Back in Australia, one thing we definitely weren’t short of was incredible foodie festivals. From Ferment the Festival to Cellar Door Festival to Tasting Australia, our food culture is easily some of the best in the world. Now that we’ve traded kangaroo for Yorkshire pudding, we thought we’d see what London has to offer in the way of food festivals.
Taste of London happens twice a year, in June and November. The June edition was held in the picturesque Regent’s Park, a well-known destination for many Londoners and a must-see for any visitors, full of sprawling gardens, water fountains and squirrels.
Walking into the festival, you’re immediately hit with a myriad of scents, sounds and colours, with dozens of elaborate pop-ups and stalls all fighting for attention. The first thing we noticed was how much bigger this festival was than any other we’d been too, accounting for the huge 8.1 million population of London.
Well-known restaurants presented an array of contemporary cuisines from all over the globe, with plenty of European and UK cuisine sat alongside Asian, Indian and Middle Eastern. We couldn’t help but notice Australian and New Zealand food wasn’t on offer, perhaps this is an opportunity for a restaurant like Scarlett Green to come on board?
Sorely missing the incredible Asian food we have back at home, we first indulged in some dumplings and fried prawns. Each dish packed a certain amount of heat, while still allowing the rich flavours to shine through.
Wandering along, we came across a stall generously salting and throwing ginormous slabs of meat onto an open BBQ. Sagardi, a fiery restaurant serving Basque Country delicacies was the name of this stall, and we couldn’t help but indulge in a thick chunk of meat on some fresh bread. Perfectly seasoned, tender and a rich ruby on the inside, we probably could’ve eaten one of those giant meat pieces on our own, despite them being bigger than our heads.
Once you’ve purchased some of the gourmet dishes on offer (or for those who are a little short on cash), there are plenty of samples being dished out by foodie companies from all over. Wholefoods had a fun sideshow stall with Amazon where you could play to win a goodie bag of healthy treats, while tea house Pure Leaf was wandering around giving out steaming cups of chai and green tea. Hippeas are a favourite snack of ours, and we’re not ashamed to admit we visited every one of their barrels around the festival to collect complimentary bags of our favourite chickpea chips.
For those who prefer to get a little more hands on, plenty of masterclasses were on offer. Whether you wanted to learn to make your own bao buns, indulge in a wine tasting or mix your own cocktails, there was something for everyone.
We practically rolled out of Taste of London will full bellies and singing tastebuds. Though the flavours and dishes were quite different to those we would experience at foodie festivals back home, it will still a lovely nostalgic experience for us. For those around London in November, the next Taste of London festival will be held 15 to 18 November at Tobacco Dock.