a wonderful time you had, and how I’d have loved this food festival. Many years ago, and I’m talking the 1950s and early 1960s, Torquay used to hold an annual Gastronomic Festival. It was held originally in Torquay’s Town Hall and then it went, I think, to the Imperial Hotel, but my memory is very hazy as this was when I was at school and shortly afterwards. I have never forgotten the wonderful foods that were made by the chefs of the day, pulled sugar creations especially, and this in the day long before Master Chef and such programmes. Indeed, those of us who were taking Domestic Science at school attended as a group, to see just what could be produced with the foods that were available in those days, long before we’d seen an avocado or a mango or an aubergine.
    Margaret P


    • A gastronomic festival sounds much more enticing than a food show! There were a few school groups there and the students were very busy making notes. When I first went there were lots of free samples given out but these have diminished to just taste samples now. Mind you, I did taste some very nice things!


  2. Big expos like this are a bit of a mind-show for me. But I have maned stalls at a couple, given displays at others and been on a stage taking people through exercise (never again….). So much work goes into these expos. It’s worth a day trip if you want to really enjoy them. Sometimes I go to a make-up one, but actually I get overwhelmed by everything and find it stressful. But it does sound as though your day was nice.


    • Four hours is long enough for me. Ratnamurti. I think it must be hard work manning a stall; not only on your feet for several hours but having to constantly smile and go through the same sales spiel over and over


      • the worst was when I worked 4 days at the Auckland Easter Show, in New Zealand. Standing for many long hours each day. I discovered at the end of the 1st day, that once I’d taken my walking sports shoes off…. my feet were so swollen that I couldn’t walk. 4 days of this, plus incessant smiling. I’ve never been back……..


        • Oh dear, how horrible. When I took a temporary job in a shoe shop, my feet used to hurt as we weren’t allowed to sit down, but the worst was my ankles. They ached so much.


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