Good Food London

(by peter & susie)

At the popcorn stand

At the popcorn stand

Autumn and the lead-up to Christmas is always a full-on time on the wine front – whether you’re making, selling or just celebrating the stuff.

And so it should be. This is a glorious time of year to enjoy heart-warming reds, refined whites, joyful fizz and sumptuous sweet wines. There’s so much to enjoy them with on the food front, too.

Which brings us neatly onto the subject of the BBC Good Food Show, whose London edition was last weekend in Olympia and proved yet another tremendously tasty and fun-filled weekend.

Our personal highlights included Jo & Seph’s yummy yet delightfully barmy popcorn (flavours included Madras and lime, gin & tonic, cheese on toast and mince pies), at whose stand Peter bumped into Cherie Blair – clearly a fellow devotee. Then there was the fiery new Tabasco Jelly Belly flavour. And the foie gras & fig chutney macaroons (courtesy of Le Cordon Bleu team). And a whole host of fabulous wines to try at the Wine Cellar. Our cup truly flowed over.

But we weren’t just having fun – we were working hard hosting delicious wine events in the Tasting Theatre.

In one particularly tasty session we matched wines to Green & Black’s chocolates to tie in with their new Connoisseur Collection (very posh indeed…) This is what we came up with:

  • Chocolate and wine tasting

    Chocolate and wine tasting

    To go with G&B white chocolate: Château les Sablines Monbazillac 2010 (Waitrose, £8.95)

  • To partner G&B’s ginger chocolate: Hugel Gewürztraminer Vendange Tardive 2007 (£33, Wine Society)
  • Accompanying G&B raisin and hazelnut: Campbell’s Rutherglen Muscat NV, (Waitrose, £11.99)
  • A match for G&B’s sea salt chocolate: Blandy’s 10 year old Malmsey Madeira (£18.49, independents inc Hailsham Cellars, The Wine Company, Hedonism, Flagship)
  • Alongside G&B’s 70% dark chocolate: Taylor’s LBV 2007 (from £14.99, widely available eg Waitrose, Majestic, Sainsbury’s)

As our fellow tasters heartily agreed, all the matches were pretty darn good. The sea salt and Madeira was one that really scaled the heights, though. Now if we all could follow the Aztec’s example of paying their taxes in chocolate, the world might be a slightly better place…

Another event we hosted focused on some of our top tips for Christmas drinking. These included:

  • Backstage at the Saturday Kitchen supertheatre

    Backstage at the Saturday Kitchen supertheatre

    Finest Prosecco Conegliano (£9.99, Tesco)

  • Organic Chablis Brocard 2010 (£14.99, M&S)
  • Winemaker’s Selection Rioja Reciente NV (£5.49, Sainsbury’s)
  • Amalaya de Colomé Malbec blend (£8.99, Majestic)
  • Buller’s Fine Old Muscat (£32 Catchpole Cellars)

The Chablis showed particularly well, and there were lots of fans for the Malbec too. Most importantly, the festive atmosphere was firmly in place by the end. Cheers to that!

We were also in action on the supertheatre stage with Saturday Kitchen and superstar chefs James Martin, Antonio Carluccio, Cyrus Todiwala, Lawrence Keogh and Ben Tish. Our matches for their dishes, all of which came from the stage sponsor Tesco, included:

  • Pan-fried hake on the bone with Arbequina olive oil mash, surf clams, chorizo and flat parsley (Ben Tish) – Marques de Riscal Rueda Sauvignon Blanc 2010 (£10.99)
  • Curried Lamb Minced Scrambled with Egg ‘Kheema Ghotala’ (Cyrus Todiwala) – Finest Grenache Syrah Pays d’Oc 2012 £6.99
  • Roast Partridge with spiced apple butter and walnut sauce (Lawrence Keogh) – Finest Central Otago Pinot Noir 2011 £10.99
  • Stuffed Lamb Cutlets (Antonio Carluccio) – Finest Montepulciano d’Abruzzo La Francese 2012 £7.99
Cordon Bleu chef Julie with her marvellous macaroons

Cordon Bleu chef Julie with her marvellous macaroons

Our lovely stage guests were weather forecaster Carol Kirkwood and Masterchef finalist Les Dennis. Our Tesco wine matches for their heaven and hell dishes, cooked by James Martin, included:

  • Pan-fried scallops with shallot tatin – Baron de Ley Tres Viñas Rioja Blanco Reserva 2008 (£12.99)
  • Crispy pork belly with Chinese greensFinest Torrontes (£8.99)
  • Wagyu beef with Thai mint saladFetzer Crimson 2010 (£9.99)
  • Baked Reblechon with blue cheese beignetsMarqués de Casa Concha Chardonnay 2012 (£11.99)

Thanks to the fab team at River Street Events, all our glorious Saturday Kitchen gang, and everyone who came along and joined in the fun.

We’re also in action at the winter BBC Good Food Show in Birmingham on Saturday 30th November and Sunday 1st December. We’ll be on the supertheatre and Saturday Kitchen stages with the likes of James Martin, Tom Kerridge, Michael Caines, Lawrence Keogh, John Craven, Lisa Reilly, Paul Rankin, Glynn Purnell and more. Do come and join in the fun – and don’t forget to say hi!