I made a mistake of going to this food fair at Earl’s Court last weekend on Saturday. Crowds of people out for the day blocked the aisles gathered in groups by biscuit and ice cream stalls after freebie samples. For someone who regards food trade fairs as assault courses to be negotiated with maximum efficiency, it was not my idea of fun.
However, a few old friends were there: Chegworth Valley, to my mind still the best English apple juice provider, and now selling vegetables and salad leaves for local chefs during the summer months. I filed this information in a corner of my brain for Kent clients opening the Fancy Goat in West Malling in a few months. Kate Jenkins of Gower Cottage Brownies still sticks to one chocolate product, and ships it all over the UK, so that she can spend most of her time on Twitter! Seriously, she has a great product which could be sublime were it a tad less sweet. La Fromagerie on the other hand were offering a chocolate brownie with bits of goats cheese peppered through it. And this really worked; a bit like the salted caramel effect. Lucky Highbury and Marylebone to have branches of Patricia Michelson’s stylish outfit. I picked up a fantastic goat’s cheese for supper, and a packet of melting, slightly sweet oat biscuits from a range being made for them by Annie Laughton at Shropshire Fine Herbs.
In the back right corner were a couple of new gems: one I have not quite got my head round yet, intriguingly called How to Feed a Man. The message was pink: in the roses, the backdrops, the t-shirts worn by the staff, and men were being attracted like bees to a honeypot. I think they were trying to sell a recipe book, although big slices of cake were being given out. Anyway, here is a picture:
There was no such confusion on a stall nearby. Liv Scrimshaw is the granddaughter of Thomas Scrimshaw, a celebrated Nottingham pork pie maker in the early part of the last century. To put it in a nutshell, she has revived the business with perfect modern branding touched with nostalgia, so successfully that they now sell in Harvey Nichols and critically acclaimed London restaurants: Terroirs and its East End brother, Brawn. No wonder; they are delicious. I can’t describe them better than in the press release – “the meat is peppery and the pastry is crisp and firm with the perfect balance of jelly.” Yes. Yes. And accompanying chutneys are promised, and sausages later in the year. All the information and outlets are clearly set out on www.scrimshawsporkpies.com
Liv’s grandfather was clearly an entrepreneurial type, opening 13 shops and advertising on the side of buses. I can imagine he would be really proud of his lovely ex-marketing granddaughter who is clearly taking his products from strength to strength.