I literally just got back from the last day of Taste of London 2017 at Regent’s Park. After days of praying that it won’t rain (as forecasted) on the last day of the annual food festival, I’m happy to report that not one bit of me was splashed with any sort of precipitation. In fact, it was a glorious day of hot, hot, heat and hot, hot, food.
VIP Tickets – To Get or not to Get?
VIP tickets (worth £65 a pop) give you entrance, access to the VIP and hospitality lounge (read: cleaner toilets!), a glass of Laurent Perrier champagne, a Taste recipe journal and £20 Taste credit. BOOM. It was pretty fun hanging around by the lounge, with fresh tunes from DJ Annie Grace that remind me of chilled out vibes from Ibiza, Hed Kandi and Cafe del Mar.
BUT. Is it worth it? If you haven’t been to Taste and if you’re planning to go next year, here’s my take on VIP tickets.
Okay, Standard Tickets for the weekend come up to about £30 on the door, which, essentially is okay. I suppose The extra £35 for VIP tickets went to the “freebies” – aka the “queue jump”, the lanyard, the £20 credit, the bubbles and the lounge access. In short, if you’re not bothered to hang at the VIP lounge, just get the standard tickets. There’s loads of places you can chill at as well. Personally, the kicker for me was the access to cleaner toilets. So. Worth. It.
I thought the lineup was decent this year, with oldies/repeats such as Duck & Waffle, Club Gascon, Cinnamon Clube, Bubbledogs, Ametsa, etc. Exhibitors remain true to British-born food companies, as well as a few world faves.
Duck & Waffle‘s Icon Dish : Confit Duck Leg, sunny side up egg and Belgian waffle. Love the duck, so-so with the waffle, and you know my relationship with eggs.
Club Gascon‘s 72-hour barbecued beef rib literally fell off the bone and I nearly melted in tears. Ladies and gents, the beef was so tender it pained me to eat the last slice.
I am, however, not sure I liked these tapioca garnish on top. Didn’t move my world.
Bubbledogs‘ Hound Dog is everything you need at a barbie: smoked beef frankfurter, steamed bun, southern barbecue sauce and bourbon caramelised onions. This, my friends, is the King of Hotdog Rock and Roll.
Clerkenwell Boy‘s Taste Makers of London stall features food from the Helmsley Sisters, supperclub Jackson & Levine, and Rosie Birkett. I opted for the Helmsey’s carrot and spiced halloumi salad with pesto for a little bit of a healthy kick. It’s something I can’t wait to recreate and served with a little bit of a chill.
I’m a long-time fan of L’Autre Pied so I quite enjoyed the grilled octopus. My oh my, this was so darn tasty, considering it’s such a simple dish. Well seasoned and plump, it was freshly served with tomatoes, onions, and a basil-courgette puree.
I wasn’t sure I’d like Sartoria’s fettuccino caccio but after sniffing the cheesy, truffly sauce from a lot of people, I went in there. I’m glad I did, because it simple as it looked, the lil bowl of pasta was packed with so much flavour. Subtle, yet strong. And it was so hearty!
Churros from the Balls & Company satiated the sweet tooth. I didn’t realise how lovely these doughy things could be with quince!
Taste wouldn’t have been complete without giving a little back. At the Action Against Hunger stall, I was torn between Rick Stein’s fish taco or Breddos Tacos‘ chicken taco. I went for the latter and it didn’t disappoint. The chicken thigh was so succulent, juices stemmed down to my forearm. The chicken skin was crispy and the sauce? FAR. OUT.
I could’ve eaten more, I suppose, but I didn’t want to burst out of my dress!
Highlights: Sartoria’s pasta, L’Autre Pied’s Octopus, Club Gascon’s Short Rib, Breddos Tacos’ Chicken Taco.
The Balvenie Masterclass (and other drinks)
Having been to last year’s Balvenie Craftsmen’s Dinner with Michel Roux Jr, I was invited to a masterclass and whisky tasting at the Balvenie tent to celebrate their second year of the Craftsmen’s Dinner. You can watch Series 2 of the Craftsmen videos here, featuring a beekeeper, a cheeseman, a baker and the makers of Morgan cars.
We tried the 12-year old single cask and the 17-year old Doublewood (I prefer the first, as it was stronger!) and learned more about the craftsmen. Highlight of the session was a whisky ice cream, made with the Balvenie Caribbean Cask, which was just perfect for the heat.
There were plenty of other drinks at Taste (but of course).
On a hot Summer day, you’ve gotta have Pimms.
And as we’re in London… let there be gin!
Really digging the surge of craft beer.
The spiced rum ship hasn’t sailed.
I was particularly touched about this sign about wine. I’ve always love Paulo Coelho’s work, and this quote never spoke so much truth about wine. I mean, in vino veritas, after all!
Guys, it was such a beautiful day to be out and to eat out with family, mates, dates, and whoever else you wanna eat with. I think foodies and non-foodies alike would enjoy it because seriously, it’s a fun day out. There’s plenty to see – from musicians, to flowers, to food products, to kitchen stuff, to just glorious things OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE.
BTW – I’m not a flower person but Freddie’s Flowers seriously stole my heart. Thanks to Sophie for introducing them to me. I saw them at Taste and the arrangements they had were absolutely adorable! If you fancied to try a box for free flowers, go ahead use the code HoneyD9334!
If you didn’t get to go to Taste of London this year, please go next year. It’s good fun!
Have you been to Taste of London?