© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd


© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

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BIFF fails to pack a punch

Two QED directors found themselves in Birmingham at the weekend (it happens). At the end of Colmore Row, down by the Council House, were lamp-standard advertisements for BIFF: the Birmingham International Food Festival. It takes up an area about the same as Southbank Square plus the road across as far as Waterloo. We've been to the Birmingham German Christmas market, which uses the same space and is the biggest German Christmas Market in the world, and BIFF looks a bit like its summertime twin. Stalls are replicated, either directly (at least two identical Spanish Paella stalls) or indirectly (at least four competing hog roasts, and Rainha Santa has no need to fear the competition). Many stalls are the same as we found in December, including the German bars and the Provençal yellow-peril table linen; whole areas of produce are missing. Multiple liquorice stalls, but no wine-tasting, and no Baltic fish either.

Perhaps it would have been better after noon, but an hour into the festival day (at 1100) half the stalls were still closed or were cranking themselves into a semblance of life. Looks to me like a missed opportunity which isn't doing Brum any favours. Especially since the most visible stall as one approaches from the Museum is oh so international: World's Best Pork Scratchings.

Still, it's better than spending more than five minutes in New Street Station, or in the ghastly mall above it.


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