I’ve been to The Food Show a number of times in the past – always for work though. This was the first year I could go and just enjoy myself while taking a few snapshots, so with a friend and our toddlers in tow, we checked out the preview day on Thursday 27 July.
If you ever decide to go with a small child, I would highly recommend spending the extra $$ on tickets to attend the first preview day as there are fewer people so it’s less of a parking hassle and easier to move around. Prams are good for carrying all the loot you buy, but not so great for battling the crowds at the busier stands. The Cooking Theatre shows would have been wonderful to attend with some of New Zealand’s top culinary talents being showcased (including Michael Van de Elzen and Annabel Langbein), however, checking them out with Miss E who was keen to keep on moving and sampling foods wasn’t practical for me.
There’s definitely a shift towards more healthful foods being on display. From artisan coconut yoghurts to raw macaroons, alcohol-free cocktails to handmade muesli, organic foods and fresh fruit. There was an area called ‘The Healthy Hub’ which encompassed a large portion of the stalls this year according to the programme.
I’ll tell you though, being pregnant with my second child, The Food Show is a torturous place to be with all the soft cheeses, deli meats and wine samples to be had! I did look particularly wistfully at the Limoncello stand! I made up for it by having some delicious dumplings from Akemi’s Gyoza from the ‘Street Food Alley’ for lunch while Miss E chowed down on one of the dumplings and had a dance to the live guitar duo playing.
Being budget-conscious this year I gave myself a limit before leaving the house and stuck to it as I have a decent idea of what’s a good show deal versus what I could probably just purchase at a later date for a sale price in the supermarket. When I left, my bags were filled with three packs of Perfect Pork for dinners (grain-fed New Zealand pork), a sample pack of the relatively new Tip Top Sandwich Thins, a block of Whittaker’s chocolate from the New World/Fly Buys stand, two packs of hot chocolate mix (chocolate gingernut, and chocolate mint flavours) and two packs of garlic bread snacks which are great for appetisers.
Samples we loved included Fresh As freeze-dried fruit, off-season fresh pineapple, mango and strawberries, a mini self-decorated cupcake from Queen/Dr Oetkers (using their innovative cake decorating products), Soul alcohol-free cocktails, fruit teas from Red Seal, and the raw macaroons from Little Bird Organics.
Here are some of my highlights and favourite displays from this year’s show:
Thanks to The Auckland Food Show for providing me with tickets to attend
Images / NZ Real Health