There are some opportunities that are just too good to pass up and this was one of them…
When I got wind of the world record attempt that Unearthed, food heroes of mine, were undertaking, I knew I had to be involved. An endeavour to eat a 193 course tasting menu, with the number of courses chosen to represent 193 UN recognised countries was a challenge I was intrigued to complete. 24 sittings in 24 hours, tasting everything from Bangladeshi Khaja to Peruvian Saltado, grasshoppers from Congo, weaver ants, scorpions and even good old strawberries and cream.
I’m an avid traveller at the best of times, and the idea of experiencing all this global cuisine, whilst breaking a record, was so exciting. Unearthed is a brand I’ve always admired, with values akin to G’NOSH and a paralleled belief in easy going, sociable food that begs to be shared.
With both anticipation and slight apprehension, we arrived at Soho’s Janetira for a 9am start. Starting with Paw Paw from Tuvalu, followed by Unearthed’s own potato omelette and a few weaver ants in, I was starting to feel full and began wonder what I’d got myself in to. The Fahsa Saltah from Yemen was a highlight, along with Anzac biscuits from my homeland and the Doce do Coco from Cape Verde. Given my love of superfoods and being a total coconut junkie, these were definitely a high.
Hitting the wall just wasn’t an option, but delirium kicked in late afternoon, visitors had been and gone and a long night of eating stretched ahead of us. It’s safe to say we all felt slightly mad, not helped by the Champagne chosen to represent Monaco, or the Chilean Pisco Sours.
The biggest revelation was the complete dominance that stews and curries have over world cuisine. I also learned that most insects, when fried and salted, taste much like pork scratchings, one of my many indulgences, making these specialities a little easier to bear!
Over 1000 ingredients, 130 hours and 3 days of cooking made for an unforgettable banquet fit for the Romans. It was an experience I will never, ever forget.
See below for more belly bursting accounts of our challenge
Firstly, preparation is the key! Remember your blankets and jumpers, and all the other practical things we tend to forget as we get carried away preparing the good stuff (aka the G’NOSH!). Those strawberries won’t chop themselves for the Pimms jug, and you can’t eat coleslaw from your hands. Plates, cutlery, plastic glasses, bottle openers a mini chopping board, napkins and a small sharp knife are the bare essentials. Both John Lewis and Lakeland do a great range of classic picnic baskets, or maybe try Overstock.com for some great basket/cooler combos.
A picnic is not a picnic without sandwiches, so why not try G’NOSH Muhummura, Unearthed salami, avocado and rocket ciabatta? It’s an awesome flavour blend and you can find the full recipe here!
A light salad is a must have but to avoid a soggy one our top tip is: Remember to bring your salad dressings in separate bottles – that way you avoid covering your cool bag in balsamic and drowning your salad leaves in the Tupperware. Check out Lucy’s Dressings for some of the yummiest!
A good picnic involves an impressive display of nibbles. Quiche comes into it’s own in the summer, warm or cold! If you don’t fancy going through the faff of making your own, let us introduce you to our lovely friends at Higgidy. They have a gorgeous selection of rustic pies, tartlets and yes, quiches! We adore their Spinach, Feta and Roasted Red Pepper creation!
Picnics last the entire afternoon, so too should your snack selection. Our brand new Dippables range includes the delicious smoky roasted aubergine Babaghanoush, and Sweet Black Bean dips, which are accompanied by authentic Crosta & Mollica grissini dippers – baked to complement the fresh flavours of our dips – variety is the spice of life.
For your final course, why not top things off with a refreshing Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. Whether you want yours decaf or skinny, it’s the best iced coffee out there.
For your dose of organized fun, grab a rounders set, some portable speakers, a great book or even better company – and you’re all set for the perfect summer picnic.
Enjoy and be sure to tweet us with a piccy of your picnic at @gnoshers using #packapicnic!