Building Food At Heart is an exciting journey; I feel very lucky to be meeting fantastic foodie people and experiencing some great tastes along the way. I’ve been really inspired by so many people who are following their passion for food and taking this passion in different directions. I want to start capturing some of these moments, stories and tastes, as I hope you’ll find them as inspiring as I do – or at the very least find some food ideas or tastes to explore for yourself.

 

5 food inspirations – my July highlights

 

1. Award winning gelato

Two of my recent top ten suggested summer foodie activities included going on a food walk and trying some lovely artisan gelato. I combined both last week on the Chocolate Ecstasy Tours’ Ice Cream TourSnowflake Gelato was the very first stop. With lots of rave reviews and Great Taste Awards to its name, Snowflake has been on my ‘to visit’ list for a while. The weather was perfect for eating ice cream as it was a warm and sultry Wednesday evening. I was also a little flustered after a fast paced walk into Soho, which included almost being run down by a cyclist coming through a red light. It was a relief to sit down somewhere cool and relaxing – with no kamikaze bikes.

The Soho branch of Snowflake is brightly lit, modern and friendly. With over 50 flavours in the total Snowflake repertoire, the selection in store varies day to day as everything is made fresh on site daily. Fortunately the ladies behind the counter are very generous in sharing tasters to make the final selection a little easier. This is genuine gelato, based on milk, cream and sugar (and no raw egg). It’s just like what I grew up with in Australia when as a family we would go for gelati as a Sunday treat.

That said, it wasn’t actually the gelato I was most interested in. I’d heard great things about the Raspberry Sorbetto, the Great Taste 2014 Supreme Champion in the 2014 Great Taste Awards. And I can understand why; it’s refreshing, not overly sweet and full of the taste of real raspberries. If you’ve got some room, I also recommend trying the dark chocolate sorbetto. Snowflake’s promise is to ‘serve happiness’, and I definitely felt happy after a few chilled scoops.

 

Snowflake Gelato

 

2. New food markets

It’s an exciting time for food, with lots of new products, producers and events popping up all the time. There’s also a brand new food market on to the scene: Druid St Market in Bermondsey. It’s a stone’s throw from Tower Bridge and just around the corner from foodies’ favourite, Maltby Street Market

The market has a carefully curated selection of passionate stallholders, selling everything from glistening British cherries to beautifully crafted wooden spoons. Some of the businesses on Druid Street also throw open their arches premises to the public, including purveyor of delicious baked goods, Peyton and Byrne.

I had a fascinating chat about biodynamic farming with the gentleman running the Bio Scheme stall. With a combination of organic and biodynamic produce, it was one of the healthiest looking tables of vegetables I’ve seen. I only scratched the surface of understanding what’s involved in biodynamic farming, as it’s fairly complex with lots of layers of intricacy. However it was clear from the vegetables that there’s something very positive in this approach.

With its collection of street food, craft beer and friendly faces, Druid St is small, but perfectly formed and well worth seeking out. It’s a welcome relief from the crazy, elbowing hustle and bustle of Borough Market on a weekend. I’m sure it will only grow in popularity, so I suggest getting a look in now. The market is open every Saturday from 9am to 4pm.

 

Druid St MarketDruid St Market

 

3. Healthy food bloggers

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the last 18 months, you’ll probably have noticed the rise of health foodies in the UK. The likes of Deliciously Ella, the Hemsley sisters and Natasha Corrett of Honestly Healthy regularly grace fashion magazines, newspapers and food publications.

Part of this movement includes a growing number of people, mainly women, exploring how they can manage health, dietary intolerances and overall wellbeing through food. They share this exploration through their blogs, often in the hope of supporting others like themselves. But blogging can be a lonely business, so to help connect these writers and equip new health bloggers with some key blogging skills, Fab Giovanetti established The Health Bloggers Community.

Health Bloggers is an online community, but there are also real world events. I recently went along for an empowering morning of yoga and chat at Wellicious in Notting Hill to celebrate the re-launch of the Health Blogger platform. It’s great sharing experiences with other people who are starting out on their own food journeys – plus it’s a relief to be with people who won’t look at you with a slight sideways glance if you have special dietary needs. My own battle with digestive problems over the last 18 months has meant I’ve had to cut out or reduce certain foods, which is difficult when food is such an important part of my life. There’s always something new to taste at the events; this time it was coconut and dairy free OkoBay ice cream, which was perfect after a warm yoga session.

If you’re interested in finding out more, check out the newly launched We Are Health Bloggers site.

 

Health Bloggers Event

 

4. Artisan bread

I recently joined a craft food meetup group (yes, there really are groups for anything you’re interested in!) and the first event I attended was a behind the scenes view of the fantastic E5 Bakehouse. E5 is based under the railway arches next to London Fields in Hackney and specialises in sourdough. There are also fantastic pastries and coffee if you want to pop in for breakfast.

Ben, who set up E5 Bakehouse 5 years ago, entered the world of artisan bread almost by accident after stumbling across a sourdough course at The School of Artisan Food. Something clicked and E5 was eventually born. Ben showed us just what goes on in the bread production process, which as far as I’m concerned is a blend of magic and science. We also got a peak at the chickens and ‘high rise’ garden outside at the back of the bakery.

I don’t eat much bread these days – while my mouth loves it, my stomach doesn’t! It was a real treat to have a few bites of delicious sourdough made with love and care. Tangy, chewy and fragrant, the rich scent of the loaves hit me as soon as they were sliced. As well as producing great bread, E5 prides itself on sustainable production, using green energy to power the bakery and bikes to deliver their loaves. E5 has even started to mill its own flour at the bakery, which you can buy direct.

If you want to go one step further and learn how to make your own sourdough, sign up for an E5 bread making class.

 

E5 BakehouseE5 Bakehouse

 

5. Spoons & storytelling

You may have seen Jonny and Annie of Spoon Cereals on Dragons’ Den a few series ago. At the time they were asking for funding for their fledgling granola business. 18 months, two dragons and many pop up stalls later, Spoon Cereals are about to launch their products in Ocado. To celebrate this huge achievement, Spoon Cereals ran a breakfast festival last week: No Small Talk Before Breakfast.

Anyone who’s seen my Instagram feed knows I’m a little breakfast / muesli / porridge obsessed, so I definitely wasn’t going to miss this one. Along with big bowls of Spoon’s two granola cereals, there were breakfast snacks, raw pressed drinks and granola toppings galore. I tried the Pecan & Cinnamon granola; it’s naughtily sweet, with big chunks of coconut chips and chopped up pecans. There was also a packet to take home so it has featured heavily on my yoghurt and porridge (as well as being a general snack) over the last week. It’s exciting to see and taste the results of the hard work involved in launching a new product in a competitive market.

The festival wasn’t just about eating; there were also food talks and discussions. On the morning I attended, Sabrina aka The Story Teller, discussed her story of self discovery. Sabrina was disarmingly honest about her shyness and speaking in front of a group of people. She talked about her love of coffee and her Instagram profile (with over 75,000 followers!), which she built using her gift for creating evocative stories. All of this has led to her being about to embark on an exciting global adventure. Sabrina is also part of the team behind We Love To Brunch, another Instagram driven project. The team organise brunch get-togethers for people who want to meet, eat, talk and walk together, helping build connections and share passions.

I came away from the morning feeling full of granola and full of admiration for people working hard to create very different stories within food. I also felt inspired to keep discovering and building my own story.

 

Spoon Cereals FestivalSpoon Cereals Festival

 

Who are your food inspirations? What tastes are you getting excited about at the moment?

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