When I found hut there was a winter Taste of London, I was ever so excited. The summer festival in Regent’s Park was a sun, food and booze-filled extravaganza which I cannot recommend enough. (The Havana Rum Bar was one of my favourite bits). So I was expecting this and more, but without the baking hot sun (baah).
It turns out, the festive take on this ever-popular food festival is just as fun, and even better in that it comes with a sprinkling of festive magic. I’d never been to the Tobacco Dock in Wapping before. And when I arrived, I was mightily impressed with how magical it was. A huge Christmas tree dominated the centre of this inside-outside venue and Christmas baubles, twinkly lights and decorations filled every nook and cranny.
I have to admit, I made one slight error this time round – I didn’t realise the weekend event finished at 6pm. So once BC and I casually picked up our tickets around the 3 o’clock mark, we swiftly realised we’d messed up. We had three hours to do as much eating, drinking and general food gawping around the Taste of London venue as possible. And while I was really gutted I’d missed out on the majority of chef demonstrations, talks and workshops, the eating and drinking bit is something I’m pretty good at. And let’s be honest, that’s kind of the best bit, isn’t it?
So what did we eat? The Taste of London winter festival was just as packed out with an abundance of food stands by top chefs. The best ones (ie Maze Grill, Tom’s Kitchen, Tredwells and Hix) had the longest queues snaking around them. And of course, in the name of good food, we patiently queued in anticipation of a snapshot of some of London’s best cuisine.
Another downside of arriving late was the most sought-after dishes had been snapped up. But we did manage to get our tastebuds around…..
Truffled macaroni cheese from Tom’s Kitchen:
A slow cooked BBQ pulled beef brisket bun from Gordon Ramsay’s Maze Grill:
and a rather tasty duck and orange pie from one of the food and drink markets. (The name of the stand escapes me so if you’re the maker of these pies, let me know!)
Aside from a plethora of food stalls, the festive Taste of London also presented a whole host of small scale food producers, kitchenware and gadgets, cocktail accessories and lots (and I mean lots) of opportunities to try various different tipples. How gorgeous are these Sari cakes, by the way?
We snapped up a brilliant voucher from Pieroth to have a private wine tasting experince in our own home. We also tried a variety of Prosecco, Cava and various wines, before ending up at the Duppy Share stand (a modern new rum from Jamaica and Barbados) for a hot apple and rum cocktail.
While we didn’t quite manage to meet the chefs or make a cookery demonstration, we had a very festive afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed the buzz of the place. The most novel things were by far the hut made from food in the Asda room….
…and the Gingerbread Kings Landing replica, in the Game of Thrones / HBO room. (No I’m not a fan but the boy is).
Yep. I’m now officially in the mood for Christmas.