A few years ago, while on a visit to a craft show with my friend, I came across a leaflet for ‘The Good Food Show’. After reading though it, I decided that I HAD to go to it! I love food, I love cooking and most of all, I LOVE eating!!! However, it never really happened… until last week.
On Friday 15th November (2013) My husband and I went to The Good Food Show in London at the Olympia exhibition centre. Now this is a bit crazy because very recently, I have been put on a stone age diet and have been told to stop eating a whole range of foods as I am intolerant (to wheat, gluten, dairy) and have a suspected fermenting gut so am unable to have foods such as fruits, nuts and sugars. So, you may be wondering why we went to a show where I would be surrounded by all these foods that I simply cant eat! Well, the answer is because we booked the tickets before I was given the diet from my specialist and because after all I am a food lover. Although I cant eat certain foods, I still want to cook and thought that I would at least be able to come away with some inspiration if nothing else. So off we went ) arriving at an exhibition smelling of promise and heaven!
Another reason we decided to go was that we thought that in a day and age where food intolerances are fairly common, there would be a few things for me to try at least but unfortunately I’m sad to say that there wasn’t as much as we had expected, which really surprised us both. Because of this my husband, bless him, didn’t try many foods as he didn’t want me to feel like I was missing out on anything. Personally I wasn’t that fussed and kept telling him so and couldn’t understand why he wasn’t stuffing his face at each and every stall! I know that had he been the one diagnosed with an intolerance, I would have been more than happy to taste food for him and would have been cramming samples in my mouth all the way round haha!
Now the good news is that I did come away with a few positive things, one being a bag of salami and the other being the name of two companies that will potentially be my saviour!! So, one of the first stalls we stopped at was a German salami stall because one of the things that I am able to have is salami but (oh yes, there is a but!) a lot of shops/ companies that make salami tend to stuff it full of wheat/ gluten/ other stuff I cant have, so i have to check the packaging. The stall had a big sign saying they were wheat, gluten and dairy free so we happily grabbed a bargain, purchasing a bag filled with an array of sized salamis that smelt delicious.
Lunch at the show was more complicated than we thought, because most dishes were accompanied by gravy and sauces or with sides that I just couldn’t have. In the end we found a great BBQ stall (although the serving was a whopping £10 each!!) it was pieces of roast lamb on a bun (no bread for me) in a garlic and herb sort of salad dressing and I have to admit that it was pretty damn amazing!
So, what were my other two saviours? Well, the second stall that came to my rescue was ‘The Chocolatier’ that make wonderful chocolate, including some gluten free bars. However, they didn’t have anything without fruit/ nuts, so whilst I was talking the woman serving about my problem (having an intolerances and not being able to eat certain things due to fermenting gut) the owner/ chef (Aneesh Popat) came and spoke to me. And what did he say?? He insisted that he could make me some chocolates without the ingredients I have intolerances to and gave me his card!
Now currently I am not meant to be eating dark chocolate as its on my ‘No’ list for fermenting gut. Now I have had the odd square or two, as it doesnt seem to effect me, but have decided to cut it out for now and will allow myself to indulge just a little at christmas, but rather than eat any old dark chocolate, I wanted it to have as little of the ‘nasties’ (intolerances) in it as possible. So ‘The Chocolatier’ will be on my christmas list, Whoop – yes I will be emailing him within the next few days to see what the cost will be and will look forward to tickling my tastebuds at christmas rather than having to sit miserably and watch everyone else tucking into their christmas chocs!
Now, If you are intolerant, you should really take a look at his website, because Aneesh makes his chocolate with water. He says that as water has no taste, it allows his chocolate to ‘do all the speaking’. He uses ingredients such as fruit purees, spices and nuts, so there is no butter or cream masking the taste. You simply have a bar of chocolate that coats the palate and gives a fabulous taste. If that doesn’t convince you, then maybe I should add that his website states that his approach to making chocolate has resulted in a ganache that has 40-50% less calories than standard truffles!! If thats not enough to sell it to you, I don’t know what will! I will add that Its a little more expensive than your average bar (Approx £7.95 for a large bar) but is perfect for those who have an intolerance. They are also available in some shops and hotels.
The ultimate thrill of the day was finding was a stall called ‘Y I’ (unfortunately they no longer exist! boooo!!!) that sold ice cream – wait for it – that was dairy, nut, egg, wheat, gluten AND sugar free!!! WHAT????? I know!!! how cool is that. Now there were a few flavours that I couldn’t have as they had fruit in them (Again, another No for fermenting gut) but there was CHOCOLATE!!!! yes!! really, so I had a pot and had a fab chat with the stall owner. I was so excited by this product because it really tasted SO GOOD!
The YI stall owner was so helpful to me, when I explained about my diet and intolerances he gave me the name of a blog of someone he knew that also suffers from food intolerances. If you would like to find out about the amazing ‘ice cream’ or check to see if its currently stocked anywhere near you, check out the YI website. Now if youre wondering about the blog that he recommend, it’s called ‘Quirky Cooking‘, by Jo Whitton and she has some fab recipes and some great tips for eating healthily.
So, after years of wanting to go to The Good Food Show, I can honestly say I had a really great day. It’s a great place to go if you want some cooking inspiration and some fabulous christmas gifts.
If you’ve just found out you are intolerant, check out all of the websites above, it’s amazing how the small things really count when you feel like everyone around you is eating and enjoying the good stuff, while you have to sit and watch!!!