BBC Good Food Show Winter – shop local

The Producers’ Village is my favourite part of the BBC Good Food Show Winter and it is great to catch up with familiar faces and say hello to new exhibitors. Each year more independent producers and retailers are taking part and if you want to #shoplocal here is where to find some great regional  foodies.

The Baking Housewife

Back for a second time The Baking Housewife from Birmingham is giving a taste of the Caribbean on stand D42 with her rum cake and sorrel cordial, which from the New Year you can also buy online.

Angelina's Cupcakes

Northampton’s Angelina Cupcakes is pretty in pink at the Bakes & Cakes village with confections that include pecan and pumpkin.

Arden's biscuits

The drunken panattone or giant tubes of ameretti biscuits from Arden’s Fine Foods on E132 will make great stocking fillers.

Pips Hot Sauces gift bags

Making her debut as a BBC Good Food Show Winter is Producers’ Bursary Award winner Pip’s Hot Sauces from Moseley. Look out for her fiery (and festive) red stand in the Producers Village G102.

Farrington's gift bag

Farringtons cold pressed rapeseed oil is on the mellow yellow stand F60 with new gift boxes for Christmas featuring rapeseed oil, chilli oil and a mustard dressing.

Tan Rosie

Spice up your life with the Caribbean food on J101 from Birmingham’s Tan Rosie

Purity gift box

Warwickshire’s Purity Ales have stocked up on Christmas gift packs at B102.

Don’t jerk around with my johnnycake

The Caribbean restaurant chain Turtle Bay opens in Birmingham today. I went to the Leamington Spa launch party last month with bloggers @glamourcounty and @EnglandGourmand to sample cocktails and canapés and listen to a great band.

If you hanker for jerk chicken, salt fish fritters and johnnycake then you’re in luck. The landlocked Midlands offer a taste of island delights with a Caribbean supper club, street food traders, restaurants and even a Caribbean influenced afternoon tea.

Caribbean food

The Carib Grill in Moseley, Big Nannys in the Jewellery Quarter and the Tan Rosie supper club have all built their reputations on offering authentic Caribbean cuisine served with a warm welcome in Birmingham.

2-Tone cafe

Over in Coventry, nestled in the secluded courtyard of 2Tone Village, is 2 Tone Cafe and Simmer Down restaurant. This BETAYou added 2 Tone Cafe & Simmer Down Restaurant to your Saves listfamily run café is home of the jerk sausage with all day breakfasts and ‘home’ style cuisine.


Jamrock’s street food van was at the Rugby Food and Drink Festival last year, but their home is Wellingborough Northampton, where they also have a new restaurant.

Bowl with Pineapple Jam

For something completely different how about a Caribbean afternoon tea? Zacks  claims to be Birmingham’s first Caribbean coffee shop, serving sustainably grown, ethically farmed, organic coffee through a partnership with Marley Coffee.

Alongside cakes, sandwiches, paninis and Caribbean special hot dish of the day the café also hosts an afternoon tea. Twice a month twenty four lucky diners get to enjoy a Saturday afternoon of a quintessential English afternoon tea with Caribbean flavours for £12 per person.  Brie and guava jam, chicken and avocado, cucumber sandwiches; jerk chicken skewers, plantain or sweet potato skewers; ginger or lime cooler, banana bread, chocolate brownie, freshly baked scones with rum Chantilly cream and Zacks pineapple jam are all on the menu at 12.30pm and 3.30pmWell worth a trip out to Sutton Coldfield!

Review of 2012

As this is my last post for 2012, I thought I’d look back on some of the highlights of the food and restaurant scene in Birmingham and Warwickshire.

Scooping awards and accolades – The Malt Shovel in Barstoncelebrated being named Warwickshire Dining Pub of the Year in the 2013 Good Pub Guide.  Pub Restaurant Chef of the Year was Rob Hartwell from Rose & Crown in Warwick. The Bluebell Henley in Arden won Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the year for the Midlands. Blue Bistro in Coventry was awarded Best Newcomer in the Warwickshire Life Food and Drink Award and Peel’s in Hampton Manor were awarded Best Restaurant of the Year. Restaurant Bosquet in Kenilworth (with chef Bernard Linier pictured below) impressed Birmingham Post’s Richard McComb to pick up a McComb Award for Dining (MAD).

Bernard Lingier






Birmingham’s reputation as a fine dining city continued with Purnell’s named the BMW Squaremeal Best UK Restaurant. Lasan and Simpsons were included in the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants of the Year, as voted by Harden’s readers. In Restaurant magazine’s Top 100 Restaurants in the UK Loves featured. Purnell’s, Simpsons and Turners all retained their Michelin stars.








The region’s hotels saw significant investment and heavyweight chefs drafted in to support new openings. Marcus Wearing consulted on the menu for Hotel La Tour’s Aalto restaurant, where I became a fan of their afternoon tea.  Hogarth’s completed a £4m make-over and chef Martin Blunos was appointed as Culinary Director.

Hotel La Tour scones and afternoon fancies







The popularity of single ingredient restaurants spread from London to the Midlands. High quality steak and chicken cooked well won new customers for the New Inn in Harborne and The Flat Chicken in Stratford. Barbecuing meats was the hottest cooking trend of the year, with the openings of Argentinian Fiesta del Asadoon the Hagley Road and Brazillian Rodizio Rico in The Mailbox.

The competition for the most glamorous makeover was a tie between The Warwickin Hockley Heath and The Star & Garter in Leamington, which was given a £500K make-over by the Peach Pub Co.

The Warwick





In the culinary Olympics it was a cook-off between the French and Italians. Funky brasserie Le Truc Café and Purnell’s Bistro opened to give Brummies a Gallic twist to their dining. While the award-winning San Carlo Group launched Fumo in Waterloo Street. The cocktail bar, restaurant and late lounge serves small dishes of Venetian tapas known as Cicchetti (pronounced chi-KET-tee).

Fumo appetisers







Chefs on the move included Solihull chef Mathew Ebdon joining The Beeches in Hampton in Arden and it was all change at Edmunds in Brindleyplace, who welcomed Dider Philipot to head up the French fine dining restaurant as Andy Waters left to run the restaurant at The Queens at Belbroughton Worcester.

Didier Philipot Edmunds









The sunglasses and crowds came out for food festivals. Kenilworth followed the successful Stratford and Leamington food festivals by launching their first Foodie Fortnight promoting local restaurants and food producers. I went to the Chilli Festival in Brindley Place for the first time and admired how the contestants kept their cool, as the torture of hotter and hotter chillies were administered. The Colmore Row Food Festival returned for a second year and filled Victoria Square with tasters from local restaurants including Saffron and Opus.

Birmingham Chilli Festival stall







In Leamington Spa Restaurant 23 moved to bigger premises in Holly Walk and the bar/ restaurant / club Altoria opened its three floors to diners. High Pavement in Warwick and The Lazy Cow in Stratford were welcome additions to the towns’ dining offers.

High Pavement Warwick






Going to events meant that I was able to meet lots of local producers. I met the Mini Jar Company and Napton Water Buffalo Company at the BBC Good Food Show Winter, Tan Rosie and cheesemaker David Jowett at the Stratford Food Festival and  Jabberwocky at the Leamington Food Festival.

David Jowett







Artisan food producers saw the benefits of collaboration in Kings Heath Birmingham. Lucky13 Bakehouse, Change Kitchen, Cuffufle Chutney, Wanton & Furious and Capeling & Co joined forces to form B14 collective. Delish Deli in Rugby moved to bigger premises and Summersaults opened their new deli next to their vegetarian restaurant.

Summersaults deli counter







Our regional food sector is thriving and I hope that my blog has highlighted how easy it is to shop local, eat local and support Warwickshire’s food heroes.



Leamington Spa Food & Drink Festival

The Royal Pump Room Gardens were crammed with 100 stalls over the weekend for the Leamington Spa Food & Drink Festival.









A refreshing lemonade from the solar-powered The Electric Lemon was worth the queue.









Jabberwocky had a new crab, crème fraiche and wilted spinach toastie on the menu, which I had to try.







Caribbean sauces from the lovely Tan Rosie in Birmingham.

mac Food Market







Following a successful launch in May, the Midlands Arts Centre is running their Food Market monthly starting from 29th July.

There’s a great range of local producers taking part and the line up for Sunday includes:

jACKrABBIT – – Ideas and products for growing, preserving and cooking home grown produce.

Squisito – Homemade Italian food.

Beans and Leaves – Speciality coffee and tea blends.

B14 Artisan Collective including Cuffufle Chutney, Change Kitchen and Trishul Chocolate

Yummie Brummie collective including Urban Harvest, Miss Macaroon, Devenish Girl Bakery and Albert’s bread.

Beez neez – Quality local honey.

Tan Rosie – Caribbean sauce, spices and snacks

From 10.30am – 3.30pm, the Food Market will then run on 26th August, 30th September, 28th October & 25th November.