Thursday, September 06, 2012

Inspiring Visit - Speciality and Fine Food Fair - London Sept 2-4 2012

It's already September and the autumn is noticeable in the London air. But besides the exciting and enthusiasm surrounding the Paralympic games this year, there are some other inspiring events for the Fine Food trade and the people interested in food business and artisan food products.
It's the 2012 edition of the Speciality & Fine Food Fair held held in London's Olympia from September 2-4.
It's a magnificent showcase of the finest artisan food and drink products from the UK and Ireland and all over the world, crafted with love, inspiration and mastery.
Some 600 exhibitors presented their products during the event. There was a strong presence from top European foodie destinations France, Italy and Spain, and it was interesting to see some less known and even new to the UK market products from Central and Eastern European countries as Hungary, Poland and Serbia, among others.

The special interest for me was the National Chocolate Masters Finals an initiative by premium grade chocolate producer and distributor Cacao Barry, held under the Speciality Chocolate Fair, within the Speciality and Fine Food Fair.
Top pastry chefs and chocolatiers from the UK's most renowned chocolate companies are competing for the title of the UK Chocolate Master and the winner is going to represent the country to the Chocolate Masters Finals to be held in Paris.
The contestants were:

  Alistair Birt - Head Chocolatier for William Curley

  Ruth Hinks - owner of CocoaBlack

 Conor McAlonan - owner of Liberty Boy Confections, Cork, Ireland 

 Richie Heppell - Head Chef at Royal Air Force Officers Mess, RAF Leuchars

The competition went under the theme "Architecture of Taste" which needed to be reflected in all the three products they needed to produce over a 3-day period.
It was impressive to be able to see how the grand Chocolate masters work and create their master pieces. Unfortunately I got the chance to attend only the first day when they were asked to produce a large chocolate showpiece - they looked ... majestic.
My favourite for that day was Alistair Birt's creation inspired by the Garden of Eden.

Over the next two days they had to create also moulded praline or bonbon and a gastronomic chocolate dessert based on a traditional recipe from the chocolatier's own country. For the UK it was a chocolate log.

And the winner who's going to Paris is

Ruth Hicks. 

(photo @Speciality_Food)

The only downside to this event is that not all products are immediately available for sale in the UK as many of them especially the foreign ones are hoping to find contractors and distributors in the country and to get a share of the local market. I really hope they get that opportunity as the products deserved it.

But enough talking, let me share some of the most impressive products I came across at the event:

Chocolates, chocolates everywhere!


Lauden Chocolate's fragrant printed chocs - the rose and lychee was out of this world! You want to try it!

Amellia Rope's beautiful palette chocolates - really loved the presentation

French product - Comtpoir du Cacao - stylish and minimalistic

They looked much better live than on photos...

Panforte of Italy - a great delicacy!

Always up for some Italian delicacies - these people just know how to eat!

The Olympia hall view from the top

Cute  owl and cat biscuits - a cafe treats

Fancy a pizza but love chocolate?! No problem - ask for the Chocolate Pizza Company

The beautiful stall of stylist, wedding organiser and cake ball maker Suhaav 

Loved the styling!

Belgian heavy weight speciality and gourmet chocolates maker  Daskalides with a store in Covent garden showing  their ample gamma of artisan chocolates.

Have you ever seen such a diversity?


Daskalides - the best part of it - you can chose which chocolates go into your own box.

Choc on a stick - the newest trend

Idillio Origins - a Swiss gourmet choice 

Original Beans

An emergency chocolate fix - novelty chocolates

The Grumpy Mule - speciality coffees

Less known in the UK - rose hip and rose preserves and syrups by Rose Cafe - home made food from my childhood.
Some buttery and chocolate fudge from Fudge Kitchen - they're introducing Drinking Fudge in 2013 - looking forward to it!
The Black butter chocolates made with Jersey Black Butter by La Mare Wine Estate
The black butter was actually a fragrant preserve made with loads of apples and spices.

I wouldn't mind a sweet pasta for breakfast! Chocolate, chocolate and orange, chocolate and mint, chocolate and milk and so on. They've got squid ink as well!

How do you have your pecorino? Do it Sardinian way with a lemon marmelade! Vallebona - Sardinian gourmet

Halfway between pasta and couscous - another Sardinian delicacy - Fregola

Tried the nutty and light argan oil from Arganic - let alone gourmet but also healthy and good for you 

So sorry about the chocolate overload but I hope you are as inspired as me.

Till next year, Speciality and Fine Food Fair! And I hope we see as many of these products on sale as possible.


Bety said...

Снежи, впечатлена съм ! Много благодаря за това, че ни направи съпричастни, наистина е било много интересно! Толкова много неща бих искала да опитатм! Само едни бонбони- шоколадовия чипс с вкус на портокал , мента и лешници съм опитвала и могат да се намерят в България.А цветните шоколади, много красиви, както и пастата...А скулпторите-невероятно майсторство...!!!

Sneige said...

Много интересни неща имаше наистина, за съжаление, не всички са налични дори и тук, но някои могат да се намерят онлайн. Щеше да е прекрасно ако поне даваха да се купуват макар и малки количества - но си представям какви опашки щеше да има пред щандовете :)
Изложението беше основно за магазини и други бизнеси (кафета, шоколададжийници и садкарници и тн), но за мое щастие пускаха и журналисти и блогъри :)

Jacqueline @Howtobeagourmand said...

Well, it looks like you had a great visit :-) Thanks for sharing your trip there. Very jealous :-)

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