The BBC Good Food Show Winter is now on at the NEC, until 2 December – so we popped over to take a look around, sample some yummy food and drink, and share some tips for anyone who’s planning to go along. 

1. Bring plenty of baggage
From foodie advent calendars to bottles of flavoured gin and boxes of artisan chocolates, there are goodies galore at the Good Food Show. But they can also be pretty heavy! Experienced foodies always bring along a wheeled shopping trolley – but for the rest of us, an empty, sturdy rucksack is a must. 

2. Visit the Big Kitchen
This is where all of the top celebrity chefs cook up some delicious food live on stage. But the proof is not always in the pudding – the best moments happen when the chefs starting talking about their lives away from the kitchen. Last year the lovely Nadiya Hussain explained that she saves her hair from the plughole after a bath, makes it look like a spider and then hides it by the sofa to frighten her husband. You don’t get that kind of story on Bake Off. 

3. Sign up for BBC Good Food magazine

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You always get a great deal for the magazine if you subscribe at the show, plus you get access to the subscribers lounge – an exclusive haven for tired feet where you can relax, grab a coffee and rummage through yet another free goody bag, which is handed to you when you first head in. 

4. Forget the lunchbox 
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and, if you’re getting ready for a day wandering around the Good Food Show, it’s worth having your morning Weetabix to give you plenty of stamina. But there are so many different foods to sample and buy, that you really don’t need to bring lunch. For this year’s show we’d recommend popping over to Samosa Co, or Pig in the Middle for some fab sausage rolls. There’s also a street food area just outside the main hall. 

5. It’s not only humans that eat

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One of our favourite stands this year was actually selling food for the small furry pest in your life. You don’t have to be human to enjoy Christmas dinner or an advent calendar apparently – check out Lily’s Kitchen for some great treats for cats and dogs, and a very cute stand. 

6. Take a reusable mug
We love the free samples handed out at the Good Food Show, but virtually all of the little plates and cups have to be thrown away. Do your bit for the planet and bring a reusable mug for your coffee stops.

7. There is usually free toothpaste somewhere

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Remember to grab any free toothpaste being handed out, as you’ll really need it after nibbling away at so many free samples on the stands. This year, we spotted some toothpaste in the show’s goody bag, so make sure you collect one when you leave. It’ll keep the dentist happy!