The Curiously Creatively team has had a couple of recent visits to exhibitions at the Royal Dublin Showground (RDS). The latest one was to Bite Food Festival 2016 featuring all things food related, thanks to a free ticket offer from Cooks Academy, which was passed on to us by a thoughtful food-loving friend. I am sorry to say that the biggest lure (apart from not paying to get in) was the thought of lots of lovely free samples to… well, sample of course. Also we are rather keen on attending cookery demonstrations and talks. Therefore, the Bite event promised to tickle our palates in more ways than one.
We did indeed find plenty of opportunities to try new tasty products but we also walked around making mental note of ideas that we could try out at home. So what were the results of our tastings and cogitations? After sampling a couple of different lemon curd brands, we decided that we still preferred our own version (more sharpness) but we did buy a brownie that gave our own Waitrose recipe a run for its money. Maybe we should have eaten a second one just to make sure of the verdict. One idea that we spotted was a pesto made from kale, and judging by the taste that we had, it might be worth trying to make some at home.
As you might have gathered, we go to these types of markets and exhibitions with the main purpose of gathering ideas for things that we might have a go at making ourselves. Not, I hasten to add that we don’t occasionally treat ourselves to a few things and support small producers, but we are DIY kind of folks at heart. We spend much of our time trying to deconstruct craft or food products at markets, coffee shops and festivals, to figure out the ‘how’, the ‘what’ and ‘could we do it ourselves?’. This habit produces many scraps of paper upon which are scribbled cryptic notes, which find their way into the recipe drawer for future reference.
One item at Bite that we didn’t do that with (however, the recipe drawer does come into the picture), was some tasty roasted almond butter that we sampled and then purchased. Fiona’s Nutterly Nutritious spread tempted us because it tasted great on biscuits. The next morning, I did also try the Nutterly spread stirred into porridge as suggested by the stallholder, but I have to admit that I prefer my regular dose of honey or fruit compote. Where the recipe drawer comes in to the plot, is that I had the idea that I could bake my peanut butter cookie recipe, using almond butter instead for a variation. I have a feeling that the roasted almond flavour could actually work much better than the usual peanut version. Watch out for a future report on that culinary experiment. From other stalls we also bought a tangy basil and lime dressing, a cheddar flavoured with beetroot and some rather tasty chocolate made with Ecuadorian beans. The dressing has almost gone already and I also tried adding some to my usual salmon pate mixture for a little extra oomph. Needles to say, the chocolate vanished extremely quickly once it arrived home!
So what was our verdict on the visit to Bite? It was more commercial than I had envisaged, as it seemed that many of the products were already available through shops and supermarkets. Having said that, we found plenty of items and brand names that we hadn’t heard of before, hailing from various parts of the country. My fellow blogger pointed out that there should have been a good range of fresh fruit and vegetable produce on show, as there are plenty of options for tasty eating to be explored there. Fresh poultry and sausages found a place, so why not the veggies? The cooking demos and workshops were a good idea, especially the workshops. Though I don’t think I would be willing to take a cookery lesson in public. Anything could happen and it probably would! And did we mention the free samples…?
If anyone else visited Bite 2016, we would love to hear what you thought about it!
Picture Credits: Bite Festival website, with thanks.