Eat and drink and be merry – Taste of Christmas 2017

Taste of Christmas returns to Tobacco Docks to showcase yet again what the capital has from it’s best restaurants, top chefs and leading food and drink brands.

Taste of Christmas happens every November and in June when they have their Summer festival Taste of London which is held in Regents Park.

Taste of Christmas as much as I like this festival as I am a foodie I prefer the Summer Taste of London as for me personally with Taste of Christmas being held in Tobacco Docks it gets far too crowded and makes it quite hard to move around in some places.  Plus with the noise from people, vendors and music that is being played in several locations around the festival makes it hard to have a conversation.

Apart from the issue of some overcrowding and the noise Taste festivals are one of the greatest ways to discover exciting London restaurants from new to old. The restaurant stands you can buy taster size dishes at a small cost plus you will be able to meet world class chefs and even watch them cook at the theatres.  There are also various masterclasses which you can participate in and learn a new skill perhaps.  Plus there are many stalls which you can buy many products be it crockery or food/drink. As this is what Taste is about food, drink and discovering.

Firstly I like to start my journey around Taste of Christmas by going around the festival and getting my bearings.  Then it’s on to tasting the samples that are around.  There were so many tastings to be had but this time around and it seemed to be lots of cheese and cheese and you guessed it more cheese so by the end of the night I felt like an overstuffed mouse that had been lucky.

The reason I think there was so much cheese was because on this day they had the World Cheese Award judging happening.  You could also catch a sneak peak on this day of the many cheeses that entered from the judging hall through the window down on the lower ground floor.

As for the restaurants I bought a few sample dishes to taste from the participating restaurants and they were as follows:

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Les 110 De Taillevent – Scottish scallops, butternut cider sauce £5
It came with two scallops in lashings of butternut cider sauce. The scallops were big and succulent however it was missing the roe which was a tad disappointing as I love that part. The sauce was very creamy and extremely tasty you could taste the heavenly butter and the hint of cider making me wanting to drink the sauce after.  So if you love scallops, butter and cider you won’t want to swim on by this fishy dish.  Not only was I impressed with the dish I had and the look of the other food they had on offer that day which I saw but also the staff were very welcoming.  I certainly will be visiting their restaurant one day.

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Soho House – Taster Exclusive Linguine Lobster £9
I love lobster so I had this dish all to myself as my husband is not that keen on lobster.  The dish came out piping hot and looked great and tasted great however there was not that much lobster so for £9 I felt this sample dish was a tad expensive plus I felt the staff on the night I visited were not very friendly and did not make me feel welcomed when I ordered my food.  So unfortunately for that reason it has not wanted me to visit their restaurant anytime soon.

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The Belazu Restaurant Collective: Blanchette (only on Friday) – Classic Confit Duck fusion with Sesame and Harissa Spiced Baby Aubergine and smoked Chilli Jelly £7
So my final third dish that I bought on the night from the restaurant stands was this amazing duck.  Not only did the meat flake off the bone and melted in our mouths but the chilli jelly gave it that extra tang.  This certainly is a dish that I would most certainly love to eat again and again so I will definitely be making plans to book a table with Blanchette sometime. The staff were also very friendly and happy enough to talk about their dishes and restaurant in depth.

All dishes at Taste each cost approx. £7 each so be warned you can end up spending quite a lot on a few small plates.  I tend to share with the person I go with so this is why I shared most of mine with my husband as this way we then can get to taste more dishes without it costing us each too much.

The best display areas and stalls in my opinion which were at Taste were as follows:

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Appletiser – I loved this display area as it was decorated beautifully with trees with golden apples hanging from them, the comfy seating area to relax in and the selfie throne area in which yes I just had to do but I like to think outside the box so I posed with one of the trees instead.  Also by doing a selfie pose you can enter a competition to win VIP tickets to Taste of London in Summer.  You can also taste Appletiser drink samples at the bar as well but who has not had Appletiser? Did you know that Appletiser is made out of 100% apples? They were also serving a limited edition festive mocktails at the bar at a cost.  Find out more about Appletiser via clicking here.

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Fentimans – They had a bar area set up at Taste which you could buy various cocktails from which included Fentimans drinks.  I did not have one as I did not fancy a cocktail believe it or not that night but they all looked delicious. Fentimans is my best soda pop around but they also do sell alcoholic drinks as well such as Gin. Check out their full range of drink products via clicking here.

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Green & Black’s Organic – Here you could sample Green & Black’s Velvet Edition Range.  Even though the chocolate is 70% cocoa still making it dark chocolate you would not think it was.  I hate dark chocolate but this range was not bitter and not harsh in anyway. The reason it does not taste like dark chocolate is because of the different bean they use being Ghanaian cocoa beans. The Ghanaian cocoa beans are gently roasted, and carefully balanced with sweet Madagascan vanilla thus keeping the chocolate sweet and smooth, but still retaining a good depth of cocoa.  I really did like this new range and I will most certainly be buying some in the future.  You could also buy the chocolate plus their normal style chocolate on the day.  To discover more about their new range click here.

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Kettle Crisps – I love Kettle Crisps and I was so pleased to see them at Taste.  They had a few new surprise flavours to test (not buy) which they were sampling at Taste but I won’t tell you what they are to discover them you will have to go along to Taste.  They were though selling their Discoveries selection (Yorkshire Wensleydale Cheese and Cox Apple Chutney Seasoning, Gressingham Duck®, Plum Sauce and Spring Onion, New York Deli with Pastrami Dill Picklle Mustard and their Salted Caramel and Double Cream). I was thrilled to be able to at long last taste their Salted Caramel and Double Cream crisps as I have been trying to get hold of these beauties for ages.  Now you would not think that this sort of flavouring would work for crisps but trust me it did and I am not just saying that as I am obsessed with Salted Caramel they truly did taste amazing.  They are so moreish.  They have a strong savoury edge and saltiness to them with a slight buttery sweetness.  I couldn’t stop myself from eating them one after the other as they’re soooo good! I could of literally cleared out their tasting bowl.  I ended up buying four packets of these scrumptious crisps.  I also loved their Kettle Chip bowls which they had the crisps in for people to taste.  I really wanted one to add along with my other Kettle Chip bowl which I won over 10 years ago as part of a prize if you were on the top of  the leader board of this game you could play online and a winner was drawn every month.  This bowl was far more funkier and modern but alas I could not keep it as otherwise they would not have enough bowls to put crisps in for people to taste but they gave me a branded pen instead so yippee.  To discover more about all of Kettle Chips flavours click here.

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Pan n Ice – Is not like any other ice cream I have ever had.  Firstly it does not start out as a ice cream it starts out as milk and whatever ingredient your flavour consists of.  I chose a Ferrero Rocher style Pan n ice so mine has some Ferrero Rocher’s smashed up along with wafers and milk then this is scraped over and over a chilled metal plate turning it into ice cream.  It is then scraped into rolls and placed in a tub creating the most unique and fresh tasting ice cream I have ever had.  Watch the video clip below of my ice cream being made at Taste from start to finish.  To find out more about Pan n Ice click here.

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Happy Mallows – I love Happy Mallows as their marshmallows are always so soft, spongy and extremely tasty plus their flavours they sell are all amazing.  Their newest flavour is the Romantic Raspberry and White Chocolate.  You can really taste the raspberry which tastes ever so fresh and the white chocolate once you pop one in your mouth you won’t be able to stop be it whatever flavour you choose.  To find out more about all their other flavours click here.

Spice Tailor – I love Spice Tailor products and so when I saw Anjum Anand selling her products I just had to go over and obviously buy more of her delicious sauces to store in my cupboard and use at home.  Anjum was one of the first writers to create and write Indian recipes catering for the health-conscious cook and her first book, Indian Every Day: Light, Healthy Indian Food, was published in 2003. Since then she has written six other best-selling books on Indian Food. She wanted to create simple but yet tasty and easy Indian products that people can cook at home.  I love her sauces in particular so I had to buy more of them.  All her sauces are all vegetarian (you add your own meat) and are made from fresh ingredients and spices and are free from artificial colours, preservatives and flavours.  Some of her sauces also come with a marinade which is called the base sauce, so if you have the time you can marinate your meat in this sauce which will help tenderise the meat and inject some flavour into it before you even start to cook. If you don’t have the time, add this sauce in as per the packet instructions and you will have a meal on the table in under 10 minutes. The best thing about her sauces is that you can tailor the sauces to your lifestyle by deciding what to add in. So if you love vegetables or meat it is up to you what you use as all sauces work really well. All the sauces are vegetarian and are made from fresh ingredients and spices and are free from artificial colours, preservatives and flavours. Plus all sauces come in different strengths from mild in spice to strong. There also sell Chutnis, Naans, Daals. To read more about Spice Tailor products and Anjum click here.

At the end of the night I had fun tasting and speaking to various vendors on the night but and went on home with our stomachs full and our hands full of bags.

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So if you love food and drink and love to try new products out then I highly recommend in going along to this one or Taste of London in summer (read my summer review of Taste here) as there is so much entertainment from music to theatre cookery shows, tastings, food to eat, drink to drink and things to discover you won’t be bored. In fact you will be craving for the next festival.

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