Food & Drink: The Trufflers

WHAT DO you call a record number of celebrity chefs in one place? A stew? No, the BBC Good Food Show, which starts next Wednesday, 24 November, and lasts until Sunday. The performing men in white will be out in force at the event in Birmingham, along with the largest selection of food and drink products ever assembled under one roof. If your appetite is whetted by the prospect of a five-mile tour around up to 100 stands including Brita Water Filters, British Gas and the USA Rice Federation, and more mouth-watering Sri Lankan chutneys and the oldest pork pie maker in Melton Mowbray, get thee to the NEC. Tickets for pounds 12.50 on a weekday or pounds 14 at the weekend include a seat in one of the theatres where the chefs will work. Ticket hotline: 0121 767 4000.


DIDN'T I say there was one born every week? An on-line food shopping service, that is. - catchy name, classy idea (0171-627 5346 for those stuck with retro technology) - got plenty of puffs before it started up last week, thanks to the name, having Rocco Forte as its chairman, and a dedication to supplying luxury grub almost instantly. The order: "I want foie gras, and I want it now," if submitted before 1pm, can be met that evening in London. Everything else you need for a dinner party (including cooked lobsters in various sizes, champagne, pastas, sauces, juices, baby foods) or empty larder can be delivered nationally the following day - faster than other on-line food services.


A TURKEY isn't just for Christmas; Thanksgiving spells doom for the fowl, too. The Pilgrim Fathers' toast to survival is on Thursday, and over here I'd suggest any homesick Americans get along to one of the Montana group of restaurants which offer the best modern American food in London. Montana in Fulham, Canyon (Richmond), Idaho (Highgate), Dakota (Notting Hill) and just-opened Utah in Wimbledon each has a pounds 25-a-head menu with free-range turkey stuffed with blue cornbread and chorizo, preceded by pumpkin chowder with crispy crawfish tails on the night.


TO GIVE a turkey a break, without actually abolishing Christmas, more of us every year are cooking goose instead. So much so that goose producers are urging us to get orders in early. There's no classification of whether geese are free-range or not, but as they don't appreciate being kept indoors they are less intensively reared than most turkeys. Many are available from the farms, and the British Goose Producers' Association (0171-240 9889) can put you in touch with a local supplier, or order from a butcher. This year's prices are from pounds 2.80-pounds 3.50lb.


THE NEW Foods Guide (Gollancz, pounds 7.99) by John Elkington & Julia Hailes, whose Green Consumer Guide 10 years ago sold one million copies, looks at issues such as traceability (what's in our food and where it comes from), functional foods (with added, supposedly health-giving ingredients) and GM foods. It's not a dogmatic dismissal of all food developments - the authors actually commend Yakult - but an even-handed analysis. It cuts through misleading claims on labels, and suggests treating US food technology with suspicion. Other companies to receive congratulations include Green & Blacks fair-traded organic chocolate, Ben & Jerry's ice- cream, Baby Organix, Rachel's Dairy, and Weetabix.

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