Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Taste of London Festival

Taste of London Festival

Discover the Origin
David McIntyre Demonstration

£900 Truffle

Karantania delicatessen stand

Kai Chinese Restaurant Stand

This week the taste of London was not the taste of pollution but the taste of culinary delights as hundreds of foodies gathered together in Regents Park for the first day of the Taste of London Festival.
Small artisan companies nestled among Michelin-starred restaurants, and we got to sample morsels from them all.

After a glass of champagne, I was ready to set off on a tour.

My first stop was at the Discover the Origin stand, where I tasted differently-aged Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses and Parma ham, along with their complementary wines: French Burgundy, Portuguese Douro Valley and port. I also won a book for being a good student and paying attention, correctly answering a question in the final quiz.

With my appetite whetted, I watched a demonstration of meat cookery by David McIntyre, executive chef at Wolfgang Pack’s first restaurant in Europe, ‘Cut at 45 Park Lane’. It’s high on my list for a visit…

With meat on the mind, I happened upon The Well Hung Meat Company, who deliver monthly organic meat boxes fresh to you door, a great extra to the popular vegetable boxes. The price and the content seem just right. If only I had a bigger fridge and didn’t live with the Vegetarian!

Now fully in the swing of things, after a bout of Caribbean music, jazz and jerk chicken, I had a taste of Wales, a taste of Argentina and a delicious taste of Spain. But my favourite taste was of the English Countryside, where I met, among the crowd, a comical character carrying a tray which, she explained, was biodegradable, with a container that was biodegradable, and a packet that was biodegradable filled with strawberries that were biodegradable. Could it be that the lady herself was also biodegradable!

Truffles filled my vision – the biggest I’ve ever seen, as black as coal, at Gordan Ramsay’s Petrus stand, cost a mere £900 or so. Little slivers in oil at the Karantania delicatessen stand, all the way from Istria in the former Yugoslavia, were more in my wage bracket. I’m looking forward to the opening of their new deli in Whitcomb Street in September.

I also can’t wait to go on a Food Safari of London, where you visit four venues, eating a different course in each… Sounds like a great new way to dine out with friends.

After a full tour of the site, I ended up back at the beginning where I decided to spend the last of my crowns (Taste of London Festival currency) at the Kai, voted best Chinese restaurant in London by Harden’s Restaurant Guide 2009. I thoroughly enjoyed my barbequed honey and soy marinated lamb chop with spiced shallots, garlic and coriander before the heavens opened up and the rain started to poor down, and I had to run for cover.

I went home soaked but fully satisfied with my new taste of London.

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