Food and Drink: COOKERY-BOOK publishing

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The Independent Culture
COOKERY-BOOK publishing is a capricious business. How else do you explain the runaway sales of the River Cafe Cookbooks, when many other equally deserving volumes barely reach four-figure sales? Never the less Ebury Press must be counting on the book of recipes from the two-year- old Clerkenwell restaurant Moro - not published until 2001 - to do for Spain and North Africa, what the River Cafe did for Italy. For it's rumoured that the publisher paid an astonishing six-figure sum for the Moro book. Not that we begrudge Sam and Sam Clark, the husband and wife cheffing team, or front-of-house man Mark Sainsbury, their windfall. Better get on with writing those recipes, though.

DON'T FORGET ethical shopping in the headlong rush to the organic counter. Cafedirect, the leading fairly-traded coffee brand, makes it possible to combine these two concerns. Their new range of coffees from Latin America and Africa include organic Machu Picchu Mountain Special, an Organic Fresh Roasted Ground blend, and organic decaff instant. Sales of Fairtrade products are growing by 65 per cent each year - faster than organics.DON'T HOLD your breath. The endlessly extended opening of Isola, the Italian restaurant in London's Knightsbridge from the Peyton family (who brought us Atlantic Bar & Grill, Coast and Mash restaurants in London and Manchester), has just been bumped on again from mid-October to the end of the month, and they're already stressing "the end of". The group's visionary resident chef, Bruno Loubet, has been working full time on Isola for the past three months, and his white clogs have now been filled at the two Mash restaurants by diminutive powerhouse Maddalena Bonino from Bertorelli's: a still too rare instance of a woman chef in the top-transfer fee league.PADDY QUARK, ha ha ha? No, I haven't been at the Irish vodka, but at Harvey Nichols' recent Irish food promotion in London and Leeds. I occasionally had to remind myself that products like Caffrey's Lemon and Coriander Marinade, and Ballyshiel Milk Toffee (Argentinian dulce de leche) were genuinely Irish. Harvey Nichols is stocking these oddities, along with all the wonderful Irish cheeses such as Coplea, Gubbeen, Cashel Blue and Milleens, until Christmas at least. And I meant it about the vodka. Boru Handcrafted Irish Vodka was launched last year in Ireland, and is now available in the UK - in Waitrose, Somerfield and Budgens.