This year Taste of London was back, bigger and better than ever. Setting up home in Tobacco Docks, the sprawling foodtopia was choc full of inspiration and ideas for everyone. From casual cooks looking to pick up some tips from the fantastic demonstrations – there was even one from renowned now-celebrity chef Tom Kerridge – to seasoned experts looking to browse the specialist ingredients on offer from boutique suppliers. They even had a hummus made from unwanted (but still fresh!) ingredients that had among it a chocolate flavour.. I didn’t manage to try that one somehow, but it would make an interesting and unusual gift for a special someone!
One of the most fun things about the Taste festival is that you can actually get stuck in to creating some dishes yourself, but places tend to fill up fast on a first-come, first served basis. We recommend having a look at the booklet and earmarking anything that takes your fancy – then making sure you’re front of the queue when it starts! We spotted a beautiful baking masterclass that people were taking part in, but there seemed to be activities happening around the clock.
One of the interesting things about it is that you can enjoy food in pop-up versions from some of London’s most renowned foodie venues at a fraction of the price of a meal, with prices ranging from £5-8 for most things – though the portions won’t fill you, at least you can try a few dishes together.
Artisan producers were high on the interest list too, many of the actual founders there to chat you through the products and process with heaps of passion and knowledge. It’s a great place to pick up a more unique gift for someone.
Of course there was also plenty to drink, with everything from champagne to coffee on the cards (thanks to BMW, who were giving out free hot beverages if you chose to take a lift back to the station in one of their new fully electric i3 models – I can say that both the coffee and the ride were extremely smooth and refreshing). We enjoyed tasters of some rarer gins and scotches, and a browse around smaller producers who were given a much bigger stage to play in thanks to the festival. There really was something for everyone.
Within the expo there are ‘crowns’ you can buy, which are essentially gift cards that can only be used within the show that while an interesting idea, not all stalls would or could accept them, and there didn’t seem to be much benefit over whipping out your own credit card.
As I mentioned, BMW happily gave me a ride back to the station, but they were also offering test drives of their new electric i3 model to lucky consumers (so long as they hadn’t consumed a little too much first) which was a fun opportunity and a break from the indoor space.