Head up the stairs in the Ideal Home Show Christmas, past all the toys and technology, and its the smell which hits you first. Spices. Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the lovely lady at the entrance to the Eat and Drink festival but her stand with endless rows of curry sauces and plates piled high with freshly made samosas smelled incredible and looked so appetising, it took all of my strength not to just fill up on the aforementioned and head home. Luckily I made it through the entrance of the Eat and Drink festival though….
There was the usual combination of stalls which belong on TV. Marketing with knives, toastie makers, spiralizers and hoovers, but what of course excited me most were the stalls with SAMPLES! I’ll be lucky if I can remember everything I tasted but the list goes something like this:
- sausages (chicken and pork from Heck!)
- black pudding
- cheese (chilli, smoked, herby, whisky, fruity)
- Balsamic vinegar (various fruity flavours from Yorkshire Drizzle)
- curds (wow to ginger, recommend passion fruit)
- jam (strawberry champagne!)
- brie (cheese again)
- lemon cheesecake
- chocolate fudge
- garlic bread
- Apple Cinnamon tea
On top of all of this was the alcohol sampling. I don’t often drink, but I had made sure I wasn’t driving that day because the combination of Rubis chocolate wine, prosecco, rosé , red wine, flavoured whiskey, flavoured vodka, flavoured gin, colour changing gin, and salted caramel tequila was lethal and had me giggling all the way to lunch!
I then got lunch in early and I couldn’t honestly say whether that’s because I needed to soak up the alcohol or because the smells were just so tempting, either way lunch was very enjoyable…… I tried both Chicken Korai with Dahl and an onion bhaji (Gupta’s Bombay Street Food) and Chilli with sweet potato fries (Louisiana chilli) and both were incredible and full of flavour.
At this point I thought it best to adventure downstairs to actually experience the ideal home show itself whilst I was there and I’m glad I did because I picked up a few cheap home trinkets. This is also provides the perfect opportunity to let your lunch settle and create room ready to head back upstairs ready for round 2 of samples, hoping that nobody recognised you going around again!
When I did venture back upstairs it was definitely time for more samples but also a good time to start the shopping frenzy. Then once you start you just can’t stop….in goes the coloured gin ‘as a present’, passionfruit and ginger curd comes next and ‘its got to be two because it’s on offer’, then clotted cream and rocky road flapjacks ‘enough to share so it doesn’t seem so self-indulgent’, sausages and black pudding with bacon thrown in ‘because then you get the cool bag free’. Oh and I totally forgot the chocolate kisses in a variety of flavours because ‘at least if I buy lots then there will be some left over at home to share’. I think this is where it ended, but I may be brave enough to open the bags later and realise that I slipped a whole lot more in too.
My heavy bags were my cue to leave at this point, but if my bags hadn’t been quite so heavy I would definitely have ventured back over to the street food stalls to get my fill of some other dishes – bao buns or philly cheese steak sandwiches with raclette cheese were calling my name.
Overall, it was a brilliant day full of food and fun, with lots of live shows going on with top tips for budding chefs and an endless supply of samples to fill you up. So my two pieces of advice would be:
1. Don’t stuff yourself on samples too much so you can enjoy the streetfood!
2. Go and explore the non-perishables whilst you digest to make room for more!