Taste of Christmas 2009 @ ExCel London

先週末12月4〜6日に、ドックランズ地区にあるコンベンションセンターExCel(エクセル・エキシビション・センター)で行われたTaste of Christmas(テイスト・オブ・クリスマス)に行ってきた。Taste of Christmasは、RoastClub GasconModern Pantryなど、ロンドンの14の有名レストランや、チョコレート、チーズ、ワイン、食材、台所用品等、国内外の150以上の食関係の店や会社が出店する大規模な食の祭典。会場内は、クリスマス用ショッピングにいそしむ人たちでごった返していて、お目当てのブースに近づくにも一苦労。試食や試飲も豊富で、会場を一周する頃にはにはお腹はいっぱい、すっかりほろ酔い気分だった。

Taste Festivalsが企画する「Taste」フード・フェスティバルは、ロンドンで夏(Taste of London)と冬(Taste of Christmas)の年2回ある他、国内ではバーミンガムやエジンバラ、海外でもオーストラリアやオランダ、南アフリカ、ニュージーランド、アラブ首長国連邦の9都市で、全13のフードフェスティバルが開催されている。私はたまたま無料チケットをもらったけれど、なんと入場料は前売りで£19、当日券で£22もする。けっこう無料券を配っていたり、2 for 1割引(2人で1人分)のプロモーションをしていたので、正規の値段を払って来てる人はあんまりいないんじゃないかと思うけど。会場内でも、当然物を買うのも飲んだり食べたりするのは有料。お店は現金やカードが使えるけれども、レストランのブースでは、Crown(2 crown = £1、£10/20 crown単位で買える)という会場内だけで使える通貨を買わないといけないといけくて、Crownが余らないように(または足りなくならないように)、計算しながら飲み食いしないといけないのが面倒くさい。どうして、決済に現金使っちゃいけないんだろう?変なシステムだわ。

I went to Taste of Christmas (Dec 4 – 6) at ExCel exhibitions and conference centre in Docklands, London. Taste of Christmas is one of the biggest food festivals in UK, and gathers London’s 14 popular restaurants and over 150 shops and companies selling food & drinks and anything related to food, together under one roof. It is perfect place to shop groumet foods for Christmas, from chocolate and sweets, cheese, chutneys and dips, cheese, wine and alcoholic drinks, to gifts and kitchen products. It was so full of people that it’s hard to approach to the booth I wanted to take a look at. There were plenty of samples and tastings, and I was quite full and tipsy when I came out of the exit.

Taste Festivals organizes 13 ‘Taste’ food festivals across the countries and abroad; twice in London summer (Taste of London) and winter (Taste of Christmas) as well as Birmingham and Edinburgh, and 9 oversea cities in Australia, Netherlands, South Africa, New Zealand, Ireland and UAE. I got complimentary tickets but normally the ticket costs £19 (£22 on the door)! I heard they gave away lots of complimentary tickets and had 2-for-1 offer, so I believe many people at the Taste of Christmas didn’t pay full amount of the ticket or at all. You have to pay food and drinks at the festival (of course) in addition to the entrance fee – so this expensive entrance fee seems quite a rip-off!  You can use cash as well as credit card at the shops, but you have to buy ‘Crown‘ when you want to eat from the restaurants booths. Crowns are the currency of Taste of Christmas (2 Crowns = £1), and come in booklets of £10/20 Crowns. It is really annoying system that you have to calculate to finish all the Crowns you have, or you have to buy an additional booklet of Crowns cost £10, if you don’t have enough Crowns to buy your food – why can’t we use cash???

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2 responses to “Taste of Christmas 2009 @ ExCel London

  1. everydaylifestyle

    Konbanwa! Thanks for your comment! I am glad that I am not the only one who hates the system :-). It is inconceivable that organizer put priority on restauranteur than customer’s convenience…

  2. Konnichiwa!

    I went to Taste and I totally agree with you – the entrance fee is a rip-off and the Crown system is stupid and hard to use – it’s easy to under or overestimate how much you need.

    I asked a restaurateur why they used Crowns and apparently it’s so they don’t get their hands dirty holding money, but surely they can employ one person per stand to deal with it exclusively.

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