Somehow it’s already half way through November! I’ve spent the last couple of weeks getting my new food and creativity workshops set up – more information to come very soon. Fortunately I’ve been able to take some inspiration from events I attended last month, from topics covered in talks to the colours and designs of interesting food. And so, without further ado, here are my October highlights:

 

Slow down on a Sunday – Rosewood Slow Food and Living Market

 

Rosewood Slow Food & Living Market

 

I got up bright and early to attend a brewing class in London on an October Sunday morning, but unfortunately it was cancelled at the last minute (the organisers couldn’t get into their venue!). I decided to pop over to the Rosewood Slow Food and Living Market in Holborn instead as I hadn’t been there for awhile. It was much changed, with more stalls and it was in the courtyard (rather than the side entrance) the weekend that I went, which made it much easier to manoeuvre around.

I’d only planned to have a little look, but ended up buying a Sunday feast of Hiver honey beer, smooth dark chocolate from Abraham at Seaforth Chocolate Co, a little pot of raw chestnut honey, a chunk of rye bread, goat’s cheese and some edible flowers. Oh, and my husband treated himself to some lovely salami. So much for ‘just having a little look’…

The market is small, but perfectly formed. It’s also not just about food; there are also some beautifully made fashion and homeware items to buy. Everything is based on the principles of Slow Food so you know you’re putting your money toward more sustainable products. And if you want something more than a market nibble, Rosewood has also hosted a series of slow brunches run by Toast over the last few months and there’s one more planned for 2015.

 

Making time for brunch – The 11 O’Clock Club

 

The 11 O'Clock Club

 

As an Australian, I think I have a love of brunch hardwired into me. I was therefore very excited when Joanna Clifford, who has written a lovely guest post for this site, kicked off a new brunch venture in October. Called The 11 O’Clock Club, it’s a perfect way to start your weekend.

I went along to one of the first sittings and there was a huge brunch bounty, including seasonal cake, freshly baked homemade croissants, layered yoghurt pots, and bottomless tea and coffee. It also probably helped that things kicked off with a glass of bucks fizz. I chose a warming Mexican-style bowl of sweet potato, beans and avocado as my main. It was a nice change from the standard poached eggs and smoked salmon option that I’d normally go for if I’m out for brunch. Plus I can’t say no to a dish containing avocado.

It was so much fun meeting new people and trying out new food. If you too are a brunch lover, I suggest keeping an eye on The 11 O’Clock Club.

 

The 11 O'Clock Club

 

Making bread – Farm to Loaf Symposium

 

E5 Bakehouse is nothing short of inspirational: this incredible bakery not only creates amazing sourdough in an ethical and sustainable way, the team is also involved in some interesting side projects. One such project, last month’s Farm to Loaf Symposium, brought together bakers, farmers, researchers, campaigners, writers and general food lovers to discuss the importance of ‘real bread’. It was hosted by Radio 4’s Sheila Dillon, so that on its own was worth getting out of bed for on a Sunday morning.

There is a very good argument, both for the health of our bodies and the planet, to consume bread that is made with good ingredients and produced with love (i.e. not the nutrient-light mass-produced loaves churned out by factories). A selection of expert speakers discussed heritage grains, local projects producing wholesome and tasty bread, and the work E5 Bakehouse themselves are doing to use UK-grown organic wheat milled in their bakery.

I learned a lot across the day and came away feeling hopeful that even those who don’t have the inclination or ability to make better food choices might one day have easy access to better quality bread. And before then, you can always head down to E5 Bakehouse in the knowledge that you’ll be able get hold of a good loaf.

 

Farm to Loaf

 

 

And finishing with some chocolate…

 

Chocolate Show 2015

 

With both Chocolate Week and the annual Chocolate Show happening in October, it only seems appropriate that I should finish on a chocolate note. I was fortunate enough to go to the opening night of The Chocolate Show. We were treated to a short performance of songs from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, and a fun fashion show of outfits that incorporated chocolate. While I wouldn’t say the fashion was street-wearable, the designs were definitely creative.

I went back on the Sunday which turned out to be a good choice, as there’s only so much chocolate you can eat in one go (even for me!). It meant I could try some of the chocolate I hadn’t tasted on the first night. I was most inspired by the chocolate from the bean-to-bar producers. There are a few popping up around the UK and my personal favourites among the newer brands at the show were Seaforth Chocolate Co, Doble & Bignall and Damson Chocolate. Their bars are a celebration of the personality and authenticity of good quality chocolate.

On the more unusual side of flavours, I really enjoyed the Porcini Organic Dark Milk Chocolate, with its stylish packaging, from Lithuanian brand Chocolate Naive. The first mouthful did taste of mushrooms, but it then settled to something almost fudge-like. There were a few wild pepper options at the show (I can never resist Akesson’s wild Voatsiperifery pepper chocolate), but the one I took home was chocoMe’s almonds coated in smooth Voatsiperifery pepper dark chocolate. They were a perfect after dinner treat and I actually managed to make them last over a few nights. I’m now trying to track down where I can find them in the UK.

I spent the rest of the month savouring my lovely chocolate purchases. And that might be why I ended October with a smile on my face.

 

Chocolate Show 2015

Chocolate Show 2015

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