London food and wine bloggers meet at Cantaloupe

by Jeanne on October 9, 2008

in London food blogger events

CantasloupeBlogmeetWeb Hands up – who likes being stood up?

Hmm, not exactly a sea of hands, is it…  And I can guarantee you my hand is not among them.  Why do I ask?  Well, only because I was recently stood up.  A certain food blogger, clearly Far More Important than me, recently e-mailed me out of the blue to say that they would be in town and owed me a drink for something I helped out with last year – could we meet on Tuesday?  Johanna had also  been invited, so the two of us checked our calendars, made some rearrangements and accepted the invitation.  The only things we suggested were to make the drinks fairly early as I had dinner plans, and we suggested an alternative venue nearby.  And then… nothing.  Nada. Zip.  The weekend came and went, as did Monday… and Tuesday.  Not a word.  Not even "oh, sorry, I just realised I'm double booked".  Just silence.  On Wednesday I e-mailed to ask if everything was OK.  More silence.  I might have been worried, had it not been for the fact that said blogger was still blogging, so obviously not face down in a ditch or anything… just not in a mood to meet up with us, or make apologies.  Nice.

So I was quite pleased last week when a lot of other food bloggers were willing to make the effort to keep a date to meet up.  Kind of restores your faith in human nature…

The occasion was the inaugural TrustedPlaces-sponsored food and wine blogger meet, organised by the lovely Walid and Niamh of Eat Like a Girl (now also working for TrustedPlaces – you go girl!).  The venue that they had chosen was Cantaloupe in trendy Shoreditch.  (For pictures of the evening, see my Flickr album.)

It's always a little surreal meeting people for the first time in real life that you've had long online conversations with.  It's like meeting a stranger that you already know ;-)  I started the evening off with two of my favourite wine bloggers, Andrew from Spittoon and Rob from The Wine Conversation but it wasn't long before Walid came over and said "there are two ladies here who'd love to meet you".  I recognised Julia from A Slice of Cherry Pie almost immediately, and chatting to her was the equally lovely Helen from Food Stories.  Great to finally meet both of you!  Not long after that, Krista from Londondelicious introduced me to Simon from Dos Hermanos and we chatted about his recent trip to South Africa. I can't wait to read his account of this section of his Eat The Globe project!  Chatting to Simon was Chris from Cheese and Biscuits, another blogger that i've been reading for a while but had not met, and who is as perfectly charming. 

I started off the evening sitting between Niamh (who should, incidentally, offer prizes to non-Irish people who correctly guess how to pronounce her name!) and Douglas from Intoxicating Prose, but later moved on to long conversation with two charming Americans now blogging in London:  Denise from Wine Sleuth, and the lovely Annemarie from Ambrosia and Nectar, who I've been reading for ages.  And apologies to Laura from Kittens in the Kitchen to whom I only chatted for about 30 seconds – next time we'll chat properly! 

But enough of that – on to the food!  Cantaloupe was reputedly the first bar in the now-trendy Shoreditch area in east London and the vibe is definitely relaxed and laid back.  The long wooden tables and sharing platters of food seem to invite conversation and the bloggers were happy to oblige.  The menu is officially Spanish tapas, but seems to make a turn in all sorts of ports along the Mediterranean as well.  One of our platters was made up of chorizo, jamon and Spanish cheese; another featured calamari rings, spicy chicken wings, albondigas and rather delicious filled tortillas; while a third featured distinctly Middle-Eastern dishes like dolmades, tzatziki and wonderful stuffed mushrooms. Everything I ate was delicious, particularly the tortillas and the mushrooms. The wine list features all things Spanish and South American and is handily divided into wine styles rather than cultivars or countries. The wine we had (I believe it was a Fuzion Tempranillo Malbec blend from Argentina) was perfectly pleasant and inexpensive.  (Refreshingly, there is nothing over 40GBP on the wine list, other than french champagne!).

To finish off our meal, we had some dessert from another source – Fair Cake.  This London-based company will make and deliver their wonderful cupcakes to your door (within the M25). But be warned – they are so popular that small orders of cupcakes are fully booked until 20 November!  And with flavours like mocha, orange flower with lavender, dark chocolate, or white chocolate with berries, it's not hard to see why! Both the chocolate and the vanilla that I tried were moist and delicious – if you have a festive party coming up that needs cupcakes for dessert, I'd go with these guys :-)

After that, things got a bit hazy, which is probably the fault of the delicious but lethal fresh strawberry and unspecified alcohol shots!!  But refusing would have been churlish, so down the hatch they went and my memory followed close on their heels.  Probably for the best that I accompanied Andrew when he left to catch his train as I have heard rumours of sambucca later…!

Thanks again to Niamh and Walid for organising – it really is great to meet face to face with the people you spend so much time with on-line, and it's wonderful to see how London's food and wine blogging scene continues to go from strength to strength.  When's the next one??

Also take a look at Niamh's version of events on the Trusted Places blog

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Annemarie October 8, 2008 at 10:04 pm

How could anonymous food blogger type stand you up?! Don’t they know who you are??! I thought those strawberry shots looked suspiciously lethal on the night – thanks for taking one for the team and trying them out to confirm that they were, indeed, alcoholic. :)

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peter October 9, 2008 at 12:29 am

The no show was rude, inconsiderate and a total flake. What comes around, goes around. Jeanne, you met some other fine food bloggers…a good consolation.

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Anne October 9, 2008 at 8:00 am

Oh, I wish I could have been there! Looks like a great feast :) As for being stood up – how very rude! Well, their loss…

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Douglas October 9, 2008 at 8:34 am

Good reportage photography. What a splendid artiste crafted it!
I liked your story of your usual method of attracting the waiter’s attention, by the way…!

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Bellini Valli October 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm

It is fantastic to be able to meet up with so many of your local bloggers who have the same passions for food and blogging that you do…what a fin evening:D

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kittie October 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm

Hi Jeanne!
Was lovely to see you face to face – even if only briefly! I think I’m glad I swerved the sambuca shots too – my hangover was quite bad enough as it was ;)
Looking forward to the next one!

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Helen October 9, 2008 at 6:57 pm

It was lovely to meet you too Jeanne, hopefully we will see each other again in the not too distant future. As for the blogger who didn’t turn up and didn’t mention she wouldn’t (obviously, I know who you are referring to) – she really should ‘get over herself’ I think id the appropriate phrase. It really did go downhill fast after you left I must say, much of that evening is more than a little hazy for me, although I escaped the sambucas by a whisker!

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Darius T. Williams October 10, 2008 at 12:19 am

Looks like you guys had a really great time. I soooo love Blogger Meet Ups!
-DTW
http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

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justfoodnow October 10, 2008 at 12:54 am

Nothing, but nothing, annoys me as much as people that don’t keep their appointments.
Despicable specimens of humanity, like those that don’t bother to phone, don’t even deserve recognition, let alone a phone call.

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Jan October 10, 2008 at 11:11 am

Wow – sounds like you all had a GREAT time!

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Niamh October 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm

Thank you for the kind words, Jeanne. It was a wonderful evening, Canteloupe provided a great spread as did Shikhita from Fair Cake but the real treat was meeting everyone!
We’ve plans for more up our sleeves. We’ll be in touch :-)

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Niamh October 10, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Oh – and yes – the sambucca rumours were true! I blame Douglas and Lizzie ;-)

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Walid Al Saqqaf October 10, 2008 at 4:44 pm

Thank you very much for your kind words Jeanne. It was a real pleasure seeing you and so glad to hear that you had a good time. Looking forward to seeing you at the next one and I promise we will never stand you up ;-) Have a great evening!

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Browniegirl October 10, 2008 at 8:09 pm

How rude the not shower eh????Especially when they instigated the invite!! Oh well, the world would be a really boring place without some other types to keep us on our toes!!!Your MOB meet looks like such fun. There was one organized by other bloggers in Cape Town for this afternoon at Brauhaus in the V&A Waterfront. Sounded like it was going to be such fun. Unfortunately I couldnt attend, had an appointment I had to keep …..I did spread the work for the foodbloggers so I am hoping that that some of them at least were able to attend….It must be rather weird meeting in person people you feel you already know so well!! Have a great weekend Jeanne xxx

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Elizabeth October 11, 2008 at 5:34 am

Sounds like fun (not the part about being stood up – that sounds particularly annoying – I trust you have received an abject apology by now) What were the mushrooms stuffed with?
Ha. I would NOT have won a prize for my guess at how to pronounce Niamh’s name. I just googled and am amazed. She must be CONSTANTLY spelling it for people! And speaking of name pronunciation, this has been something that I have been wondering about for a while; is your name pronounced the French way or the English way?

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Deeba October 11, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Some nerve HUH? U poor things…getting stood up! Looks like you had a wonderful next get together…what absolute fun. Those strawberry shots sound amazing, as does the food! WOW!!

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Lizzie October 12, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Great write up!
The sambuca may have been my fault, but these things always seem like a good idea at the time. I suffered for my sins!

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courtney October 13, 2008 at 1:53 am

OK ,I’m reading tis as you about to come over fpr dinner. That other blogger was so rude. But the gathering of bloggers sounded great! We need to get something like this going in Chicago.

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Mallika October 13, 2008 at 6:26 pm

Oh now, I can’t believe I missed this. I’ll look our for the next one. Have you tried Meson Don Felipe in The Cut? Far better and great atmosphere. Maybe next time!

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neil October 13, 2008 at 11:24 pm

Sounds like a really fun night and I bet everyone could pronounce Niamh’s name after the Sambucca rounds! Don’t know how it is there, but Spanish food is white hot here at the moment, Adria seems to have really put Spain on the culinary map.

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Trig October 14, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Sorry I couldn’t be there – I would have loved to come if I wasn’t over here making tapas. Like you, I see quite a few names who I only know over the web and have never met in person. I’m around at Xmas if there’s anything happening.

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Angela October 26, 2008 at 1:02 pm

Sounds like a wonderful evening! I wish there were more food bloggers in Bristol!

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Michelle October 28, 2008 at 12:07 pm

Aww, I would have loved to join the party!

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