Happiness is back in Birmingham’s city centre until the 19th of this month; Birmingham International Food Fair. I do enjoy splurging on culinary treats, in fact it is most definitely one of my favourite things to do, and if budget and waist line were never an issue, sumptuous eats would be had more often. Most people would tell me that I would soon loose interest if I could eat like this all the time, but I doubt it. Seriously.
Last year I was introduced to the food fair based in and around both Victoria and Chamberlain square, at the very heart of the city centre, and more than had me fill. This year seems on a slightly smaller scale (although we did visit last night, on the first evening of the event on a rather cold day, so my vision may have been a little dampened) but you cannot fail to be astounded by all the sights and smells on offer. As ever, there are a vast selection of different savouries on offer, paella, thai, ostrich and wild boar, hog roasts, Japanese, noodles bars, French provincial, and of course the odd German sausage or two. Specialist cheeses, gorgeous garlics, olives, charcuterie and freshly baked French breads are there to take home and added to whatever culinary delight you create, or simply to nibble at in front of the telly. But it was the sweet treats which had all my senses tingling. Stroopwafels, baklava, turkish delight, handmade fudge and nougat, all astonishing and smell incredible as you walk on past the tents and chalets. But nothing quite hits the spot as these gorgeous little Italian pastries . . .
I would be quite happy to die in a vat of these things – if you can have a vat of chocolate or lemon pasty goodness. Steve and I invested in a paper bag full from the pick and mix stall, each filled with delicious creams, either rich and luscious dark chocolate (often mixed with hazel nuts or almonds) or sherbetty lemon sparkle! Utterly heavenly, with such a crisp bite, everyone who visits this next week should definitely steer themselves towards these little angels. The Nutella cannelloni are by far the most mouthwatering in my mind, but they are closely followed by the small almond puffs, which could not be more like marzipan, so soft and chewy, if they tried. Obviously, being on a stall at such an event, the cost is not always bargain basement, but ten of these will cost you around £6, certainly not bank breaking for an annual binge. And yes, we did eat all ten last night sat in front of the final episodes of Battlestar Galactica – well, we had to be eating something momentous for such an occasion!
And if all the foody goodness is not enough to tempt you into Birmingham-land this month, then there are plenty of drinking establishments available too. Good old Hogan’s cider was the side dish to my chilli beef soba noodles last night, but fresh slushies, smoothies, pimms and a beer tent are also on offer – plus teas and coffees.
There is so much in a small space that it is almost dizzying. I almost wish I wasn’t off on a furniture hunt this weekend or I would quite happily overdose on polish dumplings, or chocolate egg custards. Swiftly followed by another bag of pastry. My body thanks me for being previously engaged over the next few days!