On Sunday 24 August my family and I set off to the BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court where we spent the most wonderful day! We started off by having our packed lunch in the “secret garden”, well that’s our name of it, a little hidden path with a few benches where we usually bump into a friendly Robin. This time however we were greeted by a squirrel who seemed to have perfected the art of begging with his little raised paw! I did wonder if it was the squirrel from the Great British Bake Off now that his work there seems to have dried up! We didn’t succumb to his charms however, as feeding wildlife is never a good idea.
On entering the official festival area we came across the Summer Kitchen where Joe was making pizzas ably assisted by Druv Baker (impressive tossing) and I made a note to come back later to see Lisa Faulkner.
The first stall I came across was for The a2 Milk Company which had a constant flow of people wanting to try their smoothies. I did manage to get to the front of the queue and came away with 2 ice cold strawberry smoothies for me and my daughter – a good way to start the day!
Amazingly the weather stayed warm even though it became a little overcast in the afternoon. There were stalls from all sorts of producers, everything from coconut water, popcorn, frying pans, parmesan graters to curries just to mane a few!
A few stalls stood out for me, one of which was Paxton & Whitfield. I’d shared a tweet with these guys in the morning (after seeing that they were setting up) and told them I’d be along later. When I got there they even remembered my name and told me all about their fine cheeses and their shops which includes one in Jermyn St. I was given a slice of goats cheese to try and did explain that I wasn’t that keen on it. Well my opinion wasn’t changed so I had a nice slither of cheddar with some dried fig (comes in a ball wrapped in a fig leaf for £8.50) to normalise my taste buds! It was reallly nice to meet people so passionate about their produce and it was good to share a few “cheesey” jokes too!
My next interesting find was Biscuit Butter (excuse the bad photo). They make speculoos biscuit spread which is really creamy and even have a crunchy variant with pieces of speculoos biscuit in it which was really good. They also sell speculoos biscuits and biscuit crumbs for cooking with. I much preferred this to the variant that is now sold in our supermarkets so I do hope this brand catches on.
I treated my daughter to a Coffee Ice Cream Cone from Ivor’s Ice Cream (made on his farm near Bristol) and he also let me try his vanilla ice cream when he heard a ran a blog. There was no slick marketing here (indeed I couldn’t find their website from programme guide) but just a thoroughy lush ice cream which balanced creaminess with iciness perfectly, I beleive they learned their ice cream making skills from the itatlians!. At £2 for a cone it was also the cheapest ice cream at the festival and probably the nicest as my husband had an ice cream from another stand and wasn’t blown away.
My final foody find of the day was these lush looking giant flavoured Merangz made to a traditional Swiss recipe from The Little Round Cake Company who also make all manner of delicious looking cakes and Brownies too.
On my travels around the festival I caught a glimpse of Gregg Wallace and in the interests of my readers (well I was there as press) I decided to yell, I mean politely ask from the public side of the bar, into the VIP side of the bar, if he would mind having his picture taken for my blog. Being the good sport that he was he gave this this lovely pose and then I let him get on with his glass of wine in peace! Well I may have asked him if he was on Twitter and then had to get him to spell “Gregg” for me and I still couldn’t get phone to find him, only to discover that my phone wont actually find anyone using the Twitter search facility! But luckily I didn’t tell him who I was so he doesn’t know it was me LOL!
By late afternoon and having sampled my way through copious amounts of cheese, curry sauce, crisps, cured meats, dips and liqueur I remembered I’d wanted to see Lisa Faulkner in the demo kitchen. I started to head back to the Summer Kitchen but got distracted by some 1940’s style singers in polka dot dresses who were performing in the bandstand. Then as I approached my destination I was lured into a tent where 2 glamorous ladies were being interviiewed. Not knowing who they were I sat down to listen to them and gathered that they were friend’s who’d written a book called How to Cook in High Heels. Their names were Korin Nolan and Sasha Parker and interestingly I found out that Korin in her previous career had been the “girl in the booth” on The Wright Stuff and Sasha had won a TV reality modelling competition and been the legs of Pretty Polly. I liked their fun and practical approach to food and they were indeed wearing “high heels”! We were told they would be cooking in the Summer Kitchen shortly. Oh yes wasn’t I supposed to be heading there to see Lisa I thought to myself.
I got to the Summer Kitchen and of course Lisa’s cookery demonstration had ended (my fault for being so distracted). I then realised she might still be around and saw that she was indeed chatting to fans in front of the demo counter. I decided I’d missed my chance of saying hello as having missed her demo it wouldn’t really be the done thing to muscle in on her now. So I decided I’d take a couple of snaps from a distance and make do with that. She came across so bubbly and animated and when some fans asked for a photo with her a short way from where I was sitting she gave me the most gorgeous smile that just seemed to light up the whole room. Well, putting aside my earlier reservations I took that as my “get out of jail free card” so to speak and decided that it was now or never as I knew she was about to leave. I walked up to her and said “Hi, you’re Lisa I know you, I’m Camilla from Fab Food 4 All but you won’t know me” (or something like that) to which she replied “oh but I do know you” (cue complete shock), I couldn’t let this one go! “How” I asked? “From Twitter, I keep an eye on food bloggers” she replied. Then she waved Dhruv Baker over and introduced me like he’d heard of me too (he may have been being polite) but he nodded and I said I knew him from being all over the internet (turns out I was following him on Twitter myself but hadn’t realised). Well I just had to ask for a “selfie” now as I’d never done one of myself let alone with foodie celebs and seized the moment. Lisa even helped show me which button to press and the 2 of them lined up perfectly behind me – “selfie” pros! Excuse the distored picture but I’m told when you reverse the camera you don’t get the same definition! Well they both made my day (perhaps year) and I’m surprised I didn’t fall over when Lisa said she knew of Fab Food 4 All!
So after all that excitement I took my seat ready for Korin & Sasha’s cookery demonstration by which time my family had eventually found me again and we watched together. They made Thai Tuna Burgers with a slaw, a low fat Lemon & Berry Cheesecake and 2 cocktails all in half an hour. Dhruv Baker played host and did such a good job you’d think he was a TV presenter and not a cookery writer and winner of Masterchef. The friendship and banter from Korin and Sasha was very endearing but their food was as delicious looking as they were funny and glamorous. I went up at the end to ask them for this picture and introduced myself (they hadn’t heard of me – feet firmly back on the ground LOL) and promtly went home and followed them on their Facebook and Twitter and then invited half the bloggers I know to follow them too!
So that was my day out at the BBC Good Food Festival and if you haven’t been before I can thoroughly recommend it – maybe I’ll see YOU next year:-)
I’m off to the Woking Food Festival next!