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Out and About at the BBC Good Food Show

Don Papa Rum. Christina Rodulfo, Callum Whitehead, Melissa Rosario. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

The BBC Good Food Show Winter, sponsored by Lexus was back at the Birmingham NEC from 23 to 26 November bringing us a feast of culinary delights to tantalise the taste buds. The Elementary Whatson team of Rob and Ann explored this food and drink extravaganza to see what caught our eye.

Amongst the highlights was The Big Kitchen hosted by Marcus Bean which brought us a host of celebrity chefs over the four days. They included James Martin, Michel Roux, Paul Ainsworth, the Hairy Bikers and Nadiya Hussain amongst others.

Some of the BBC Good Food Show strike a pose for Elementary Whatson. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

Free drop-in stages included the Christmas Kitchen with chefs and food experts out to impress with their festive recipes. Also, the Wild Kitchen, sponsored by Eat Game with game as the hero. Visitors were inspired to create Christmas lunch masterpieces as well as finding recipe inspiration for healthy meals in the New Year.

Cheese anyone? Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

There were cookery book signing sessions with a number of top chefs; the BBG Good Food Wine Club; Tasting and Flavour attracted lots of visitors, and the Winter Workshops were also very popular. They ranged ranging from Christmas Canapes with Andy Clarke sponsored by Prosciutto di Parma to Cocktail Masterclasses hosted by Don Papa Rum.

We stopped by the Don Papa Rum stand (above) and chatted to Callum Whitehead the UK Brand Ambassador for Don Papa Rum. He explained that this premium aged single-island rum comes from the island of Negros Occidental, known locally as Sugarlandia in the Philippines. “We use all locally grown ingredients in the blending,” said Callum. “For example, in the Don Papa Masskara, which incidentally is named after the famous Masskara Festival, we use Philippines honey, Philippines chilli peppers and calamansi – a local kind of Yuzu.”

The Masskara Festival takes place each October in the city of Bacolod – known as ‘The City of Smiles’. After tasting Don Papa Rum, there was certainly plenty to smile about!

Andrea Staggemeier, Bossa Nova Chocolates. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

Sticking with exotic sweet tastes, we were drawn to Bossa Nova Chocolates – described as the ‘Pure Taste of Brazil, made in Wales.’ The chocolatier behind these amazing chocolate truffles is Brazilian born Andrea Staggemeier who was inspired by her mother’s recipe for chocolate when growing up in Brazil.

“I’m a Brazilian born part Italian married to a German and living in Wales!” said Andrea. “As a child growing up in Brazil, we didn’t have cakes for celebration events, we had chocolates. My mum and aunty would make them, and my siblings and I would form a kind of production line in the kitchen, everyone doing their bit - spooning into little paper cases, adding sprinkles and so on.”

Living in Wales now, Andrea put this knowledge to good use after being made redundant due to Covid. She set up her Bossa Nova Chocolates – named after what she feels is the best music – and she wanted to make the best chocolates which could be enjoyed by everyone.

She added. “All our flavourings are natural ingredients and natural flavours. They are gluten free, and some products are suitable for those on a vegan, dairy-free or Keto diet. We also have a very stringent process when dealing with nuts – there is absolutely no cross contamination, so people with nut allergies can eat our chocolates safely.” She was delighted that Bossa Nova Chocolates won a Great Taste Award in 2021.

Jemima, Liam and Ben of Speciality Brands. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

We next sampled a wee dram of whisky at the Highland Nectar stand. This Scotch whisky liqueur comes from Islay Island and marries a five-year-old Scotch whisky with botanicals including ginger, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla and bitter orange, creating a golden liquid that is rich, aromatic and fruity. Spokesperson Liam talked of the whisky’s distinct smoky and peaty flavours.

Co-founder of Saicho, Charlie. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

As an alternative to alcoholic celebratory drinks, many visitors tried the non-alcoholic drink in the Saicho range which is made from tea! The founders are married couple Charlie and Natalie who met whilst studying PhDs in Food Science. “Natalie can’t drink alcohol,” explained Charlie. “She turns as red as a tomato at even the smallest sip. So, we set about creating a drink that possesses the same sort of complexity and heritage that wine does without trying to imitate it.”

They embarked on a 2-year process of creating Saicho. Testing hundreds of different tea varieties from around the world before settling on their first three teas – Darjeeling, Hojicha and Jasmine. Delicious! And no red faces and no hangovers!

Rossmore Oysters. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

So much to see and discover at the show and the perfect place to buy Christmas gifts - and to stock up on Festive foods and drinks. Or, you could simply sit and enjoy the variety of cookery shows and entertainment.

Visitors enjoying the show. Photo © Rob Tysall Pro Photography.

For more information on BBC Good Food Shows 2024, visit:


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