Taste of London 2014
For the past 11 years, London in June became a feast of food and drinks in the open air to which a food lover like myself couldn't just miss. Hosted since 2005 in Regent's Park, "Taste of London" is truly a feast for both the spirit and the mouth.
- Thursday, 24 July 2014
40 of the most famous London restaurants were called to participate in this wonderful event to advertise their new menus and to let people discover new flavours to more than 50,000 visitors that this year have taken part to the celebration. Yes, because it is indeed a celebration. In fact, when I moved my first steps inside the park, a celebration of smells and colors surrounded me straight away. Actually, I felt quite disoriented because I didn't know where to begin to eat!
Taste of London is the chance to try many dishes, all different one from another, having "crowns" as money (the official currency of the event) to spend at the various stands. Obviously they could not miss to invite some famous Italian chefs at international level to uphold the "Made from Italy". Here are the names:
Francesco Mazzei of the restaurant "L'Anima"
Manuel Oliveri chef of "Tartufo"
Maurizio Morelli of "Latium "
Massimo Bottura de "Osteria Francescana"
Pasquale Amico from the restaurant "Amico Bio"
Not only Italian but also chefs from around the world took part in this great event, including food star Jamie Oliver.
Once at the event, I found a large number of small exhibitors where boys and girls with trays were there to offer some small taste from all the delicacies that their stand was preparing. Most of the tastings during the evening were free. But just some "tastings" weren't enough for me as I was starving, so I decided to try out some other foods (a bit more rich) in a couple of restaurant's stands, offering really delicious things.
Not only food at Taste of London but also charity. For example I tasted a delicious hot dog with crispy bacon, ketchup and mustard on it, in a stand called "5 star haute dog action". The hot dog, created in collaboration with 5 different famous chefs, has funded the project "Action against hunger", an English humanitarian association that deals with bringing food and clean water in the most needy areas of the world.
I've also eaten in another pop up restaurant some very good tortellini filled with mascarpone cheese, mixed with a sauce made with Parmesan fondue, walnuts and slivers of fresh truffles, prepared by the restaurant "Truffle" of Chelsea, here in London. Nominated countless times in all the leading magazines for their wonderful food, I couldn't miss this great opportunity . And I did well. Once it was my turn to have this wonderful dish in my hands, dozens of people still in the queue were looking at me with hungry in their eyes, while I was reaching my table to join that small bites of happiness. A delicate but intense flavour at the same time, where each bite was a dream I wouldn't ever terminates. Then I had to return to reality, unfortunately and I decided to get back on track and try some other delicacies. And I found them!
Sliced beef served with a small fresh salad, prepared by the chef of the restaurant "Barbecoa" by Jamie Oliver. Cooked to perfection. Juicy and delicious meat. A pleasure for eyes and palate. Absolutely. Other perfect moment about that day. A pleasure that I can't explain by words. But if you are passionate about food as I am, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about.
There were many stands rebuilt from old minibuses or Ape car. Really cute. The essence of street food in 2 square meters, to serve dozens of hungry people in front of each of them.
One of the most beautiful and interesting experiences that I did at Taste, was to participate in a cooking show for about half an hour, during which I had the pleasure of knowing a young but very very talented Executive Chef, who currently works at Sushi Samba in Heron Tower, here in London.
He is called Claudio Cardoso, he's 30 years old and, like most of the chefs that I had the pleasure of meeting over the years, he was extremely polite and humble. With almost timid gestures has taught in the crowded room, how to prepare a delicious carpaccio of turbot with pan brioche, truffle oil and seawater's caviar prepared using a technique of molecular cuisine. I was totally in love with him and of the recipe. Really a wonderful person.
My gastronomic tour continued through others food tasting (including a very very spicy sauce served with some mini spring rolls) up to finish my pleasant experience with a nice cold beer, which was displayed in a vintage bathtub filled with ice to keep bottles cool. (Note: the beer was served free of charge, I just had to leave my email for their newsletter!)
A day just not to be missed if you're planning to come to visit London next year in June. But even if you're planning to come during Christmas...no problem! There will be also a winter version of Taste of London, that I'm not going to miss for sure. What about you?