Well, what a day at the BBC Good Food Show Winter 2015 at the NEC in Birmingham yesterday... a day of food, glorious food. A day of watching the celebrity chefs, a day of fervent food tasting, people watching, present buying...all human life and foodie temptations are there.
There's hundreds of stalls - some large, some small and some quite beautifully staged and arranged that draw you there....
For example The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse
and The Garlic Farm from the Isle of Wight. I just had to buy some garlic to plant in January. I did taste a few garlicky sauces too...which were lovely but thank goodness, I was prepared . I had a tube of my mints in my bag.
Some stands attracted me because of the sheer beauty of their creations...like Merangz.
And this one, Patchwork Cutters...where a woman was decorating the most beautiful cakes
Whereas other stands caught my eye because of their name.
No, I didn't have a slug of the sloe gin, it was before midday....but many others were knocking back the gin, prosecco, wines, cocktails, and other fairly lethal looking concoctions with gusto all day.
It's always good fun to people watch at the Good Food Show....to see those whose eyes dart here and there, their antennae on full alert as they spy free samples. In they dive, elbowing others out of the way...before moving on to the next stand.
In one hall, the World Of Cheese Awards were taking place , and I spent a fascinating ten minutes watching the judges deliberations. With around 2,500 cheese to taste, it was a slow process. Everything was tasted in a very considered manner, with nods if liked, slight shakes of the head if not, and of course there was some conferring.
The general public wasn't allowed into the area during the judging, but if I'd have stayed there any longer I would have jumped the safety barrier , fought my way in and grabbed a few of the cheeses myself. And I would have had to question the judges.
This weekend though, you can book a cheese tour around the judging tables and there are lots of cheese talks too.
Luckily there were plenty of cheese stands to buy from yesterday
But back to people watching, and there were plenty of opportunities to sit down and watch the celebrity chefs .The more I see of Michel Roux Junior, the more I like him. He talked openly and honestly on the Lakeland Interview Stage about his life, his favourite meals ..the relish in his voice and his smile as he said his favourite food is chocolate , was quite charming. And he's so good demonstrating different dishes....
And another chef who amused her audiences was Lorraine Pascale. I like her recipes because they really work. She impressed me with her relaxed cooking demo with life stories in between. I knew she had been a model. but didn't realise she had trained to become a car mechanic, (too cold in the garage), a hypotherapist (too boring) before she finally trained to be a chef and found her forte.
I also saw the ever reliable, ever lovely Phil Vickery too...but one thing struck me about all three...Lorraine, Michel and Phil...they're all quite skinny, which I think is decidedly unfair.
This weekend at the show, you'll be able to watch Paul Hollywood, Mary Berry. Tom Kerridge, James Martin, Brian Turner and so many more all strutting their stuff, and tempting everyone with their recipes, and their books.
And talking of being tempted, there were so many lovely gadgets and appliances on show...some which I didn't even know I needed, but it's a given that I shall be back to buy a couple at the next show!
What's also inevitable as I walked back to the car park, is watching others wandering around the car parks having "mislaid" their cars. Feeling smug, I walked straight to mine, but then disgraced myself by getting lost as soon as soon as I left the NEC exit. Again....