One day simply wasn't enough as sessions of meeting the Bursary Stand Award winners was arranged, as well as a visit to the Super Theatre, which this year was hosted by chef Marcus Bean, proprietor of the amazing Brompton Cookery School in Shropshire, which saw us watching Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry 'Do Lunch'. Later we were treated to meet and interview Paul Hollywood. Did you know that Paul's favourite 'dirty food' is a hot dog with fried onions in a floury bap?! Marcus also very kindly arranged for the lovely Mary Berry to come and say hello and have her photo taken with us (thanks Marcus!)
Each of the Bursary Award Winners are young companies with small turnovers, but who have a fabulous product to bring to the market. It's a tough competition as they are given a complimentary stand at the show to help grown their businesses. I'm sure it's such a difficult decision for the judges to choose their worthy winners.
Firstly, we were introduced to The Preservation Society, which was set up by Angharad Underwood during her maternity leave from work. She produces an array of preserves, syrops and chutneys, many of which we were able to taste and enjoy. I later went back to Angharad's stall and treated myself to three bottles of her delightful syrops to enjoy later with some added sparkling water.
Next we were introduced to The Cornish Charcuterie Company, which is run by a husband and wife team, Richard and Fionagh, both former city bakers, who moved themselves and their family to a 350 acre farm in Bude, Cornwall to follow their food passion and dreams in an all together, slower and more organic way of life. They produce a range of pâté, salami, chorizo and rillets using pork and beef that they rear on their farm. Other products used in manufacture are sourced as locally as possible too. I love the story behind the creation of their logo. The thumbprints used as the body of their animals is in recognition of their hands on approach to their animals, their farm and their business. I'd already bought myself a jar of the chicken liver pâté to bring home and enjoy prior to being introduced to Richard. I can thoroughly recommend this to pâté lovers everywhere; it's delicious!
Next we were inspired by 19 year old Founder and Managing Director Ben Nichols who set up So Smoothies from his parent's Nottingham kitchen at the age of 17. Initially created to quench his own thirst, Ben (after tidying up the mess he made in the kitchen before his mum got home) approached local shops with his samples and now sells to 45 outlets locally and UK wide. The smoothies are non pasteurised and preservation free so provide a healthy, fresh tasting drink. We sampled each of Ben's current varieties, all of which were really lovely. Soon to be launched, as the first in the UK, is a 30% reduced sugar smoothie which uses Stevia to replace the sugar, making it a healthier alternative. I wish Ben a huge amount of success with this launch.
Our final Bursary Award Winner was Nik Sinclair from Sinclair Condiments in Milton Keynes who brought us a curious Hot Banana Ketchup to taste. After the initial banana taste, you're greeted with the heat of the chilli which provided the most bizarre combination, but one that really does work! Along with a Roasted Red Pepper sauce, they also produce a range of 10 sauces to include Sweet Chilli (hot!) and Tomato Ketchup along with a Scotch Bonnet sauce to really fire up your taste buds! I was given a bottle of their Tomato Ketchup to bring home and try. My daughter loved the taste as it has a much higher tomato content and less sugar than the leading market brand. This is still produced in small batches from his home.
A few other treats were purchased to accompany me home from the show, namely:
Belgian biscuits and biscuit butter.
Some amazing Italian citrus olive oil from Soralina, winners of Theo Paphitis Small Business Award. More on this in another post where I'll share with you a recipe for their citrus olive oil, lemon and rosemary cake which I've developed.
Three bottles of Ketchup and sauces from the Great British Sauce Company, including a sweet curry sauce which went brilliantly with some chip shop chips at the weekend.
My new, incredibly sharp and delectably gorgeous I.O.Shen knife which is not just beautiful to look at, but an absolute dream to use. So much so, that I don't think I've actually used another knife to prepare food with since this arrived home with me. A worthy investment indeed!
As a member of the BBC Good Food Show Blogging community I was given a free admission pass to the Good Food Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Samples were received from some of the exhibitors where stated above. Other products were purchased personally.