I’ve been looking forward to this weekend all year – the BBC Good Food Show is here! For a foodie like me, the show is heaven on Earth, with hundreds of stalls, plenty of things to try and taste, and demonstrations from celebrity chefs.
I was very excited to see Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry in action, having missed them last year, and got slightly star struck when Mary walked right past me as she was escorted to the interview stage. There are opportunities to get signings from chefs including Paul & Mary, John Torode and James Martin. I’m very much hoping that eventually, Tom Kerridge and Michel Roux Jr decide to branch out to the Scotland show as I am a huge fan of both.
I’m also a huge fan of free samples, and there are plenty on offer at the show across a range of stands from butchers, to bakers, to gin (which seems to be everyone’s favourite spirit at the moment.) Here are my top ten BBC Good Food Show highlights – make sure you get your tickets for next year and check them out for yourself!
Top Ten Foodie Highlights
- Coole Swan – this was one stall I was really looking forward to visiting this year after discovering them at the show last year. Their product is beautiful Irish cream liqueur and it is gorgeous. It’s paler than a lot of the other cream liqueurs you’ll see and has a fanastic flavour – it helps that the staff at the stall are so friendly. We bought a large bottle which came with a hot chocolate melt and a recipe book filled with amazing ideas.
- Ochil Fudge Pantry – I first discovered Ochil Fudge at the Loch Lomond Shores Farmers Market one Sunday. They do an amazing range of flavours and they were certainly out in full force at the show yesterday. They are constantly developing new flavours, including the Cheesecake Fudge which we managed to snag the last bar of – clearly a good seller!
- Heck Sausages – I spotted these quite recently in Tesco but didn’t think anything of them until I sampled some yesterday. The company prides itself on it’s high quality, high meat content sausages and they are delicious. I tasted the Chorizo Style and the Family Favourite – a standard pork sausage which quickly became my firm favourite too. I bought 4 packs for £10 – two of the Family Favourites, one Chorizo Style and one Chicken sausage, which I am really keen to try as I’ve never seen anything like them before, and they all came in a cute pink bag!
- Butterscotch Bakery – one of the only bakery stalls that we found offering samples, which made them stand out for me. They had their Red Velvet Layer Cake and Chocolate Chilli Cupcakes available to sample and both were wonderfully soft and flavoursome, so I got myself one of the cupcakes, which had the taste of chilli without the overpowering heat – just how chilli should be when it comes to baking.
- Paul & Mary – seeing the Bake Off legends live on stage was great, particularly the way they bickered and made fun of each other like an old married couple. We watched Mary make a chicken bake and a limoncello posset, while Paul made a pistachio shortbread and invited an entire hen party on stage because of course he did – it’s Paul Hollywood. They were great fun and the cameraman was hilariously cheeky, going straight to a shot of John Torode’s new book as Paul tried to sell his own.
- Thunder Toffee Vodka – this stuff is to die for and it makes me very sad that the bottle we purchased is going to be a Christmas present and I don’t get to enjoy it myself. Again, there are free tasters available and it’s definitely worth trying. It’s sweet, sticky and would be perfect served over ice – it doesn’t need anything else, in fact, you might not even need the ice.
- Condessa Welsh Liqueurs – this was the first stand we visited when we arrived – we tried their Welsh Cream Liqueur which was lovely, but we already had our eye on Coole Swan. What I loved was their Black Cherry Liqueur; it had the flavour of the fruit as well as a hint of amaretto. This is because the stalks are left in the mix when brewing, which give it the nutty, almond flavour. We actually meant to come back to possibly buy a bottle but by the time we remembered, we’d already spent way too much!
- Snowdonia Cheese – I’m not very good and eating cheese without a cracker or a bit of bread, probably due to my years of not eating cheese before coming to my senses about 4 years ago. Snowdonia however have some great flavours and was the stall that Sam was most eager to see because last year he discovered ‘Ruby Mist.’ This is their Christmas special, a cheese flavoured with white port and brandy, which was too sweet for me but Sam was obsessed. Some of their other infused cheeses include ginger, whiskey, chilli and cranberry.
- Victor’s Drinks – apparently as seen on Dragon’s Den, but I don’t watch it so that means little to me. They offer boxes which allow you to ‘make your own’ ciders and ales – all you have to do is add yeast (included with the box) and water, wait a minimum of ten days and boom, cider! The flavours on offer included your standard Apple, Mixed Berry and my favourite, Elderflower. They had pre-made boxes available to sample and we decided to buy a box of Elderflower. At £20 for 20 pints, I’d say that’s pretty good value.
- Edinburgh Gin – this stuff is widely available, but it’s always better when you get to chat to the staff and try their different flavours for free. Their raspberry is by far my favourite, it’s just so sweet and full of that fresh raspberry flavour. They make great Christmas presents too because who doesn’t love fruity gin?!
In fact, the Good Food Show is a great place to do your Christmas shopping as there are so many kits, condiments and booze options to choose from you’re sure to find something for the fellow foodies in your family. I’m already looking forward to next year, as I know that I won’t get to sample many of these products again until then. Even if you’re not a huge foodie, it’s a fun afternoon out where you can sample lots of new things, maybe buy some new kitchen equipment, and see a TV chef work their magic before your very eyes. Bring on the BBC Good Food Show 2015.