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Sticky Beak Visits The Fine Food North Show In Harrogate

Published On Tuesday 21 Dec 2021 by Sticky Beak
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Another step towards ‘normality’ was taken recently when The Man and I went to the Fine Food North Show in Harrogate – the first large exhibition we’d attended post-pandemic lockdown. There were plenty of new ventures showcasing their goods and I’d received lots of invites to go and say hello, but first there were some old faces I wanted to catch up with....

As a cheese fiend, Richard and his team at Cryer and Stott cheese mongers were first on my list, and as they were neighbours to EPoS specialists, Qube (where His Nibs was doing his ‘day job’), I didn’t have to hunt them down! I couldn’t resist their Duke of Wellington blue cheese, but then spied new kid on the (cheese) block, Sheffield Forge; this beauty is Yorkshire Red infused with Henderson’s Relish – can’t beat a bit of Hendo’s!! Honest to god, this stuff is incredible, and just melted on toast would be the ultimate Welsh Rarebit cheat. Back of the net!!

Also neighbouring Qube were the lovely Casa Espresso team, and this fab duo kept my Man and his colleagues energised with cups of freshly ground coffee – thank you for keeping them refreshed. I had a quick cup with them before I made my way over to see other folk.

The Aagrah Indian sauces team and Alastair from the Irish Black Butter Co. (looking very dapper in his bushman’s hat) were busy with potential customers so I smiled and waved to them both as I passed by, resisting the urge (somehow!) to sample the curries bubbling away on the Aagrah stove. Alastair gave me a jar of his delicious Black Butter to bring back to the Nest and cook at my leisure – if you haven’t tried this before, trust me, you need it in your life.

Colin of Little Doone Foods Ltd. Was free, however, so I went over for a chat. Having wrongly previously described him as Irish – which I have amended by the way, Colin! – he couldn’t resist some teasing and challenged me to guess where in SCOTLAND he was from. I failed the test miserably, as you would expect; I said Dundee, and he’s Glaswegian, so not even vaguely close! I am a big fan of Colin’s Sweet Balsamic Dressings and he kindly gave me a couple of bottles, so I’m hoping this means I’m forgiven?

Clive of Clive’s Wines was directly opposite Colin so I went to have a chat (and sample some of his scrummy wines!) with him too. Using premium British-grown fruit, Clive works his magic to produce vegan- and vegetarian friendly wine of all colours, including Gooseberry, Strawberry and Elderflower, and Damson; these are all very quaffable and don’t contain Sulphites, Finnings, Colourings or Preservatives. However, it was a bottle of ‘Second Wind’ Pale Ale that I came away with to try. I’m not a regular drinker of Lagers and Ales in general but I really enjoyed this; the fruity, hoppy taste was lovely and because it isn’t pumped full of Carbon Dioxide, it didn’t leave me ‘gassy’ and burping all evening!

One newbie I did engage with was Zooki, and actually, in a sea of indulgence it was nice to see Zooki showcasing their range of vitamin supplement pouches. The very charming Jacob chatted to me for a while before Daryl (head of retail) came over and invited me to sample some of their goods; the Watermelon Vitamin C pouch sounded tempting, though if I’m being honest, I wasn’t expecting the flavour to be great. How wrong was I? Straightaway I got a lovely taste of Watermelon, albeit a bit more intense than the actual fresh fruit taste – I wasn’t complaining though, I love Watermelon so having it stronger than usual was fine by me. If you’re having a bit of an energy slump then this is the perfect pick-me-up, and trust me, having got up at the crack o’ sparrows to get to the show my energy was slumping so I was certainly in need of this little gem. Obviously I can’t say how good the long-term effects would be (having just tried one days’ worth) but it tastes great for sure and couldn’t have done any harm.

I then began to mooch around the many aisles, making my way to those who’d invited me along first. The day passed in a blur of eating and drinking, which is exactly my kind of day! There were so many stands at the show and all the traders wanted to chat about their products; I didn’t manage to visit them all so that just tells you how many exhibitors there were. Demonstrations and talks were being held in the centre of the venue and it was nice to be able to dip in and out of them (from a visitor’s perspective) as time allowed.

The venue itself was being kept spotlessly clean by a team that went around sweeping up crumbs in the hall itself as well as keeping the ‘facilities’ clean and stocked with handwash and loo roll. Personally, I prefer having the Fine Food show in March; it’s nice to have something early on in the year, and October is in the run-up to Christmas so it felt a bit more rushed – something exhibitors mentioned a few times to me. I still had a blooming good time though. For more in-depth reviews of producers and their products, follow the links above and then check out my site www.thestickybeak.co.uk 

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