Another year, another hugely well received food festival in Regents Park in the form of the wonderful Taste of London. As a one-time exhibitor at Taste of London, I know exactly how arduous the process of setting up, decorating and stocking your stand can be and then there is the 4 day ecent itself to contend with! The whole process if enough to drive you to drink, so I salute the efforts of the hard working exhibitors each year.
This year, I braved the pouring rain as well as some rather untimely back trouble and hobbled my way around the show with my girlfriends in tow. At one point the heavens really opened up and showed no signs of stopping. We took shelter in the lovely stand belonging to "Nyetimber" who are a British winery in Sussex that make absolutely splendid fizz, whose Nyetimber's Classic Cuvée 2003 beat French Champagne to receive the title of "Champion of Worldwide Sparkling Wines" beating French Chamopagne houses Bollinger and Louis Roederer! Nyetimber is available at Waitrose at around £25.00 a bottle, which is a steal.
We visited some of my favourite Chefs, stopping to see Francesco Mazzei of L'Anima who helped us launch our Salumiamo project this month and with help from the leading lady of L'Anima, Jenny, we were spoilt rotten in true Italian style with Prosecco, some of Francesco's infamous rustic rabbit stew, Sardegnian seafood 'Fregola' and a wonderful aubergine salad with a side of my favourite rich and creamy 'Burrata' cheese. If that wasn't enough spoiling, we were given a massive great portion of the delicious Limoncello soaked lemon cake that was absolutely scrumptious. Granted special access into the L'Anima kitchens, I snapped the boys in action, headed by Lello, Francesco's right hand man. What a happy, funny bunch they are, its good to see people having fun whilst doing their work and producing wonderful food for the masses. If you missed taste of London, why not visit L'Anima at: L'Anima, 1 Snowden Street, London EC2A 2DQ
We also stopped by one of my favourite Indian restaurants of all time, Tamarind (Mayfair) to see the wonderfully serene Michelin starred Chef Alfred Prasad. A Chef whose feathers never seem to ruffle, no matter how stressful a situation gets. Alfred is the embodiment of serenity and his food is truly remarkable because of it. No wonder then man secured a Michelin star at such a younge age. Alfred plies us with some of his delicious dishes including "Keema Muttar" a spicy minced lamb and pea stew served with rice and lipsmackingly tasty along with some very special crab cakes with lime leaves and spices and some spice crusted giant prawns all washed down with an utterly irresistable cardamom infused rice pudding, creamy and rich with a hidden bottom of thick, unctuous mango puree. If this isn't heaven, I'm not sure what is! Tamarind Restaurant, 20-22 Queen Street, London W1J 5PR
We even bumped into Anthony Worrall Thompson before heading to Oddono's Gelati stand for some of the best ice cream in the world, outside of Italy! I plumped for some Valrhona chocolate ice cream along with some Sicilian Pistachio flavour and my friend went for the Nutella. Rich, creamy ice cream that is unrivalled anywhere else in London. You can visit them at Selfridges, Whiteleys or at their shop in Bute Street, South Kensington where they make their ice cream daily:
We also visited Busaba Eathai's fabulous stand and had some of their splendid calamari and we visited the Action Against Hunger Stand also, where my lovely friend Stefano was working with Valentine Warner to help raise money for the charity by preparing sumptuous meals for the crowds.
We also picked up some wonderful and very decadent truffle products from a stand that supply all the top restaurants in town, Black Truffle paste and cream of white truffle with parmesan. After an afternoon of scoffing, gorgeing, tasting and savouring, we stopped by Floridita's stand for a delicious "Appleton" rum Mojito before heading home. Fabulous. All in all a lovely time and I'm already looking forward to next year's Taste of London! Let's just hope the weather is a bit more sunny for us!