One of the perks of writing the blog is getting invitations to attend some great food events. I had a ticket for the Speciality & Fine Food Fair at Olympia and decided to stop off on my way home from interviewing Enzo Oliveri yesterday. Conveniently, it really was on the way home!
The Fair is a ‘trade only’ event and fortunately that includes food bloggers these days, but most of the people there are looking for new products to sell or use in their restaurants, cafés or food shops. The event lasts for three days and is so enormous that as I wasn’t an actual ‘buyer’ but merely an interested food blogger, the only way to get round without spending hours there was to wander and stop at stalls that attracted my interest. First up, I stopped at Products from Spain and was given tastes of their wonderful Serrano ham to try.
They were obviously popular as they were fast disappearing! At the Une Normande A Londres stand there were wonderful cheeses, terrines, pâtés and cured meats.
Of course, for this Italophile it’s always a close call whether Spanish Serrano or Italian prosciutto is best, so I had to try some Italian cured meats too at the Cibosano stand! And some of their Parmigiano-Reggiano.
I love Seggiano products and so I had a long stop there!
These packs of olives were fabulous – I tried them all! With encouragement … They’d be great to keep at the ready in a store cupboard or fridge.
They had these amazing baked fig balls. I love figs in any form, dried or fresh, and the pieces of dried fig with Pecorino were delicious.
And who can resist one of their excellent cantuccini biscotti with a coffee?
These roasted artichoke hearts are roasted over red-hot volcanic rock and preserved in extra virgin olive oil. They were excellent; some of the best I’ve tasted.
It was time to leave ‘tastes of Italy’ and move on to Japan. I found this amazing Asakura Sansho tapenade.
This green pepper tapenade with its citrusy-peppery flavour was very different to the usual kind but delicious too. Staying with the spicy theme, I then came across the South Devon Chilli Farm stall.
Different strengths of chilli were explained – and came with an endorsement from Jamie Oliver.
All their products – sauces, jams, oils, chocolate and packs of dried chillies as well as fresh from June to November – are prepared on site and the farm is set up with a café and play area so that a visit can be a family day out.
I love Teapigs teas and buy them regularly – especially their mint. The teas are more expensive that other makes but really worth the extra. I was given a taste of some Matcha in almond milk. A delicious and welcome boost of energy! Upstairs I found another stall with French cheeses and cured meats: The French Comté. As Comté is one of my very favourite cheeses I had to stop there and taste some.
Then it was time for a little dessert before heading home. And look what I found at the Comptoir Gourmand stall!
I chose a little tarte au citron. It was really good: a meltingly soft custard with just the right amount of lemon. As I started to make my way to the stairs to go down and head home, I came across the Tiana coconut oil stall.
This is my favourite coconut oil. I love the taste and have a spoonful every morning for its health benefits, but it’s also great to use when making curries.
I didn’t spend a great deal of time at the Fair but I enjoyed taking a look and stopping by for tastes of my favourite things – and trying a few new, like the Japanese tapenade. It was a fun way to spend an afternoon, chatting to stallholders, and finding a few new food products I liked too.