Ages and ages ago, my mum sent me a link to the Big Cake Show website and told me I had to go. Cakes, Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, and all within 6 miles of little Exeter? Obviously she was right, so on Friday I swallowed my fear of buses and Rory & I hopped on the number 52 to Westpoint.
Our first impressions were that Westpoint was BUSY. To be honest, I think the stalls were crowded just slightly too close to together: what with the crowds of people at each stand, there was often no space at all to move between them which was more than a little frustrating, especially at first. Coincidentally, we had arrived just in time for Mary Berry’s demonstration but the crowd was SO huge and Mary B is SO tiny that I couldn’t see anything at all. I did eventually catch a glimpse and we moved on.
One of my personal favourite parts was the competition cake area. I think there were quite a few cakes still to arrive but some of the ones that were there were seriously incredible.
We couldn’t linger too long though: there was cake to be eaten! I became intrigued by Caprine Capers, who have a fab range of interestingly flavoured truffles, cremes and salted caramels – and, I didn’t realise until just now, are cow’s milk free, gluten free and nut free – so basically super health foods! I asked for a sample of their balsamic truffles and having tried a little bit, I couldn’t resist buying a whole one (for a measly 90p – bargain).
The man I was talking to said these were actually suggested by a customer who had seen them in Italy, and they worked really well, with just a hint of balsamic – I could smell it more than I could taste it! I’m usually not a huge fan of truffles but I think the vinegar took away the bitterness of the dark chocolate (or something). Anyway, fuelled by truffles, we spent a while admiring all the stands. I am always amazed by Choc Edge, who I have seen before on campus – it is an actual chocolate printer and it is incredible!
Fuffle was a new find for me, the most divine fudge/truffle mixture you could ever imagine in a whole range of delicious flavours and all run by a cheeky Midlander who was charming the crowds.
Can we discuss how good these meringues look? YUM
We kept seeing people walking around with yellow boxes filled with what looked like enormous teacakes and we knew immediately we had to track them down. Unsurprisingly, the Chocolate Kiss Co stand was amongst the most crowded of them all but it was worth the wait – and we needed the long wait time to pick out what flavours we wanted! They were individually priced at 50p or you could get a box of 12 for £5, but we limited ourselves to a coconut one for me and 1 strawberry, one “zebra” for him. These were DELICIOUS: chocolate coating fluffy marshmallow (the strawberry was strawberry flavoured marshmallow, mine was plain), they were basically enormous teacakes and as I write this I am wishing I’d bought a whole box! I can’t find a website for these guys and they were the only ones I didn’t pick up a card for as they were so packed, but trust me, if you see those yellow boxes, track one down.
Obviously I can’t miss out on a chance to see my old favourites Frandie Macaron, so I swung by there and introduced myself properly (I have been tweeting them quite frequently as I am so obsessed with their fabulous macarons). As always, I cannot recommend them enough – Fran & Andie who run the company are both absolutely lovely and obviously their macarons are delicious. I’ve already tried pretty much the whole collection so I saved my stomach space this time but I am already planning my Easter order to share with the fam.
By this point cake supplies were running very low across all the stands so we knew we had to act quickly if we wanted any actual cake – but luckily Daisy Cakes were well prepared and had plenty to go around. Rory opted for the world’s most enormous slice of salted caramel cake, which I happily helped him eat (although trust me, boy does not need any help). Daisy Cakes is a bakery in Torquay that I am hoping to visit one day because everything on their stand looked divine.
Suitably full, we were just about ready to head home but we absolutely couldn’t pass up the opportunity to pose for a photo or several, in the “photo booth” set up in the middle of all the stands – a genius touch.
It was a shame we didn’t really get to see Mary Berry (friends of mine that did said they arrived at 9:15…I don’t like her that much) or that we can’t make it to the Sunday to see my idol, Paul Hollywood (for whom I would definitely consider arriving at 9:15), and that it was so absurdly busy, but overall it was a great way to spend a few hours wandering about and inhaling sugar fumes & samples. I always love discovering new small & especially local companies…now how long till the Exeter Food Fest?!