In the bizarre circumstance where everything that happened at one fair was measured against the other there was nothing to choose between them in terms of the excellence of the food. As with the wines some producers - or maybe it was only Hansen & Lydersen with their excellent smoked salmon - were present at both.
RAW fielded Violet Cakes, Elliot's Café (oysters) Duck Soup (rillettes, roast heritage tomatoes, broad beans and labneh), gorgeous cheeses from Neal’s Yard and superb teas from Lalani which were wonderfully refreshing at the end of a long afternoon. Every tasting should lay on tea.
The Real Wine Fair had Ottolenghi (amazing salads), Modern Pantry (filo tarts and Scotch eggs), Morito (generally Moorish, Moro-ish things I didn't get round to snapping or eating), more cheese, this time from Androuet and some great bread from the aptly named Bread, Bread.
Having divided my time scrupulously between the two fairs I was hoping to make both dinners but didn’t, in the event, manage RAW’s Georgian Supra though I hear that was great.
But the Real team excelled themselves with a lavish spread of starters including radishes (above), tomato salad, carpaccio and some superb smoked mackerel, a robust, wine-friendly cassoulet, followed by cheese and a slightly half-hearted strawberry pud. (I don't think natural wine lovers do pudding. Probably because it's hard to make sweet wines without sulphur ;-)
It wasn’t just that the food was delicious - and generous - but the way it was served on big sharing plates. Just the way things should be at a wine dinner.
And the wines? More of that in my next post . . .