BBC Good Food Show, The NEC, November 2015

We have been visiting the Good Food show since at least 1999. It is an annual pilgrimage. At its best, it is an opportunity to pick up lots of interesting food and drink from smaller producers. At its worst it is overrun by the big supermarket chains and energy suppliers.

That was its nadir around 5 years ago, but they do appear to have listened to feedback, as it has been back to its best over the last few years, full of great stuff from small and friendly producers who want to tell you about what they have made and how they have made it.

Lots of highlights today. The biggest one for me was Renegade Brewery from Berkshire, a spin-off from West Berkshire brewery. They had three great beers on show, and there was time for a quick flight through all of them. A good lager with plenty of hops, and then the next stop is the India Session Ale (because we’re all about the session IPA these days), a hoppy IPA without the high ABV that you might associate with it. And finally, a West Coast pale ale, an American style pale ale (which means it’s not that pale), but is stuffed with hops, by far and away the best beer of the day (but then I am an unashamed hophead). I restricted myself to just the 12 bottles today.

The next best thing was craft cidre (not cider) from L’Atypique. Not one, not two, not three, but four of them, all deserving of the name cidre (unlike that Stella muck, aka husband beater). The reserve cidre was fantastic, with almost wine-like qualities. It will be our Xmas dinner tipple this year. They also have a standard one, a rose and a pear cidre. All natural, no added stuff, and really nice tastes.

You’ll also spot a selection of ales from Wadworth, my annual refresh of herbs and spices from Fox’s spices, beautiful spicy Lime chutney from Spice’n’Tice, Tracklements chutneys, and lots of garlic things from the Isle of Wight garlic farm. Oh, and sausages from Debbie & Andrews, making a welcome return to the show.

Another great day out at the Good Food show. Not even the weirdness of Sticky Toffee pudding cheese (yes, really) could put a downer on it. Well worth it. MOFAD cards were left on several stalls 🙂

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