A couple of weeks ago I won two tickets to the BBC Good Food Show at the Birmingham NEC. I’d been to last year’s show in London and had a brilliant time (meeting Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood amongst other things), so was incredibly excited to go again, especially with a free ticket!
Although it was a similar set up to last time, it seemed to have lost some of its clarity. The NEC was much, much bigger than I expected, and just too vast to navigate. There were some fantastic stalls – notably The Garlic Farm, Naturally Created (gorgeous handmade chopping boards) Thunder Toffee Vodka and Mike’s Homemade (they had a spectacular clementine and cranberry marmalade) to name but a few.
Several of the companies had multiple stalls (perhaps to ensure they weren’t overlooked), which made orientating yourself even harder – and, for an event celebrating all things food, there were surprisingly few things to eat. We ended up opting for the afternoon tea – in a separate area surrounded by a white picket fence it was a very kitsch but fun experience (if overpriced, at £21.95 for some slightly stale cake and sandwiches). It was only after we’d eaten that we discovered the existence of a number of stalls selling hot food, including Pomegranate: a group selling Lebanese, and largely vegetarian food.
Slightly bitter, we headed over to the Supertheatre to see the Hairy Bikers’ last show of the event; it was the best £3 I’ve ever spent. Before the show itself was a piece from SORTED Food, who I’ve long followed, and once the Bikers were on there were frequent appearances from James Martin (who placed their cook book in the oven and a block of butter into their low-calorie baked peaches). Si and Dave themselves were on top form. Mum and I cried laughing at their constant (and refreshingly Northern) jokes and banter, which included such gems as “you want your onions to sweat like a Geordie on Jeremy Kyle waiting for the DNA test results” and a description of Cumbria as “a cul-de-sac where everyone looks like [Dave], including the women”.
Afterwards there was a book signing, and a chance to briefly meet Si and Dave. Despite the enormous queue they were unfazed – when my turn came I thanked them for the great entertainment and asked if they were tired, but they cheerfully assured me they weren’t; they didn’t seem it, either.
Overall, it was a great day out. I’ll definitely be going to a Good Food Show again, though not at the NEC, as I believe all the difficulties we had led from the venue. It was a brilliant opportunity to try beautiful new food, and to meet some fantastic people. Bring on London 2015!