Sunday, February 05, 2012

A Cornucopia of treats to celebrate some good news!

So it seems like Revision Hibernation Week paid off- I passed my exam! To say I'm delighted is a very big understatement!

Yesterday morning, still buzzing with excitement, I woke up even earlier than on a work day and decided to head into town early for a bit of shopping, and to go to Cornucopia, a regular food festival held at the Leeds Corn Exchange. The past couple of times its been held, I've either been away or at work, so it was great to be able to go this time.

After a delicious breakfast at The Greedy Pig (a fantastic establishment who deserves a blog post devoted to it sometime soon) and a bit of chat with owner Jo (a fellow baker), I pootled into town. I walked down Vicar Lane and peered into the beautiful windows of Peter Maturi, looking longingly at the bright Joseph Joseph mixing bowls and the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer that I'm desperate to get (unfortunately one of those costs the same as an exam entrance fee, which sadly take priority).

As Cornucopia didn't start until 10, I then ducked into the Victoria Quarter to peruse the Harvey Nichols' beauty counters and the Fourth Floor Foodmarket, which happens to sit right next to the Mulberry handbags, which invoke a desire in me akin to that of the KitchenAid Artisan Mixer...

On my way from there to the Corn Exchange, the smell of roses enticed me into Jo Malone, where a very enthusiastic assistant gave me a mini hand massage with their Orange Blossom hand cream, and a freebie hand cream tube to take away. I smelt fruity and floral for the rest of the morning!

When I actually got to Cornucopia, the event had only just started and was pretty quiet , which was good for me because I got the chance to chat to lots of the stallholders.

The Corn Exchange is such a beautiful building- you can't help but look in wonder at the light streaming into the building through the windows and the magnificent ceiling. A great setting for the festival.

My first stop was to Chilli Devil sauces, where I was persuaded to try a chilli chocolate spread, flavoured with coffee liqueur. At first it just tasted like chocolate, but as the stuff made its way to the back of my palate, my mouth burst forth with warmth. I could imagine it with ice cream- the warmth contrasting with cold. I bought one, but would be keen to try one of the other flavours such as whisky orange, next time.

I then stopped at the Little Yorkshire Pie stall, which was full of delicious little pies (as the name suggests!). The Little Yorkshire Pie Company are based in Leeds Kirkgate Market on Butcher's Row and are getting a good following for reasonably priced, delicious pies. I bought their best seller, the pork pie, and one of their new varieties, pork with apricot. They were both good, chunky and solid, but decidedly moreish- some of the best pies I've had in ages! Next time I'm in the market, I'll definitely be stopping by!

Next stop was this lovely collection of baked goods, courtesy of Piazza by Anthony, who are based in the Corn Exchange on the lower ground floor. They make and bake all their breads and baked goods on the premises, and supply to the other branches of the Anthony's family. As you may have gathered from my last post, I'm rather a sucker for bread, and was slightly overwhelmed by the choices on offer. Finally I asked the lovely and enthusiastic chap on the stall what he'd recommend, and he was very clear on the Pumpkin and Parmesan bread. He explained that the bread had Parmesan mixed into the dough and was topped with a generous sprinkle of pumpkin seeds. It was a tad pricier than the other loaves, but when I cut into it later, it was clear that the bread contained more than a little Parmesan, with little clumps of cheese distributed throughout the loaf. Yum!

My next stop was to chat to Becky of The Pinup's Pantry. She was selling some of her amazing brownies and cupcakes. It turns out that we have quite a few acquaintances and friends in common from the local baking circuit! She was absolutely delightful and I'm looking forward to meeting her soon at the next Clandestine Cake Club event.

Next to Becky was the riot of colour that was Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb, being sold by Nick of Homage to Fromage and The Source Leeds, who helps organise Cornucopia. Doesn't it look stunning? I wish rhubarb didn't affect me in a bad way, because it always looks like it would be delicious. I overheard one lady talking about serving her rhubarb in a compote with vanilla yoghurt- that sounds yum!

My eye was then caught by these beauties from Lauden Chocolates. Locally hand-made chocolates, filled with an array of flavours, and decorated by transfers when the chocolate is setting. I bought a box of four, which I intend to enjoy all to myself in the not-too-distant future.

I then stopped to chat to Lisa AKA The Yummy Yank, who I met recently at a Clandestine Cake Club event, and who recently welcomed a granddaughter to her family. Alas, the picture I took of her stall was rather rubbish, but the pecan pie bar I bought from her was the opposite- sticky, caramelly and gooey.

I then got to chat to a very friendly guy from Laynes' Espresso, based on New Station Street, near Leeds Train Station. As someone who works and lives out of the city centre, I've never been past Laynes' when it's been open. But just looking at this display shows their commitment to coffee. I was given a voucher for a free coffee, and next time I'm going on an outing via train, I'm definitely stopping by!

Next stop was a stall I was really looking forward to visiting, having seen them before at Kirkstall Deli Market- Paganum sell all manner of charcuterie and meat, including Yorkshire Chorizo. I was keen to get my hands on some more, having used the last of my supply over New Years' for a pork and chorizo stew. I bought three this time- one Original, one Garlic and one Picante. It was good to chat about recipes with Chris from Paganum too.

Next up was Pudsey Pickles, who supply locally made gluten-free and vegetarian pickles and chutneys. I was encouraged to try Fire Relish, made with three very hot types of chillies, and it really was very hot! I could imagine it with sausages in a roll (used sparingly!). I also loved the sweet beetroot chutney. We spent quite a lot of time talking about ketchup- Pudsey Pickles make a sugar free ketchup that is free of points of 'syns' for those following a certain well-known slimming plan, which, in my humble opinion, actually tastes better than some commercially-made overly sweet ketchups.

I then stumbled across Billy and Mitch's Munch. Billy and Mitch are from New Zealand and South Africa and had some delicious looking mayonnaises, sweetcorn fritters, pates and South African Biltong on display. I'd never tried Biltong, and was pleasantly surprised at how flavourful it was. However, I totally fell in love with their sweetcorn fritters, and bought four, which didn't last 10 minutes once I got them home!

After coming away from Cornucopia with all my delights, I walked back up Vicar Lane, and once again passed Peter Maturi, and this time, went in and treated myself to a new set of knives, and a new ovenproof frying pan. I also passed Millies Leeds and ended up nipping in for some cheese and ground almonds, and staying for a fresh juice. The weather was starting to get colder then, with the threat of snow looming, so I made that my last stop before heading back home in time for lunch.

Here lies my haul from my morning out!

Lunch ended up being an open sandwich made of the Pumpkin and Parmesan bread spread with a touch of mayonnaise and Fire relish from Pudsey Pickles, then topped with cucumber, rocket and a sweetcorn fritter from Billy and Mitch. It was scrumptious. Dessert was the Pecan Pie bar. So good! And what a great morning! I'll definitely be going to the next event!


cwildman said...

Brilliant review of the event and what a fantastic venue, thanks for the shout, good to chat with you and see you next month...

munchymedic said...

Thanks Chris- it was great to see you too! Catch up again soon! xxx

Lianne Marie Binks said...

I had an absolutely amazing time at Cornucopia as ever but always forget to take pictures on my way round, this was a great review!

munchymedic said...

Thanks Lianne! Am loving your blog and all the recipes! xxx

Bill Pearson said...

Enjoyed reading your review of this event. I'd never been before and thought it was great.

munchymedic said...

Thanks Bill! It really was a good one- I'm really looking forward to the Good Friday event now! xxx