Taste of London was, quite frankly, terrific. What an evening we had!
It was the perfect start to the festive season.
My dear friend Jenny and I shimmied over to London from Bristol (for the third time in two weeks on my part!) and made our way alllll the way to Tobacco Dock in East London. Let me tell you, that place is far from, well, everywhere, but the venue was amazing and I can totally see why the Taste organisers chose it.
Excited but unsure what to expect, Jenny and I put down our umbrellas and hurriedly made our way inside out of the cold and the rain, intrigued as to what we would find.
Spread out on two levels, Taste of London was huge! The layout was slightly chaotic if I'm honest. There were maps, but we couldn’t quite work them out. It's safe to say we got lost multiple times over the evening but that just added to the fun of it to be honest.
Tobacco Dock had been beautifully decorated and was buzzing with revellers enjoying a Friday evening of festive foodie fun. There were Christmas trees and lights galore, and the atmosphere was fab. It certainly got busier as the evening continued.
I must say, our fellow Tasters (Taste of Londoners?) seemed to be a very cool crowd indeed. Trendy, cool yopros*, Jenny and I thought. We kinda wanted to be them. All of them. The gender balance also seemed to be pretty equal which surprised me – I’d thought there’d be more laydees but there were plenty of men too. So ya know, we weren’t complaining.
Essentially, Jenny and I spent the evening wandering round, talking to interesting people, eating food, drinking drinks and trying new things. It was fabulous!
There were all sorts of different areas, including lots of Producers’ Villages (where new foodie businesses as well as established ones had stalls), bars, a bandstand playing wonderful music, pop-up restaurants, food trucks, a lounge, pub and more.
Everyone was charming, there was such a variety of foods and drinks to try, and lots of all different nationalities. Jen even put her post-year abroad Spanish skills to good use with a Spanish stall-holder. I just stood at the side eating the food. Naturally.
Oh my days, did we eat a lot of food. And it was all free! Seriously.
All. The. Samples.
And loads of beverages to try too, both of the alcoholic and non-alcoholic kind. Have I ever mentioned I love mulled cider? Well I do, so was pleased to find some at Taste of London. If you haven’t tried it before, I suggest you do. It was too sweet for Jenny’s tastes, but if you’re a fellow sugar addict like me, get on it.
I think the best way to give you a feel for Taste of London is to show you, so allow me to take you on a virtual tour of my fave finds through the medium of photography.
|Good & Proper Tea - I'm definitely a new fan. Even their green tea is nice!|
|A fab new peanut butter brand, Nut Shot|
|There was healthy stuff too!|
I realise my pictures make it seem like Taste of London was 90% cake, but it wasn't, I swear. I'm just naturally drawn to them. There were also chutneys, all sorts of snazzy oils, dips, pizza, sauces, fudge, chutneys, jams, pies... Everything really!
As Electrolux had kindly invited me to Taste of London, they also got Jenny and I a spot on the much sought-after Chefs’ Secrets cooking class. And it was super fab.
We made pumpkin gnocchi!
It was surprisingly easy and beyond fun. Of course, it’s extra easy when all the ingredients are laid out in front of you and you have top-of-the-range equipment as opposed to Wilko’s value.
As you may be able to tell from the bowl decoration Jen and I added to our dish, we were pretty chuffed with our concoction. Mmm it was so good.
We celebrated with Bellinis because, well, they're delish.
And because we obviously hadn’t had enough to eat, I made sure to drag Jenny to Shake Shack. She’d never been, I’m a huge fan, ergo burgers all round. They were actually really cute smaller-than-usual burgers too, but just as good as I’d remembered, thus parfait.
The payment system as Taste of London was quite clever too – you loaded money on to a special card, all the prices were in “Crowns”, and so then to pay for things it was simply a case of touching your card to an electronic reader thingy. A Crown basically equalled a pound, so it wasn’t like they were trying to rip us all off, and you could refund any remaining Crowns at the end.
I spent all mine doing Christmas shopping though. There were so many interesting and unusual foodie things to try, I’d have been a fool not to!
As the evening wore on, Jenny and I decided we needed a little sit down. How convenient then, that we were yet to enjoy our complimentary Champagne in the VIP lounge. What a treat.
The party was still very much a-go-go though, and I think my only negative remark about Taste of London was that it finished too early. At pretty much 10pm on the dot, they started forcing everyone out in a slightly pushy manner, when everyone clearly wanted to stay and drink. I understand the stall-holders might have had to pack up, but if the bars had stayed open they’d certainly have earned a lot more money! I suppose they didn’t want it to turn into an all-nighter though.
Jenny and I went off on our own party though – to Piccadilly Circus where the Christmas lights were shining bright. We carried on our night drinking cocktails, feeling très sophistiquées and pretending this was our life all the time.
We both absolutely loved Taste of London though and are super keen to go again. This was the Winter Taste of London, and there’s a Taste of London, Summer too, which I’d love to try.
As Jenny said: it’s a new experience and food, what’s not to love? And I couldn’t agree more.
Thanks to Electrolux and DMC PR for inviting me!
*Yopro = Young Professional