Wednesday 26 May 2010

TASTE of EDINBURGH, 28th to 30th May

I am busy doing last minute preparations for this food market in Edinburgh this weekend and have been trying to update my website since last week - but for some reason my computer won't speak to the server or vice versa and I have no time to sort it out! So I haven't been able to put anything on the site about TASTE - so ever the last minute junky that I am - I thought I would BLOG it instead!

I have never done a TASTE event before and am quite anxious not knowing what to expect. There are the other two local Edinburgh chocolate businesses there (CoCO and Chocolate Tree) and I know competition is good but even a confessed chocolate addict like myself wonders if you can have too much of a good thing!

These shows are exhilarating and exhausting in equal measures and as it takes a lot of preparation to get ready for them - lot of toing and froing to be at them, it is a huge investment in time and energy. I never know how many boxes to make - will they sell or won't they? (and what do I do with them if they don't?); will it be so hot that no one even wants to think chocolate never mind buy them (we had a stall at a Perth Race event last year on the two hottest days in July - it was 30C plus each day and we sold one box of chocolates over two days! people couldn't even taste the chocolate - it melted as soon as it left the cool box), or so wet that no-one comes. Will we be tucked away in a corner that no-one goes to? or stuck next to a fairground machine that makes so much noise only 10 year olds can bear it; or south facing so that we have to display our wares at the back of the stall in an attempt to keep the sun off them - and we end up looking like we really don't want anyone to see what we have to sell at all! I think I must be one of the few stallholders at markets that asks for the shady spot; my alert aversion to sunlight must make people wonder if I have vampire connections

And then there is the emotional armour required to carry on smiling all day, when so tired you could cry, and the slightest suggestion that someone doesn't think much of the chocolates - a blank look, a shrug of indifference - can really cut deep and leave you wondering why you are there at all.

But there is much that is fun and uplifting: lots of lovely customers that really do enjoy the flavours - it is such a delight to watch as someone tries a flavour - for example basil - that they have never thought about in connection with chocolate - and they are sceptical but give it a go - and they melt visibly as the flavours melt in their mouths. And their face lights up and it is fantastic. Other stall holders are also great - encouraging, helpful, fun. I always learn a lot at these events and come away exhausted but full of ideas.

Wednesday 19 May 2010

Sping at last

Late May and I have finally managed to start using some great wild flavours; at the Logierait market last week I had Scots pine and Sloe Blossom flavours on offer. People were interested in them - but not as interested as they were about the wild garlic; amazed that folk were asking for these and disappointed that I didn't have any on sale this month.

I am watching the wild mint closely - this is almost ready to pick - but I don't want to leap in too early and just wipe it out for weeks. It is one of the best flavours I think, and hope it will be OK for next week when I am getting chocolates ready for a food show I am doing a stall at in Edinburgh next weekend - TASTE.