I’ve always been a big fan of this food and drink festival and was really looking forward to attending this year. Silly me I turned up and at end of the first half of the day and the security quickly evacuated all of us. I lost my pass however I was allowed to pop back in for the evening session. On a pleasant but starting to chill late afternoon in Regent’s Park I pop back in and chuckled to unsuccessful quips by Hardeep Singh Kohli introducing the celebrity chefs. Customers were gnawing at him like let us in now!
I had a list already laid out and much to my pleasure met the 1615 Mosto Verde Quebranta Pisco team. As Pisco seems to be ever increasing and more and more people asking me about Pisco it was refreshing to kick start with a Pisco Sour. This was blended with egg white, fresh lime juice, ice and finished off with drops of angostura bitters. The team were busy and kept reminding me hey dude think of Peru! Even though I’ve not been there I certainly did.
The next stand I entered and met the team from Martin Miller’s Gin. This gin is distilled in Langley, West Midlands and then taken to Iceland where they add local pure water. I tried this gin and getting on the nose strong citrus notes and on the palate strong citrus flavour. The team above Mike, Scott and Liam (above) made a refreshing punch and would not pass on the secrets. This punch showed off the citrus and clean notes of the gin.
Distilled in Herefordshire it was great to bump into the Chase team again. The marmalade vodka uses Seville orange marmalade. I’ve always enjoyed this vodka with a tonic. On the nose this vodka has a strong orange citrus and pleasant soft citrus flavour. A prefect addition to the British summer. The marmalade was supposed to be a seasonal products and pleased that Chase distillers have kept this vodka available all year round. By now it’s getting cold and windy and had a small shower. We are starting to look like a posh muddy Glastonbury.
OK then I have done the vodka, pisco and gin and my itinerary had so much more to visit. God help us.
Knowing people in the trade and hearing new ideas is a great perk of the job. It’s great bouncing ideas and laughing off some. It was rum time and being pulled from pillar to post and not deciding on where to go so I flipped a coin and popped over to meet Ian A V Burrell (above). Ian’s a charming rum ambassador and sampled the Angostura Trinidad and Tobago rum.
The temperature was dropping and this rum provided me a hint of vanilla with a little kick of cinnamon at the end. On the nose I was getting caramel. Delicious. It’s warming me up.
Surrounded by steel drums and very cold pretty ladies in the Trinidad carnival costumes I was treated to a Angostura 1919 eight year old rum. The tongue was glistening with flavours of vanilla and caramel and left with the American oak barrel used. It was warm and relaxing. There was a strong banana and caramel flavour on the nose. I am sure our paths will across again with this fantastic eight year old.
Water, and coffee helped me to liven up. I’ve got many more hours to go. I was recommended by a fellow enthusiast about the Pilsner Urquell that has come over from Prague which was unfiltered and unpasteurised. This was smooth and went down so well. I could not get to meet the brewer who was inundated with people talking to him. My goodness this was smooth and followed up another half. There was a queue for the staff to get to the cask. The cask had arrived from the brewery in Pilsen. The beer was served with fresh pretzels.
Now I am heading to the reliable West London brewer Fuller’s and sample the Wild River which I wrote about in an earlier article. Yes it was reliable as ever and bought back memories of yes they have triumphed with an American style ale.
The two beers done and decided to head back to the rum. I was thinking their is a method to my madness and headed straight over to the Plantation Tiki rum bar (above). You have to admire Alex’s art work he’s so enthusiastic about the rum that he’s even got it tattooed!
Rum Punch (above) was highly recommended by the Tiki team and they did not disappoint. The Plantation 3 star rum blended by Alexandre Gabriel was used. I have tried this rum as a Daiquiri and Mojito but this was even better. The team were keeping their secrets on how they made it and it was refreshing, the citrus and tropical flavours were immense.
I just love the bottle of the Crystal Skull vodka. If anyone can get me a better designed bottle please do send it me. The water used for this vodka comes from Newfoundland Canada and uses no additives therefore this provides a clean smooth taste.
By now the autumn coats and jackets are out and it’s Thursday 21st June 2012. It’s windy and cold. I head to the Belvedere stand to sample their vodka macerations, the pink grapefruit and bloody Mary.
The bloody Mary Belvedere vodka uses the seven essential ingredients used for the cocktail classic the ‘Bloody Mary’. I was recommended to drink this on it’s own and you can get the hint of citrus and the kick of pepper at the end. I would add tomato consomme and serve in a tall chilled glass filled with ice with a dash of chilli.
The second vodka sampled was the pink grapefruit maceration. On the nose I was getting a strong hint of the pink grapefruit citrus and on my palate there was a strong citrus flavours rounded off with a bit of spice.
I am so so cold now that I have to get a coffee to warm up. The heavens opened up and before I can get to the Young’s brewery tent it was non stop rain for 20 minutes.
It’s continuously raining and allows me to review my notes and enjoy my last glass of bubbly.
Taste of London is a great festival. It has a superior selection available to drink and enjoy. Come to Regent’s Park next time and you can learn about champagne, vodka, gin, beer and see the whites of the distiller’s eyes oh yeah and experience some amazing food.