Food24 has gone a tad international of late.
What with moi popping over to London for the enormously inspiring Taste of London and Cath on a ship in sunny Europe right now for the Global Mixology champs, we're definitely getting out there.
It sounds awfully glam doesn't it? And it is of course but the most inspiring part is to be able to share it with you all. I mean, what's the point really if you can't tell someone about it eh?
I will be doing various blogs, articles and galleries about it all (in case you missed my innumerable tweets) to keep you up to date, but do see my first instalment, a little tease about my fabulous mode of transport.
What I have been itching to share with you though, is a general round-up of what's happening over there. Let's dive right in:
1. Service: This is a biggie - From the shop assistants to the waiters and sommeliers, the service is impeccable. We are in the dark ages comparably.
It's all about the customer and how well you are treated. I know we have some great offerings here and I'm a steadfast patriot, but the level of knowledge, politeness and flair was astonishing. It made a huge impression on me.
2. Street food: This is the new big thing with young people and there is a move away from the stuffy fine dining model.
Cosmopolitan food: The only place it seems that you can get good
British fare is a pub, the rest is a mine of Japanese, Indian,
Indonesian, Lebanese, French, Pacific Rim, Vietnamese, Ethiopian and
pretty much anything you can think of.
4. High standards:
- The smallest of shops have stunning fresh produce and I could see the level of effort and pride that had gone into all aspects, from the labels to the way it was arranged on the shelf.
- On-the-go sandwiches includes super-healthy options like quinoa and freshness is tantamount with lovely additions like freshly made mayonnaise.
- Restaurants have hosts and hostesses that treat you like gold when you arrive at the door and you're seated and watered quickly and efficiently.
- Sommeliers are literally fountains of knowledge and really know their stuff. They are very sensitive to the food pairing and making your experience a good one, almost taking ownership of it.
- The quality of the products from bread and meat to clothes and shoes is extremely high.
5. Artisanal products: I really noticed the lack of large supermarkets and saw that people like to shop at smaller shops and enjoy the experience of buying, for example, bread at a beautiful bakery, meat at an organic butcher and fresh vegetables at the little French shop on the corner.
I spent hours just ogling the day-to-day places where people go to shop.
6. Offal: I noticed nobody balking over foie gras, truffles, sweetbreads or pigs ear and trotters. It's all happy, yummy indulgence where that is concerned. *High fives all round*.
7. Sweet delights: Patisseries are everywhere, pretty little treasuries of sweetness, with sugary chocolates, cakes and pastries lining the windows. Every single morsel a teeny little artwork.
8. No jay-walking: Odd I realise, but a valid point. You can't cross the road other than where you're supposed to. Everyone will eyeball you like you've just done a naked dash if you do.
So there you have it, a couple of tasty London bits to chew on.
Have you been somewhere recently? Tell me all about it, I'd love to hear from you.