My Highlights from the Producers' Village!
I have been to a few over the years and was tickled that the Spring show was to be hosted easy driving distance for me, in the charming town of Harrogate. Famous for Betty’s Tea Room, Turkish Baths and antique quarter - what’s not to love?
Ticket purchased in advance, ( worthwhile, as you receive a 20% discount), I donned my most practical if not glamorous flats and set off on a chilly, drizzly Friday.
Queues were moving effortlessly on arrival at The Harrogate International Centre and I was soon immersed amongst the exhibitors.
As Good Food Shows go, Harrogate was particularly cosy, well planned and easy to get around. Mary Berry, John Torode, Dave Myers and James Martin, to name a few, were cooking live in The Supertheatre over the period. Hosted by Brian Turner, The Interview Stage was awash with a myriad of culinary talent such as Frances Atkins of the Yorke Arms, James Mackenzie, The Pipe Glass Inn, Lisa Bennison, Betty’s Cookery School and Simon Gueller of The Box Tree.
Passionate food and drink producers were in full swing, inviting shoppers to taste, try and hopefully buy, a variety of fresh and ambient produce. There was a cacophony of keen demonstrators bestowing the merits of the latest non-stick pans, new technology in kitchen knives and a nifty processor which could make smoothie, soup and ice-cream in equal measure!
Those requiring no introduction such as Aga, Magimix and Gruyere sat comfortably without fuss amongst the latest.
One or two stood out for me.
I FELL IN LOVE WITH THESE………..
IN PARTICULAR, THIS!
Although not immediately apparent, this is a fruit bowl but not just any old fruit bowl. It is hand crafted from a French Oak Barrel used in the process of ageing red wines produced on a family owned farm in the beautiful Franschoek Valley, South Africa. Hard to see in the photo but it is still in its original state, curved as a wine cask would be, natural staining and all. Personally, I think it is hugely versatile and would host cheeses, breads and nibbles just as well. When not in use it will serve as a handsome talking point in the kitchen. It comes in two sizes, small, £45.00 and large £65.00. I bought one for a friend who had a special birthday coming up and after some consideration went back to get another for myself to discover they were sold out! I was however, able to order one and will look forward to it gracing my table.
The whole selection of food boards are totally unique to the UK and a great example of recycling. Have a look at the website for the full range.
KWANS KITCHEN, DINE OUT AT HOME
I am a ‘cook from scratch’ person but as a fan of Chinese food, I was impressed by these condiments. Handmade in small batches in Scotland by the Kwan family using traditional recipes, these products carry no artificial flavours, colours, preservatives or that ‘knowing zing’ of msg. I sampled all three of the above and purchased all three. The oils and spices retail at £3.00 and the Blackbean and Garlic Sauce at £3.50. I cooked with the Blackbean and Garlic, taking Steve Kwan’s advice, mixing it with a little soy sauce and spreading it onto salmon fillet and roasting. I used just under half a jar for four and served it with boiled rice and green peppers. Simple, nutritious and far more economical than ‘carry out’.
LA COSECHA award winning Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, “olv”. The olives have been grown on a small family farm in Alcaraz, Spain for over 500 years. A treat in its most natural form, we delighted in dipping fresh crusty bread into this fine, fruity oil when I got home. No need to get the balsamic out. It had a quality which can only be acquired from thorough production practices and a dedicated producer. Fairly priced at £5.99 for 250ml.
LAUDEN CHOCOLATE If you have travelled first class with British Airways, chances are you have savoured this award winning collection ranging from Salted Caramel to Mediterranean Orange and Fresh Mint. It sounds clichéd to say they are ‘an explosion of flavour’, but they are! True chocolate lovers can enjoy these delights using real ingredients for about a £1 a chocolate. Expensive but I would rather have one of these than three of some other.