And this is my report!
We left on Saturday night after Ayresy got home from a late finish from work. It took much umming and ahhing before we decided to take Chopsy with us as Ayresy was too worried about leaving him on his own.
The drive down was uneventful, and we to Rachâ€™s family home. We were a bit knackered, so had an early night, planning on getting up early to get going. Weâ€™d also made a decision that rather than use some money weâ€™d got for a refund for overpaying some bills of about Â£60 for a meal out for our anniversary next week, weâ€™d instead use it to buy food and treats at the food show. Weâ€™re such losers.
We were up for about 8, and left just after 9, early as we had tickets for me and Rach to see the Hairy Bikers do a cooking demo in the Supertheatre. Â It was top notch, with the Biker boys on top form, with some very dirty jokes for 10am, and you could see that the editing team for their shows clearly have their work cut out for them. They cooked some scallops with apple and black pudding, duck breast with apple and asparagus, and a strawberry desert withÂ balsamic and some kind of cream.
Ive been a big fan of balsamic lately, having it on steaks ever since it was suggested to me on the Something Awful forums.Â Seeing it used on strawberries was quite interesting and I decided thatâ€™s something Iâ€™ll have to try.
After we walked out of the hall we met up with Rachâ€™s mum and sister briefly, before deciding to head off separately and meet up at about 1ish. While I was looking at the floor plan and looking to get us a route that would take us past every stall and make sure weâ€™d see everything, Rach had one mission â€“ cheese.
When we cam last year weâ€™d visited a stall by the Snowdonia cheese company that had a variety of cheeses such as cheese with cranberry, cheese with garlic and herb, pickle cheese, and ginger cheese. Iâ€™d seen them at a welsh food show a few years back and told Rach they were great and she tried them and loved them, and weâ€™d ended up buying Â£10 worth at last years show.
So this year Rach was determined to find the Snowdonia stall and get some cheese. She practically pulled my arm off dragging me to the stall, where she elbowed her way to the counter and started sampling every type of cheese. I began to chat with the lady on the stall, complimenting the cheeses and telling her weâ€™d loved them last year. Meanwhile Rach at this point had eaten a moons worth of cheese samples. I turned to her to see what she wanted to get having seen the sign that said 1 for Â£3.50, 3 for Â£10 or 7 for Â£20. Needless to say we bought 7 blocks â€“ 2 ginger, 2 garlic, 2 pickle and a cranberry. After Rach had many more samples we walked off.
Next up was the other stand weâ€™d checked that would be at the show â€“ Jimmys Farm. Jimmy is one of Jamie Olivers mates, who decided to try and start up a rare breed farm in the UK, and a tv show was made about his struggle to get the farm to be successful. He now presents a show on BBC2 called Jimmys Food factory. Last year weâ€™d bought some of his sausages and without doubt they were some of the best Iâ€™ve ever tasted. Since then Iâ€™ve regulary looked at his website to consider ordering some, but because weâ€™ve had parcels left just outside our door at the apartment Iâ€™ve been reluctant to go through with it incase they â€œgo missingâ€
When we got to the stall we were surprised to see Jimmy himself on the stall, and after buying Â£10 worth of his sausages I asked and got a pic with him
Nobody else will probably recognise him, but I was pretty happy.
After this we started to try and follow a bit of a more concrete route round. As we were already in the produce section we were pretty much in sample city, basically walking up to stands and trying whatever was on the counter. We tried loads of produce, many different types of cheese and sausages, salami, pies, shortbread, chocolate, crab meat and much more. The only other thing we bought at this point was some Scotch Eggs, after finding a stall that sold special different types of scotch eggs for Â£2.85 each I decided to buy 4 for Â£10, picking up a Scrumpy (extra appley), Scarecrow (uses beetroot, carrot and parsnip crisps for its outside), Black Watch (using black pudding with the pork) and Christmassy â€“ I donâ€™t remember what was special about this one.
We ate the Scrumpy one as we were excited, then continued sampling stuff. Next up was the alcohol section, where I proceeded to try all manner of samples â€“ strawberry cider, 3 different types of toffee vodka from 3 different stalls, ginger ale, 2 fancy sambukas, blueberry vodka, and various other shots that we didnâ€™t really know what they were. After this I was feeling a bit tipsy â€“ Rachs solution was to go and get more cheese samples!
We met back up with Rachâ€™s mum and sister, then headed back to a fancy herb stand where I got some cumin, bay leaves and coriander. They then left us again â€“ when weâ€™d been apart weâ€™d ended up looking at the opposite stands, so the ones we hadnâ€™t looked at they had, and the ones we had they hadnt .
We looked at various stands, picked up a knife sharpener, then stood for 10 minutes while Rach got sucked into a demo of one of those slicing machines, the type that you put say a carrot on a dome, flip the lid over and it chops it for you. Rach was really into it, to the point where I dragged her away, she then went back when the guy said â€œdonâ€™t leave now, youâ€™ll miss the best bitâ€ then I finally dragged her away again. It was like one of those late night shopping channels but in person.
We did however get sucked in again, this time by a rep for Vol who was demonstrating some of their non stick pans. These were amazing, with a ten mill base and a special coating thatâ€™s guaranteed non stick for life, better than Teflon. Because of this they can cook with no oil, and he demoed a way of cooking a fried egg with no oil which really left us amazed. Even when he put some plastic in the pan it didnâ€™t stick. After this me and Rach spent ages looking at the pans, wondering if we could afford one of these that retailed at Â£70. Ultimately it was a no, but its one of those things that I really can see buying.
How fucking sad is that, I could care less about where my clothes come from but Iâ€™d love to buy a Â£300 quid set of pans.
After this we did another route around some stalls, seeing Gordan Ramsey signing some autographs, then Mr Reggae Reggae himself, Levi Roots at his stall. We went and bought ourselves a hot pork bap, then went and had a few more samples â€“ including Rach visiting a different Snowdonia cheese stand to the one we bought our cheese from and helping herself to a load of samples which prompted the man on there to shout â€œsamples here, but we arenâ€™t paying for your dinnerâ€
We ended up buying even more sausages from another stall, another 4 packs for Â£10 which tasted good but not as good as Jimmys Farm. We also found a stand selling some fancy balsamics and oils, something Iâ€™d been really looking out for. I tried a Balsamic with blueberry and vanilla, and it was awesome, so I snapped up a bottle and some fancy oil. Not sure what Iâ€™d use a fruity balsamic with but its recommended with fruit and icecream so will give them a try!
I went back to Jimmys Farm stand to pick up our sausages that had been held for us, and ended up buying another 3 packs. Weâ€™re going to be swimming inÂ sausages for the next few weeks.
We went back home to Raches mums, and then ended up going out for dinner â€“ which none of us could really finish because of the amount of samples weâ€™d eaten! With our bellies full and our legs knackered, it was time for an early night.
All in all it was a great day, and Iâ€™d always recommend a trip to any food show. You get a ton of samples, and can find plenty of top products to buy.