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Get a taste of what you might have been missing; FOOD & DRINK The first Birmingham Independent Food Fair is coming to Millennium Point on Saturday. Mary Griffin looks at six of the city's 40 small food and drink enterprises taking part.

Byline: Mary Griffin

Soul Tree For most food fair visitors this will be their first chance to sample Indian wine.

Soul Tree wines are produced 150 miles north east of Mumbai for a Birminghambased operation in Warwick Road, Tyseley.

Kneals Alok Mathur, co-founder, reckons Indian wine could be about to enjoy the same growth seen by "new world" Australian and Chilean wines over the last 20 years.

It's now sweeping across curry houses just as Indian beers Cobra and Kingfisher have already.

He says: "India has been producing wine for 5,000 years. There is so much history behind it but the modern industry is very young.

Samosas Hibiscus "In our first year no one had heard of Indian wine and people were very skeptical. But now the customers have really taken to it."

The company is nearly four years old and now has a national presence, selling into more than 600 outlets (including curry houses, hotels and Michelin-star restaurants) through 220 distributors. And Purnell's are about to include Soul Tree on its wine list.

Barek See soultreewine.co.uk Kneals Chocolates Neil Hughes set up his handmade chocolate business three years ago with wife Gaelle, making luxury chocolates in Birmingham using locally sourced ingredients with no added sugars or sweeteners aimed at prolonging shelf life.

After developing his chocolatier skills and trying out his creations on family and friends, Neil enrolled on a course at the Chocolate Academy in Banbury and the rest is history.

He has built up a strong customer base at Birmingham's farmers' markets, trying out his new products on customers, and also offers chocolate parties and truffle-making workshops.

Kneals' signature gift box is its 12 handmade chocolates (PS9.50) featuring: rum and raisin, vanilla, chilli, lemon, double chocolate, orange crunch, amaretto, ginger, lavendar, mocha, rose and soft caramel.

Among their most popular products are their sea salt caramel truffles and the latest range to launch is a Petits Desserts box, including chocolate fudge, lemon meringue, Eton mess and tiramisu.

See knealschocolates.com Pip's Hot Sauce Pip Bradley of Kings Heath got the idea for her business while eating dinner at Harborne venue The Plough.

With no chilli sauce to add to her meal, she Indian red wine wrote up a list of ingredients on the back of a beer mat for her ideal hot sauce. The list became a recipe and the hot sauces became so popular that they are now stocked by venues across the city - including The Plough. Pip now has eight different sauces, including La Boca Del Diablo, a refined smoked chilli sauce with a long, slow burn.

Deli's black olives.

Nagatropolis is made using the Naga ghost chilli and Scotch bonnet, which means it's not for the faint hearted. And Fuego Del Verde is the latest in the range, using peppery green chillis to make a sweet sauce with a grown up kick.

Pip's hot sauces can be found in the Lord Clifden, Bodega, Brewdog, Lewis' in Moseley and in the Pug pubs in Leamington.

See pipshotsauce.co.uk All Greek Deli This deli in Stephenson Street, near New Street Station, opened in October last year.

Larisa Konstantinidou came to the Midlands in 1997 to study tourism. She had previously been a hotel worker but opening her own Greek deli had been a long-time dream.

She says: "We work with small producers in Greece. Some are just family businesses not producing in big quantities and some aren't even widely available in Greece.

"They produce small batches of this sensational food and when it's finished, it's finished." At the fair, the deli will be showing off its olives as well as olive oil and pickles with red peppers from a small family company who grow the ingredients themselves.

There will be sauces and spreads, including jam, marmalade and honey.

See facebook.com/allgreekdeli Barek Oscarek Giedrius and Iwona Dilinskas are bringing traditional Polish food from their Handsworth restaurant, Barek Oscarek.

Originally from near Krakow, they have been in the Midlands for 14 years, opening the Holyhead Road restaurant 18 months ago.

At the food fair they will be serving up Polish dumplings, pierogi, with a potato and cheese filling.

There will also be Polish sausage and the traditional hunters stew, bigos, made with sweet cabbage, sour cabbage, sausage, pork, bacon and mushrooms, from Iwona's great grandmother's recipe.

There will also be the popular potato cake and goulash dish, Placek po wegiersku.

See barekoscarek.co.uk Hibiscus Grove This food might be home cooked in Erdington but it has its roots in the east.

Philip Holley and wife Lynn Gray run the enterprise, selling their food at farmers' markets and catering at weddings and other events.

Philip was born in Chennai in south east India and his food is still influenced by his roots.

Their produce at the food fair could include goat curry and a veggie curry of aubergine potato and lentil.

They'll also be serving veggie pakora, samosas and, by popular demand, Indian scotch eggs.

The free range eggs are wrapped in pork shoulder rather than sausage meat, and a secret blend of spices, before being coated in breadcrumbs, briefly deep fried and then oven baked.

See hibiscusgrovefoodco.co.uk Tickets for Saturday's event, running from 9am to 6pm are expected to sell out. See www.bhamindfoodfair.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

Kneals Chocolates

Samosas from Hibiscus Grove

Barek Oscarek's Pierogi

All Greek Deli's Halkidiki black olives.

Pip Bradley with her chilli sauce
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Sep 11, 2014
Words:911
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