Eat & Drink Festival, London, April 2017

Except for my jet lag, I would have sworn I was at a food festival in San Francisco:
• Food carts selling burgers, fried chicken and Mexican food – check
• Chefs with cheeky t-shirts and tattoos – check
• Street busker (badly) crooning Frank Sinatra songs – wha…???

This last is explained by the fact that most of the attendees were middle-aged and older couples, who were also attending the home and garden fair in the same complex.

It was very interesting to see the similarities and differences to similar events in the US…

(Note the spelling of “chilli”… which has been THE hot flavor in London during my past 3 visits.)

 

So, those are the similarities, what are the differences?


As you can see, what they call a flapjack is nothing like the American version, which is basically a pancake. Here it’s an oat bar, basically what we’d call a granola bar or cereal bar.

Another difference is what they were selling as waffles – a fun fair version on a stick, with toppings! (I think the batter recipe is the same, and if you order waffles in a restaurant you get the familiar version, but this is apparently a popular item here and at some state fairs in the US.)

The good:

Cheese!  These were some lovely British cheeses, including my favorite “Ploughman’s Choice”, by the Great British Cheese Company.  The cheddar-based cheese includes onion and chives and is a lovely semi-soft cheese that goes very well with cured meats and bread – completing a ploughman’s lunch!

I was impressed with how smooth the aged cheeses were… in the US, they tend to be dry and crumbly.

The waxed rounds, by the way, are called “truckles”… a word originally meaning “wheel” and which became attached to the low beds that wheeled under a larger bed when stored. This inspired a figurative usage of truckle – to yield to the wishes of others: “Oscar Wilde wouldn’t truckle to the standards of the day, and ended up in jail.”

Peanuts!  The New York Delhi (ha) Sea Salt ViPnuts were quite good – full of salt and fat, just like the old days. And their Hot Toffee peanuts were quite good, as well.

Sausages!  No, not big ol’ bangers, but little French-style dried sausages that went beautifully on the cheese plate I made up for dinner that night!

The wine is a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc from Two Rivers Winery.  Then clockwise, I had the New York Delhi ViPnuts, the 3 cheeses (Ploughman’s Choice in the top right corner, then Red Arrow and Lancaster Bomber).  On the second plate, the little dried sausages are in the top right corner, along with some pork cracklin’ left over from dinner the previous night at the Harwood Arms (mmmm, salt, fat and CRUNCH)!

The bad:
Cheese… like “Sticky Toffee Tastic” and “Cheddar with Chilli and Lime”. The first was far too sweet, and the second just tasted weird.
Peanuts… the “Hot Chilli” flavor was just too hot for me.

The unknown:

 

I gather that “cob” means a sandwich, apparently derived from the name for a round loaf of bread. Among other British names for the same thing: bap, batch, barm….

And the UK produces just as many food-obsessed folks as the US does. Here’s one who is devoted to the search for the perfect sausage cob: https://twitter.com/cob_man?lang=en

 

 

 

I’m intrigued by the Eccles cake, described by Wikipedia as a “small, round cake filled with currants and made from flaky pastry with butter, sometimes topped with demerara sugar.” I should have bought one, don’t know why I didn’t, but will not miss the opportunity in the future.

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