I popped along to the Cheese and Wine Festival on the Southbank in London this afternoon. It is running all weekend 28th-29th April 2012 so if you are a food enthusiast or just a bit peckish I suggest you get your good self down there. Take a brolly though as the forecast isn't too great.
Undeterred by the rain, I chatted to a few of the vendors. Greg from Dvine Wines stall caught my eye, not least because he trades south of the river in Clapham. Best of all, Dvine wines are organic, bio-dynamic or from sustainable sources. The Sweet Tooth Factory had the most delicious array of sweet treats including Kinder Beuno cake, oreo cheese cake and the fashionable red velvet cake. What caught my eye most however where the cheese macaroons. With the same brightly coloured appearance of their sugary equivalents, Cafe On served up these unusual delights.
The highlight of my afternoon was the cookery demonstration at the Cookery Theatre (a marquee with makeshift kitchen). Many of these sessions are free to attend and I got a taster at the end of the 45 minutes - definitely worth staying for! Ben Harris, the head chef and driving force behind Beppino's, cooked up fresh pasta with two sauces; chilli, cherry tomato and garlic, and 4 cheeses. Beppino's is surely a triumph of the street food revolution. Ben prides himself on making the most wonderful pasta from 00 flour, semolina and eggs, then serving it to you straight away.
Here are 3 of the tips I picked up...
1. Citric acid from tomatoes and lemons and the like blunts sharp knives so always use a serrated knife to cut them.
2. Garlic is very absorbent of flavour so keep the oil off the heat until the garlic has gone in to soften. If the garlic goes brown in the pan you've ruined it!
3. Tear fresh herbs into dishes so that you bruise them release the scent rather than bludgeoning them with a knife.
If you can't make this weekend, the next Cheese and Wine Festival will be on from 12-14 October 2012 and you can find more information here www.cheesewinefestival.com