I was lucky enough to be offered a pass to Taste of Christmas which is taking place at London ExCel Centre between Friday the 7th and Sunday the 9th of December. Taste of Christmas is the UK’s biggest Christmas food festival, celebrating what in my eyes are the best things in the world! In its fifth consecutive year, it is set to be the most successful event in its history.
I arrived at the ExCel centre on the opening day in a bid to beat the weekend rush. Although reasonably busy, it didn’t feel crowded which is partly due to the sheer size of the venue. I made my way round at a leisurely pace and chatted to many of the exhibitors whilst sampling their products. I enjoy attending events like Taste of Christmas because they are the perfect opportunity to sample and purchase products which are often hard to find or unheard of. They certainly give small, often family-run, businesses a chance to showcase their products to the world. One of the first stands I came across was by Global Fusion, whom I had previously come across at the Foodies Festival in the summer. Their samples were as equally as delicious as they had been that day and when I went back to purchase some banana bread they had sold out – it’s that good!
It will come as no surprise that the stands that really took my interest were the cake stands, with the majority selling cupcakes. I spoke to Buttercup Cake Shop and Cocktail Couture who both had beautifully presented stands. Burley Fudge were ever-so-friendly and let me try a number of different flavoured fudge. Based in the small village of Burley in the New Forest, this is country produce at its best.
Choux had an attractive display of products, with a selection of specially decorated choux buns which read ‘Taste of Christmas’. Priced at £1 for a mini choux bun it was no shock to see that their stand appeared fully stocked come the end of the day. This was the opposite for Cupcake-A-Licious who had long sold out by 5pm their Christmas themed cupcakes. Keep your eyes peeled for a separate review.
The event boasted a number of chocolate brands exhibiting unique tasting and highly decorative chocolates. The two which caught my eye were Amanche’s delicious marzipan chocolates and Velvet Chocolate, who not only created their chocolates by hand but hand packaged them too. Now if that isn’t love for chocolate. I also spoke to the owner of Auberge Du Chocolate who told me about their 21 year old son who has recently won the Quinta do Noval award. It was great to hear about the family business, if only my parents were chocolatiers!
Taste of Christmas is perfect for those who are yet to do their Christmas shopping. Sweet Trees showcased their artistic trees made from sweets and chocolates and there were plenty of cooking books and equipment on sale for the amateur chef in your family. I particularly enjoyed Aerolatte Moo’s demonstration of their handheld whip, ideal for making thick hot chocolate. In addition to stand demonstrations, the event is home to a number of ‘food theatres’ including the Electrolux Taste Theatre in which I caught the end of a talk by Ben Tish, the man behind the Salt Yard chain of restaurants.
After an hour I had made it round the venue, now ridiculously full on the tasters offered by most stands. Unfortunately this meant I didn’t get a chance to visit some of London’s best street food vendors such as Mark Hix or one of the pop up restaurants like Cinnamon Kitchen. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Taste of Christmas and left with some Christmas decorations and a couple of cupcakes in tow, which I am currently enjoying as we speak.
If you’re after some Christmas cheer, looking to pick up some gifts or just a general lover of food and drink then get yourself down to London’s ExCel centre this weekend. More information about the event including ticket prices and a full list of exhibitors can be found at www.tasteofchrsitmas.com.
Living life, loving cake,