Tastey London

They’ve rolled out the purple carpet, purple being the color reserved for royalty. Every year in London, to the delight of foodies everywhere, Regent’s Park hosts “Taste of London”. A dazzling affair full of scrumptious food and drink from the top restaurants/ suppliers of London. A real razzle dazzle carnival, full of stumbling guests satisfied well past the point of excess.

Good fortune raining down, I was given an admission ticket, a $21 value that would have otherwise been a tad steep in my frugal mind. The price of admission itself declares who this event is for (hint, those NOT looking for a free lunch). Some 10 staff members were waiting in the forested galley way, to make sure that we were all headed in the right direction; this was going to be something.

I was sceptical entering as one had to purchase “crowns” to buy anything in this arena of gastro-power. Running at $10 for 20 crowns, and most things costing 8-10, it was going to be an expensive affair. The goal however was to cruise through and garner initial impressions before surrendering my hard earned cash. Fearing that I would be either hungry or poor, neither was true!

Free samples were omnipresent. Wine, chocolate, ice cream, beer, decedent dessert pieces and gourmet tea. My hands were full all day long, from Popcorn tea (truly did taste of popcorn from the toasted rice that was part of its anatomy) to ginger encased in dark, rich 73% pure chocolate. So much wine was being tasted in fact that I began to do the swirl and spit, which was fine for my head, but not so fine for logistics. Astonishingly very few of the wine merchants had any spittoons, quite shocking for an event of this calibre. I resorted to swigging the wine then running looking for garbage pails. I can only imagine what was running through the heads of those looking on as I bent over a pail with great gushes of red stuff spilling forth from my lips. Alas, most people were too rosy to probably even notice.

We had made a few laps of the stalls, just to make sure that nothing had been missed, when the call came. At precisely 4pm, 1600 hours international time came the call over the PA system, “We will ask that all guests make their way towards the exits now, the afternoon session is now finished”. It seems that $21 only gained entry into one of the 2 daily sessions, and at the appointed time everyone was kicked out! Being such a well mannered country, everyone picked up their things (themselves in certain cases), and did in fact make their way to the exits and then out. Well done my sons and daughters.

Taste of London 2008 was indeed a good experience, at least for a partial free loader like me. Though I must admit that had I paid $21 I perhaps would have been less enchanted, at any rate the wine and chocolate was good, the cheese not bad either!

London Taste2London Taste1

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