Taste of Christmas 2013 at Tobacco Dock
Hailed as the “perfect place for passionate foodies”, Taste of Christmas returns in its fifth year at London’s newest and coolest location, Tobacco Dock. Set in historic East London, the open air, exposed brick wall venue provides the ultimate background for this hugely popular festival to mark the start of the festive food event calendar. Similarly to its sister event, Taste of London, this festive food festival offers range of master classes, food and drink demonstrations, restaurant dishes and top local producers to sample all under one roof.
This year’s somewhat reduced list of restaurants included festival regulars Benares, Cinammon Club and Club Gascon as well as new appearances from Hixter, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction and Beard to Tail. The likes of the latter, Barbecoa, Opera Tavern, were the stars of the show, boasting queues with wait times of nearly 30–45 minutes. Serving up current favourites like their Barbecoa Burger and Half Rack of Bourbon BBQ Ribs, embarrassingly left the likes of Acciuga and Michelin-starred restaurant Ametsa with Arzak Instruction, with dwindling queues and lack of interest despite offering iconic dishes such as their Chipirones en su Tinta (Squid in Black Ink).
If you love to get practical The Electrolux Taste & Chefs Secrets and the Electrolux Taste Theatre are populated with daily hourly schedules, hosted by iconic chefs including Tom Kitchin of one-Michelin-star Scottish restaurant, The Kitchin, Daniel Doherty of London’s Duck & Waffle, and British chef and TV personality Gizzi Erskine. Festivalgoers celebrated a wealth of British and international cooking styles providing informative bite-sized sessions of practical cooking tips and ideas. Both theatres are very popular and there simply aren’t enough sessions to meet demand which means very often, they are quickly sold out.
If you haven’t been assigned the cooking this year, then there are plenty of tipples “to sample” too in the Mixology Theatre, numerous dotted bars including the magical Champagne Laurent Perrier bar. Particular highlights included awarding-winning Berryska, a Slovenian family-owned gin and vodka distillers, Hendersons Spiced Cider, Glengoyne’s two newly released blends Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dig, and cocktail master classes hosted by London’s top mixologists from 69 Colebrooke Row and The Shard’s Oblix.
Despite the crowds and endless queues at just about every corner, the atmosphere is all you would expect from an exhibition celebrating an array of top quality festive culinary delights and local produce. From kitchen gadgets to decorations, gifts and French wine and British farm products, the boutique and producer food halls are a real delight to sample before you purchase goodies to take home.
So if you want to add a bit of spice into preparing one of the years’ most anticipated lunches, wrap up warm, gather your friends, and head down to Tobacco Dock this weekend. Whilst there’s plenty to keep you occupied, hurry to bag a seat at the every popular Electrolux Taste Theatre and in particular the Mixology Theatre – there is something for everyone to enjoy!
Photos: Laura Denti
Taste of Christmas is on at Tobacco Dock until 24th November, to book tickets call 020 8233 6706 or visit here.