Shaun Weston and Jim Cregan compare facial hair at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2014.

A fennel-flavoured Speciality Fine Food Fair

I was looking forward to the Speciality & Fine Food Fair at Olympia in London this week, but didn’t expect to be so rushed off my feet! I met so many lovely people, small and large producers, and tasted some interesting products.

Among these was a popcorn by Ten Acre, a company usually known for its crisps. This popcorn was fennel and lemon flavoured, which took me right back to an Italian restaurant in New York and the amazing sausage I quite regularly enjoy when I go there. It was a fantastic flavour experience, void of any chemical aftertaste and overbearing personality. I loved it and only regret not taking a bag home.

I’ll post an interview with the charismatic CEO of Ten Acre, Tony Goodman, as soon as I get around to it. In the meantime, here are a couple of interviews I did in other parts of the great hall, such as Roy and Usha Verman from Dhaniya:

I also had a chat with Simon Bell from Donatantonio, who was launching 16 products in the Lupetta range of Italian ingredients.

I didn’t want to miss out on the Chocolate Fair, so wandered around taking photos and meeting lots of confectionery entrepreneurs, and even managed to catch the giant chocolate saxophone. Jean-Marie Dessard and Philippe Wall were responsible for bringing the 10ft tall chocolate saxophone to launch the exhibition, and it really is quite eye-catching.

It was nice to catch up with Jim Cregan from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee, whose beard was looking rather fine (as usual). He told me that there’s a new product on the way in the not-too-distant future, and I have no doubt that he’ll come up with a fun way to promote it. If you haven’t seen any of Jim’s videos yet, start here:

Finally (for now), here are a few photos from the event, with some from my colleague Claire Phoenix. The show’s organiser tells me that there have been a record number of exhibitor re-bookings for the 2015 Fair, which just goes to show how popular, vibrant and important this show is.

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