Thursday, 27 November 2008

Elbows not required

I'M just cramming another square of organic, ethically-sourced, 70 per cent cocoa solids mint-flavoured chocolate into my mouth when someone offers me a wedge of cheddar.
"I am actually just eating a piece of chocolate," I chortle, then 'Oh, what the hell' and pop the cheese in too.
Of course, I am at the BBC Good Food Show at the Birmingham NEC where there's a free nibble, or tipple at every turn and it'd be rude not to oblige.
I started at a gentle pace, grazing my way through the first few stalls, proud of my self-discipline as a took only one pate-smeared cracker at a time, rather than five.
Considering it was the first day of the show it was scarily quiet. I expect trade will pick up towards the weekend.
However, on the plus side no one had to feel the force of my elbows as I fought may way to freebie heaven.
As late afternoon hunger kicks in, I get into my stride, sampling everything from little pots of museli and milk to chunks of onion pakora. I receive a stash of free Ritter Sport choccies and a banana milkshake, made with organic Welsh milk.
I'd seen a lot of the traders before but it's always exciting to discover new producers.
I thought the confectionery at Jimmy Garrahy's Fudge Kitchen was outstanding and Jimmy's Farm sausages a revelation. I was sucked into buying a sausage and mash pie from Higgidy, sold on the inventive packaging and enthusiastic staff. I was almost convinced to part with my cash at the Munchy stall - their toasted pumpkin seed oil was scrumptious, however, I instead saved my pennies for a mega spend with the English Provender Company.
I caught Jamie Oliver in the Supertheatre. There was no stew, but he did cook chicken chow mein, banana tarte tatin and a prawn curry. Afterwards he signed books for grateful fans and was a lot smaller than he looks on telly.
Also surprisingly small was chef Sophie Mitchell, one of the girls on Cook Yourself Thin. She certainly must be an advocate of her own regime.
Other celeb chefs/food writers I saw there, either cooking or strolling around, were Gary Rhodes, Gennaro Contaldo, Stefan Gates and Valentine Warner.
Three hours after my arrival, as the crowds began to disperse, I decided I'd had my fill (and a few other people's too).
It was time to head home, for tea. After all, I hadn't had a proper meal...
Did you enjoy the BBC Good Food Show? Tell me what you thought.

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