Taste of London is a delicious hit
By Helga Trim Sunday, July 1 2012
London’s Regent’s Park was recently turned into a Garden of Eden for foodies from around the world. In this garden, however, no fruit was forbidden. So I sampled guava from Grenada and chocolate from TT’s very own Tobago Cocoa Estate. That was just the beginning of my Taste of London 2012 experience.
Taste of London 2012, held from June 21-24 this year, is an annual food fest that brings together 40 of London’s finest restaurants and 200 producers of the very best wines and food for four days of the ultimate gourmand experience. If I had only known it was so huge I would have attended both the morning and afternoon sessions. One can easily spend two days at Taste of London to truly cover it all.
For four and a half hours my taste buds went on a delightful spree as I sampled wines from Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil. The wines from Hungary and Lebanon were also a pleasant surprise. The Hungarian varietals have names like Kadarka, which originally came from the Balkans and tends to be a light bodied wine with a bit of complexity. The wines from Lebanon came courtesy Kingswood Wines, a UK based family-run wine distribution company. The wine I tried was quite balanced with an earthy bouquet.
The French went one step further than their counterpart and gave us a truly South of France experience, complete with a side-walk café-type setting with table and chairs set up for visitors to sit and sample the best of what the Languedoc-Roussillon wine region has to offer. The English were very much present with award-winning sparkling wine.
By this time I had to push the pause button on alcohol and found myself at the Asia de Cuba for an exotic flight of fancy for my palate. The fusion was perfectly harmonious. Of course, you want to hear about the celebrity chefs and cooking classes and entertainment from around the world. Jamie Oliver was there along with a host of Michelin Star chefs. At the AEG Test Kitchen, I was fortunate to meet the renowned Francesco Mazzei of L’Anima. “L’Anima is Italian for soul,” Mazzei said.
That’s what he brings to the table at L’Anima and the reviews have been brilliant. L’Anima is located in Broadgate, West London.
AEG has impressive equipment to help gourmands recreate some of the meals they learned to prepare at the classes. The steam oven was a novelty for me, but this latest in technology should help a happy homemaker turn pro.
Gillian Love from AEG said, “The oven uses a combination of steam and hot air to ensure your dish has the maximum flavours and satisfying textures.”
She also showed me a stove that can boil water in seconds. The marvels of steam.
The cooking class, with Dean Yasharian and Nicola of Bar Boulud, was as entertaining as it was informative. Stuffing a piglet Bar Boulud style is absolutely mouth watering and I don’t even eat anything from the pig. Bar Boulud, the brainchild of one of America’s top chefs, Dean Yasharian, is in the upscale Knightsbridge area. The food is seasonal, rustic and French-inspired. The charcuterie dish prepared on site by a world-class Charcutier has become one of their signature dishes.
Taste of London is a feast that foodies now mark on their calendars. In fact, this year, Taste of London drew more crowds than last year in spite of the rains. What I can recommend for those who may already be planning their next trip is to start with a Taste of London and then head out to Italy or France for a wine and culinary tour. Bon Appetit.