Today we were lucky enough to get tickets to the BBC Good Food festival: Summer in the City event at the ExCel centre London.
The festival focus this year is taking a look at all things healthy and nutritional food; essentially reminding us that we should be cutting out sugar, salt and anything that tastes nice…
“Health” food has always erred on the side of the bland, the textureless and the unfailingly smug. But despite the fifty shades of green that could be seen dotted around the hall, we were pleasantly surprised with the variation of different foods available from dark chocolate sweetened with palmyra nectar, high in iron, potassium and magnesium, made by Maza chocolate to smoked onion BBQ crickets. After getting the latter stuck in our teeth we are not sure we will be rushing to fill our baskets with creepy crawlies anytime soon – still, it was worth a try!
One word on nearly a third of the vendors’ lips? Matcha. This green powder made from ground down green tea leaves apparently is our new “super tea” with health giving properties. And you guessed it… its green. Unnervingly so. Not the usual goose shit green of nutri-bullet fame but vibrant green you would likely paint with when as a 5 year old you want to depict a tree. Having tried it before I can’t say it was to my taste. On the other hand, Will stopped at quite possibly every stall serving the stuff; I was surprised I wasn’t scraping him off the ceiling before we left. One variation of matcha tea that Idid enjoy was mixed with almond milk to make a ‘matcha latte’ as recently seen on any number of instagram accounts. When it still tastes like licking a leaf, the sweetness from the almond milks very welcome and even quite refreshing.
Other cracking new products we tried natural sweetened soft drink using honey from Just Bee Drinks, Little bird Kefir which was a delicious fermented drink with live cultures (which we will be writing a recipe for – watch this space) and a string of birch water producers (TreeVitalise and Belseva among them). While slightly reminiscent of a weekend with Ray Mears and having been hotly tipped for quite some time as ‘the next coconut water’, I think we would both recommend it although finding a place to buy it would seem a little tricky.
Overall, we won’t be reaching for the nearest raw-date-base cacao-flavoured mush-bar but it was great to see there are new companies creating delicious healthy substitutes which, for the most part, taste fantastic. We hope to be seeing a lot of them in stores soon.