Taste of Christmas Review

My only criticism of the Taste of Christmas event would be that they should have separated sweet, savoury and alcohol a bit better.  A mouthful of curry, followed by Christmas pudding ice cream, then a piece of smoked duck isn’t the best combo.

Oh and we were too late to meet Jamie Oliver.

But do you know what?  After a few free samples of cocktails, mulled wine, special edition cider, pink gin, vodka, tequila – you name it – it didn’t seem to matter as much anymore! We didn’t know what to expect from the Taste of Christmas event but when we finally managed to get in we were pleased to receive a wealth of pre-mixed cocktails from the lovely folk at Liquid Ignition.https://liquidignition.com/b2c/

We dropped the box off at the cloakroom then sauntered around, not being shy at all about sampling. We tried literally hundreds of bits and bobs but I’ve narrowed it down to a few categories for you.  I hope it will inspire you to try something new or maybe help with a Christmas gift idea.

THREE: Stylish snacks for students

These snacks were too scrummy not to share – could be used as a stocking filler!

1)    Boxerchips – these tasty crisps come in a 100% recyclable box instead of a bag which means you get more potato, less air – loved the veggie ones. www.boxerchips.com

2)    Bear nibbles – a healthy snack doesn’t have to lose the taste-factor, the apple crumble granola nibbles were yummy.www.bearnibbles.co.uk

3)    Nut Shot – loved all three tongue sizzling varieties of these nuts, you can pick from Cajun Spice peanuts, Wasabi macadamias or Pepper pistachios. Not for the faint hearted. www.nutshot.co.uk

THREE: Luxury items

These are on the Xmas wish list and would be great gifts for a sophisticated someone.

1)    Smoked duck from the Black Mountains Smokery. www.smoked-foods.co.uk This was the best stall as we love the Welsh and when you tell them that they give you more and more treats – cheeky.

2)    Snowdonia Cheese www.snowdoniacheese.co.uk Sumptuous premium cheese that would fit nicely in a stocking toe (if you’re bored of satsumas.) Little Black Bomber and Pickle Power are not to be missed.

3)    Edgerton pink gin www.edgertondistillers.co.uk Makes a girlie drink extra girlie.

THREE: of something a little bit different

Sometimes the proof is in the pudding when a concept sounds a little out there.

1)    Rubis chocolate wine: I love chocolate and wine so I don’t know why I was surprised to be so taken with this delightful combo.

2)    Kejzar blueberry liqueur www.kejzar.co.uk Apparently a popular Slovenian dessert – what could be better than something light after a heavy Christmas meal?

3)    Bloodshot vodka spirit www.bloodshotvodka.com If your hands a bit too shaky to make a Bloody Mary in the morning then this is the answer to your troubles.  The first ever recipe for spot on Bloody Mary’s infused with flavour.  Just add tomato juice.

THREE: highlights

1)    First and foremost the ready mixed cocktails provided by Liquid Ignition are a Christmas party essential as strong but perfectly cocktails are ready-made in all your classic flavours.

2)    Il gelato di Ariela: www.ilgelatodiariela.com The best ice cream I’ve ever had.  They create flavours according to what is seasonal using a secret family recipe.  Rum and raisin was to die for.

3)    Dee’s Luxury Jamaican Rum Cakes www.deesluxuryjamaicanrumcakes.co.uk Rum soaked cakes which taste like Christmas pudding.  I bought a cupcake to take home.

THREE things I learnt

1)    I never want to work in sales.

2)    Meat and cheese are my life.

3)    a) Just because I have been to India does not mean I can endure the hottest curry in a massive dollop.

b) Ice does not take away the pain, nor blueberry liqueur, nor bread.

As well as lovely stalls with lots of freebies and special offers, Taste of Christmas offered loads of workshops and demonstrations with TV chefs.  Gary Rhodes seemed to appear on the bill a lot.  Unfortunately by the time we got to the workshop area, we were a bit too Merry Taste of Christmas to be trusted with a sharp knife.

We want to go again next year!


The original article, along with witty words by the wonderful Emma Walker, can be found here: http://kettlemag.com/article/taste-christmas-event-2011-review

Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo at Concorde: 23 September

Dot Cotton swapped Albert Square for bingo, when she made a guest appearance at a charity fundraiser at Concorde on Friday.

June Brown, 84, who plays Dot, made ticket sales soar when her name was added to the bill 10 days before the event.

Guy Lloyd, of Juice FM, who hosted the event, said “Two weeks ago we had no sales, since June agreed to help ticket sales have gone bonkers.”

There was no hotel or fee for the star, just a bottle of wine and some cigarettes in return for calling out numbers and signing autographs.

The animated soap icon, dressed in a glamorous gown, and puffing on an electronic cigarette said “It’s 35.  I was having a lovely time when I was 35.”

She referred to ages past as she called numbers and chatted with members of the audience.

‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Bingo’ raised around £1000 for the MS Society and for Jennie Flynn, who lives in Brighton who needs another operation in Poland to improve sight and mobility.

Ms Flynn was diagnosed with CCSVI (cerebro-spinal insufficiency) a condition closely linked with MS, a year ago, when she lost balance and mobility after living a very active life.

She thanked the 300+ guests for being there and said “I hope the operation will help me for a bit longer this time.”

The night included lively sets from bands Kovak and Sweet Sweet Lies, followed by the bingo.

Karl Bray, of band Kovak, won two Example tickets and a meal for two at Sabei in the bingo.  He said, “I’m more excited about getting a kiss from Dot Cotton.”

Kim Coghlan a mum from Brighton, who delivers leaflets and phone books won the fancy dress competition.  She said, “I like doing silly things, my kids love it.”

Samuel Preston, of the Ordinary Boys and Celebrity Big Brother was there to support band Sweet Sweet Lies.

He said of June Brown, “She looks good, she’s got the hairstyle of a 19-year-old girl you’d see in Churchill Square.”

After the bingo, June signed photos for delighted fans and posed for pictures with people dressed as Dot Cotton.

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