In The Pink With Pinkster Gin

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As readers of this blog will know, on Saturday 29th August 2015 I attended the first day of The BBC Good Food Festival at Hampton Court. I promised I’d write in a little more detail about some of the goodies I saw and thought I’d start with Pinkster Gin. Because it’s PINK! And also because it tasted rather good so deserves a special mention in a post of its own. I should add that I bought a bottle of the pink stuff with my very own credit card and Pinkster did not ask me or pay me to write a review.

I’m not a big drinker at all and so on the rare occasions I do imbibe, the product needs to really hit the spot and satisfy my not very complicated and usually alcohol free taste buds. I was very interested to see how the steeping of raspberries in gin would affect the flavour. It gives the gin a delicate pink tinge which is visually very appealing but how would it taste?

At the BBC Good Food Festival, there were two charming young chaps at the Pinkster stand and they were offering small tasters. They did ask if I’d like to try a sample ‘neat’ so I did! I only took a small sip but it packed a lot of flavour and wasn’t bitter. Here are the two chaps in question. They did look awfully fetching in their pink shirts and stylish black aprons.

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As I’m not a regular drinker I can’t comment too much on the ‘bouquet’ or any other such stuff so my review is comparatively simple. What I found was that although I didn’t pick up a strong raspberry flavour – rather a subliminal hint – there was no bitter aftertaste that I’ve noticed previously with other gins, (bitterness is apparently down to the juniper). I then tried Pinkster with some Fever Tree Indian tonic water and I have to say I thought it was delightful: refreshing, smooth and not heavy. I could see Pinkster making an excellent base for cocktails although as I’m no mixologist, I’ll leave that to the more creative individuals. Actually, there are cocktail recipes on the Pinkster’s website so that’s a good place to start!

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According to Pinkster’s website, they make small batches and hand-steep fresh British raspberries in the spirit at their headquarters in Cambridge. Pinkster’s is “a premium gin made up of five botanicals” and it launched in 2013. All I’d add to that is: it tastes awfully good. As the Colonel would say – pip pip!

http://www.pinkstergin.com

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A Grand Day Out at the BBC Good Food Show

I was kindly allocated a press pass (as a person with a food blog) to attend the BBC Good Food Show at Hampton Court which is running for 3 days from Saturday 29th to Monday 31st August 2015. I appreciated the opportunity to see what BBC Good Food would do with an all round Food Festival as most of the shows I’ve been to over the last couple of years have had a cake and baking theme.

Hampton Court is a fantastic venue for an event like a food festival. The extensive grounds mean that the stands aren’t squashed together in tight rows and you can walk around feeling you’re stepping on anyone else’s toes. When I arrived in the early afternoon, the sun was shining, there was live music playing in a pretty bandstand and there was a very lively atmosphere. The rain did sadly make an appearance later on in the day but at least I’d packed a small but efficient umbrella just in case.

I decided that as there were almost 100 foodie related stands to see, it was easiest to have an initial browse to see what was there and then to revisit stands with the goodies that tempted me the most. What I really like about food festivals like this is the variety. Some companies that exhibited this time were already well known such as ‘Bonne Maman’, ‘Montezuma’s Chocolates’, ‘The Garlic Farm’ and ‘Vitamix’ but then you see the sometimes relatively new producers that wow you with their offerings. I saw lots of things I liked and I could have spent a fortune but as I had used public transport to get to the event, I had to be realistic about what I could reasonably carry back with me.

Much as I loved many of the items on display, I couldn’t buy from everyone. I’d like to give a special mention to ‘The Tipsy Tart’ (www.thetipsytart.co.uk) having sampled their caramel infused vodka; ‘Pukara Estate’  (ww.pukara-estate.co.uk) who produce flavoured oils and vinegars with real depth, and ‘Oppo’ (www.oppoicecream.co.uk) who make luxury, healthy ice cream using virgin coconut oil, stevia leaf, fresh milk and superfoods. I tried the salted caramel and lucuma ice cream and it was excellent but alas, I couldn’t take home a pot as it would have melted after a lengthy journey home on public transport.

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If you ever get he chance to try the Pukara Estate products, I recommend the lime infused olive oil mixed with some of their caramelised balsamic vinegar as it combines well to make a flavourful dip for crusty bread.

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I also spent half an hour in the company of John Whaite, who in 2012 won the Great British Bake Off. Well, actually I watched him do a live cookery demonstration in the Summer Kitchen Theatre. I was somewhat taken aback – although really chuffed – when he said hello to me. He must have remembered me from the recent Foodies Festival on Clapham Common when I walked with him from the tube station to the event and we had a god chat. I hope he doesn’t have me pegged as a stalker when I’m simply a bit of a food enthusiast. John’s recipe for Korean fried chicken smelled so good but sadly it was whipped away after the demo for the crew to eat. Pfffft. What was that about? John did say he would put the recipe on Twitter so do look out for it.

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I was lucky to be in the front row, hence the close up picture. If ever you get the opportunity to watch John doing a demonstration, I’m sure you’ll be charmed by his sense of humour.

I didn’t get the chance to see any of the interviews that took place on the Interview Stage and so also missed out on the possibility of winning a Lakeland voucher. Never mind…… Next time……

I’m going to write separate posts about some of the producers I saw, namely ‘Pinkster Gin’, ‘Coole Swan Irish Cream’ and ‘The Flavoured Shortbread Bakery’ as I think they deserve a few column inches in their own right.

I left the BBC Good Food Festival having enjoyed a really good experience. Due to time constraints, I didn’t get the chance to eat and I was disappointed not to have squeezed in a light meal at ‘The Bingham Pop Up Restaurant’. There are other BBC Good Food Shows coming up later in the year so next time I won’t miss out.

Finally, I’d like to say what a pleasure it was to meet up with my friend Kevin who writes a food and craft blog called ‘The Crafty Larder’. He’d travelled down from Norwich for the event at Hampton Court which just goes to show that you can never keep a chap away from good food. Here we are in the front row at John White’s demo.

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