Review: James Vukmirovic takes in the Good Food Show at the NEC
The return of the Good Food Show means a chance for serious foodies – and those who just enjoy a feast – to take in the widest possible range of food and drink.
Those who have been to the event at the National Exhibition Centre before will have found it a full-on assault on the senses.
And crowds were clearly delighted to be able to come back and see what is on offer after three years away due to Covid restrictions.
The first thing to note on entry is the sheer scale of the set up, spread over four halls and with more space in the aisles between stalls.
It allows for easier access along the walkways and gives visitors more chance to talk to stallholders and try some of the wares on offer, starting with six different flavours of biltong, right up to naga chilli flavour.
The journey around allows you to try samples ranging from charcoal cheese, bubblegum-flavoured gelato, Jamaican-inspired pork scratchings, extra hot salsa and, most intriguingly, an oyster stand with the firm instruction to “slurp, chew and swallow”.
The stallholders are friendly and welcoming and happy to chat, which makes the day go by quickly. They’re there for four days and looking to sell things, but they still make the time to engage you and make you feel welcome.
There’s a good atmosphere as well from people walking around, with many families and friends enjoying the food and finding space in their baskets to buy items to take home.
Many visitors were particularly taken by the Little Sutton Biltong Company and Claudia’s Kitchen. Both West Midland businesses, they were enjoying a roaring trade selling cured beef and Jamaican jerk seasoning among others things.
Alongside the show stalls are demonstration events by a host of top names from the world of food, with Tom Kerridge, Mary Berry and John Torode among the big names presenting shows and signing books.
Those needing a break can also enjoy a cold drink and hot food at restaurants located around the halls.
It’s clear how popular the event is by the numbers still coming in well into the early afternoon. They won’t have left disappointed by the huge range on offer. But they may need a lie down when they get home.