Lured by a wine tasting that was billed as getting to know your senses I headed off to the Restaurant Show in the pursuit of what’s new and interesting. With my designer hat on my challenge is to find new ways to stimulate the senses, I wasn’t disappointed.
Honesty and integrity of ingredients was the driving force behind many of the products. Far removed from factory farms the fabulous organic meat from the North Wales Rhug Estate conjured up scenes of ambling livestock from the Arcadian landscape of Haydn’s Creation. I liked the idea of Just Oils virgin rapeseed oil basking in a shallow tray in a smokehouse absorbing the flavour of smoke for our enjoyment. An amazing selection of British cheeses with their baby soft bloom and soft milky perfume was inspirational as was the range of sharp yeasty scented gutsy artisanal breads. With Valrhona’s tutored chocolate tasting, at last I started to understand and identify the distinct flavour and texture characteristics of chocolate grown and produced in different parts of the world.
Yee Kwan gelato was incredible, several served in the traditional way, others for palette cleansing, black sesame nutty and woody, wasabi with the oxymoron of pungent hotness layered onto creamy cold smoothness. Far-fetched delights that came straight from the pages of a Raoul Dahl story such as eating Szechuan Buttons, small tight bud flowers that give an electric, numbing sensation in your mouth.
I wasn’t disappointed, I came away with the exhilarating feeling that my senses had simultaneously been indulged and subjected to a tough workout.