As you no doubt read recently in my post of some of the wonderful food experiences we had at this years Good Food and Wine Show, we also had the misfortune of running out of time to see everything we wanted to on the day. Even being there from 10am to 5pm just wasn’t long enough to take our time and experience everything that was on offer.
So I thought I would share a few tips for making the most out of this event and pretty much any large food fair or show that you might be taking the time to experience.
This is what we learnt in no particular order:
1. Start early… as in as early as you can. The show opened at 9am and whilst it would be a long day, with free coffee to hand and plenty to keep you occupied you would be heading home to your couch a happy camper at the end of the day. Alternatively…. don’t try to fit it into one day, buy a pass or multiple day’s worth of tickets
2. Forget the demonstrations… whilst they might be interesting and entertaining, you’ll probably learn more watching said cook/chef on their current TV show from the comfort of your own home. Some of the stands you miss out on may be experiences that you’ll not get the opportunity to see again for 12 months or ever.
3. Don’t wait to be served. If the stand is busy, move on and come back if you really want to make a point of talking to the vendor or sampling the goods. Your time is precious at the event and as we discovered the smart promoters are out and about pushing their product to you, not waiting for you to come to them.
4. Trust your instincts and go for what you really want to experience, not what you think you should.
5. Drink water. It sounds silly (and I’m not being your mother), but particularly if you’re usually a water drinker (like me), 8 hours of sampling cheese, wine, nuts, spices, even salts can leave you pretty dehydrated and tired by the end of the day.
6. Buy & sample what you can’t already obtain at your local supermarket… this way you are trying new produce and generally supporting smaller producers or importers trying to break into the market.
7. Chat to the producers. This is your chance to get to know the product, and if you are a blogger or in the food industry, then maybe a way to make some good future contacts.
8. Take a trolley. And by this I mean one of those Nanna trolleys you see people taking to your local farmers market. It’s invaluable when you start to get weighed down by bottles of olive oil, chilli sauces and pieces of cheese like the above collection we accumulated. It saves your hands for sampling throughout the day, saves you a visit to the chiropractor and keeps one hand free for your wine glass. We bought one this year when we were there and I’m stoked with the purchase. An insulated pocket in the front of a sturdy trolley is an awesome addition to my food going ways. Bring on the markets on the weekend.
9. Have a fresh loaf of good bread in your kitchen for when you get home. Both years we’ve headed home with wine, cheese, oils and dukkha’s ready to sample only to find there is no bread for dipping. I can’t believe I’ve forgotten two years in a row, but it will be on the list for next year so that we can be sampling more of our wares in our post show feast.
10. Be prepared to spend some money. You could very easily have a great day for free when you visit this show after purchasing your ticket. Having said that, part of the experience is finding produce that you love and in that comes the money part. Generally there is some amazing deals to be had on the day so its worth being prepared. We got deals like 20% off a case of wine plus free delivery, 4 jars of quality pickles for $5 where they would normally cost about that much each and many other quite amazing discounts. If you’re prepared to brace the Sunday/Last Day crowds there is some sensational specials as no one wants to be shipping product home when they pack up. Just be prepared for some stands to have sold out from earlier days.
11. Have a plan of attack if you can. Know what kinds of foods you want to try, take notes (or photos) on the day of the stands you want to revisit in the last hour or so to buy from and be prepared to not get to everyone. The first year we missed out on some delicious cheeses, so this year we made a point of buying as we went, taking a fridge bag to help get through the day with some of the more fragile foods and noting which stands we needed to get back to by the end of the day. I think we may have seen less this year than we did the previous year, but we still managed to cover a sensational selection of what the show had to offer.
12. Taking notes part two. If you taste something that is a well-known product, but it’s your first exposure to it, again take notes of what you like. Nine times out of Ten you’ll be able to find it later. A good example for me was St Germain Liquor. I’ve always wondered what it tasted like so I made a point of sampling it last year. Turns out it’s delicious, but I know I can get it in a larger style bottle shop so it went on the list to hunt down next time we were thinking of making cocktails. Sometimes it might be about the wine or cheese and it all starts to get overwhelming after you’ve visited ten different stands. Taking notes as you taste helps to distinguish your favourites for buying or seeking out at a later stage when you have recovered from your big day at the show.
If you haven’t already, check out my earlier post of some of the delicious goodies we picked up at the Brisbane Good Food and Wine Show this year.
Happy Eating and Happy Exploring,
Some images sourced from: