I’d attended taste festivals in the past but never really captured the experience. If like me you’re somewhat obsessed with food then it’s a paradise of over indulgence, an opulent food utopia where the finest & most creative purveyors of all things tasty congregate to entice, treat and help you expand your waistband.All for a small & justifiable fee.
Celebrities, chef veterans, newcomers and those in between pitch up and showcase the results of kitchen experiments, age old recipes, nutritionist’s research and the product of food-venture kick starters. Add a few freebies here and there, some light entertainment a chill-out area and some well-known brands and you have an event that make you feel lucky to live in London.
My partner & I attended the previous x2 Taste summer festivals as a staple of our annual calendar. We’ve done the VIP, bought the book, haven’t tried the recipes, but who has the time these days, especially when eating out is so much more fun and with so many options too. This year had some usual faces, a few missing and the odd welcome surprise, although this year seemed scaled down in comparison to previous years. Missing was a large centre bandstand, the farmers market was a little smaller and missing some items we were looking forward to purchasing (flower blooming tea). There was no British Airwarys model plane to offer the first-class in-flight menu sample & presentation. That’s not to say it wasn’t spectacular, I guess when you grow used to something you expect it to be the same or better. This year felt a little more intimate, with more independent ventures than majors. A welcome change.
There’s always interesting people at Taste, and like any event they’re uber passionate about their food & drink so you’re likely to hear stories of how their offerings came to pass. Anyone remotely interested in food should attend.
This post isn’t so much a guide or a review but more a snapshot of anexcellent day out in London town. To spread awareness of Taste & give you an option, whether you’re trying to impress a date, spend time with the family or fill a day in your London City-Break itinerary.Taste will “cater” for your needs (honest un-intentional pun!). However one warning would be young children may struggle to enjoy the entire event and parents may struggle to get the most out of food sampling if that’s your aim. This event features Micheline star restaurants & top bars pitching their experiences, and these are typically aimed at an adult audience that’s all. That’s not to say you can’t just loaf in one of the many seated sections and pass the time while you send your partner off to forage for you? The choice is yours.
Don’t quote me on what the “aim” of Taste is other than to celebrate food. Previous years had a currency system called “coins” these were roughly two to a pound or something close, with the premise that proceeds from the event would go to a designated charity,which took the edge of any reluctance to spend frivolously. This year the coin system was gone.Not sure why but it did reduce the faff of having to transfer money every so often. What Taste will do is give you an opportunity to do in one day what you simply couldn’t do ordinarily, and that’s experience the very best that the UK has to offer food & drink wise all within a single event.
See for yourself and draw your own conclusions. I’ve captured a fraction of what Taste has to offer. One day is enough to scoot around and grab a fair few tasters. Depending on your level of interest you can opt for a number of different ticket options. Opt for a multi-day pass if you want to sit in at a Tefal or other major manufacturer’s presentation. Or if you want to spend one day grazing and other day chillaxing in the sun?
For those wondering if the VIP experience is worth it, I’d say do it if you can afford it. You typically get a class of champagne & unlimited access to an indoor seated area where you and a group can relax in style and re-charge between rounds of the grounds. If you’re a lady in heels (which my partner usually is) you’ll treat this area as anindoor seat-guaranteed haven to rest your pins. Quite pertinent to fact that as London is in the UK and subject less forgiving elements at any given time. Seats outside the VIP section are available, they’re just usually occupied.
In terms of attire? The dress code is what you want. Some people look fabulous, others more functional, but be warned, in previous years the walkways have been a little muddy. The venue is Regents Park so the grass can easily turn to mud. There are pre-laid walkways but let the weather be your guide. If its super-hot then heels & shoes it is. If it’s mild then boots (for both sexes) might be way forward and of course if there any rain at all then wellies all day.
Regarding Travel, I prefer to drive where possible. Personally I love driving through the city and price of parking at a nearby pre-pay meter is a small price to pay for the convenience of air-con, privacy and control over one’s route home. Like the weather, be pragmatic and let your circumstance guide your choice.
See you next year!