As you may remember, I visited what I call “Foodie Christmas” earlier this year at Taste of London in Regent’s Park. For foodies, this “Christmas” happens to come twice a year.
Every holiday season, a massive space in Excel is decked out with Christmas trees and filled with food stalls for a weekend of getting into the holiday spirit by stuffing your face. There are restaurants serving miniature versions of their signature dishes, stalls selling gifts to get some Christmas shopping out of the way, and samples of booze, chocolate, and cheese galore.
This year there was a combination of Restaurants and Street Food Vans serving up their best dishes at very high price. Taste Festivals have their own currency called crowns. I’ve explained this all here, but two crowns is worth £1 and most dishes are around 10 crowns, which you nerds have already worked out is equivalent to £5.
The space is a bit overwhelming and doesn’t exactly have that intimate Christmassy feel. The live band playing Christmas hits does however make you wiggle around the room, ready for more edible Christmas cheer. If you plan on visiting next year, you could wander around the stalls and have breads and oils, cheese and dips, and crisps and roasted garlic spread as your appetisers before working your way around the mains. However, I prefer tackling the restaurants and street food vans first, and then working my way around the stalls to ensure my favourite dishes aren’t sold out. My first sample was from Peruvian restaurant Lima. A woman greeted us with a large plate of Sea bass ceviche, with white tiger’s milk, glazed sweet potato, and Inka corn. The sea bass was incredibly fresh and went beautifully with the texture of the sweet potato and crunchy Inka corn. Leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk, is the Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche, which gave a lovely citrusy hint to the dish.
I sampled the Jingle Balls made of free range pork shoulder and beef chuck balls winter spiced with red onion and tomato sauce, cumin, soured cream, and fresh coriander and the Excithai Balls of free range pork shoulders and beef chuck balls with a coconut curry sauce, crispy onions, sweet chilli jam and fresh coriander.
Although they were a bit cold, the flavours were marvellous and the meatball itself was incredibly tender.
Let’s just say, I wish I had ordered the duck burger instead.
The amount of foie gras was overwhelming, bun was too dry, and truffle seriously lacking. Not impressed.
We then wandered the stalls looking for gifts and sampling everything in sight.
I may have stolen a sample or two…or 10 from the Ferrero Rocher Man.
I was more than happy to celebrate their 30th birthday with them.
How adorable is this little lady!? Don’t you just want to steal her and set her up in your kitchen to make all her magical, grandmothery comfort foods all whilst wearing her little apron and hat?
One of the most innovative things I saw at Taste was 2grams Christmas Cards. It’s the Christmas card you can have and eat, too. They’re made from gingerbread with messages stamped onto icing. Find out more about them here. Edible Chocolate Candlesticks would make a nice talk-piece for the dinner table.
How realistic are these edible Chocolate socks?
Perfect for a stocking stuffer.
As always I left with a skip in my step and ache in my tummy.
This year wasn’t as good as previous years due to the lack of restaurants participating, but it’s still one of my favourite parts of the holiday season.
Did anyone else visit the festival?
What was your favourite dish?