Hello to all my readers,
Below is an overview of my visit to the Food & Drink Expo but any cheese/producer I tried/met will be reviewing separately to allow the various products/producers to come alive in there own right. They will be featured on my blog over the next coming weeks with my opinion and links to be able to purchase.
So on the 26th March (My Sisters birthday) we woke up at the crack of dawn on a chilly morning to drive 2 1/2 hours to The NEC to visit this show. I was very much looking forward to meeting new people in the world of cheese and was optimistic that I was along the right path with my blog & business cards in hand. Doors opened at 10am and we arrived in plenty of time and entered dead on at 10am into the all encompassing food show from retail to manufacturing. We started to walk around all the various stalls within the halls comparable to a very busy market environment with the smell of foods attacking you from all sides, certainly making your taste buds come alive.
My first foodie experience of the day was Willie’s Cacao (http://williescacao.com/fine-chocolate/home/) which produce wonderful artisan chocolates for cooking with and for eating, but while talking to Harriet from Willies I was explaining about making the chocolate & orange tart, I turned around and there was Willie Harcourt-Cooze! I used his chocolate during my Food technology course and It was lovely to meet somebody so passionate about his product and boy if you haven’t tried his chocolate you must! (Buy here at http://www.willieschocolateshop.com/). Having calmed down from meeting someone that I have always wanted to in the food industry we made our way further into the halls & stalls to hunt down the most cheesiest of producers.
On the journey around you are handed tasters left, right & centre which is lovely but you cannot possibly stop to take every single one as you have to savour flavours. With that we arrived at Le Gruyere of Switzerland where we were greeted by two very lovely ladies who offered me a taster on Gruyere (Which I have had before) but still you can’t turn down cheese. Gruyere which is hard, nutty, sweet with a salty edge and is perfect for a fondue or on crepes. We moved on and immediately after was a Somerset keeved cider from Pilton (http://www.piltoncider.com/) which is a medium dry cider that doesn’t need sweetening & pasteurisation, because of this its light and refreshing flavour hints of fresh fruit and actually seemed to work very well with Le Gruyere cheese, so I suggested the producer to try the two together. Around the corner was Rowcliffe (http://www.rowcliffe.co.uk/) which I don’t personally deal with to order cheese but some of my cheese for the Waitrose counter comes from Rowcliffe because “Anthony Rowcliffe & Son is Britain’s leading direct importer and distributor of fine cheeses”. They were very friendly and you can tell that they take the time and effort to provide the best possible cheeses to the retail industry, and the lovely brochure they have given to me provides a plethora of detail about all aspects of their products.
The last prominent stop (In this article anyways) is Godminster (http://www.godminster.com/). I met Sarah Norris the Marketing Manager who was wonderful, and with her help there will be more Godminster products featured on this page soon. They have a very presentable brand and it all interlinks nicely so you know that its from Godminster, I love Godminster cheese and you can read my review of their cheddar on my site from last year here (http://jhbcheesy1.com/2013/10/16/godminster-cheddar-organic-pasteurised-cows-milk-suitable-for-vegetarians/).
Having filled ourselves up with all manner of food available to us and talking to some wonderful people we made our exit for the journey home. We were off to celebrate my Sisters birthday for a meal out on the way home and just before we left we took an Oscar style selfie although there was only 3 of us!