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L O N D O N , O N E B I T E AT A T I M E


SATURDAY 9TH DECEMBER 11AM - 7PM CHURCH STREET, LIVERPOOL Keep an eye out for the Southern Quarter pop up! Enjoy a taster of the Southern Berry Sour cocktail, live music and the chance to win some goodies.

SUNDAY 10TH DECEMBER 11AM - 7PM QUEEN’S STREET, CARDIFF Keep an eye out for the Southern Quarter pop up! Enjoy a taster of the Southern Berry Sour cocktail, live music and the chance to win some goodies.

UNTIL 1ST JANUARY 2018 10AM - 10PM Winter Wonderland If you head to Winter Wonderland make sure you drop by the Fire Pit Bar (by Hyde Park Corner entrance). Enjoy a hot Southern Comfort cocktail from the bar as you keep warm by the fire, and enjoy some live music at the Southern Comfort stage.

Southern Comfort Original is available from all good bars and retailers nationwide and on amazon.co.uk. Follow @SouthernComfortUK on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date with the latest news, events and competitions.





Copyright © 2017 Southern Comfort. All rights reserved. Southern Comfort is a registered trademark.



Editorial EDITOR


Mike Gibson



Lydia Winter SUB EDITOR


Amanda Brame, Clare Finney, Tom Hunt, Laura Millar, Tom Powell, Hannah Summers, Richard H Turner


Matthew Hasteley SENIOR DESIGNER

Abigail Rhodes DESIGNER


Annie Brooks Nicola Poulos PRINTING



Mark Hedley


Alex Watson


Charlotte Gibbs


Kimberley D’Cruz, Lily Hankin, Carolyn Haworth, Jason Lyon, William Preston SENIOR COMMUNICATIONS EXECUTIVE

Melissa van der Haak LEAD DEVELOPER

AJ Cerqueti


Steve Cole FINANCE

Caroline Walker Taylor Haynes DIRECTOR


Stephen Laffey CEO


Tom Kelly OBE

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FOODISM.CO.UK ABC certified distribution: 109,989 July-Dec 2016 The Professional Publishers Association Member

Last Christmas I dropped the ball in a big way. It wasn’t ‘missing Amazon’s delivery cutoff’ or ‘leaving Macaulay Culkin on his own while you go on holiday’ bad, but a ball was definitely dropped. And it was all Dan’s fault. Dan is the husband of my wife’s second cousin onceremoved and, from that seemingly unpromising position, he stole my Christmas. Or rather, he stole my right to carry my father-in-law’s sacred family recipe for spiced salt beef from one generation to the next, by asking for the recipe, getting the recipe, and then making it before I did. The beef – brined in a blend of sugar, spices and saltpetre, then cooked – occupies a quasi-divine role in my in-laws’ Christmas. Were aliens to rock up and watch the day unfold, they’d assume the whole celebration pivoted around the wheeling out of this big lump of pink flesh, slices of which are served cold on toast for Christmas-day breakfast, with butter (anything else – mustard or horseradish, say – is forbidden). Despite hoovering up kilos of it every year, neither my wife nor her brother had shown much interest in ever making the spiced beef, whereas I’d been pretty vocal about probably maybe making it one day, possibly, so naturally assumed everyone was on board with the baton being handed to me – and I was ready for it, until Dan got there first. But I can’t really blame him (he’s a very nice guy, by the way). The beef is delicious, it’s part of a tradition, and it’s ceremonial; it’s the perfect Christmas food, basically. And no, you can’t have the recipe – not until I’ve made it, anyway. f




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FRONT COVER: Photography by Ian Dingle


9 FEBRUARY IS NATIONAL PIZZA DAY Love pizza? Then you’re in good company. In fact, we love it so much we’re putting on the UK’s biggest pizza festival, with huge discounts at our favourite restaurants, one-off specials and a ticketed party on 8 February to usher in the big day. Get a slice of the action at nationalpizzaday.co.uk






The oldest Wine House in Champagne: AĂż 1584 Harvey Nichols, Selfridges, Fortnum and Mason, The Whisky Exchange, Lea and Sandeman and good independent wine merchants

— PART 1 —




Want to take your advent calendar game to the next level? Of course you do. Read on for three of the best



Santo Remedio’s rebirth proves Londoners know a good thing when they see one, says Mike Gibson


N MARCH OF last year, a great thing happened. A restaurant named Santo Remedio opened its doors on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, and husband-andwife duo Edson and Natalie Diaz Fuentes welcomed diners to one of the most exciting, authentic and delicious Mexican dining experiences to be found in the capital. I went and had guacamole topped with crickets, cactus tacos, slower-than-slow-cooked ox tongue, and loved it all. Five months later, a sad thing happened. After glowing reviews (including ours) and queues out the door, Santo Remedio was forced to close, due to “problems outside of their control”. The wording was diplomatic; the circumstances were anything but: like the much-loved Truscott Arms before it, a presumably eye-watering rent hike on the part of the landlords shattered any dream of a profit margin for the business. Edson and Natalie were not to be moved so easily, though. After dusting themselves down, and with a brief return to street food


at a few events with Street Feast, they set up a Kickstarter page, with the aim of raising £40,000 from punters to relaunch. If you’re signed up to our e-newsletter, you might remember us telling you about it: they offered rewards for pledges ranging from recipe cards and feasts at the restaurant to a trip to Mexico with the two of them and a blowout feast for ten people. Long story short: they hit their target, and, after some time spent revamping their new location on Tooley Street, near London Bridge before soft launching, they’re back open for business, bigger and better than ever. There’s an expanded menu; there’s an upstairs mezcal and tequila bar; in a nice touch, the counter is partly made out of broken tiles salvaged from the Shoreditch site. The move turned a sad situation into an incredibly heartening one. And more than that, it showed the extent to which Londoners care about the venues they eat in. Here’s to putting your money where your mouth is… f santoremedio.co.uk

A tiny little village housing tiny little treats from artisan chocolatier and flavour king Paul A Young – what more could you ask for this December? In true PAY style, flavours include caramel latte, milk chocolate gingerbread, gin punch, and a quirky but delicious burnt sugar eggnog truffle. Yum. £65; paulayoung.co.uk

2. T HE SNAF F L IN G P I G C O’S POR K C RAC K L I N G CAL E NDAR Pig out (even more) at Christmas with help from this pork crackling calendar. Each door hides a crunchy treat – and if you thought there was only one flavour, think again, because this has six: pigs in blankets, low and slow BBQ, maple, black pepper and sea salt, salt and vinegar, and perfectly salted. £17.50; snafflingpig.co.uk

3. T HE R EVE RSE ADVE NT CAL E NDA R Now we’ve got your attention, we’d like to propose something a bit left-field: a reverse advent calendar you put together one day at a time and hand over to your local food bank, so that someone less fortunate can have a Christmas that’s a little bit more joy-filled. Check out The Trussell Trust to find out what food (and nonedibles) your local food bank needs. trusselltrust.org



TH AT’S WHAT THEY SAID Snippets from our writers and personalities across the industry, on foodism.co.uk


This month: Bloody Bens Bloody Mary Mix


ALAIN DUCASSE explains why super-high-end dining should stand out from the crowd


The creamy soup finds balance in seasonal citrus and the gentle warmth of fresh horseradish. It’s exactly what you need on a cold winter’s day

JORDAN KELLY-LINDEN on Disappearing Dining Club’s latest residency Little Quiet



What’s the product? A good bloody mary is no mean feat – it requires a keen eye for balancing flavour, a reasonably extensive spice and sauce collection to draw from when you’re concocting it, and a willingness to achieve the above while you’re (presumably) hungover. If that all sounds too much like hard work, this spicy and punchy bloody mary mix, in a 330ml bottle, will make 13 drinks – just add vodka, tomato juice, ice and a garnish.

Who makes it? Ben Walton, the restaurateur behind Clapham and Earlsfield’s Ben’s Canteen. Having conquered South West London’s burgers and brunch market (and with a new restaurant on the way at the Battersea Power Station development), Walton decided to make the recipe for his famous bloody marys into a product his customers could take home, and Bloody Bens was born.

What does it taste like? It makes a very savoury bloody mary, with an almost gazpacho-like freshness and a big smack of Worcestershire sauce up front, as well as loads of oregano in the finish. It’s an extremely reliable mix that won’t let you down, but has bundles of character, too.

Where can I get it? Check out bloodybens.com to buy it online for £7.99, or to see the list of stockists if you just can’t wait.

Photograph (Bloody Bens) by Miss Katy English

JOSEF CENTENO and BETTY HALLOCK with a recipe that brings LA to a chilly UK

Pan-fried sea bream with the crispiest of skins, bites of chorizo and melty baked fennel, and braised ox cheeks in port jus with cauliflower cheese croquettes, are high on our list of winter warmer insider tips






Until late February Your garden’s probably feeling a bit unloved this winter. But then again, your garden’s not at the top of the Walkie Talkie building and full of Moët champagne, is it? That’s what you’ll find at Sky Garden’s Christmas pop-up, as well as festive tunes and canapés. skygarden.london



Until 3 January

Turns out you don’t have to hop on a plane to the Alps to get that après-ski feeling; Instead you can freeze your socks off, drink-inhand, at this sub-zero bar. Held next to Tower Bridge at Christmas by the River, Eis Haus’s winter offering will be pulling out all the (ice) shots, with live ice carving, banging DJs and more hot toddies than your mittenclad paws can handle. eishaus.co.uk



Until 1 January

Ever wondered how to clear out all the joggers from Clapham Common? Simple: throw a massive winter party, with an outdoor cinema, ice rink, roller disco and food from some of Street Feast’s best and brightest traders. Seriously though, Winterville’s food and drink offering dwarfs all pretenders to the throne, and includes Up In My Grill, Petare, Churros Bros and more. winterville.co.uk


Sweet Elements’ Faye Palmqvist on quitting marketing to set up a baking business



actually able to quit my job in 2014 and leave the nine to five. I applied to Le Cordon Bleu culinary school, which polished my baking skills and give me a real chance at becoming a professional pastry chef. My first job was at the world-renowned Savoy hotel. Coming from a corporate background, being thrown into a kitchen and working for 12 hours straight was a shock to my system. I realised I should have maybe started this baking career at 20, not at 30, so I decided I wanted to start a cake and dessert catering business of my own. No day is ever the same: I’m always creating new cake designs, testing new flavours, researching new ideas – the list is endless. Nothing is impossible to recreate on

a cake, in fact that is a key part of my culinary and artistic motivation. The most rewarding part of my job is when I see the expression on my clients’ faces, and the wonderful comments I receive from them. sweetelements.co.uk

Photograph by ###

ROWING UP WITH mixed-nationality parents and living in several countries, I was exposed to lots of sweets and desserts from a young age. Both sides of my family are fantastic cooks and bakers, so I took an interest and learned how to do both. That’s where my passion for baking began. I worked in marketing for ten years, first in the film and television industry and then in the property sector. For years I baked cakes just for friends and family, but it gets to a point in life when you ask yourself what is important, and for me it was doing something that I’m passionate about. In 2010 I attended a sugar craft course – that was when I started to think about baking as a career. It took another fours years until I was



WEAPONS OF CHOICE Three pieces of kitchen tech for the soup maker or coffee geek in your life PHOTOGRAPHY BY DAVID HARRISON


M IX OF T HE B E ST VITAMIX A2500I, £499 Whether you’re on a smoothie kick or still in soup mode, Vitamix is the daddy of blenders. You can use it for spices, pastries and more, too. vitamix.com

Photograph by ###


HAND M E DOW N CRUX ALL-IN-ONE HAND BLENDER, £129.99 Blend, chop, whisk, mash – do pretty much anything, in fact – with this blender from New York-inspired brand Crux. Chopper bowl and jug included. lakeland.co.uk


O NE F INE PRE SS COFFEE GATOR FRENCH PRESS, £60 Good coffee deserves great tech – and cafétières don’t get better than this one, made from surgical-grade stainless steel and thick-walled to retain heat. amazon.co.uk







ESTIVE CHEER, PRESENTS, naps, wine, spirits: chances are your Christmas will feature of few of these things. But if you’re anything like us, there’s a single thing that’s likely to be in more bountiful abundance at this time of year than all of them put together: food. ’Tis the season to put thoughts of prudence aside when it comes to how much you eat. But that means we get through a pretty enormous amount of food. And that’s why buying ethically and thoughtfully can have a huge and lasting impact.

As we often say, well-sourced organic food doesn’t just do good; it tastes amazing. That’s why this year, to celebrate the launch of Organic Feed Your Happy Christmas and its Organic Christmas Marketplace, organic certification board the Soil Association has recruited sustainable food champions and chefs Anna Jones, John Quilter, Chetna Makan and Gill Meller to create recipes designed to show off how good festive food can be when you go organic. Share your organic Christmas with hashtag #FeedYourHappy. f






Dark Horse Wine’s passion is crafting bold wines that deliver the unexpected. Dark Horse’s winemaker, Beth Liston, is constantly experimenting with new winemaking techniques, championing originality and, above all, taste.

She’s a winemaker who brings her balance of classic technique and game-changing innovation to every single bottle. The result is a collection of bold, exceptional wines that defy expectation. For more information, visit darkhorsewine.co.uk




John Quilter’s



Preparation ◆◆ 12.5 hrs

(including 12 hrs marinating)

Cooking ◆◆ 4 hrs

Serves ◆◆ 4

g yolk A runny eg nishing fi adds a rich pretty is th to h touc wich nd sa l specia


UYING A WHOLE, enormous turkey can be daunting, or it can be a challenge to relish. This recipe from organic hero, chef and YouTuber John Quilter, aka the FoodBusker, is definitely the latter. Quilter suggests buying your turkey from Eversfield Organic.


1 Lay the turkey legs on a thin layer of coarse sea salt in a deep nonmetallic, flame-proof dish. Sprinkle with the thyme, fennel seeds, garlic, bay leaves and more salt to cover lightly. Leave for 12 hours to draw out the moisture. Wipe off the salt with a cloth but don’t rinse. Discard the salt, then return the legs to the dish.

2 Preheat the oven to 140°C. Warm the duck fat gently in a pan, then pour the melted fat over the legs, making sure they’re completely immersed. Cover with baking paper so it touches the oil. Put the dish over a lowmedium heat and bring to a simmer, then cook in the oven for about 3.5 hours until tender. 3 Leave the legs in the fat to cool, then pull the meat off the bone and wrap the dish with cling film. 4 Add 1 tsp of truffle paste to 6 tbsp mayo and mix together thoroughly. 5 Add a good knob of butter to a frying pan and add the grated potato. Season and sprinkle with the thyme leaves. Brown on one side, flip and brown on the other, then cut out a round slice.

6 In a non-stick pan, refry the confit turkey leg meat on a medium heat, until it is heated through and just beginning to lightly brown. Empty out onto kitchen roll, then transfer to a container and add 1 tsp of the fig jam. In the same pan, fry the duck eggs in metal rings. Once cooked, take them out and drain. 7 On the toasted burger bun, scrape a slab of fig jam on to the bottom of the bun. Add the turkey and then the rosti. Top with the duck or chicken egg, walnuts, a splash of hot sauce and truffle mayo. f

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 2 turkey legs ◆◆ Sea salt ◆◆ Thyme (some for confit, the

rest for the rosti)

◆◆ 1.5kg duck fat ◆◆ 1 lemon

◆◆ 1 tsp fennel seeds ◆◆ 2 bay leaves

◆◆ 1 tsp truffle paste

◆◆ 3 cloves garlic, crushed ◆◆ 5 tbsp mayo

◆◆ 4 brioche burger buns,


◆◆ 4 duck or chicken eggs

◆◆ 2 large potatoes, washed and


◆◆ 100g walnuts crushed ◆◆ Hot sauce

For the fig jam ◆◆ 500g figs

◆◆ 100g granulated sugar ◆◆ ½ zest of lemon

◆◆ 1 tsp Worcester sauce ◆◆ 1 tsp of Tabasco


explanda Hiliqui sunt pedi te dolupta m doles us am da an ps cipsa es as m aceaquia

ING R E DIE NTS ◆◆ 4 small beetroots (roughly

golf ball sized)

◆◆ 1 medium-sized celeriac ◆◆ 2 bulbs of fennel

◆◆ 2 medium red onions

Gill Meller’s

◆◆ 1 bulb of garlic, cloves

separated with skin on




EFTOVER STOCK OF winter veg? Look no further than this recipe from River Cottage’s organic and sustainable food evangelist Gill Meller.


Photographs by Chris Terry



◆◆ 8 hrs


◆◆ 50 mins


◆◆ 4

1 The labneh should be done at least 8 hours before you want to eat the dish. Place the yoghurt or milk in a bowl, add the salt and stir it in thoroughly. Line a large sieve with a square of clean muslin, cheesecloth or even a very thin cotton tea towel. Spoon the salted yoghurt into the cloth then gather up the sides. 2 Tie the cloth at the top so it encloses the yoghurt. You can suspend the ball of yoghurt over a bowl so it can drain, or leave it sitting in its sieve over a bowl. Transfer it to the fridge

and leave it for 6-8 hours or overnight. 3 The labneh is ready when a significant amount of liquid has drained into the bowl and the yoghurt has the texture of thick crème fraiche. Transfer the labneh from the cloth into a bowl, cover and refrigerate. 4 Scrub the beetroot, halve them if they are really small or quarter them if they are a bit bigger. Peel the celeriac and cut it into 3-4cm pieces. Trim the base and top from the fennel, reserving any green, frondy leaves. Remove the outer layer of the bulb if it’s a little tired, then halve the bulb, and cut each half into 3 or 4 wedges. Peel the onions and cut them into wedges, root to tip. 5 Add the beetroot, celeriac, fennel and onion to the tray, along with the

◆◆ A generous handful of sage


◆◆ 4-5 sprigs of rosemary ◆◆ 2 tsp fennel seeds

◆◆ About 4 tbsp extra virgin

olive oil

◆◆ 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds ◆◆ Lemon juice ◆◆ Sea salt and freshly ground

black pepper

For the labneh ◆◆ 500ml plain yoghurt or milk ◆◆ 1 tsp fine sea salt

garlic cloves, sage leaves, rosemary and fennel seeds. Season with plenty of salt and pepper, trickle everything generously with the olive oil and then toss together well. 6 Roast the veg for about 30 mins then gently stir it with a spatula. Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and return the tray to the oven for a further 15-20 mins or until everything is tender and beginning to colour. 7 Remove the tray from the oven and stir again. Allow to cool for 10-15 mins. 8 To serve, spread the labneh out over a large platter. Arrange the warm roasted vegetables over the top, then give everything a final trickle of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon. If you have reserved any fennel tops, tear them over the salad just before serving. f


Anna Jones’s





◆◆ 40 mins


◆◆ 45 mins


◆◆ 8-10


T A TIME of year when meat often takes centre stage, it’s a good idea to have something vegetarian around to provide a welcome – and delicious – alternative.


1 Put the flour into a mixing bowl. Add the butter and salt. Rub gently with your fingertips until the mixture is like fine breadcrumbs. Stir through the herbs, lemon zest and cheddar. 2 Beat the egg yolk with 1 tbsp of cold water. Add to the flour and mix until it forms a dough. Add more water, a teaspoon at a time, until it comes together into a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge while you make the filling. 3 For the filling, put the cloves of garlic into a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes, then drain. 4 Wipe the saucepan dry. Add the garlic and 1 tablespoon of olive oil and fry on a high heat for 2 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and 100ml water, bring to the boil and simmer


topping A crispy bean eamy cr a to ay w gives ng that’s celeriac filli h garlic studded wit

gently for 10 minutes. Add the honey, most of the rosemary and thyme (reserving the rest, with the sage) and a good pinch of salt. Continue to cook on a medium heat for a further 5 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the garlic cloves are coated in a dark syrup. 5 Meanwhile, peel the celeriac, cut it into quarters then slice into 2cm-thick pieces. Put them into a saucepan, cover with hot water and boil for 7-10 minutes, until they are soft and have turned slightly translucent. Drain and tip into a big mixing bowl. Add the cheese, crème fraîche, lemon juice, mustard, parsley, a splash of Worcester sauce and eggs. Season and fold in the garlic cloves.

6 Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sprinkle flour onto a work surface and roll out the pastry to 3-4mm thick. Line a 20cm-diameter cake tin with the pastry, ensuring a little spills over the edges. Pour the filling into the pastry case. Pat the drained beans dry on some kitchen paper then dress with a little olive oil, the zest of the lemon and a good pinch of salt and scatter over the celeriac filling. Finish with the reserved rosemary and thyme, all the sage, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes or until the tart filling has set and the beans have popped and are crisp and light brown. 7 Remove from the oven, leave to cool a little, then take it out of the tin. Lay a few herbs on top and serve. f

ING R E DIE NTS For the pastry ◆◆ 250g of wheat and/or pea

flour, plus little extra

◆◆ 125g unsalted butter, cubed ◆◆ ½ tsp fine sea salt

◆◆ A few sprigs each of

rosemary, thyme and sage

◆◆ Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon

◆◆ 25g good cheddar, grated ◆◆ 1 medium egg yolk

For the filling ◆◆ 3 heads of garlic, separated

and peeled ◆◆ Olive oil

◆◆ 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

◆◆ 2 sprigs each of rosemary,

thyme and sage

◆◆ 1 tbsp runny honey ◆◆ 700g celeriac

◆◆ 220g good cheddar, crumbled ◆◆ 150g crème fraîche ◆◆ Juice of ½ a lemon

◆◆ 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard ◆◆ Bunch of parsley, quite finely

chopped ◆◆ Worcester sauce Photograph by Chris Terry

◆◆ 2 eggs, beaten

For the topping ◆◆ 500g of cooked white beans,


◆◆ 1 lemon ◆◆ Olive oil


Chetna Makan’s



◆◆ 20g golden caster sugar

◆◆ 100g unsalted butter, in small

cubes ◆◆ 1 large egg ◆◆ 1 tsp lemon juice ◆◆ For the dark chocolate layer ◆◆ 300g double cream ◆◆ Seeds from 10-12 cardamom pods or 1 tsp cardamom powder ◆◆ 250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped ◆◆ 40g unsalted softened butter

For the cream topping ◆◆ 150ml double cream ◆◆ 150ml mascarpone

◆◆ 2 tbsp caster sugar

To finish ◆◆ Handful of toasted chopped

hazelnuts ◆◆ Cocoa powder ◆◆ Hazelnut brittle, chopped ◆◆ Edible gold leaf



◆◆ 3 hrs (including

pastry baking)


◆◆ 8


IRED OF YULE log and Christmas cake? Whether it’s a finisher to a festive meal or there to snack on at your leisure for days on end, this warming winter dessert from Chetna Makan will go down a storm.


1 To make the pastry, mix the flour and sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and coat it with the flour. Rub into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. 2 Mix the egg and lemon juice

together and pour in just enough of the liquid to bring the dough together. (You might not need all the liquid.) 3 Gently knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for a few seconds then shape it into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. 4 Preheat the oven to 180°C. On a floured surface, roll the pastry to the thickness of a pound coin. Line a 23cm, loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry, leaving the excess hanging over the edge, and prick the base all over with a fork. 5 Line the tart case with baking parchment, fill with baking beans and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the paper and beans and continue baking for a further 20 minutes or until the pastry looks dry and crisp. 6 Use a small sharp knife to trim the excess pastry from the rim and leave the tart case to cool in the tin for 15 minutes. 7 To make the chocolate ganache, heat the cream in a pan and add the crushed cardamom seeds. When it is about to start boiling, pour this cream over roughly chopped chocolate. Stir the mix and let the heat melt the chocolate. 8 When done, add the butter and let it melt. Pour the ganache into the cool tart case. Put it back in the fridge to set. (This might take up to 2 hours.) 9 In a bowl, whisk the cream, mascarpone and sugar into soft peaks. Spread this over the set chocolate ganache and leave it in the fridge until ready to serve. 10 To serve, sprinkle on some cocoa powder and hazelnuts, then place a piece of brittle on each portion and a tiny little piece of the gold leaf. f

Photograph by Chris Terry

ld adds A touch of go this to el a festive fe spiced lly fu ti au be rt chocolate ta




Richard H Turner

THE BEST BITS Christmas dinner is all well and good, but the true joy of festive feasting is making the most of all the lovely leftovers, says Richard H Turner


cakes to fry and sit pretty upon the plate, perhaps as a base for a piece of meat or fish. Huw Gott of Hawksmoor put me straight on this – the only way to make a truly great bubble and squeak is to chop the ingredients and fry in dripping or goose fat. First, though, a raw onion should be chopped and sweated down to a soft golden brown in a non-stick or proved cast iron pan. Next add the leftovers and allow to slow fry over a low heat with occasional tossing, all the time singeing and caramelising to sweet unctuousness. At this point you might add some of your potted leftover meat, toss again and serve in an entirely unpresented pile, topped perhaps with two dripping-fried freerange eggs and a sauce boat of hot gravy on the side – provided there’s any left, of course. And now to a sordid secret that will have all French chefs rolling their eyes and turning the page, consigning me to the realms of lazy English cooks. But I don’t care; these are my leftovers, in my home, after all. Sometimes

Photograph (food shot) by GMVozd /Getty


HIS TIME LAST year I waxed lyrical about my love of roast goose and a proper baked Yule ham – traditional, historic English Christmas fare. This year, though, I want to let you in on another of my Christmas loves: leftovers, the possibilities of which bring joy to my heart. If I’m cooking at home, the traditional Christmas Day roast is really just the route to creating delicious things from the remains. For instance, potting meats is an excellent way of keeping leftover goose, ham or turkey, but you do need to

think ahead, and buy goose or duck fat before the festivities take over and the shops shut. First, I strip the carcass of all meat and place in a cast iron casserole. I then chuck in the gravy and chop in any leftover stuffing and – in the unlikely event that any are still left by this point – even pigs in blankets. Top this off with a tin of goose or duck fat, cover, and place in a low oven – say 1200C – overnight. The following morning, remove from the oven and mix thoroughly to redistribute the fat and meat – any gravy should have reduced to an intensely salty goo. Taste to make sure it’s not underseasoned, and if it is then correct this. Over-seasoned is ok as it will remedy itself when cold. Pack this into glass jars and cover with a layer of goose fat to seal, then refrigerate for a few days to allow the potted meat to mature. If you want to keep it for longer than a few days, you can sterilise your sealed jars in a cardboard-lined pan of boiling water, or in a steamer. That’s the meat dealt with, so next up is to find a use for any leftover vegetables, and the obvious path to plump replete here is a good hash or bubble and squeak. Years ago, I might have made hash or bubble and squeak in a bowl, which I’d then form into patties. These would make attractive – if slightly twee –


THE CHRISTMAS DAY ROAST IS REALLY JUST A ROUTE TO CREATING DELICIOUS THINGS FROM THE REMAINS in the cold depths of January, I’ll open a can of baked beans, fold in a jar of potted Christmas goose or ham, and place the resulting concoction into a cast iron dish. I then mix breadcrumbs, crushed garlic, extra goose fat and some chopped parsley to layer over the top, which I bake to a bubbling golden brown. Et voilà – cowboy cassoulet! I can feel the disdain of the French as I write… Finally, while there’s not much you can do with leftover mince pies, Christmas pudding or cake, once the day itself has passed I like to eat them with crumbly Lancashire cheese – Mrs Kirkham’s, if at all possible. Having waded through Christmas day with the ravenous hordes of relatives, you’re now cooking purely for yourself – recipes, conventions and rules can be completely eschewed. And let’s face it – you owe yourself these comforting leftover pimps after what you’ve been through. f

Looking for a vegetable to get creative with from now till March? Sustainable food hero Tom Hunt says cauliflower’s just the ticket Cauliflower has had something of a revival in the past few years. Gone are the days of cheddar-laden cauliflower cheese and soggy, tasteless, over-boiled florets; hello silky cauliflower purée with roasted scallops and truffle, whole roasted cauliflower with exotic spices and herbs, and raw cauliflower cous-cous and sushi rice. Cauliflower is a crisp, subtly flavoured vegetable that should be revered. Choose fresh white cauliflowers with plenty of leaves that protect them from bruising.


Petersham Nurseries’ Amanda Brame tells us how to make the most of a small city garden The true beauty of an urban garden is that there’s very little hard labour to take up your precious time. If you’ve maintained your plants and pots properly throughout the year, there’s thankfully not much that you need to do in the busy run-up to Christmas. It almost goes without saying that any planting or sowing that you had planned to do last month is now best left until the weather begins to warm up again in the spring. If you’re still feeling really enthusiastic, I’d recommend kicking back with a glass of your favourite festive tipple and start your planning for next year. Take a look at my advice from the past year at foodism.co.uk for inspiration, or flick through next year’s seed catalogues. That said, you might still be reaping the benefits of all your hard work. If you did grow the beautifully speckled borlotti bean earlier in the year and still have some of the dried beans left on your larder shelf, one of my

In terms of storing, put the cauliflower upside-down in the fridge in a bag. Cauliflower stalks are just as tasty as the florets so don’t forget to add them to your dish. The green leaves are also delicious – slice them thinly to add to stir fry, wilt them like greens, roast them until they are crisp. Hell, you can even make them into kimchi. The world is your, er, cauliflower. The Natural Cook by Tom Hunt is available now (Quadrille, £20). For more on Tom and his food projects, see tomsfeast.com

favourite ways to use them is as an accompaniment to lamb cutlets. Joe Fox, sous chef at the Petersham Nurseries Café, cooks them with sun-dried tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme – you’ll find his delicious recipe on the foodism website. Amanda Brame is deputy head of horticulture at Petersham Nurseries; petershamnurseries.com. Read more of her columns at fdsm.co/columns



Fresh off the back of a brand-new album, London-based rapper Loyle Carner tells Lydia Winter why he spends most of his spare time teaching kids how to cook


HEN YOUR MUSIC career is just taking off, it seems unlikely that you’d have headspace to think about anything else – let alone running a social enterprise that involves teaching teenagers with ADHD to cook. But that’s exactly what 22-year-old south London rapper Loyle Carner – real name Ben Coyle-Larner – has devoted his little spare time to. His Chilli Con Carner project is about more than giving back, though. As someone with ADHD himself, having so much on his plate keeps him focused. He tells us how cooking has helped him, and how the project helps his students.

who are getting in trouble or who are finding it difficult to focus.

What inspired Chilli Con Carner?

Better than I thought. I’ve always praised cooking as being the best thing for ADHD, but I was only ever talking from my own experience. I didn’t know if the kids would come and just muck around, or if they would have fun and find it interesting. But when push came to shove, and once they got used →

I’ve got ADHD myself and when I was younger, the one thing that would always calm me down was cooking. It’s even more important to me because my mum is a teacher for kids in special education, so when I got the chance – and now I’ve got a little bit of money – it was

What is it about cooking that has such a positive effect? It’s everything that’s happening at the same time; that kinetic energy. Something’s burning, something’s on fire or it’s exploded. It’s very physical and there’s no time to be distracted by any of it because you’ve already been distracted by the thing itself, so there’s no getting out of the loop.

How does it help the kids? Are they responding well to it? the thing that I wanted to give back to. I set it up for kids between the ages of 14 and 16 and it runs over the summer, and sometimes Easter, if we have the time and the funds. It’s ostensibly a cooking class for kids


GOOD TASTE IN MUSIC: Rapper Loyle Carner is as comfortable in the kitchen as he is on stage. His new project teaches teenagers with ADHD how to cook, and how to use it as a way to focus

I find the time, but it’s necessary for me that I find something else to do that’s a whole different thing. The music industry is full of weird shitty people and cooking sometimes feels like the best place to be.

How do you cope with both your music and cooking? I’m happy to be doing both, I think they work well together. A lot of people in my family are the same. It keeps things fresh – sometimes you lose the passion for something if you make it your only focus.

Would you ever open a restaurant? I’d love to open a restaurant of my own – it’s definitely a dream of mine. I don’t know if I’d be doing the cooking; I don’t think I’m competent enough yet. I’d love to go to cooking school, although having said that I don’t know if I really want to go to any school again. Lots of the courses are a year long and I don’t really want to do that. If anybody reading this is a fantastic chef and needs an apprentice, sign me up. Things with my music will eventually dry up, as they do for everyone. That’s when I’ll be able to go to cooking school. At the moment I can get away with doing both at the same time. Neither of them necessarily comes first, they’re equal, along with my house and my family. They’re all in the same bracket.

Where do you like to eat in London?

→ to each other and to the space, it was perfect.

How involved in it are you? As much as I can be. It’s just me and Mikey from GOMA Collective [a social enterprise that supports creative projects] who run it, so I’m as involved as possible. I teach the classes and I now develop the recipes. I couldn’t really be more involved. I don’t know where



What are your aims for the project? I want to get to the point where the cooking school is big enough that we don’t have to turn anybody away. That’s the end goal: that we’ll be able to accommodate anyone who wants to learn to cook with us. At the moment the kitchen – Central Street Kitchen, near Old Street – is so small that there’s only enough space for ten kids to cook, max. We’d love to do two or three courses each summer but it’s not been possible yet. You could call it a boutique cooking school, for now. f loylecarner.com. For more details about the cookery classes, visit gomacollective.com

Photographs by Victor Frankowski

What I’ve been trying to do recently – which is a bit of a change from what we were doing before – is cook things that are exciting for the kids but also healthy. They all tell me they love their chicken and chips shops, which are awful for you and shouldn’t be done on a daily basis. I’ve created my own versions that are baked not fried, thin and crispy, gluten-free, and so on.

I go to a place called E Street, a pan-Asian grill that’s just off Tottenham Court Road, it’s definitely one of my favourite places. My DJ and I would meet there after work and then we’d go to the studio.


There are some things we’re always going to like: independent producers, North London, and ginger beer being three of them. So when the chance came up to design a one-off label for London’s foremost ginger beer brewer, Holloway’s Umbrella Brewing, we jumped at the chance. 20,000 bottles will go into circulation around the capital, so keep an eye out, and if you find one, share with the hashtag #FoodismUmbrella. Look for them in TT Liquor, Oddbins stores around London and in pubs and bars. For info: umbrellabrewing.co.uk


We’ve brewed up a special collaboration this winter – a bespoke label for a limited-edition run of Umbrella Brewing’s ginger beers










THE RADAR We take you through the best new bar and restaurant openings from now until the end of the year Dining



Leandro Carreira is continuing London’s Portuguese revolution in the form of Londrino. The restaurant (aptly named after the Portugese word for ‘Londoner’ – top marks if you noticed that) has set its sights on the sea, working closely with British fishermen and producers to marry Carreira’s extensive culinary experience with the seafaring culture of the capital. Gems from the menu include red miso octopus and sour caramel brioche. SE1 3QQ; londrino.co.uk





Pub group Cubitt House has brought another venue pub under its stewardship. This time it’s The Coach Makers Arms, a 140-year-old watering hole serving up seasonal British fare. All of the group’s venues have earned ‘three-star champion’ status from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and we expect this one will soon follow suit. W1U 2PY; cubitthouse.co.uk


A new speakeasy on Great Windmill Street that specialises in whisky, Jack Solomons is a plush basement bar, full of theatre and history that sings of Soho. W1D 7NB; @JackSolomonsSoho






An elegant Italian restaurant? In Knightsbridge, you say? You heard it here first: Harry’s Dolce Vita, an all-day restaurant, will be headed up by chef-director Diego Cardoso, formally of Angela Hartnett’s Michelin-starred Murano. Seasonal Italian plates are the name of the game here and the venue will, of course, give a nod to its namesake Harry’s Bar (in both Venice and Mayfair) in more ways than one. SW3 1BB; harrysdolcevita.com



Street-food stall Claw comes to Carnaby with its first bricks-and -mortar site. Expect coastalinfluenced dishes and some tidal tipples. W1B 5QA; claw.co.uk

Photograph by [The Blue Posts] Helen Cathcart

From the team behind The Palomar and The Barbary, The Blue Posts will take over a 275-year-old pub. There’ll be intimate dining at the 11-seater Evelyn’s Table, as well as room for a cocktail (or three) to friends by the wood-burning stove upstairs in The Mulwray bar. All its wines, beers and spirits are chosen from independent producers and the menu changes daily. W1D 6DJ; theblueposts.co.uk


Broadway Market’s favourite fried chicken stall opened its first permanent site in Shoreditch this month, serving its NYC-style sarnies to 45 hungry punters at a time. Takeaway is also available, in case you were wondering. Which you were. EC2A 3DY butchies.co.uk


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A delicious festive dinner from RedYellowBlue; coffee from Tina, We Salute You; a cocktail from Darkhorse


Whether it’s Christmas shopping, a get-together with colleagues or somewhere to recoup after a late one, East Village E20 is the ultimate festive destination this winter


HE BRITISH OLYMPICS of 2012 gave London so much: a buoyant mood, national pride and unforgettable memories. But it gave the city something else lasting, too: East Village E20, a vibrant neighbourhood that rose from the Athletes’ Village to become a jewel in the crown of East London’s drinking and dining scene. Now, more than five years on, the village has an identity of its own, home to more than 6,000 residents and chock-full of fun, independent retailers and venues. And it’s by no means just a summer destination, either: as winter draws in and Christmas gets closer, there’s more to do than ever in this urban haven. If you’re looking for somewhere to hang out the morning after the office Christmas party, why not try Hand, Signorelli or Ginger & Mint for a revitalising pressed juice, artisanal

coffee, or a slice of cake? Or, if you’re after a festive feast with friends, reserve a table at Darkhorse, Village Vanguard or Neighbourhood, whose food and wine will make sure you leave full and merry. And it doesn’t stop there, either. Planning a date night before your calendar gets filled up with parties and family gatherings? Pop to


Tina, We Salute You or RedYellowBlue for a drink or two and some plates to share. Or, if you’re doing some Christmas shopping or stocking up ahead of festive entertaining, a hamper full to bursting with great produce from Appetite is sure to be a hit, or a box from Ted’s Veg will make sure you’re well-stocked for Christmas trimmmings – you can even pick up your tree, too. That’s just a few of the eclectic venues to be found in the neighbourhood. The best way to discover them all? Leave a day free, have a wander and see it all for yourself... ● Find out more information by visiting eastvillagelondon.co.uk, follow East Village on Twitter or Instagram at @eastvillageLDN, or on Facebook at @eastvillagelondon


PEAK MATURITY The complex and nuanced flavour of Blacksticks Blue cheese is no accident – it’s the result of care, attention and expertise honed over generations by the family business


LOT MORE GOES into ensuring your Blacksticks Blue is looking and tasting its best on Christmas day than you might think. Think of it as the equivalent of knowing you’re going to have a big night out in six months’ time and starting to get ready now. That’s why Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses cares about its products so much, and considers nothing more important than ensuring the cheese


tastes its absolute best. That’s why the family business puts endless amounts of expertise, science and experience into understanding how Blacksticks Blue matures. Bill, the brand’s Master Cheese Grader, has been monitoring the brand’s cheeses for longer than most of the team can remember, and his expertise is vital to the process. However, even with his experience and knowledge, it’s by no means plain sailing: so many conditions




BLACKSTICKS BLUE BRUSSELS Serves 4 Ingredients ◆◆ 450g brussels sprouts, quartered ◆◆ 3 tablespoons olive oil ◆◆ Salt and pepper, to taste ◆◆ 1 pack of pancetta rashers ◆◆ 1 pack of Blacksticks Blue ◆◆ Wooden skewers


CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Blacksticks Blue is a perfect foil for brussels sprouts and pancetta; the cheese itself; Bill testing the product

make a difference to the speed at which a cheese matures, from the temperature, humidity, milk, bacteria and more. That’s why monitoring the process is essential, and is a real art. Before getting caught up in the maturing process, the cheese needs to be made in the first place. Cheesemaking is one of those crafts that looks extremely easy when performed by masters like those at Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses, but in reality there’s lots that can go wrong. Making anything by hand, on a large scale, requires a huge amount of skill, precision and knowledge in order to deal with the quirks and characteristics of the ingredients, which naturally vary slightly each time.

There are two really key aspects of Blacksticks Blue, and the first is the colour and creaminess of the actual cheese. The trademark Blacksticks tan is provided by annatto, an awesome little plant affectionately known as the Lipstick Tree, which naturally colours the beautifully creamy cheese. Then, there’s the unmistakable blue ‘bite’ that occurs from a secret concoction of bacteria added during the making process. This ‘cocktail’ has been perfected over many years and is completely unique to Blacksticks Blue. All Blacksticks Blue is hand-poured into traditional moulds before it’s left to mature in the store at a specific temperature and humidity. As the cheese rests, its flavour develops and evolves, and the beautiful veins begin to form, making the surface marbled in its appearance. During the festive season, Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses makes four times more Blacksticks than any other time during the year. For an artisan maker, this requires an amazing amount of effort, time and organisation – so, while most of us are taking in the summer sun with a glass of chilled fizz, the team are setting about making sure you get the best piece of cheese ever on Christmas day. And while we’re on the topic, here’s a few ideas to add some pizzazz to the big day: why not replace cheddar with Blacksticks Blue, add pineapple chunks and combine them on cocktail sticks for a 1975 love-in? Or split some dates, fill with Blacksticks Blue and let the good times roll – there’s no better pick-me-up. Finally, brussels sprouts get a bit of a bad rep, so why not make them the star starter at your Christmas lunch? Check out the recipe and thank us later. ●

1 Preheat oven to 400°F. 2 Place the brussels sprouts on a baking tray and drizzle with oil. 3 Season with salt and pepper to taste. 4 Roast the sprouts for 12-15 minutes. 5 Fry the pancetta for about 5 minutes, or just before it becomes crispy. 6 Cube Blacksticks Blue to be a bit smaller then the Sprouts. 7 Skewer the pancetta rasher at one end, followed by a sprout, followed by the cheese, weaving the pancetta through the sprouts and cheese. Enjoy!





Tunbridge Wells

St Pancras International

Share a treat this winter Off-Peak Make the most of your trip with our itinerary ideas. #SEhiddengems

Book train tickets and full T&Cs at southeasternrailway.co.uk/winter From left to right: Fleur de ThĂŠ, The Pound, Chegworth Farm Shop, Skip Garden Kitchen.

— PART 2 —




Clare Finney meets the people behind the social enterprises and food-led campaigns that support those in need at Christmas, and finds out how you can help, too Photograph by ###



I “

T’S THE ONE day when everyone and everything, from adverts to music to product labels, is telling you that you should be having a fab time, surrounded by friends and family,” says Caroline Billington. A former community bus driver and the founder of charity Community Christmas, Billington is speaking to me in a snatched half-hour before her seasonal volunteers arrive, when they’ll begin the logistical marathon that ensures 500-odd elderly people don’t have to be on their own for Christmas Day. We speak on the eve of the John Lewis Moz advert; the ‘Boxing Day’ of M&S’s Paddington, and the clock is ticking for Community Christmas to spread the word about the various lunches and afternoon teas happening for the elderly around the country. “Christmas is different,” Billington tells me. “No one says ‘Right, this is the last 15th of November I spend by myself,’ but people are far more likely to reach out come Christmas.” It’s in this spirit that she and thousands of others set out to share the comfort and joy so many of us take for granted, with those for whom such feelings are all too rare. ’Tis the season – not just to be jolly, but


to be generous to the carol singers, the tin shakers and the Christmas sandwich makers. Charles Dickens had it right when he had Scrooge send the Cratchits a prize turkey at the end of A Christmas Carol: I might be (read: am) biased, but I would argue that nowhere is the festive spirit of generosity more obvious than in the world of food. Maybe it’s the late nights – it’s harder to ignore those sleeping in doorways and bus shelters when you’re walking home after the dinner shift. Or perhaps it’s because “people from all walks of life end up in hospitality,” says Glenn Pougnet, director of the charity StreetSmart, “and they get it.” StreetSmart, too, capitalises on Christmas – if such a word can be used to describe a campaign that has, in 20 years, raised over £8.2m for homeless and vulnerable people and helped thousands into regular employment. We meet in the House of St Barnabas: a private members’ club and social enterprise tucked inside an unassuming townhouse on Greek Street, in the middle of Soho. Pougnet is characteristically generous with his commendation of the place: “This is a real social enterprise. It is a living, breathing club, which trains formerly homeless people in

NOWHERE IS THE FESTIVE SPIRIT OF GENEROSITY MORE OBVIOUS THAN IN THE FOOD WORLD catering and hospitality, and employs them before finding them employment elsewhere.” He smiles. “Obviously I’m here to talk to you about StreetSmart – but I wanted to bring you here because we support it, and it gets brilliant results.” In three years, out of 128 people enrolled in their programmes, 100 have gone on to full-time employment. It might not sound like a lot, but this is a comprehensive, holistic system – and, what’s more, it’s one of 50 that StreetSmart supports every year. The StreetSmart premise is very simple. For every delicious meal you enjoy at participating restaurants between now and Christmas, you can opt to pay £1 on top of the bill. This money goes to StreetSmart – whose administration costs are fully covered by Deutsche Bank – which redirects it into projects in the surrounding area. “In Islington, the funds raised go to projects like Margins, a catering training programme which employs people in Union Chapel. In Hackney, it goes to Hackney Families Project; in Spitalfields, Crisis Café.” The causes StreetSmart supports are invariably grassroots ventures: small, targeted charities with low overheads and little centralised funding. Homelessness is no easy sell. Of course, Pougnet and his peers don’t begrudge places like Great Ormond Street Hospital and the RSPCA a penny, but they’re realistic about who wins out when push comes to charitablegiving shove. What chance does a rough sleeping middle-aged man have against a sick child, or an abandoned puppy? “We are in competition with other good causes, and I think it’s the simplicity of StreetSmart that has allowed us to last 20 years.” Come January, restaurants have other priorities: consumers tighten their belts (or

try to), and they in turn slash prices to ride out the fallow period until February. “Of course, homelessness is a year-round problem – and the money raised by StreetSmart does go to year-round projects,” says Pougnet. “But in December, we know we’ll benefit from the indulgence and goodwill.” It’s a rationale StreetSmart shares with many other social enterprises focused on homelessness and unemployment: restaurant and training centre Brigade in London Bridge, pop-up supper club Fat Macy’s, and Kitchenette Karts, which help young people on low incomes into street food businesses. And no article about Christmas, social enterprise and food-led campaigns would be complete without mentioning the Pret Foundation Trust, social enterprise and architect of the very first charitable Christmas sandwich. Pret A Manger’s rapid proliferation over the years has sparked some criticism from those who lament the homogenisation of the high street and the death of the local deli. Yet the PFT is “fantastic,” says Pougnet. Set up more than 20 years ago, it has used the sales of Christmas sandwiches to help homeless people into their shops and restaurants, as well as support related grassroots charities, ever since. “During this time, it’s grown from a simple 5p donation on one sandwich to donating 50p on our three Christmas sandwiches. Every year, these donations help to raise over £500,000,” says the foundation’s head Nicki Fisher. “To mark the launch of the Christmas sandwiches this year, Pret celebrated ‘Christmas Sandwich Eve’, which fell the day before launch, and delivered the first batch of Christmas sandwiches to three of our longest-standing homeless charity partners.” Though more of a local deli man himself, Pougnet “can’t speak highly enough →


→ of their ability to place people in employment and get people off the streets.” Naturally, other brands have joined in: M&S, Crussh, and Boots all now give a percentage of the sale of their festive sandwiches to charity. Social enterprise Kitchenette Karts in Tower Hamlets, however, takes things a step further. Its Christmas sandwich is directly inspired by the East End’s rich culinary heritage. “Our pork belly is inspired by the British pork pie, the almond dukkah from Syria, the beetroot and orange salad from South India, and the slow-cooked apples from Sri Lanka,” says co-director Nathalie Moukarzel. This is no one-off occasion: every sandwich it sells is inspired by the East End, and every penny made goes towards Kitchenette Karts’ work in giving unemployed Londoners the skills they need to survive in the food industry. “The food sector is


thriving: 1.5 million people in the UK work in restaurants, cafés and other food services, and it provides a fantastic route for young people from low-income backgrounds to create self-sufficient businesses.” In the new year, Kitchenette Karts will hit the food markets; for now it’s doing private events, and working in partnership with Luardos, Only Jerkin, Morito and St. John Bread and Wine to give trainees the support and experience they need. Fat Macy’s takes a similar tack: using the recipes of its beneficiaries, who hail from all walks of life, not to mention cultural and social backgrounds. Under instruction, they prepare and serve home-cooked food: “We often get trainees suggesting recipes they used to cook with family members or recipes from their culture,” says founder Meg Doherty – and receive training and deposit payments in return. This gives young Londoners, confined


to unstable, temporary accommodation, an invaluable leg up. “The benefit system works against people living in temporary accommodation, as the more you work the less you get in benefits – and because the hostel rent is over £1,000 a month people are left unable to save any money.” Doherty was working in a YMCA hostel when she observed a cookery class and saw how much residents enjoyed it; now Fat Macy’s Christmas supper clubs form a special part of a rolling roster of supper clubs, events and catering. “We’re putting together a Christmas menu with a twist, and hosting it in the Luminary bakery. I think people want to give something back at this time of year.” The young people at Fat Macy’s will cook the main course; Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise that helps vulnerable women get into baking and business, will do pudding.

“It’s a lovely way to work together. They are amazing,” Doherty continues. Those who can’t make the suppers will find the Luminaries at Borough Market throughout December, selling breads and festive pastries. Take one home, and as you share it, share the story of the bakery, and its mission to “break the generational cycles of abuse, prostitution, criminal activity and poverty through training, community and employment”. “Food unites people, and sharing a conversation over a new dish leads to new doors opening,” continues Doherty. “We feel that we can remove certain stigmas through our food and events.” It’s a sentiment chef Simon Boyle was wise to when he started selling Christmas puddings in aid of Brigade, his social enterprise restaurant near London Bridge. Profits from the puds will go towards providing six months of training and work experience for those who are at risk of, or who have experienced, homelessness. “It persuades people to talk about the cause. It sparks discussion at the lunch table.” Nor is that all that will be sparked, to judge by the amount of malt whisky, French brandy, madeira, sherry and ale that goes into the puddings: “they are a bit boozy,” he confirms, wryly, “in contrast to what the program they support sets out to do.” Therein lies the challenge of having a social conscience at Christmas time: we want to ‘give back’, but that impulse is confused by guilt at our festive gluttony. “There’s a Stephen Fry quote about StreetSmart connecting the citizens who can dine out with the ones for whom dining out means queuing up at food banks,” Pougnet tells me dryly. “We try not to use it too often” – StreetSmart prefers the carrot approach to charitable giving – “but it is true.” Before working at FareShare, director Alyson Walsh tells me she used to donate chocolates to the charity’s Christmas collections. FareShare spends the year collecting surplus fresh food from the food industry and redistributing it to places like refuges, homeless hostels and children’s clubs. At Christmas it seeks to build up a store of shelf-stable products, which suppliers don’t consider surplus because they’ve such long shelf lives. They are not, she now realises, looking for chocolates. “I just thought it was a sweet thing to do – that they would like a treat – but chocolates aren’t particularly nutritious, long life or useful.” It’s a common mistake – not that Walsh wants to discourage donations. Far from it: FareShare is in desperate need of both food and volunteers, but think nutrition. Think

longevity. “Think about what you would get if you were stocking up your store cupboard: tinned tomatoes to make a sauce, pasta and rice to bulk out a meal – and if you are keen to get a dessert, tinned rice pudding or tinned fruit.” In donating, you will be contributing toward the 28.6 million meals FareShare delivers around the country. By volunteering three hours of your time in a supermarket this December, you could collect enough for 600 meals – and if that doesn’t pique your interest, it’s a fascinating social experiment, she laughs. “Some people will completely ignore you, then come back with two full baskets. Parents will try to slip past, but their kids will nag them all the way round the store and come to you with a tin in each hand.” Nine times out of ten, she continues, the most generous people are those with the least to give. I sign up as soon as I get home. Sure, it’s partly to salve my conscience (I’ve eaten two mince pies, with brandy cream, in sub two minutes) but it’s better than nothing. We can’t all do Crisis at Christmas (the best-known, and most oversubscribed charity Christmas effort in London) but we can choose what and where we eat this December with compassion. We can, Billington points out toward the end of our chat, invite our elderly neighbour over for a mince pie and a cup of tea. “Christmas food is made for sharing,” she says. “Turkey, mince pies, cake, potatoes – it’s a great excuse to knock on the door and ask people over, under the pretext of inviting them over or asking for a recipe.” “It’s around the table that the magic happens, for us. People who are well fed get on better and are more receptive to help,” Walsh advises. Without FareShare’s contributions, many of the charities it supports wouldn’t work or exist. It’s easy to forget the end of A Christmas Carol – partly because the start is so arresting: who could forget Scrooge dismissing the ghost as a stomach complaint? “There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!” Yet we do him an injustice: this, after all, is the character whose legacy in the story was “that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge” – and that food, from humbugs to goose, played an important role in marking his transformation from miser to altruist. Whether it’s booking your Christmas do at a StreetSmart-supporting restaurant; giving to FareShare; or just making lunch a Pret or Kitchenette Karts Christmas sandwich, we could all do with aspiring to Scrooge a little bit this Christmas. f




COURSE PLAY Once the domain of the fine-dining chef, the tasting menu has become ubiquitous in London restaurants. But is it the ultimate way to eat, or has the cult of the chef gone too far, asks Mike Gibson

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HE FIRST SIX or seven little bites come in very rapid succession, one every 180 seconds,” Magnus Nilsson says, with characteristic thoughtfulness, in his episode of the Netflix documentary series Chef’s Table. “So basically, when you’ve had one little bite, the next one arrives. “Then, after a few delicious bites, it’s a little bit slower: a new plated course landing on your table every seven or eight minutes. After a half hour, and a little bit of wine, the pace will change again, and we increase it – very rapid. And after that, we can go back to plated courses again. You’re going to sit down for two and a half hours in my restaurant, and I’m going to give you 30 courses. When you control it perfectly, no one thinks about it being too quick. It’s just delicious.” Nilsson is chef-patron of one of the world’s most sought-after restaurants: Fäviken, in the Åre region of Sweden – a tiny restaurant in one of the more remote parts of Scandinavia. This means that whoever comes to his restaurant is making a pilgrimage of sorts, and anyone who does presumably knows what they’re in for, and is totally ready to be at the mercy of this iconic contemporary chef. The format of choice for Nilsson to deliver his food to the table is the tasting menu. There’s no à la carte offering at Fäviken, which is fitting, seeing as the tasting menu format in itself is about handing the control of the dining experience back to the chef. And


it figures that, since chefs are more visible than ever, and the cult of the chef is in full swing, it’s a format that’s gone from a select few restaurants to being a pretty prevalent form of eating – and not just the realm of the Michelin-starred restaurant, or the type that graces the World’s 50 Best list. Like most hallmarks of contemporary fine dining, the tasting menu is French in origin. The menu dégustation, as it came to be known in France in the 1970s, was a way for the big-hitting French chefs of the nouvelle cuisine movement (arguably the first ancestors of chefs like Nilsson) to dictate the eating and drinking experience to their diners by serving them not three large courses, but ten or more smaller ones. The prevailing thought was that if they were the experts, why leave the choosing of the food to those less educated about it? It marked the beginnings of the cult of the chef, and the restaurant’s movement from somewhere that you go to eat to somewhere you go for both an experience and an education. Today London’s dining scene, especially at the top end, is full of the hallmarks of nouvelle cuisine (and of French cooking technique generally) – perhaps none more so than the tasting menu. As the iconic French chef Alain Ducasse – who is in the rare position of having a career that has spanned the awakenings of the movement and contemporary dining, too – says, “tasting menus are great to understand the world of

THE TASTING MENU IS ABOUT HANDING CONTROL BACK TO THE CHEF the chef – the vision, the philosophy and the cuisine. It’s a summary of what a chef can offer.” As a restaurateur whose restaurants are largely in hotels, including his threeMichelin-starred offering at The Dorchester in Mayfair, where guests often don’t have time for a three-hour-plus meal, it should be noted that Ducasse doesn’t place the merits of the tasting menu over a more standard à la carte option, but he concedes that “if you have the perfect wine pairing with a perfect tasting menu, you have a perfect picture of a place.” Many restaurants offer both, but for those restaurateurs who have had an education at the hands of some of the world’s foremost chefs, like Thomas Sellers of Restaurant Story in Bermondsey, the format was the only option when it came to trying to create their own identity. “It’s a great way to show an insight to a chef’s mind, more so than the food: how it works, how it builds the journey,” Sellers says. “There’s a real importance in the order in which it’s eaten, from flavours – starting with light, acid flavours, building up to heavier, fattier flavours: we think about all of these things. We always had a plan and the plan was to run one menu. “For me, that longer format – being able to do dishes that are slightly smaller – gives you that freedom to be able to almost take the diner on the journey that we want them to go on. Whereas à la carte, the power goes back into the hands of the diner – they choose what they want, and of course there’s a place for that, but it definitely wasn’t for us here.” Sellers’ restaurant is of a certain type: the name comes from his desire to use his menu to instil a feeling of narrative progression through food, and it bears traces of the American chef Thomas Keller and René Redzepi, the mind behind the one-time World’s Best Restaurant Noma in Copenhagen. “I took something away →

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FASHIONABLE PLATE: (above) An artful course at the three-Michelin-starred Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester; (left) Thomas Sellers, chef-patron of Restaurant Story in Bermondsey


SNACKS APPEAL: (above) An appetiser course from Thomas Sellers’ Restaurant Story, which only serves tasting menus; Mark Jarvis of Anglo

→ from the way Noma did it, the way Per Se did it, and you can see that in the food here,” he says. Like Nilsson, Redzepi had a keen eye for pacing, which is of paramount importance when you’re asking a diner to eat and stay engaged with that many plates of food in one sitting. “Rene had the small plates going out quickly at the beginning, and I liked that you automatically got engaged really quickly – boom, boom, boom, boom. But then I look at Thomas Keller, certain things that he does, the way he’ll break a course down, showing the dish first or an ingredient on the dish, then a big explanation, then maybe something table-side. All of these things have influenced the way we work here.” It came as no surprise when Restaurant Story won a Michelin star a short time after opening (and it has a price point to match), but what’s interesting in 2017 is that it’s no longer the domain of the elite: increasingly, chefs are offering tasting menus at less than £50 for 12 or more courses – even pop-


ups and temporary residencies are now experimenting with the format. Mark Jarvis is one such chef. His restaurant Anglo, in Clerkenwell, offers only this format in the evenings. “When you offer a la carte,” he says, “it’s so hard to get everything right. There could always be a misfire, one dish doesn’t go out exactly as you want it. I thought to eliminate that, we can have one menu that we can perfect, and when people come in we know that we’re doing it the best we can, and that it’s consistent: the diner gets a good experience and we get the pleasure of cooking something that we’re really excited to cook. “I think with a tasting menu, because you’re constantly changing it, the standard ultimately has to be higher: people know that they can trust your cooking and your judgement of flavour and balance.” It’s easy for detractors to paint tasting menus as platforms for a chef’s inflated sense of self-importance – “the bloated rock operas of the culinary realm,” as Jeff Gordinier referred to them in Esquire last January. “By entirely removing choice from diners, [tasting menus] enable chefs to dazzle their guests with their skills, ideas, inspirations (and

egos),” journalist Kashmira Gander wrote in an article in The Independent this year, one that was largely unfavourable of the format. “But from a more cynical perspective, the bite-sized courses are an easy way for chefs to reduce waste and make a bit of money.” Gander is right: what often gets lost is the economic benefit to the chef of being able to tightly control what their customers are eating and when. “Cynical”, though, seems an incongruous word to use, especially →

The natural choice for cheese

“The best biscuit for cheese out there� Great Taste Award judges 2015 petersyard.com

DOC’S ORDERS: (left) Magnus Nilsson of the iconic restaurant Fäviken prepares a course from his tasting menu in Netflix’s Chef’s Table series



Photograph: Netflix

→ when the context is at least partially about reducing waste. And a chef using a tasting menu to up their profit margin shouldn’t necessarily be thought of as cynical, either – restaurants aren’t charities, nor are people forced to spend their money at a restaurant they don’t like the look of. And with almost all menus available online with prices, a sting in the tail of an evening upon the presentation of a bill isn’t as common as it once was. Sellers is effusive about the format’s benefits: “I know exactly how many diners I have; I know exactly what everyone’s going to eat, which means there’s minimal waste; it means we can control the product – we have the most amount of control possible over the ingredients, the products, when they come and being able to get the freshest; we know exactly what we’re going to sell; it means less food goes in the bin.”

And Jarvis echoes this sentiment, saying that “one of the big things, obviously, is food waste and keeping it green. If a whole lamb comes then we can use every cut, and everyone can try a different bit. I’m not paying for the foie gras sitting in the fridge that hasn’t sold tonight; you know you’re going to sell it, or you don’t put it on, because people don’t like it. But on the ‘making money’ part of the argument, he’s more bullish: “At the beginning, we could have turned tables and maximised the profits by doing that, but we decided ‘no, let’s give the diner the three-and-a-half-hour experience’, where they sit there and they can enjoy it, and they can understand it, so it’s not rushed, it’s not pushed on them and they know that there was talk about the food, or they want to slow the dishes down and talk about them.” And this is a good point. For all the control that designing a menu from the ground up gives a chef, it also means they’ve got diners sat at the same table for hours on end. The only room for increasing the margin is through the wine list, but even that goes out the window with a paired drinks menu. “Everyone eats at a different pace,” Sellers says. “You might have a couple tonight that’ll do the whole menu in two hours; you might have a table of five and it’ll take them five hours. Certain ways we control that is we don’t turn tables in the dining room, so when you sit at the table in this restaurant it’s your table – you want to be there for two hours, you want to be there six hours, it doesn’t matter.” So, whether you think it represents a joyous way to eat and an enlightening glimpse into the mind of a chef, or you think it’s a tiresome and unnecessary extension of a self-indulgent cult of personality on their behalf, it’s undeniable: the tasting menu is, like sharing plates, changing the way we think about ordering food. And with more options on the table than ever, and plenty that don’t cost more than going à la carte, it’s only growing in popularity. Putting aside four hours to worship at the altar of an exciting chef is something more and more of us are willing to do. Whether you’re paying £140 for seven courses at Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester or £48 for 13 at Anglo, it’s a clear indication that, where a meal out used to be about ordering three courses, eating, paying and leaving, today there seems to be far more at play than that. f

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The first phase in a comprehensive revamp of Harrods’ famed food halls has just been completed, and there’s even more to come. Jon Hawkins explores the Knightsbridge store’s impressive new Roastery and Bake Hall

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EALED INSIDE WHAT looks like a giant, smoked-glass art deco fish tank, Harrods’ new coffee roaster is a thing of ruggedly functional beauty. Capable of churning through 85kg of roasted coffee every hour, the German-made Probat machine is a hulking, whirring matteblack unit so big the store’s doors needed to be taken off to get it in – but this is Harrods, so its fittings are mirror-polished brass and pianoblack, and the floor it sits on is carrara marble. Sizeable though it is, the roaster is part of something much bigger – namely, a comprehensive two-year project to reimagine and renovate the Knightsbridge department store’s iconic food halls. Phase One of what they’re calling the Taste Revolution – the Roastery and Bake Hall – opened in midNovember, with a David Collins Studiodesigned interior where restored original features like the marble floor, ornate cartouches, and panelled ceilings combine with a slick, modern aesthetic. Three more phases will launch between now and 2020, by which time – according to the man spearheading the project, Alex Dower, Harrod’s director of food and restaurants – they will have created “one of the finest food emporiums in the world”. But if that description makes it sound like a foodie theme park, the reality is quite different. “Our intention from the outset is to provide a food hall that local foodies will keep coming back to, and one that meets the everyday needs of a customer doing their weekly shop,” Dower says. Admittedly, we’re talking a pretty rarified weekly shop – we’re in Knightsbridge, after all – but a key part of the offering is the availability of familiar staples like Heinz tomato ketchup alongside more unusual treats including honey harvested from treetop hives in Zambia. Elsewhere, you’ll find plenty of theatre to go with your shopping. Along with the roastery, where coffee beans will be roasted, ground and blended on site, there’s a fromscratch bakery, a tea tailor, a patisserie, a gourmet grocery and a coffee bar. Set in the middle of the hall – with aged-brass rails, embroidered leather stools and a swooping marble bar – it makes a strong visual statement (and an even stronger espresso martini). Just as important as the bits you can see, though, are those you can’t, like the 150 inhouse chefs working behind the scenes, and the product developers and buyers who have spent more than a year scouring the globe for ingredients and inspiration. Harnessing their skills and putting them front and centre is key to capturing the imaginations of food


and drink-loving Londoners, by creating and selling produce that’s as good as it possibly could be, whether it’s freshly baked sourdough bread or custom-blended teas. As Dower puts it, creating a place where locals go for their food shopping is exactly where it all began for the store. “Harrods began as a wholesale grocer and tea merchant for Londoners in 1834,” he explains. “This is the heart of our brand and our aim is to ensure we remain the destination of choice for local foodies.” There is, as you’ve probably gathered by now, a lot to take in, so here’s our guide to navigating the Roastery and Bake Hall, from customised sourdough to cocktails made with beans roasted just metres from the bar.

The Bakery Master Baker Lance Gardner is the man at the helm of the bakery, which dominates an entire wall of the hall. Preparing the bread and pastry offering has been a lengthy process for Gardner and his team – perfecting the croissant recipe alone took a year, and the sourdough starter has been nurtured for months – but the result is, they hope, some of the best baked goods you can buy in London. There will be 15 varieties of bread in total, including seasonally changing specials, and they’ll be baked throughout the day. A board on the bakery wall lists the bread, pastries, cake and biscuits due to emerge next from the high-tech ovens – though if you miss that, you certainly won’t miss the bell that rings to announce each fresh arrival. As a neat touch, it’s possible to get your

THE ROAST IS CLEAR: [right] The Probat coffee roaster sits in its own glass room in the middle of The Roastery; [below] pick up sweet treats, too

Photographs (cake sand honey) by Mowie Kay

loaf of sourdough personalised. Up to three initials can be inscribed on the top of a white sourdough loaf, which will be baked in front of you in around half an hour, so you can take it home while it’s still warm. If you’re strapped for time, the all-new Roast & Bake café – outside the store on Basil Street – is a great place to pick up viennoiserie and coffee fresh from the Roastery and Bake Hall, plus sandwiches, salads and snacks.

The Roastery & Coffee Bar All the coffee you’ll drink at the Coffee Bar is freshly roasted and ground in the hall, and Master Roaster Bartosz Ciepaj has poured


his knowledge and experience into creating the signature Knightsbridge roast. Made with four different types of Arabica beans (Brazilian, Colombian, Sumatran and Costa Rican), each with different, complementary characteristics, the blend is available in the Coffee Bar, at Roast & Bake, and throughout the store’s restaurants. It’s also available to buy – along with a variety of other roasts and blends – in the Roastery and Bake Hall. Our tip, though, is to head to the Coffee Bar after a tough day and kick back with an espresso negroni – it’s the bittersweet Italian classic as you know it, but with an extra injection of rocket fuel. →



→ The Tea Tailor If you’re a tea lover, this is something approaching heaven. A dedicated tea tailor will work with you to create your perfect blend from a huge selection of black and green teas, herbs and spices, and other aromatics. You needn’t be an expert in tea, though it obviously wouldn’t hurt if you were – the tailor will use your favourite flavour characteristics (smoky, citrusy, earthy, for example), or the effect that you want to achieve (something to relax you; something to get you up in the morning), as the basis for a tea that’s mixed in a bowl right in front of you. Once your custom blend has been finalised and packaged up, the ingredients are recorded in a book, so you can come back and reorder at any time.


The Gourmet Grocer Once you’ve picked up your warm, personalised loaf of sourdough, you’ll need something to put on it at breakfast, and we’d point you straight towards the gourmet grocer’s spectacular selection of honeys. These range from delicate, aromatic nectar from Cotswold bees to a dark and rich, almost treacle-like organic honey harvested from hives placed high in the tree tops of Zambia. Elsewhere, keep an eye out for granolas and nut mixes created by Harrods’ chefs, a vast range of herbs, spices, oils and vinegars, chocolates and biscuits, and a few storecupboard essentials like Heinz baked beans, pasta from Pastificio Di Martino, and cookie mix from US icon Williams Sonoma. f For more information: harrods.com



Whether you’re stuck for ideas for the office secret Santa raffle, need to stock up ahead of a busy house of hungry visitors, or you’re after gift inspiration for loved ones, we’ve got you covered for Christmas 2017

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F WE KNOW you – and we think we do – you’re pretty easy to buy for at this time of year. You’re laid-back but inquisitive, you love a thoughtful present (you soppy soand-so), but you’re understanding about that ghastly pair of socks from your aunt and the inexplicable season three of Spooks you got given last year on DVD (because it’s 2017, and you no longer have a DVD player). And if there’s a sure-fire way to win your heart at this time of year, it’s with food and drink. But while you may be an amazing person

to buy for, when it comes to buying for other people or making sure the house is stocked, you might need a helping hand. Don’t fret – this is where foodism comes in. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite products for this festive season, from spirits and hampers full to bursting, to boozy crackers, to our curated Experiences and even secret Santa ideas for under a tenner. We’ve even enlisted a few friends to make sure you’re doing Crimbo food and drink right. Happy Christmas, from us, to you. →


THE BIG SMOKE Whether it’s a Christmas Day starter, a Boxing Day breakfast or just something to snack on, smoked salmon’s always a winner H Forman & Son London Cure

Whether you’re in London or elsewhere this Christmas, you can bring a sweetly scented, moreishly salty, smoked piece of the capital with you thanks to London’s premier smokehouse’s flagship salmon. It’s now the proud owner of the capital’s first PGI (protected geographical indicator), ‘London Cure’, meaning it has to be made in Tower Hamlets, Hackney or Newham, and live up to the rigorous production standards set by the region. 4x50g; £29.95, formanandfield.com

Silent Pool Intricately Infused smoked salmon

Gin and salmon might seem an incongruous combination – until you remember that in juniper, kaffir lime and the other botanicals that are infused in gin, there’s a perfect flavour base to match the saline freshness of smoked salmon. Silent Pool has done the hard work for you in its unique gin-infused smoked salmon, saving you the toil of setting up a gin distillery and a smokehouse and doing it all DIY. 200g, £12.50; silentpooldistillers.com

The Pished Fish Sozzled Santa

Londoner James Eagle’s company The Pished Fish specialises in all kinds of booze-cured smoked salmon, with flavours on the roster like Old Fashioned (whisky, maple and orange zest) and Erik the Red (aquavit, juniper, star anise and beetroot). This year’s specially infused seasonal special is named The Sozzled Santa, flavoured with all things festive: brandy, cinnamon, nutmeg and clementine zest. 100g, £6.95; thepishedfish.com



Former sommelier, opera singer and The Laughing Heart’s owner Charlie Mellor on why you should try natural wines this Christmas ‘NATURAL WINE’ IS a broad term and is pretty much impossible to tightly define. At its most pure, it would be wine produced from organically grown grapes that are allowed to ferment without the aid of any selected yeast, relying only on what is in the neutral vessel (like a concrete vat or a really old barrel), with no additives and no filtration. Wines produced this way in 2017 represent less than 1% of the market – there is so much crap you can add to wine, so many processes you can subject it to, without having to inform the consumer. Nearly all the wine we drink in the UK contains so much more than just grapes. In my opinion, many natural wines number among the finest wines you can drink. Some of them smell like nail polish remover and at first glance, you might think “that horse isn’t fit to race”. But good or bad – weird and/or wonderful – they demonstrate the infinite possibility of aromas and flavours that come from spontaneous fermentation. Whether you’re

WISE CRACKERS Three sets of outside-thebox Christmas crackers Drinks by the Dram Spirits & Liqueur Crackers

Remember when you were eight years old and the idea of beating your great aunt to a wispy paper hat and jumping plastic frog really cracked you up? These crackers channel that childish joy and combine it with the best thing about Christmas Day when you’re an adult – getting sozzled with the family. These crackers contain a crap joke (of course) and a different dram of spirit or liqueur – from Bathtub Sloe Gin to cherry brandy – and if that doesn’t get your inner child all giddy with glee, you’re dead inside. £39.95, masterofmalt.com

Hotel Chocolat’s mini chocolate christmas crackers

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familiar with it or feel like you’re approaching an entirely new drink, try to remember that no one has seen it all. Just because it’s new and different, doesn’t make it bad. And finally, keep in mind this basic principle: do you enjoy the drink in front of you? This is the festive season, a time of year to be celebrating with the people you love. I don’t know about you, but for me this means treating them to the best things we can eat and drink. It’s a time to relax with family, not for being challenged, so even if you’re going natural, the best thing is to drink wine that tastes like wine – something your great uncle Albert can enjoy too. I myself would opt for red wines with detail and acidity to cut through the richness that comes with Christmas food – something with a bit of energy so you don’t fall asleep in front of the fire too early. Vini Viti Vinci is an edgy wine producer from Burgundy – try its Irancy Rouge ‘Les Ronces’. It’ll have enough familiarity for ‘old Bertie’, but it’s also racy enough to keep any aficionado’s nose in the glass. Amazing with poultry and game, sausages and other tasty porky fare. Bizarrely, we happen to retail this Christmas treat at The Laughing Heart for a very reasonable £33. thelaughingheartlondon.com

These might not go bang, but they will go with a bang or, more to the point, the sound of groans and heavy breathing as everyone around the table attempts to fit just one more choccy under their straining belts. For anyone with a sweet tooth, these are the perfect addition to a Christmas spread. £16, hotelchocolat.com

Balans Soho Society’s boozy Christmas crackers


Each one of these contains a signature serve from London bar and restaurant group Balans, and with most of them, all you have to do is add ice to get the ball rolling. Word to the wise though: don’t pull yours too hard. No one needs to add ‘concussion via flying cocktail’ to their Christmas list. £50, balans.co.uk

– Charlie Mellor on natural wine


SPECIAL DELIVERY Curated gifts sent straight to their door


Whisky-Me whisky pouches

What’s the most hipster thing you can get someone this Christmas? Turns out it’s these post-proof pouches of whisky from the team behind Black Rock, a suave East London whisky bar with more than 250 different types of brown liquor under its roof. Each month, its team hand-select a new type of whisky from somewhere around the world, pop it in a pouch and send it on its merry way to a tumbler near you. And, yes, it does look a little like a Capri-Sun. That’s part of the fun. £7.95 a month, whisky-me.com

The Indytute founder Calypso Rose’s pick of our co-curated list of Foodism Experiences East London wine walk

This walk requires some initiative (you have to find the venues using a map rather than following a person), and you won’t know where you’re off to until the day. But rest assured you will find yourself in four very quirky wine bars, where not only will you be sampling delicious wine, but you will be met at each location by the owner or sommelier who will lavish you with attention and information. Snacks will be provided at the first and last locations. £60 for one, £120 for two

HonestBrew’s Honesty Beer Box

The craft beer business is booming, but making the rounds on a Saturday night can be a pricey procedure. The solution? HonestBrew’s Honesty Beer Box. It’s the Christmas gift that keeps on giving. Sign up your friend, parent or other half, and sit back and relax, safe in the knowledge that some topquality beverages from all over the world will be winging their way to their door every month. From £48, honestbrew.co.uk

Charcuterie masterclass at Cannon & Cannon

In this hands-on masterclass, chef, butcher and charcuterie maker (oh, and MasterChef finalist 2011) Tom Whitaker will introduce you to world of wet- and dry-cured bacon, while guiding you through a number of different curing methods and piggy recipes. You will learn how to butcher a middle of pork and there’ll be hands-on de-boning practice, too. £95 for one, £180 for two

Rotorino Aperitivo

It’s the Amalfi coast, late afternoon, the sun is going down and it’s too late for tea, too early for supper. What do you do? Obviously, you order the largest plate of antipasti at the local trattoria and a couple of delicious spritz cocktails to see you through until the evening proper kicks in. You can’t always be there in person, obviously, but at Stevie Parle’s Rotorino the concept of sharing an early evening of deliciousness and a couple of drinks is very definitely still on the menu. £50 for one, £100 for two All available at fsdm.co/experiences


Novello’s chocolate and coffee subscription


– Calypso Rose previews one of our Foodism Experiences

What does heaven look like to a caffeine-addicted chocolate muncher? Novello’s speciality chocolate and coffee subscription, of course. Each month, their team hand picks a new chocolate bar and sachet of artisan coffee beans to grace your doorstep. Who says the season of gifting has to end on boxing day, eh? From £35, novellouk.myshopify.com


Social Pantry head honcho Alex Head on nailing festive nibbles WHAT I LOVE most about the lead-up to Christmas (as well as the day itself ) is that you’re almost always surrounded by some of the most important people in your life. For me, that means when I’m planning my festive food itinerary, I always get overexcited and want to treat my guests to something amazing. The reality of life, though, is that I never have enough time and I am often exhausted by the time the party actually arrives. For me, all Christmas cooking needs to be quick and easy, as well as looking great, and the last thing I want is to be stuck in the kitchen. So, the rule I stick to – the one that means I can also host, and more importantly drink, with my guests – is: keep it simple, keep it foolproof, and keep it seasonal. Canapés are a great way to get creative in the kitchen – serve a few knockout nibbles alongside a chilled glass of fizz and your party is onto a winner. This year I am championing the retro revival, and for my parties I’ll be rolling back the years with a fun take on a prawn cocktail. Mix pre-cooked king prawns with a tasty lemon crème fraîche, serve on baby gem lettuce and garnish with a pinch of dill. Because, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a prawn cocktail, right? Beyond that, a trusty dish I always revert back to is a classic mix of roquefort cheese with chopped walnuts and hazelnuts, add a little double cream, season to taste, and serve on top of something you love. It’s very simple, but damn delicious. My ultimate dish, though, is honeyed goat’s cheese. Dear god, I love it. All you have to do is mix it with a dash of honey and double cream with crumbled goat’s cheese – blitz in a blender if it’s easier – and serve on a rye cracker or piece of cucumber. Recipes you can cook with a drink in your hand? That’s what it’s all about. Bring on Christmas.



– Social Pantry’s Alex Head on her golden rule for festive feeding

Solid spirit choices for your inner cocktail maestro Snow Queen Vodka

Given its make-up (it’s basically a neutral spirit) a lot of people perceive vodka to be a flavourless drink that’s not worth spending good money on. Snow Queen will prove you wrong on all counts – its delicious, subtle, floral notes sing in a vodka martini, if that’s your tipple. What’s more, it’s organic and ethically made, too. £32, ocado.com

Old Forester Bourbon

American whiskey has now fully taken over the London bar scene, and if you can’t make a decent old fashioned at home – well, you should learn. Old Forester is a fantastic all-round whiskey for the price, lovely for sipping with an ice cube or two but coming alive with sugar, Angostura bitters and orange zest. £35.45, thewhiskyexchange.com

Half Hitch Gin

If the effervescent colour of the Camden-made Half Hitch didn’t give it away, this ain’t no ordinary gin. It is, however, very much in the London Dry style, but an extra punch of earl grey tea, among others, in its secret blend of botanicals and other flavourings, mean it makes a G&T like no other. £39.95, masterofmalt.com

The Botanist Gin

For something a little different, check out this herbaceous gin from Islay, normally better-known for its whisky. It features 32 botanicals. £35; marksandspencer.com

alexhead.co.uk; @alexhead_sp


Totem Corkers

The bubbles might run dry this Christmas, but the conversation at the table certainly won’t, especially if you gift someone special with these tiny wine cork animals. This gift is particularly suited to a fidget fiddler who can’t seem to ever keep still. £7, selfridges.com

Graveney Gin

Get in the spirit of things with a tiny dram of organic gin from Tootingbased distillers Graveney. The botanicals pair perfectly with pink grapefruit in a G&T and you can bag yourself a 100ml bottle for £10. £10; abelandcole.co.uk

Whittard of Chelsea Christmas Chai

SECRET SANTA Stocking fillers and secret Santa ideas, all clocking in under a tenner. You can thank us later Stress Mushrooms

Landed the office stress-head in your secret Santa raffle? Fear not. We’ve got just the solution for you. Help them chill out with a squeezy shiitake. Bear in mind, though, that it’s not edible; it just looks like food. Bonus point: if they playfully wing it your way for being a cheeky bugger, it won’t hurt when it rebounds off your smug little head. £6.99, firebox.com


– Our guide to gifts under a tenner

What are good friends made of? Sugar, spice and everything nice, obviously. In the unlikely event you actually like your secret Santa,, get them this blend of Christmassy chai from hot-drinks masters Whittard’s. Did we mention it’s only £7? Yup, that means there’s still room in your budget for a cutesy mug or bag of toastable marshmallows. £7, whittard.co.uk Fortnum & Mason Classic Chocolate If you’re stuck with someone who doesn’t seem to like anything at all, they probably like chocolate. What’s more, these bars from Fortnum’s are all based on classic books. £5.50; fortnumandmason.com

Sprout herb colouring pencils

This secret Santa idea is for the creative type who’s always sprouting with ideas. With this secret Santa present you can really help them grow and nurture their creativity... OK, we’re done with the puns. But do you know what we’re not done with? How cool these sprouting pencils are. Once the pencil is too short to use, pop it in a plant pot, water it, and watch as a bunch of herbs start to peep out of the top. Word to the wise: the seed capsule tips are water activated, so just hope your secret Santa isn’t a pencil-chewer – there’s nothing more awkward than telling someone they have something stuck in their teeth, never mind when it’s a sprouting basil shoot. £3.25, theletteroom.com


WICKER, MAN Three luxurious hampers, for an all-in-one punch of festive luxury Harvey Nichols Fancy Trimmings


Hero Hirsh, award-winning cheesemonger for Paxton & Whitfield, on perfecting the art of the Christmas cheeseboard THE FESTIVE CHEESEBOARD is a wonderful way to enjoy delicious artisan cheese, and a trip to your cheesemonger is a great way to create your selection and get some expert advice. When it comes to the basics, I’d suggest three to four cheeses makes a nice range, and in terms of styles I recommend a soft cheese, a hard cheese, a blue and, finally, a washedrind cheese, just to add in something a little bit different. You can then start to look at different textures and cheeses from different countries. Think about choosing cheeses made from different milks, too – goat’s and sheep’s as well as the trusty cow. For this year, I’d go with a brie aux truffes, a classic brie enhanced with black truffles; Montgomery cheddar, a superb mature cheddar that has a long and complex flavour; Rollright for the washed-rind, a delicious cheese with a full flavour that’s savoury and meaty with hints of sweet butter; and, of course, stilton – the classic blue cheese for this time of year. For a cheese course to follow a Christmas dinner, I’d suggest allowing about 150g per person, in total. And to drink alongside, there are options besides red wine or port – blue cheese goes beautifully with a sweet wine, like a Monbazillac, and Rollright works very well with an Oloroso sherry. paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk


Whether you’re after a present for the tree or you’re stocking up ahead of a season of eating, a Christmas hamper is classic. You can’t knock this one from Harvey Nichs – it’s loaded with mulled wine, Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, brandy butter, chai ganache truffles, cakes and nibbles, and comes in a cool-as-ice, jet-black wicker basket. Is that a rustle of wrapping paper being enthusiastically cast aside with a sigh of relief we hear? Yes, we believe it is. £100; harveynichols.com

Ottolenghi Sweet One

Cookbooks are great. But do you know what’s even better? A cookbook that comes with its very own hamper, complete with everything you need to pull of the signature recipes within. Enter: Ottolenghi’s Christmas offering – a hamper celebrating the publication of his new book, Sweet. Inside you’ll find bottles of date syrup, orange blossom water, a bundt cake tin, a sugar thermometer plus all the other essential ingredients required to pull off his saffron and pistachio brittle, almond and aniseed nougat, and prune cake with armagnac and walnuts – to name but a few. £120, ottolenghi.co.uk

Berry Bros. & Rudd Chef’s Pantry hamper

It probably goes without saying that London’s foremost historic wine merchant knows a thing or two about a Christmas wine selection. This hamper is a beautiful smorgasbord of BBR’s acclaimed own-label wines (including a claret and an English sparkling, among others). Throw in some painstakingly hand-selected cheffy products – truffle and porcini sauce, Himalayan sea salt, truffle oil, traditional balsamic vinegar and more – and you’re onto a winner. £140; bbr.com

‘Tis’ the season

to season

Fancy a free sea salt sample? www.cornishseasalt.co.uk Share your ideas #SeaSaltDifferently twitter.com/CornishSea_Salt | www.instagram.com/cornishsea_salt


Whether you’re ringing in the festive season with friends, looking for a Christmas party venue like no other or seeking a new morning spot, Nova Food has you covered


HE FESTIVE SEASON is by now fast approaching. For many people in the capital, that means the time for longer lunches, after-work drinks, dinner, and Christmas gatherings. Have you walked through the redesigned Victoria lately? If so, you might have noticed a brand new food destination has sprung up around the neighbourhood’s historic streets and theatres, in walking distance of its bustling rail and Underground station. Nova Food is a hub of great



restaurants, approachable cafés, graband-go casual dining spots and more. As the winter draws in, you might be looking for an excuse to spend time catching up with friends and family – and there’s arguably no better place in London to do so than here. Nova Food is home to 17 food and drink venues catering for all tastes. What’s more, a handy location in central London and the more openings to come make it a must-visit destination for some good old-fashioned festive fun.


The Christmas feasts

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A festive feast at Stoke House; a roasted poussin at Aster; a delicious cake from Nordic-inspired bakery Ole & Steen; a look inside Vagabond wine bar

Looking for a Christmas party venue with a genuine food focus? Taking advantage of the working year winding down with a well deserved meal with friends? Whatever the occasion, a Christmas food and drink blowout is always a good idea. At Nova Food, there are boundless options for a long, decadent meal to enjoy in great company. Why not try Stoke House’s Feasting Menu, available throughout winter? Restaurateur Will Ricker and his team specialise in woodfired cooking and smoked meats, so the carvery-style menu is perfect for a communal table. And with three courses and bottomless wine or beer available for £50 per person, it’s a fantastic option. Or how about ushering in a bit of Scandinavian style at Aster? The Nordic restaurant’s sumptuous private dining rooms are the perfect setting for a long afternoon toasting the end of the year with a bunch of colleagues.

The drinking dens If you’re looking for somewhere to catch up with friends for some good conversation, helped along by some seriously good drinks, try Vagabond. The wine bar features enomatic machines that serve tasting measures or full glasses of some of the most interesting wines you’ll find in the capital. Or, settle into a toasty corner at the Rail House Café for a festive cocktail and a bite to eat to while away the cold winter evenings.

The mornings after If you’re planning on a busy festive

THE CARVERYSTYLE FESTIVE FEAST AT STOKE HOUSE IS PERFECT FOR A COMMUNAL TABLE season spent out and about, a morning spot to get you back on your feet is a must. Thankfully, Nova Food is home to a raft of café, bar and brunch options that’ll have you raring to go by late morning. If it’s coffee you’re craving, pop into Notes or Ole & Steen for a cup of coffee crafted with care and attention and a croissant to get you back in the game. Or if you’re in the market for a bloody mary, there’s a solution to that at Nova Food, too – Jason Atherton’s Hai Cenato, a restaurant that takes inspiration from contemporary New York, knows a thing or two about catering for a party crowd – and that’s why its morning cocktails are already becoming a thing of legend around Victoria. So sit down, settle in, and a bloody mary will have you feeling right as rain and ready for the next adventure. ’Tis the season, after all... ● For more information, go to createvictoria.com, follow on social media at @CreateVictoria or search #novafood



Tom Powell pays a visit to the decidedly art deco Manetta’s Bar below Flemings Mayfair, where he finds a den of interwar opulence, smart-thinking drinks and literary daydreams




Named for the original bar carriage on board the Orient Express, this is a punchy old fashioned-style serve, with Italian aperitif Averna.

INGREDIENTS ◆◆ 45ml Balvenie 12 Year Old

ESCENDING THE TUCKEDAWAY stairway to Manetta’s Bar on Clarges Street in Mayfair, you’d be forgiven for feeling like you’re in a dream, playing out Owen Wilson’s role in Midnight in Paris – a weatherbeaten city dweller grabbed by the scruff of the neck and borne back forcibly (albeit willingly) into the past. Here, art deco tiling, a fluted-glass bar front and a host of waistcoated bartenders – some of whom are pencil-mustachioed like 1930s jazz guitarists – are just the tip of the interwar opulence that murmurs beneath the surface of this, a historic hotel in one of the city’s most well-heeled postcodes. A lot of this stems from the fact that in the real-life 1930s, this was a parlour frequented by people like Agatha Christie: literary types whose names, quotes and book titles now grace the menu, providing the inspiration for the cocktails on offer, both on and off the ‘Orient Express’ drinks list that we’ve previewed here. Start with the signature drink (as it’s named on the menu), a concoction of Amaro Montenegro, Cocchi sweet vermouth, Plantation XO rum and cherry bitters, which plump up the bitterness you’d associate with a negroni by adding bold, seductive flavours of cherry and molasses – it’s the perfect way to slow to the pace of a bar that feels private and intimate, despite being packed with an after-work crowd every night. Next, try The Little Cloud, a pillowy, sumptuous, coconut cream-topped piña colada spin inspired by a melancholic daydream from James Joyce’s Dubliners that avoids cloying sweetness by subbing out rum for sharper, smokier mezcal. Oh, and when you’re done, leave through the decadent hotel lobby, rather than the secretive entrance around the back – it’ll keep the dream alive just a little longer. f

Flemings Mayfair, 7-12 Half Moon Street, W1J 7BH; flemings-mayfair.co.uk

◆◆ 15ml Averna

◆◆ 4 dashes orange bitters ◆◆ Applewood chips

Photograph by ###

Fill the bottle with applewood smoke, add the orange bitter with an orange peel in the mixing glass, fill it with ice, add all the ingredients, stir for about 20 seconds, pour the drink over smoke in the bottle and let it rest as long as you like.



This liqueur-based drink, built with infused vodka, with rich almond and the tang and bite of a whack of lemon, is aromatic as you like.

IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 40ml Grey Goose L’Orange ◆◆ 35ml violet liqueur

◆◆ 20ml fresh lemon juice

◆◆ 10ml blue almond syrup ◆◆ Saffron bitters

Fill a mixing glass with crushed ice, 4 dashes of saffron bitters and let it rest. Add all the other ingredients in a continental shaker, gently shake to chill and dilute, and then strain into a sherry glass. Dip four blueberries in simple syrup and roll in edible gold glitter to garnish.

Photograph by ###





A knockout of a digestif cocktail, this drink combines the rich, spicy notes of cognac with creamy sherry, as well as white and dark chocolate. It’s finished with a cocktail foam, usually made in a whipped-cream canister with egg whites, a balance of sweet components, acids and flavouring – in this case goji berries.

IN G R ED IEN TS ◆◆ 45ml Remy Martin VSOP cognac ◆◆ 20ml white chocolate liqueur ◆◆ 25ml cream sherry

◆◆ 3 dashes chocolate bitters ◆◆ Himalayan goji berry foam

Add all the ingredients in chilled Japanese mixing glass, fill it with ice, stir and strain into a cognac glass. Finish with the foam.

Photograph by ###



T H E I R G R E AT, G R E AT, G R A N D FAT H E R Having the wisdom and knowledge of a parent to guide you in a business is one thing. But imagine the invaluable advice you’d get from a grandparent, or even a great, great grandparent? Since 1853, we’ve learnt from our forefathers and have constantly built on their successes. Something you can appreciate in every glass of Hardys wine.


— PART 3 —







On the southern coast of Cambodia lies a laid-back little seaside town which is famous for one thing: its crab. Laura Millar investigates 88

RAISING SHELL: Fishermen empty their crab traps every morning in Kep, where the crustacean-rich waters make for an impressive daily haul

Photograph by ###



IVE O’CLOCK IN the morning is no-one’s favourite time of day, unless you’re just coming home from a night out – or happen to work in the fishing industry. So it’s no surprise that, as the first pinky-grey fingers of dawn steal through the sky over the South China Sea, the waters come alive with bobbing wooden boats, edging closer to the shores of Kep beach to start unloading their profitable cargo. The day before, the fishermen will have patiently baited a series of bamboo traps with dead fish, and prayed to Manimekhala, goddess of the ocean, that overnight they’ll have success. They needn’t worry. For as long as people can remember, there’s been an abundance of blue crab living and breeding in these waters, which feed off a particular type of seaweed that grows here, and which makes their flesh taste exceptionally sweet. As a result, in recent years, it’s made Kep a bit of a go-to foodie destination in Cambodia; people come here from miles around (even from the capital, Phnom Pehn, three hours’ drive away) to buy fresh seafood to cook themselves, dine out, or both, while the crabs are also exported to the US and Europe. As the morning progresses, the fishermen, who have been doing this for generations, wade through the water to open the traps. Inside are writhing, wriggling masses of crustaceans, with their distinctive, electric blue-coloured legs and claws, blue-and-grey speckled backs, and toothpaste-white bellies. Once their claws have been secured with elastic bands, they’ll be stored in baskets in the water to keep them fresh until they’re sold.

Market Price Kep’s market opens around 6am, when hungry housewives, local restaurateurs and crab shack owners head to the beach to start haggling for the wares. Here is where the division of labour starts: selling is done largely by women, dressed in distinctive, floppy-brimmed hats with neck-scarves attached to shield them from the fierce sun. By eight o’clock, the seafront is thronged with voluble people, gesticulating wildly, some shouting out prices, some shrieking ‘t’lay na!’ (‘too expensive!’), examining the goods – female crabs have roe inside them, but male crabs have meatier claws – and


WHERE TO GET YOUR KHMER CUISINE FIX IN THE UK Currently, there are only two Cambodian restaurants in Britain; one is Lemongrass in Camden, London (lemongrass-restaurant.co.uk), whose Phnom Penh-born owner, Thomas Tan, has been dishing up kampot pepper king prawns, fish amok and beef lok lak for nearly 30 years. The other is Angkorsoul (angkorsoul.co.uk), near Stockport, run by Cambodian-American chef Y Sok with her British husband, who also sells vintage vinyl downstairs. Expect to find Cambodian curries, noodle dishes and rice bowls.

filling up baskets. The price varies depending on the size; small ones go for around $6 a kilo, bigger ones for $9 a kilo. Periodically, the fishermen bring over huge nets of yet more crabs, which are poured out into plastic containers, their shells clacking rhythmically like falling dominoes as they cascade on top of each other. I’m gazing in awe at the whole scene, which can best be described as organised chaos. The crabs are the mainstay of this relatively compact market, but it sells almost everything else, from stinky durian fruit to underwear and kitchen equipment.

POT LUCK: [this image] Fresh crab on the boil at the market in Kep; [above left] Kep’s signature dish, fried blue crab with kampot pepper



Bag a table facing the water (like many of these restaurants, it’s built on stilts, right over in the sea) and order the fried squid with kampot pepper or fish amok.

Diamond Jasmine

A friendly, family owned business, whose highlights include curry crab, and prawns with kampot pepper. Photographs by [main] Ivoha/Alamy; [crab dish] Mark Andrews/Alamy

My effusive local guide, Sarath, explains that 30% of Kep’s population of around 28,000 people are fishermen. “They set traps for the crabs during the day,” he explains, “and at night they go in search of squid, shrimps, and other fish.” Some stall-holders sit in front of big buckets of live seafood, while others man charcoal grills where you can buy skewers of prawns, snapper, stingray – even shark. Many locals will take their purchases to one of several women who’ll kill and cook them on the spot. I try not to wince as I glimpse one, hard at work, calmly driving a metal spike through a crab’s central nervous system, before handing it over to a colleague, who plunges it into a vat of boiling water for 15 minutes. Groups of families are picnicking nearby, devouring the freshly cooked flesh

with rice and chilli sauce – for breakfast. Well, that’s one way to start the day… I wimp out and instead stuff my face with a spicy, deepfried fish pancake, followed by grilled banana and sticky rice, wrapped in a palm leaf.

Spice of Life Kep is an unassuming, chilled little place on the southernmost tip of Cambodia. There’s not much to do here, apart from swim, sunbathe, or eat, unless you can rouse yourself to visit the beautiful National Park, with its forested hiking and biking trails, or take a short boat trip to nearby Rabbit Island, a peaceful, sandy little enclave scattered with several bungalows and a couple of eateries. It became a favourite weekend resort of the colonial French in the early 1900s, →

Holy Crab

Slightly more upmarket than many of the other restaurants – and with prices to match. I recommend the crab soup with mushroom.

La Baraka

A bit of a Kep institution, this also sells western dishes (like burgers and pizza) but don’t miss the steamed crab amok, which comes with a creamy, coconutty sauce.

Chau Chau

A solid and reliable venue turning out the local mainstay of crab with kampot pepper, as well as other dishes like fried squid with lemongrass and curry prawns.


CATCH OF THE DAY: The abundance of superlative crab in Kep has turned the sleepy seaside town into a foodie destination




Cathay Pacific flies to Phnom Penh via Hong Kong from around £466 return (cathaypacific.com). Buses go from Phmom Penh to Kep from approximately $4 one way (visit tourismcambodia.com for details). ABOUTAsia Travel (aboutasiatravel.com) offers highquality tailor-made packages to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam, including expert guides, private transfers, and accommodation.

Photographs [both] by Hemis/AWL

→ who named it Kep-sur-Mer and built themselves some rather fabulous beachfront mansions, which were then appropriated by wealthy Cambodians after the French left in 1953. Today they lie in ruins, after their destruction in the 1970s by the Khmer Rouge. The rural drive here from Phnom Penh takes us past lush, green rice fields, populated by the odd lumbering water buffalo and wide, flat salt pans (salt production is a big industry here). Random cows periodically wander into the road – “we call them Cambodian tractors!” laughs Sarath, as they’re used for ploughing. Kep’s main feature is its mile-long, curving, sandy beach, lined with the prerequisite palm trees. Behind it, in a line on a street known as The Strip, sit a range of

informal crab shacks, bars and restaurants, all of which vie, with different degrees of friendly aggression, for your business. Each one has the town’s signature dish, fried blue crab with green kampot pepper, on their menu, though some do it better than others. On my first night, I head for a drink at The Democrat, amusingly decorated with pictures of all the US Democratic presidents. I order crabcakes with my beer; for $5, I get a plate of three large ones, the meat fleshy and substantial, not padded out with any other ingredients. Next door is Kimly, which also sells prized mud crabs, which are rarer, and caught in the local river. But, after chowing down on some fresh summer rolls and grilled chilli squid, I go for the main event. The blue crab arrives partially dismantled, but I still have to attack the claws with metal crackers, easing the sweet, delicious flesh out onto the plate. The peppercorn sauce is a tangy contrast; I bite into a whole corn, which is intense and full of mild fire. The next day Sarath takes me to one of the nearby peppercorn plantations, to see how kampot pepper grows. Kampot is a bigger, busier, backpackers’ town, just 20 miles from Kep, and Sothy’s sustainably run, eco-certified pepper farm lies between the two. It’s only been revived relatively recently, as many of these farms were also abandoned during the Khmer Rouge years. Pepper vines

grow up poles, explains the farm’s genial owner Sothy, on the rich, quartz-infused red soil of the elevated land. After three years, the peppercorns are harvested between March and May, when they have turned red, and have a mild and sweet flavour. Farms like this produce several different types: black pepper, which is when the red peppercorns are dried in the sun for several days; white pepper, which is when the red peppercorns are boiled until their outer husk falls off, and which has the strongest flavour; and green pepper, which are unripe peppercorns, generally used within a week of being picked. Kampot pepper is considered to be among the finest in the world, and has been awarded Protected Geographical Indication status, the equivalent of DOC (for goods like champagne or parma ham). About 70% of it is exported, mainly to Europe. Later on, I stroll back along the seafront at dusk. I pass the huge ‘Welcome to Kep’ statue of a blue crab waving one of its claws jauntily at visitors and passers-by and a profusion of small beach huts to reach the white sculpture of a woman looking out to sea, apparently waiting for her wandering husband to return to her. In the distance, more boats line the horizon, the silhouettes of their crew standing out against the setting sun. Tomorrow will bring yet more of these crustaceans; and they’re definitely worth getting up early for. f

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On a trip to Jura, Hannah Summers finds that comtĂŠ, the mild, nutty French hard cheese, is the result of hard graft, longstanding tradition, and some magnificent cows

Photograph by ###






warren of pipes, metal and peculiar design touches, including a ‘France’s sexiest farmer’ calendar, a risqué collection of bare-chested French men posing with bales of hay. Florian, the farm’s twenty-something co-owner, could join them. While the room echoes with the mooing, puffing and gushing of the afternoon’s milking session, Florian explains the beginnings of Comté’s life: the cheese was originally invented as a way to preserve cow's milk all the way back in the 13th century; today, 400 litres of his cows’ milk makes one giant 40kg wheel. “But everyone involved in the process has to respect the rules of Comté’s production,” he tells me. Rules? It all becomes clear in the fruitière – essentially a cheese-making factory, and a giant metal hut where milk is converted into 40 wheels of Comté a day. Kitted out in a hair net, lab-style coat and booties, I wander around gigantic vats filled with ripening,

bubbling milk. Frédéric, chief Comté maker, dips his hand and forearm into the liquid and swills it around – one of the aforementioned rules – a move that gives the cheese its own distinct flavour, as his personal bacteria is fast-tracked into the yellow-tinged concoction. I know. Curds ensue, chunks of which start to float to the surface, and a huge vacuum soon sucks the lumpy liquid on to its next stage. It’s squidged by what looks like an airport-security machine, and emerges on the other side as a wobbly, 10cm-high wheel. Don’t worry, it’s not always this gross. And technical. In the cellar of the fruitière, Frédéric shows us the results of his hard graft. Lined up on pine racks are hundreds and hundreds wheels of Comté – some ‘young’, their bodies bouncy, elastic and deliciouslooking, and others ‘old’, their appearance flaky and dark amber. Here I witness the next stage of Frédéric’s work. He stands in front of

Photograph by [CHATEAU CHALON] Realimage/Alamy; [MILK] Laurent Cheviet

LORIOUS, MOLTEN CHEESE plummets from Norbert’s wooden spoon into his bubbling pan. His restaurant’s kitchen – cluttered, cramped and dimly lit – is filled with the heady scent of booze-infused Comté. He adds another glug of white wine, stirs again, and chucks a sprig of herbs into the golden liquid. “British people may complain that they have a headache when they don’t fancy sex,” he tells me in broken English and interesting gestures, “but here in Jura, they say they have bad digestion. This herb will stop that!” Chef, unofficial doctor, and potentially disgruntled lover, Norbert is just one of the Comté enthusiasts I’m set to meet on my trip through France’s Jura region, the bucolic setting of the cheese’s production. Buried in the east of the country, and nudging the borders of Switzerland, it’s an expanse of fluoro-green up-and-down pastures, cute, sleepy French villages and Comté pilgrims. Yes, such a thing exists: I am one of them. As a Londoner, my experience of Comté had been threefold: joining long queues at Borough Market to buy the capital’s fanciest cheese toastie; drunken Christmas fridge raids and, yep, I’ve been to my fair share of weddings where a wheel of Comté has made up the lower tier of the happy couples’ ‘cake’. But where had it all come from? In all honestly I hadn’t really thought about it before. Under a moody sky dropping generous rain, I find myself in a field of cows. Not just any cows, mind, but Montbéliarde cows. These inquisitive hunks – with formidable udders and ginger-tinged coats – make up 95% of France’s Comté cheese production, their milk so special that they live the pampered life of a hip-hop star, albeit with a little less Courvoisier and a higherquality lawn. As far as farm animals go, I’m in the company of cow royalty. They sway into a Chippendale formation, stand obligingly for pictures, and soon start their slow trudge towards the milkery, a

PASTURES NEW: [this image] Château Chalon typifies the pretty landscapes of the Jura region; [below] the Comté-making process includes stirring the milk by hand, and meticulously inspecting every single wheel

the wheels in a ‘back off’, arms-crossed stance (and at €400 per wheel I don’t really blame him), not as a bodyguard, but a cheese turner. He salts the skin, and returns to the cellar every day to flip the Comté. It’s a process that – you guessed it – adds to the flavour. The final stage, though, is the most visually impressive. A short drive away is one of Jura’s Comté aging cellars, Fort Saint Antoine. The cold defunct military fort is now crammed with never-ending aisles and towering bookcase-style racks of outrageously smelly, weighty wheels. Robots glide up and down the aisles, turning the cheese every few weeks, nursing it to its perfect maturity. It’s here that I meet Jean-François, one of the region’s most revered dairy farmers – the Crocodile Dundee of the cow-milking world – and a man who likes to refer to himself in the third person. He may be dressed for the Outback, but I realise that Tas (his preferred nickname) is a softly spoken Comté encyclopedia. “Tas gets up at 5am to milk the cows,” he tells me as we wander through the Comté catacomb, his cowboy boots clicking on the stone, his weathered hands pointing out green labels that prove the cheese is legit. “Tas believes you’re doomed by Brexit.” It’s clear that Comté is an obsession in these parts. They live, breathe, and I’m afraid to say, smell of, this cheese. I can see why. My first tasting is Comté in its purest form – no fancy recipes, just straight up chunks arranged in a fan shape across a plate. This is when the huge variations become clear: a light colour indicates a winter cheese,


Photograph by ###

with the cows eating hay. A darker cheese indicates a grass-fed cow, while a flaky texture shows the wheel has been racking up the years for a while. It ranges from earthy and creamy to gritty, almost vinegary, in my mouth. In fact – like with whisky, wine and water – the taste, as much as rules and routine come in, is very much down to your own palate, one that may pick out tastes of petrol, chocolate or mushrooms. If one thing’s for certain it’s that each golden nugget is delicious. Addictively so. After slipping in a few more chunks – I’m resembling that podgy mouse in Cinderella – I go to meet Christian Paccard, a chef whose career has seen him feed Hillary Clinton her fair share of dairy. He thrusts a glass of white Jura wine into my hand and starts throwing together delicious cheesy dishes while Bryan Adams croons his ‘best of’ hits in the background. What follows is a cardiacchallenging feast of Comté: deep-fried hunks which crunch on the first touch, then ooze in my mouth; a tarte flambé (essentially a French pizza, sans tomate) which is liberally strewn with creamy mushrooms, onions, courgette and handfuls of Comté (it turns gooey in some places, crispy in others – unreal); and a salad that’s more fat and fried carb than leaves. That’s just for starters. Back at Norbert’s rustic restaurant La Petite Échelle, I wait for my boozy fondue. Sausages of salami dangle over my head, candle smoke wafts around the room and a dog lingers by my side longing for a snack. Norbert presents the vat like it’s something sacred, and I lean over, dunking wodges of crusty bread into the stringy, tangy and viscous Comté. Sublime. I can’t see it magically curing any of the “not tonight, I’ve got a headache” issues Norbert brought up – but when it tastes this good, who cares? f


COOK WITH COMTÉ You’ve learned how it’s made, now you can see how to use Comté in two festive recipes. Here, its subtle, nutty flavour enlivens brussels sprouts and potato skins


OMTÉ IS A cheese with exceptional diversity of flavour. So this year, why not whip up some delicious Comté cheese side dishes to accompany your Christmas dinner? Lovingly crafted by chef Laura Pope, the brussels sprout and Comté gratin recipe is an utterly delicious twist on a very festive vegetable. The sprouts are baked with pancetta and thyme and then topped with Comté and breadcrumbs to create a wonderful addition to the Christmas dinner table.



The gluten-free, twice-baked potatoes with Comté and spring onions are another festive treat, which puts a twist on a popular and well-loved side dish. The potatoes are baked, then the fluffy insides are mixed with soured cream, spring onions and Comté, put back into the skins and baked until they are crispy and golden. They can even be made in advance and frozen, to give you one less thing to think about over the festive period. ●


BRUSSELS SPROUT & COMTÉ GRATIN Serves 4 ◆◆ 500g brussels sprouts, trimmed ◆◆ 4 slices pancetta, cut into 1cm pieces ◆◆ Leaves from a few sprigs of thyme

(fresh or dried) ◆◆ 1 clove garlic, crushed ◆◆ 100ml single cream ◆◆ 40g fresh breadcrumbs ◆◆ 25g butter, cold and shaved ◆◆ 100g Comté (aged 12 months), cut

into small cubes


ABOVE: The mild but complex flavour of Comté makes it a great cheese for cooking with

1 Steam or boil the sprouts until just tender. Drain well and chop. 2 Put the pancetta in a heavy pan over a medium heat and cook until the fat has melted and it is starting to brown, then add the garlic and thyme. Cook for a further 30 seconds, then add the sprouts, stir to mix together and season with salt and pepper. Stir again and cook for a few minutes. 3 Heat the oven to 200°C. Butter a baking dish, add the sprouts, pancetta and two thirds of the Comté and spread the mixture out evenly in the dish. Pour over the cream and then sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, butter and remaining cubes of Comté. 4 Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the breadcrumbs and Comté are golden, and the cream is bubbling. Leave to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

TWICE-BAKED POTATOES WITH COMTÉ & SPRING ONIONS Serves 10 ◆◆ 10 medium baking potatoes, washed

and dried ◆◆ A little oil, (vegetable or sunflower) ◆◆ 100g Comté (aged 12 months),

grated ◆◆ 120ml (8 tbsp) sour cream ◆◆ 15g butter, room temperature ◆◆ 2 spring onions, green ends

discarded, white parts finely chopped


1 Heat the oven to 180°C fan. Rub the potatoes lightly with a little oil and bake them for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the skin is crisp and brown and the flesh is soft. Leave them until cool enough to handle. 2 Cut each potato in half, scoop out the flesh (leave reasonably thick walls, about 1cm) and, using a fork, mix the flesh with the rest of the ingredients, seasoning with salt and pepper as needed. Fill each potato skin with the mixture. 3 When ready to cook, heat the oven to 190° fan and cook the potatoes for about 20 minutes until they are hot through, then turn on the grill for a further 2 to 5 minutes until the tops are crispy and speckled with brown.



BUBBLE VISION We’ve got bubbly, newschool whisky and fortified wines to show off this festive season


Fancy an alternative to the big-name champagne this Christmas and new year? Try one of these show-stopping sparkling wines: 1 TREVISIOL L. E FIGLI PROSECCO DI VALDOBBIADENE, Valdobbiadene, Italy. Prosecco isn’t just for summer spritzes – this is a cracking example of Italy’s best-loved sparkling wine, made with glera and chardonnay grapes. 11.5%, 75cl; £15.50, bbr.com 2 CHAMPAGNE GASTON CHIQUET, Champagne, France. A grower champagne, meaning that the estate makes its products solely from its own grapes, rather than buying from others. Light and crisp. 12.5%, 75cl; £28.95, bbr.com 3 THE BOLNEY WINE ESTATE BLANC DE NOIRS, Haywards Heath, England. English sparklers are usually made with champagne grapes. This one’s a blanc de noirs, meaning it’s all pinot noir. 13%, 75cl; £32.99, bolneywineestate.com


4 L’EXTRA PAR LANGLOIS BRUT NV CRÉMANT DE LOIRE, Loire, France. Crémants – especially from the Crémant de Loire appelation – are a great and wallet-friendly alternative to a big-name champagne. Try this fresh, clean blend of chardonnay and chenin blanc. 12.5%, 75cl; £12.99, majestic.co.uk 5 CAMPO VIEJO CAVA BRUT RESERVA, Logroño, Spain. You might recognise that

orange label; Campo Viejo’s cava represents a first foray into sparkling from the innovative Spanish winemaker. It’s fresh, elegant and gently aromatic – a great option, especially for the price. 11.5%. 75cl; £9.79, drinksupermarket.com

SPARKLING FORM: Big-name champagnes are often fantastic, but if you want to go off the beaten track this year when you’re toasting Christmas or NYE, shopping around can bring the price down or open up some options you might not have thought of. Grower champagnes can often be full of unexpected character, while crémants (French sparklers not from Champagne), proseccos and cavas, when well sourced, can be just as exciting as a label you’re familiar with.


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CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A vineyard in Samos; Mike Horn, explorer; a Metaxa barrel


You might have tried Metaxa before, but the brand’s Metaxa 12 Stars expression is the Greek spirit as you’ve never drunk it before – perfect for a Christmas tipple


HEN YOU THINK of Christmas spirits, your mind might automatically drift to a glass of whisky next to the fire; a cognac with your Christmas pudding; a port with a meticulously curated cheese board. But this year, why not go Greek with Metaxa? And with the relaunched, carefully crafted Metaxa 12 Stars, there’s never been a better time to discover for yourself why the spirit is so popular in its home country, and why it’s becoming ever-more-so here in the UK. Costas Raptis, the brand’s Metaxa Master, responsible for the spirit’s production from start to finish, is only the fifth person to hold the title since the brand’s inception in 1888. With a long and distinguished career to date, Raptis is the perfect pair of hands to create the spirit, made from a blend of barrel-aged wine distillates, the finest aromatic Muscat wines from the Greek island of Samos and with a secret bouquet of May roses and Mediterranean herbs.


All of these facets add unique and complex layers to the smooth, refined Metaxa 12 Stars. The spirit pays homage to The House of Metaxa’s heritage, craftsmanship and boldness, shaped by its pioneering founder, Spyros Metaxa – a man who shared the same values of courage, exploration and authenticity as 12 Stars’ recently appointed brand ambassador and renowned explorer Mike Horn. The spirit is best appreciated on the rocks but also perfectly at home as long drink with ginger ale. Its unique flavours take the drinker on a sensory journey of silky and rich tastes and aromas of dried fruits, chocolate, coffee, spice liquorice, citrus and more. The result is a spirit with the richness of a cognac, the freshness of a vermouth and the complexity of a whisky, but which is quite unlike any of them. ● Discover Metaxa 12 Stars with Mike Horn at dontdrinkexplore.com, follow @metaxa.official on Instagram, @METAXA_official on Twitter, or search Metaxa on Facebook

WHAT’S IN THE BOX A perfect Christmas gift Want to make a statement this Christmas? If someone you know deserves a truly special gift this year, make a bottle of Metaxa 12 Stars the first thing on your Christmas shopping list. Not only will they get to taste this carefully balanced, rich and complex spirit, but it comes in a beautiful gift box as meticulously put together as the bottle itself and the spirit within. Happy sipping... Metaxa 12 Stars is available to buy at Waitrose stores nationwide, priced at £30. Find out more about the range at metaxa.com

1 BRUICHLADDICH THE CLASSIC LADDIE, Islay, Scotland. A historic distillery reinvented by the Progressive Hebridean Distillers group in 2001. A rich, complex and unpeated Islay whisky from the same people who make The Botanist Gin. 50%, 70cl; £38.95, masterofmalt.com 2 RAASAY WHILE WE WAIT 3RD RELEASE, Isle of Raasay, Scotland. R&B Distillers has just opened the first legal distillery on Raasay, after a history of bootlegging. The ‘While We Wait’ series previews the malts it’ll be releasing in years to come. 46%, 70cl; £56.95, raasaydistillery.com 3 HUDSON BABY BOURBON, Gardiner, New York, USA. Not all bourbon comes from Kentucky – this premium bourbon is made in the Hudson Valley with New

York corn. It’s the first NY whiskey since Prohibition ended. 46%, 35cl; £31.95, thewhiskyexchange.com 4 KAVALAN CLASSIC SINGLE MALT, Yilan County, Taiwan. The first and only Taiwanese distillery, Kavalan has been producing outstanding malts since its opening in 2005. 40%, 70cl; £54.45, thewhiskyexchange.com

MALT OF THE EARTH: While many Scotch distilleries have been around for centuries – and US whiskey is so rooted in the country’s history that the term ‘brand name’ comes from distillers marking the top of their barrels to demarcate the authenticity of their product – there are new distillers popping up all the time in this revitalised industry. As well as new scotch producers, there are waves of new-school distillers in US states and, increasingly, across East Asia.

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1 BELSAZAR RED VERMOUTH, Baden, Germany. Pinot noir and muskateller-based wines from Germany are the base for this rich, sweetly spiced vermouth, which also includes fruit brandy and grape must. 18%, 75cl; £27.25; ocado.com 2 XECO FINO SHERRY, Jerez, Spain. A London collective of sherry enthusiasts, XECO is trying to breathe new life into sherry by working with producers in Jerez and bottling them. 15%, 75cl; £15.95, masterofmalt.com

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3 SANDEMAN 10 YEAR OLD TAWNY PORT, Quinta do Seixo, Portugal. A classic tawny from the Douro Valley – rich, with tons of dried-fruit notes. Great with your cheese board. 20%, 75cl; £19.95, slurp.co.uk


Photograph by ###

IT’S WINE, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT: They’re a favourite at Christmas, but fortified wines – aperitifs and digestifs made by blending wine with spirits, botanicals and sweet elements – are incredibly versatile. Try a sherry and tonic, vermouth and soda, or a port and brandy.

FRUIT OF THE FORAGE Searching for a gin that’s truly representative of its terroir? Look no further than The Botanist, made with botanicals from Islay


HE HEBRIDEAN ISLAND of Islay is known for many things – peated scotch whisky, possibly, above all else. Historically, it’s not been known for its gin. That is, until now. Over the past decade or so, The Progressive Bruichladdich Distillery has changed that, and in the wavewashed, weather-beaten landscape of the historic island, a spirit has captured the landscape like none before it. The Botanist Gin is its name, and its unique flavours are putting Islay on the gin map, as well as the scotch one, creating a unique spirit that has all the rich complexities of a London Dry gin, but which distils and infuses a piece of an environment that’s like no other,


resulting in a totally one-off product. That’s because the rugged isle of Islay happens to be full to bursting with bountiful herbs, flowers and botanicals that, when infused together with some more classic gin botanicals, create a spirit that tastes a little like what you know, but charts new and exciting territory, too. It’s clear before you’ve even tasted it: on the nose, woodland notes, menthol, honey and flowers give a sense of what’s to come, before citrus and thistle join them on the palate. Many gins carry the ‘London Dry’ tag – a description that comes from the inclusion of core botanicals including juniper and coriander seeds. This means they’re reflective of their history, but



not necessarily instilled with a sense of place. That’s why The Botanist is so special – it is, largely speaking, a oneisland gin; 22 of its 31 in total are native to the island and hand-foraged by The Botanist’s team of botanical scientists. They’re infused into a liquid that’s not shipped in from afar, but made via ‘simmer slow distillation’ on Islay in a pot still known as Ugly Betty, as old and world-worn as the island’s rocky beaches and heather-strewn hills. The Botanist is, by nature, a gin that’s made to be experimented with; while the gin is equally at home in a gin and tonic as in a martini, its complex flavours make it a perfect testing ground for

professionals and keen home bartenders alike. You could try making The Botanist Bramble, with Aelder liqueur, lemon and sugar syrup; or keeping it simple with The Botanist and Tonic, adding a foraged garnish, like a seasonal douglas fir. But, equally, you could just pour yourself a glass of The Botanist, inhale, taste, and let your nose and palate be your guide. The possibilities with this, one of the jewels in Islay’s crown, are endless. ● The Botanist Gin is stocked at premium retailers nationwide. For more information, visit thebotanist.com, or you can follow the brand on Twitter or Instagram: search @TheBotanistGin, #TheBotanistGin, #ForagedMixology or #WildDrinks

CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: A bartender making a foraged martini; head distiller Adam Hannett; the 22 Islay botanicals; The Bruichladdich distillery on Islay

A MATCH MADE IN SCOTLAND Not only does The Botanist provide fertile ground for cocktail makers; it’s perfect for pairing with food, too. That’s why it’s the perfect match for Mac & Wild, the restaurant group that celebrates Scottish food and drink, serving high-quality game from Scotland and contemporary versions of traditional recipes. Running all winter, The Botanist Gin has teamed up with Mac & Wild to launch the group’s Hunting Lodges, serving brunch, lunch, drinks and special The Botanist cocktails. For more info: macandwild.com




Snow Queen Vodka’s new Enigma Edition is a complex, subtle and floral flavoured vodka – and it’s released just in time to make the perfect Christmas gift this year


N THE HISTORY of cocktails, there can’t be a simpler one than the Churchill Martini. The drink was a favourite of the eponymous prime minister, and it entailed not mixing in any dry vermouth, but merely glancing at a bottle of it


while he stirred the gin over ice. The reason the Churchill Martini is gin-based and not built with vodka is that vodka was thought to have less flavour. That is until now, and the release of Snow Queen’s luxurious new Enigma Edition. The spirit’s beautiful, clean and lightly floral notes – the result of carefully blending lavender, rose and vanilla after distillation – is more than a match for the bold botanical flavours of a London dry gin, which is why the brand is calling it a ‘vodka martini in a bottle’, with no need for the addition of vermouth. The three botanicals have been carefully chosen to balance perfectly in the finished spirit. Unlike many flavoured vodkas on the market, it makes its mark with a pared-

back quality: it doesn’t overburden you with a particular flavour, but gently spikes the palate and lingers on the finish – think of the elegance of a perfume, rather than the direct flavour of a cordial. It represents a first for Snow Queen, which has made its name in crisp, pure distilled wheat vodka, and the brand has made sure its debut in flavoured spirits is as high in quality as its reputation suggests. ● Snow Queen Vodka Enigma Edition is available at Soho Wine & Spirit, Harrods and Hedonism. For more information, go to snowqueenvodka.com or follow the brand on social media at @SnowQueenVodka




If you’ve travelled to N17 lately, you might have noticed something big happening: Tottenham’s grand old stadium, White Hart Lane, is a pile of rubble, and the skeleton of a brand-new, bigger and more illustrious ground is rising from its ashes. As a club growing in global appeal and with football’s audience expanding all the time, the club’s ownership sensed an opportunity to make a mark on the food offering, and has followed up the unveiling of three generations of the Roux family

Food and drink industry news to keep you going till the new year

by swooping to sign three more chefs: lifelong Tottenham fan Chris Galvin (pictured), Bryn Williams, and Dipna Anand. The chefs will all take turns cooking at The H Club, the restaurant of the club’s On Four hospitality complex, meaning that you can trade in a half-time balti pie for a multi-course, fine-diningstyle banquet before the game, with a Chef’s Table and Player’s Table, too. For those who prefer the terraces, there’s even rumours of the matchday food being overhauled, too. Check out fdsm.co/chris-galvin for an exclusive interview with Chris


NEXT OF SKIN Photograph (Lavazza calendar) by Platon

We’re big fans of Chapel Down, the Kent wine producer that’s been at the forefront of the burgeoning English wine scene. After experimenting with single-vineyard wines and releasing a grape brandy, the winery has now gone a step further, using grape skins to distil its first gin and vodka. Priced at £35 and £32 respectively, they’re available at Majestic stores and online. chapeldown.com

Since its inception in 1993, the release of the Lavazza calendar always gets the food and drink world talking. In partnership with acclaimed photographers, Lavazza has helped shine a light on sustainability issues in the food world and beyond. This year, it’s been shot by British photographer Platon, who’s captured famous personalities involved in initiatives that serve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals for 2030. Photo number two features iconic chef Massimo Bottura (pictured) who heads up Food for Soul, a charity fighting food waste and hunger. lavazza.com



A veg-forward diet is becoming more mainstream by the day, and following in Pret’s footsteps in launching veggie-only locations is Rosa’s Thai Cafe. The group has taken the bold decision to go totally veggie at its flagship Soho restaurant (renamed Rosa’s Thai Veggie), meaning there’ll be no meat on the menu at all. Making up the shortfall will be some brand-new veggie dishes to add to classics like its much-loved pumpkin red curry. rosasthaicafe.com

DINNER WINNER We were there in late November to see Killian Crowley crowned as the UK and Ireland winner of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2017. The awards, which take place annually, aim to boost the profile of talented young cooks not currently heading up kitchens. Crowley, who cooks at Aniar restaurant in Galway, Ireland, will represent the UK and Ireland at the finals in Milan next year. finedininglovers.com

As the deadline for entries for the 2018 Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year award approaches, the organisers have shared some of the best festive photography received over the course of last year’s competition, like this one from Joan Ransley, entitled ‘Love Hearts’. Feeling inspired? Check the website for details of how to enter this year. pinkladyfoodphotographeroftheyear.com


NEW BREW Ginger beer is now by no means confined to the mixer category, and with more and more experimentation on the part of large and small brewers, alcoholic ginger beer is on the rise. Now, ginger beer brewer Crabbie’s has created the world’s first ginger IPA, blending its patented recipe with a red IPA from brewer Sadlers. The result is like nothing you’ve tasted before – a great warming tipple for Christmas. crabbies.co.uk

Photographs by 9Street Smart) Justine Trickett; (Wiltons) Michael Paul




WHAT’S IN STORE The KitchenAid Experience Store is the perfect place for food-obsessed shoppers and keen cooks, and we’re offering a big prize for a lucky reader this festive season


HE WORD “ICONIC” gets thrown around liberally in today’s fast-changing world. But if one kitchenware brand could be said to live up to that description – and one that’s stood the test of time – it’s KitchenAid. Since producing its first stand mixer in 1919, KitchenAid has redefined the way home cooks think about ergonomic home technology. And since the “Model H” introduced the flagship stand mixer’s patented silhouette, it’s become a brand known for its sleek looks as well as its great features, not to mention its design input from top-level chefs. All this is why, when KitchenAid opened its flagship Experience Store on Wigmore Street – its first in the UK, no less – it makes sense that the brand would set it up to provide an immersive glimpse into everything that makes KitchenAid the choice of

ambitious, enthusiastic home cooks and professionals alike. The store’s masterclasses and kitchen layouts show the products at their best. Want to cook the KitchenAid way? Head to the London Experience Store this festive season, where the brand is running hands-on classes including Christmas Canapés on 5 December, Christmas Edible Gifts on 16 December, and Boxing Day Leftovers on 20 December. And we’ve teamed up with the brand to offer a very special prize this Christmas. Look right for details. ● The KitchenAid Experience Store is located at 98 Wigmore Street, W1U 3RE. Find out more or book a class at kitchenaid.co.uk/store, or by calling 020 7935 2575. Follow the brand on social media at @kitchenaiduk



We’ve teamed up with KitchenAid to give away an Iconic Fridge in your choice of colour, as well as tickets for two to a cooking class at the store. To enter, just answer a simple question. WIN Enter at fdsm.co/kitchenaid




Londoners, clear your diaries: to celebrate National Pizza Day on 9 February, we’re throwing a massive party at Hawker House the night before – and you’re invited


T MAY SURPRISE you to know that pizza gets eaten an estimated five million times a year. It may also surprise you to know that it’s not all by us at foodism (although we do our best to make as big a dent as we can). We’re continuing in that vein early next year – on Friday 9 February, we’re throwing the nation’s biggest celebration of pizza, with hundreds, if not thousands, of pizzerias in London and all around the UK offering 30% discounts on pizza, as well as one-off specials, from high-street chains you know to independent restaurants you might not. Joining in the fun is as easy as you like – all you have to do is head on over to nationalpizzaday.co.uk, choose the restaurant you want to go to from a massive interactive


Pizza Map, enter your details and download your voucher. In doing so, you’ll be signed up to the foodism newsletter – you lucky thing. And if you’re London-based, we’ve got more good news: the night before, on Thursday 8 February, we’re putting on a shindig of our own at Street Feast’s Hawker House, a massive converted warehouse and night market in Canada Water. We’ll be joined by 1,500 hungry guests and some of London’s premier pizzaiolos, all of whom will be there to celebrate this god among foods. To say we’re excited for the inaugural National Pizza Day is an understatement – and we’re sure you are too. We’ll see you at Hawker House in February. Come hungry. f Find out more at nationalpizzaday.co.uk

THE KEY INFO If you want to come to the event on 8 February, you’ll find the link to buy tickets at nationalpizzaday.co.uk. £15 gets you entry and two drinks. Want to join the party? Of course you do. If you’re a hungry customer, you’ll find all the venues offering discounts on the website on our Pizza Map. More than 500 restaurants around the UK are already involved – if you run a restaurant and want to get involved, all you need to do is head to the website, where you’ll find all the information you need to sign up.












4 MARCH Enjoy the magic of OVO with a premium hospitality experience at the Royal Albert Hall

Call: 020 3036 9062 royalalberthall.com


COOK LIKE A PRO Whether you’re a keen home cook or you’re looking for a career in food, one of Le Cordon Bleu London’s courses might be just what you need this January

I Photograph by [Main] Philipvile; [oven] Emilie Burgat; [dish] Alan Donaldson

F YOU HAVE a passion for food, then Le Cordon Bleu London might have just what you’re looking for this coming New Year. The worldleading school offers everything from gourmet short courses through to professional certificates – not to mention comprehensive Diplomas in cuisine, pâtisserie, boulangerie, nutrition, wine and culinary management. For those of you that are strapped

for time during January, the iconic school also offers intensive options that allow for a selection of their acclaimed culinary arts programmes to be completed in just a fraction of the time. Some of the courses that could kick-start your culinary arts career in 2018 include the Diplôme de Cuisine, which will equip you with classical culinary techniques; and the Diplôme de Pâtisserie, for those who favour the

art of pastry, and want to develop their creative flair. The school’s most prestigious programme – the Grand Diplôme®, which is respected across the hospitality industry – is also available this January. It combines the art of the two disciplines, and is perfect for those with a passion for both cuisine and pastry. Or, for those that fancy themselves to be a bit of a baker, Le Cordon Bleu London also offers the Diplôme de Boulangerie, which will provide you with the classical and practical skills of boulangerie arts, kitchen management, and gastronomy. So if you're looking to kick-start your career this January, register for a course at Le Cordon Bleu London today! ● Visit cordonbleu.edu/London for more information, or call 020 7400 3900. You can also follow Le Cordon Bleu London at @LeCordonBleuLDN on Twitter and Facebook, or @LeCordonBleuLondon on Instagram





Michelin’s Pub of the Year is a great find, as is the village where it’s located, discovers Tom Powell The Pointer, Brill Considering its location off the beaten track in the bucolic Buckinghamshire countryside, (as well as its close proximity to London), it’d be pretty easy to pass a gem like The Pointer by on your way to a weekend in Oxford, the Cotswolds or somewhere further afield. But here's why you absolutely shouldn't. This intimate village boozer with rooms has recently been named Michelin Pub of the Year 2018, and a lot of that pedigree is earned by dint of the fact that its food comes straight from the farm of owners David and Fiona Howden, which is situated 15 miles away in the equally picturesque town of Charlbury, Oxfordshire. Once you’ve been guided through the

Keen to explore more of the UK's tastiest destinations? Go to foodism.co.uk for food and drink guides from around the country, and further afield, too

village pub frontage, ducking below beams and peering through the lively kitchen pass, you’ll find yourself in a cosy converted barn out back, chomping your way through a carefully balanced menu that pushes pub grub to its absolute limit without making anything seem inaccessible. From the local sourdough and beef dripping butter at the start of the meal to the foamy toffee sauce on the medjool date pudding, everything here is bold, simple, and executed to perfection. But before you galumph it all down your gullet at once, bear in mind that The Pointer Farm is most famous for its pork and longhorn beef. Do with that information what you will. f Rooms from £120 per night. 27 Church Street, Brill, HP18 9RT; thepointerbrill.co.uk

BRILL ◆◆ Population: 1,141 ◆◆ Area: Aylesbury,


It's only around an hour and a half away from London, but this pretty little village is a suitably scenic base for a weekend out of town, with a surrounding area that's ripe for exploring, too.





FARMSHOP BICESTER Here’s a little game I like to play: say the words ‘Bicester Village’ to a Londoner, then look directly into their eyes and try to gauge the feelings the mere mention of the UK’s biggest designer outlet centre conjures in their mind. In some, there’s a glint of joy that can only be derived from bargains of the 40% discount variety; for others, it’s a moment of hollow, grey-eyed horror as they’re transported back to the

Although it’s home to only a few more than 1,000 people, the village of Brill has a thriving food scene. Head to the farmers’ market outside The Pointer on a Saturday morning and you’ll see it at its best. This hive of local suppliers selling seasonal, artisanal produce is the final piece of the farm-to-fork jigsaw set up by the Howden family since they got hold of the pub back in 2012. If you fancy a tipple to take home, meanwhile, there’s also Vale Brewery a mile out of the village, which is rough, ready and home to a very well-stocked bottle shop with a distinct, pungent aroma of ale – which we’ve decided is probably a very good thing indeed. Church Street, Brill, HP18 9RT




The best way from London is by car, and it’s around an hour-and-a-half drive. Alternatively, get the train to Haddenham then catch a bus. For more foodie destinations head to foodism.co.uk

Photographs by [The Pointer} Mark Lord Photography; [Farmshop] Soho House; [pig] Simon Narracott


queue for the Prada concession store at 10am on a Saturday two weeks before Christmas. Nowadays, I get a lot less of that sullen, washed-out response, probably because Soho House has set up shop with a 240-seater café-restaurant right in the middle of things. Combining a menu of simple, hearty British pleasures and bringing £8 cocktails to the party, it’s a more than adequate salve to an afternoon of elbowsout, eyes-on-the-prize Christmas shopping. Consider it an early gift from us to you. 50 Pingle Drive, Bicester, OX26 6WD; farmshopbicester.com

For the last 13 years, David Howden and rearing, farming and butchery whizz Jon Wilkins have been building up a thriving herd of English longhorn cattle and rare-breed British pigs at The Pointer Farm. So, not content with filling the pub’s menu with the good stuff, they set up a butchers next door that sells joints of meat, locally sourced charcuterie and more, as well as supplying two local primary schools with lunches each day. You’ll also find the very best of the rest of the Aylesbury area’s farm produce in store, which means your home cooking game will be right, er, on point. 24 Church Street, Brill, HP18 9RT; thepointerbrill.co.uk


CENTRE FORWARD Fans of Japanese culture rejoice: Japan Centre’s new flagship store is now open on Panton Street, bringing you great shopping and sampling just in time for Christmas


INCE 1976, SOHO’S Japan Centre has stood proudly as an allencompassing destination for artefacts of Japan’s bountiful food culture. From imported sake to fresh sushi and sashima, china bowls to dry


food products and folded steel chef’s knives – there’s hardly an element of Japanese eating that’s not represented totally authentically on its shelves. You only have to enter Japan Centre’s Shaftesbury Avenue store to see how popular it is, with Japanese Londoners and western shoppers alike. And with the food and drink of Japan riding a wave of new-found appreciation among diners in the capital, the opening of its flagship store on Panton Street is a godsend for those looking for authentic products from the nation. But the second site is more than just an extension of the first; it takes the specialist side of the shopping experience to new heights, immersing you in a world of Japanese flavours and experiences through different rooms. The Sake Room will allow you to taste,

compare and learn about different examples of the Japanese rice wine. The Miso Room, as it sounds, will give home cooks some grounding in miso, the hugely popular paste that lends many Japanese dishes their umami properties; and the Tea Room will allow shoppers to buy loose-leaf and bagged Japanese teas by the gram. Across three rooms, experts will be on hand to shed some light on the finer points and intricacies of the products on offer. That’s all in addition to an authentic Japanese food hall and even a demo kitchen. So whether you’re looking to educate yourself on an element of Japanese culture or do some Christmas shopping, there’s nowhere better than Japan Centre this festive season... ● Find out more at japancentre.com, or follow the brand on social media at @JapanCentre



From where to eat the finest feasts and sip the best Christmas cocktails to places to get yourself a bacon sarnie the next morning, we've got suggestions to make sure all festive bases are well and truly covered 120



SEASON’S EATINGS It’s that time to throw caution well and truly to the wind and replace it with some seriously indulgent dining, so here's our pick of London’s finest festive feasts

 1  Berber & Q 338 Acton Mews, E8 4EA

You could go for a super-traditional Christmas roast, or you could get in the spirit of things with Berber & Q and sink your fork into a whole suckling pig or tear through an entire half goat or mutton, both served as ras el hanout-smoked shoulder, woodroasted leg, and filfelchuma chops. Yes, we know – our inner carnivore is salivating at the thought, too. Coming in at £450 for up to 12 people and £900 for up to 23 people respectively, it doesn’t come cheap, but hot damn will you be merry by the end of it. 020 7923 0829; berberandq.com

BEST OF THE REST  2  Flesh & Buns


41 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LX

35 Sclater Street, E1 6LB

Forget about the turkey – in Japan, they prefer to celebrate Christmas day with a giant bucket of KFC. Don’t believe us? Just hop on that trusty search engine of yours and have a Google. Or, even better yet, get yourself down to Flesh & Buns and close that disbelieving, slack-jawed mouth right around a thick old thigh from their rather delicious take on the stuff: an authentic Japanese fried chicken basket. It’s Christmas, but crunchier.

All we want for Christmas? Some seriously stretchy pants, so we can take down SMOKESTAK’s entire beef brisket and not have to worry about popping our jean buttons in public. The edgy, US-style smokehouse in Shoreditch is serving up a Christmas feasting menu that will keep up to 20 people happy. Oh, and did we mention that it's also available for delivery? Yup, Christmas has officially come early.

020 7632 9500; bonedaddies.com

020 3873 1733; smokestak.co.uk

 3  Ben’s Canteen

 5  Chiltern Firehouse

St John’s Hill, Battersea and Garratt Lane, Earlsfield

1 Chiltern Street, W1U 7PA

Remember that time Nigella cooked gammon in Coca Cola and the nation looked on in wonder? Well, Ben’s Canteen has taken that idea and put jingle bells on it. This Christmas, the restaurant is serving Karma Cola-braised ham croquettes alongside its epic brie, stuffing and sage-brined turkey Xmas Burger. Is that the scent of roasting chestnuts in the air? Oh wait, no – it’s just the chestnut mayo sauce dripping down our chins.

When it comes to seasonal spreads, Chiltern Firehouse sets the bar pretty high: think venison rolls, crab doughnuts, Wiltshire black truffle and champagne risotto, chargrilled Iberico presa, and wild sea bass with smokedseaweed hollandaise. Firehouse feasts are basically the stuff of snow-dusted, Yuletide dreams, and if you don’t come away as stuffed as their whole-glazed duck, then quite frankly you’re not doing it right.


020 7073 7676; chilternfirehouse.com



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Photograph by ###



 1  The Sipping Room's igloos 6 Hertsmere Road, E14 4AX


COMBAT THE COLD Brrr, it’s chilly out there. Time to head to London’s cosiest hangouts to warm up and wind down

You’re not anyone in London this winter if you’re not drinking in a pop-up igloo. Among our favourites are those at the Sipping Room, which are surrounded by the dazzling lights of Canary Wharf. While ‘igloo’ may not scream cosy, you’ll be kept warm by sheepskin throws, hot water bottles and jumpers (as well as a few rounds of cocktails). drakeandmorgan.co.uk


BEST OF THE REST  2  Gordon’s Wine Bar

 4  St Moritz

47 Villiers Street, WC2N 6NE

161 Wardour Street, W1F 8WJ

If you haven’t ever been to London’s oldest wine bar before, make the arrival of winter your excuse – this candlelit subterranean enclave off the Strand is full of cosy corners where you can while away an afternoon at a rickety table with a bottle of red picked from an extensive list. Second only to the wine selection is a huge array of cheeses. Oof.

It doesn’t get much more kitsch than St Moritz, the Swiss-themed Soho stalwart that’s been serving up bubbling fondues in an alpineinspired dining room since 1974, and that’s exactly why we love it. Take a seat under the beamed ceiling and tuck in to a winter feast that’ll make you grateful you’re months away from the need to consider a ‘summer body’.

020 7930 1408; gordonswinebar.com

020 7734 3324; stmoritz-restaurant.co.uk

 3  York & Albany’s Winter Cabin

 5  Pergola Paddington

127-129 Parkway, NW1 7PS

5 Kingdom Street, W2 6PY

Haggis sausage rolls and hot buttered Bacardi are the order of the day at this British-themed pop-up in the courtyard of Gordon Ramsay’s smart Camden pub. Decked out with blankets and vintage decor, it’s the ultimate winter hideaway, and available to book for parties of up to ten until 16 February for everything from elevenses to late dinner.

Back for the winter season and fully prepped for cold conditions with a roof, sides, heating and blankets, this rooftop garden combines some of London’s favourite food traders – think Patty & Bun, DF/Mexico and Tonkotsu – with a intimate, convivial atmosphere. It’s open until 23 December, then re-opens on 1 February. Booking recommended.

020 7387 5700; gordonramsayrestaurants.com








 2  Callooh Callay

 4  Canova Hall

65 Rivington Street, EC2A 3AY

250 Ferndale Road, SW9 8BQ

Cocktails don’t come much cooler than those served up at the wonderfully fantastical Callooh Callay, and the magical serves on the bar’s festive menu don’t buck the trend. We’re particularly taken by the Snowballs Chance, a not-for-the-faint-hearted mix of Havana 3, ginger and hellfire habanero shrub, which will keep out the winter chill and then some.

This stylish Brixton newcomer isn’t messing about when it comes to booze-fuelled festive revelling – it’s got a selection of DIY drinks trolleys available to pre-order. The Aperol trolley comes with all you need to put together your own spritzes, while the gin trolley comes with your own private bartender if you think it’s safer to leave the job to someone else…

020 7739 4781; calloohcallaybar.com

020 7733 8356; canovahall.com

 3  Skylight

 5  Mr Fogg’s

Tobacco Dock, 50 Porters Walk, E1W 2SF

15 Bruton Lane, W1J 6JD

This rooftop playground at Tobacco Dock features London’s first rooftop ice rink, where you can work up a thirst for one of the warming cocktails on offer – choose from a Spiced Espresso Martini or the Bacardi Oakheart-based Apple Crumble. Do not attempt to get back on the ice afterwards. Trust us, it’s not a good idea.

As you’d expect from a bar that doesn't shy away from a theme, Mr Fogg’s goes big for Christmas, with a menu full of festive cocktails. From Passepartout’s Merry Mulled Wine to An Advent Adventure – a blend of vodka, blackberry and cinnamon – there’s no getting away from the spirit of the season at this jolly Mayfair favourite.


020 7036 0608; mr-foggs.com







'Tis the season for celebrations, and there's no better way than with a cocktail  1  The Rivoli Bar Photograph by [Callooh Callay] Addie Chinn

The Ritz, 150 Piccadilly, W1J 9BR

The Ritz’s Rivoli Bar needs no introduction – it’s one of London’s most iconic destinations for stellar drinks in stunning surroundings. What we can introduce you to, however, is its new winter cocktail menu featuring innovative mixes made from seasonal ingredients. Head Bartender Tiago Mire recommends the Mist – a smoky blend of Omega Tequila and cinnamon syrup – as the ideal Christmas tipple, and we’re inclined to agree. 020 7300 2340; theritzlondon.com


1  Le Swine Spitalfields (Thursdays); Broadgate Circle (Fridays)

When James Packman set up Le Swine, his mission was simple: to ‘take the bacon butty to exciting new heights’. With a little bit of help from his former employer, Bruno Loubet, it’s fair to say that mission has been accomplished, with Le Swine serving up a killer combo of thick-cut middle bacon in a milk and onion bap with bacon butter, swinez tomato sauce and mushroom ketchup to throngs of dedicated fans on a weekly basis. leswine.co.uk


SAVE YOUR BACON It's the morning after the night before, and there's only one way that you’re going to get through it…


BEST OF THE REST  2  Coal Rooms

 4  Marksman

11a Station Way, SE15 4RX

254 Hackney Road, E2 7SJ

The bacon at this Peckham newcomer is home-cured in Old Spike coffee, then carved to order (choose from fatty, back or both) and stuffed into a brioche bun made from butter and custard powder, before being slathered in homemade ketchup or brown sauce. Sounds too good to be true but it’s not: it’s very real, and it’s very, very good.

If you think the concept of a sealed bun filled with chopped bacon is a good one, you’d be right: not only are they easily portable, but they’re unfathomably delicious and low maintenance when you’re feeling delicate. The Marksman only serves these perfectly porky morsels on Sundays, and it’s just as well – daily availability could lead to dependency.

020 7635 6699; coalroomspeckham.com

020 7739 7393; marksmanpublichouse.com

 3  Dishoom

 5  Cabmen’s Shelter

King’s Cross/Covent Garden/Shoreditch/Carnaby

Hanover Square, W1S 1HL

You can’t speak about eating bacon in London without mentioning Dishoom. If you’ve had one of its bacon naan rolls, you’ll understand exactly why that is, and if you’ve yet to try one, you can thank us when you have – the fluffy naan is filled with bacon from the Ginger Pig and finished with a fried egg, and has basically reached cult status.

For a bacon sarnie that will secure your status as a true Londoner, head to this shed-like building that you’ll probably have seen, but never considered stopping at. Although predominantly intended for use by cabbies (for whom the seating inside is reserved), anyone can grab a buttie for a few quid from the takeaway hatch, as well as a mug of proper tea, and watch the world go by…







tmas The Chris x Feast Bo

A Christmas feast in a box Everything you could need for a turkey or veggie Christmas feast for 6-8 people, delivered to your door. The main event, trimmings and a magnum of Prosecco, all organic of course, with a recipe book to help perfect each dish.

Win One of our Christmas Feast Boxes* (worth up to £165). To enter, go to abelandcole.co.uk/winfeast

abelandcole.co.uk *Enter our competition by Tuesday 12th December 2017 at abelandcole.co.uk/winfeast. Full T&Cs online.


Enjoy a very vegan Christmas with these decadent additions to our organic, vegan + gluten-free range. Introducing our Vegan Gravy with Red Miso, a delicious savoury stock with an umami hit of fresh organic red miso + a twist of black pepper.

Plus the perfect accompaniment to any Christmas dinner, our new Vegan Cranberry Sauce. Rich, indulgent + bursting with flavour, juicy cranberries are complimented by a dash of port, a hint of cinnamon + a pinch of cloves.


To advertise in this section please call 020 7819 9999

REINDEER TARTARE At M we are notorious for our rare and exotic meats, and this Christmas is no exception. Our newest addition is not just a taste sensation, but will keep your doctor happy throughout the holiday season. Rudolph is flying onto our menu in the form of our Reindeer Tartare. The nutritional value of reindeer is undisputed, with highs in omega 3, omega 6, B-12 and essential fatty acids, usually only found in fish such as cod, crab and oysters.

RECIPE 200g Reindeer Meat, diced finely | 4 Whole Egg Yolks 250ml Cranberry Juice | 125ml Cornichon Liquor | 6g Agar Agar 1 Jerusalem Artichoke | 25ml Smoked Olive Oil 1.

Add your cranberry juice to a medium heat pan and bring just to 100°C. Add 4g agar agar powder and whisk constantly for 2 minutes until the powder dissolves completely – put some of the mixture in a clean spoon and look closely for any specks of agar agar. Do not boil


Pour the mixture into the prepared tray and leave to cool completely. Cover and chill until set. Once the cranberry agar agar is set, cut it into cubes. Place in a small blender or food processor and blitz, then pass through a fine sieve.


Transfer to a squeezy bottle or piping bag fitted with a small tip and chill until required.


Repeat the above for the cornichon gel made from the liquor that comes in the jar, using 2g agar agar only.


To make the artichoke crisp, heat enough vegetable oil for deep-frying to 190°C. Slice very finely on the mandolin. Add the artichokes to the oil and deep-fry for 3 minutes. Drain well on kitchen paper. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then transfer to an airtight container until required.


Add your diced reindeer to a bowl and season with sea salt and the smoked olive oil. Distribute between the 4-bowls leaving a whole in the middle for your egg yolk.


Separate your yolk from the white and place in the centre.


Garnish the top with your gels, pickled shallots and cresses


BOTTLE ROCKETS Whether you’re hosting a festive celebration, shopping for presents or just making sure you’re well-stocked this Christmas, look no further than Berry Bros. & Rudd


Photograph by Kinsmen Photography

ITH A HISTORY spanning more than three centuries, Berry Bros. & Rudd has unmatched experience in bringing wine and spirits makers together with the people who love to drink them. And with Christmas just around the corner and a new flagship store recently opened on Pall Mall, there’s never been a better time to experience what Britain’s original wine and spirits merchant has to offer. There are few that can match the brand for tradition, esteem, or a personal touch, working closely with both its winemaking partners and customers. This year, why not try the 2016 Les Héretiers du Comte Lafon (£17.95) from Mâcon-Villages in Burgundy, which marries perfectly with smoked salmon; the 2015 Domaine Julien Sunier Fleurie (£19.95), which lets cured meets shine; or one of the jewels in its crown, its Berry Bros. & Rudd English Sparkling Wine (£25.95), made for the brand by iconic Kent

winemaker Gusbourne Estate. But it’s not just wine that this venerable merchant brings to the table. If you’re entertaining, check out the brand’s spirit selection: No.3 London Dry Gin and liqueur The King’s Ginger, which mix perfectly with sweet vermouth, Maraschino and lemon peel in a St James’s Yuletide Martinez. If it’s gift inspiration you’re after, Berry Bros. has a range of beautifully presented, high-quality wine and spirits, from two-bottle packs of the brand’s iconic Own Selection bottlings to hampers full to bursting with exciting products. Try the Chef’s Pantry Hamper (£140), packed with luxurious, delicious craft food products; A Taste of Wine School (£185), which serves as a great introduction to wine tasting; or the Connoisseur’s Collection (£525), six wines of the very highest quality. ● To order, visit Visit Berry Bros. & Rudd’s London Shop at 63 Pall Mall, SW1Y 5HZ, or shop the range online at bbr.com/christmas

A SPECIAL CHRISTMAS OFFER If you’re looking for a special bottle for the Christmas Day or New Year’s toast, or an extra-special present for someone this year, look no further – Berry Bros. & Rudd is offering up to 25% off Champagne Bollinger when you buy a case of six, in-store and online, until 31 December. For more information, for T&Cs and to buy, go to bbr.com


The only

coconut water straight from the nut.

100% pure, for the freshest taste. Read more about our unique process* and sustainable farm at obrigado.com ObrigadoUK

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T hank you nature!

* Our coconut water goes straight from the coconuts into your bottle. Never exposed to light or air for the freshest and purest taste possible.


THE SLICE OF LIFE Restaurant group Rossopomodoro helped usher in London’s love of authentic Neapolitan pizza. Now, there are more doughs and toppings than ever to discover


PIZZA REVOLUTION IS happening in London, and the team behind Rossopomodoro are pushing the boundaries of conventional to create new and exciting versions of this magic food – one that has a special place in almost all of our hearts. Back in 2006, way before the sourdough pizza craze took place, Rossopomodoro opened its first London neighbourhood restaurant on Fulham Road. As one of the first restaurants to introduce this magnificent traditional dish to the London scene, things did not start easy: customers were not used to this new ‘soft’ pizza and many of them sent them back and swore to never return. “It was really interesting at the beginning,” says UK CEO Daniele di Martino. “Customers expected a completely different dish from the one we were serving – one that followed the Neapolitan tradition. It was the our Italian friends and customers that changed it all, inviting their friends and presenting us as the real deal, saying the real authentic pizza was the Neapolitan one, and the revolution began.” With eight London sites now open, Rossopomodoro keeps bringing traditional, high-quality food from Naples to the capital and is obsessed

with never compromising when it comes to ingredients. “We only use the best that our land has to offer,” explains executive chef Gianluca Petrone. “With our local Neapolitan stronghold, we select the best small local producers per ingredient to be delivered to our kitchens, where every dish is prepared fresh to order by our experienced Neapolitan pizzaioli and chefs.” The secret weapon, along with the ingredients, is in fact the people: Rossopomodoro prides itself on having third- and fourth-generation pizza chefs making up the core of its teams. They bring knowledge, authenticity and that sometimes chaotic (but extremely entertaining) atmosphere the restaurants are known for. That’s why stepping into one of the restaurants feels like walking through the streets of the famous Italian city: you immediately get hit by the smell of fresh food, immersing you in Neapolitan street life, with almost every member of their teams being Italian. You could say it’s a kind of Neapolitan family here in the UK, one that invents new recipes and experiments with new pizza doughs. Executive chef Gianluca Petrone explains that the secret of it all lies in marrying tradition and innovation: “In

this ever-evolving market, we always try and find ways to reinvent ourselves while remaining true to our tradition. “With this new menu we have created new and exciting doughs, all of which go through the traditional, natural 24-hour proving, granting softness and high digestibility, with nutritional and sensorial innovation.” Now, Rossopomdoro offers six different kinds of pizzas made with four different doughs: the classic Neapolitan; the fibre-rich multigrain; the high-protein quinoa and wholewheat; the gluten-free; the calzoni; and the new topped fried pizza, an exciting combination of street food, adventure and tradition. Di Martino swears by this last one: “The cure to any hangover is the fried meatball pizza, with melted smoky provola cheese stuffed in crispy, golden fried dough, topped with piping hot meatballs in rich ragù sauce with buffalo ricotta cheese. “I tell you, it can fix about everything. Pair that with our bottomless prosecco offer at £15 and you’ll be feeding your heart, body and soul, all in one go...” ● For info: rosso pomodoro.co.uk


TWICE AS SPICE: The two most popular types of cinnamon are ceylon and cassia. The latter is the more affordable, widely available and has the strong, distinctive taste we associate with the spice. Ceylon, meanwhile, has a subtler aroma and is comparatively expensive.


OLD SPICE: This fragrant inner-tree bark may be one of the oldest spices in the entire world, and is namechecked in the Bible more than once.

SPICE UP YOUR LIFE: The health benefits of cinnamon are said to be many – it’s loaded with antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural antibiotic. Unfortunately, that still doesn’t mean you can go eating cinnamon buns every day. Sorry.

by ### Photograph by Photograph Flowerphotos/Getty

We usually associate this wintry, warming spice with the festive period, but cinnamon is much more than just a flavouring to put in mulled wine (though it’s obviously pretty great in that, too)


Southern Berry Sour ingredients • • • • •

50ml Southern Comfort 100ml cranberry juice 50ml Fever Tree Sicilian lemonade Lemon wedge 3 cranberries (optional)

method • Add ice and pour in all ingredients • Squeeze lemon, garnish with rosemary sprig • Gently stir and serve

Southern Comfort Original is available from all good bars and retailers nationwide and on amazon.co.uk.





Copyright © 2017 Southern Comfort. All rights reserved. Southern Comfort is a registered trademark.

se fo e i r ns Re id ci e pe SOUTHERNCOMFORTUK.COM




Copyright © 2017 Southern Comfort. All rights reserved. Southern Comfort is a registered trademark.

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Foodism - 23 - London, food and drink  

Foodism Magazine - Issue 23 - The Christmas Issue

Foodism - 23 - London, food and drink  

Foodism Magazine - Issue 23 - The Christmas Issue