Yesterday I paid a visit to the Taste of Christmas show at London’s ExCeL centre. I had no idea what to expect, but was a little concerned they might be having trouble moving tickets at the full price of £22, after they offered free tickets to everyone who entered our recent competition.
Whatever the case, when I arrived at lunchtime on Friday the hall was already busy, so even if people weren’t paying full price, the tactic of giving tickets away for free had obviously paid off.
Inside, there were all kinds of interesting food-related exhibitors, displaying everything from turkeys to cupcakes. I lost count of the number of people handing out free samples of vodka, liqueurs and other assorted alcoholic beverages. But most importantly, there was also plenty of chocolate to be had.
Green & Black’s had a well presented stand, as did Galler, but as is so often the case it was the smaller manufacturers who had some of the most interesting products on display. One of the first stands I came across was “Sicily In London” a delicatessen selling funky iPod shaped chocolates from Modica called “iMod” and a rather delicious chocolate liqueur.
Around the corner, I bumped into our old friend Holly Caulfield from Chocoholly who had a table packed with all sorts of drool-worthy products. Just across from her, Auberge du Chocolat were showing some beautifully decorated chocs that looked not unlike that beautiful Lauden ones we tasted at Chocolate Unwrapped.
Also in attendance were Rococo, Carbonnel et Walker, Ooh La La Chocolaterie, a company called Ubuntu Chocolate, as well as plenty of people showing off cookies and sweeties of all kinds.
The atmosphere was fun and festive without being over the top. Nearly everyone seemed happy to be there, with the possible exception of one woman selling indian spices who literally shouted at me and shoed me away when I pointed a camera at her stand.
All in all, a fun little afternoon out. You could probably lose yourself in there for a whole day and get very drunk on free vodka samples if that’s your thing. It’s unfortunate that the tickets are so expensive, but if you’re stuck for something to do this weekend, you could do a lot worse.