Food & Drink: The Truffler

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The Independent Culture
OH THE wonderful world of organic food. It's a busy, busy life for those who support the cause. Organic party-goers will already have in their diary tomorrow's picnic in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich in London from noon. Jude Law and Sadie Frost said they'll be there, so have Yasmin and Simon Le Bon. So has Jeffrey Archer, who'd go to the opening of a crisp packet - this time they'll have to be his own crisps. I recommend organic brand Evernat. The picnic, organised by the Soil Association and Greenpeace, is mainly a protest against GM foods. Everybody brings their organic lunch, but will there be spies to check no one's smuggled in a Big Mac?

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STILL ON the trail of virtuous produce - what a lot of dashing about the organic life involves, better get the groceries delivered, I think - it's off to the Royal Agricultural Halls in Vincent Square, London SW1 from 30 July-1 August for the Organic Food & Wine Festival. This is the first of its type, with 100 exhibitors including the Authentic Bread Company, Vintage Roots Wine, Green & Blacks, which makes chocolate and ice-cream, and Organics Direct, the home delivery service. There will be cooking demonstrations by, among others, Antony Worrall Thompson - a man so ubiquitous sometimes I wonder if he's been cloned. Tickets for the festival are pounds 4 but you can get pounds 1 off with the article on page 17.

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THAT'S NOT all. Even on holiday there's no rest for the organically inclined. The Soil Association - yes, them again - has a growing list of demonstration farms which welcome visits from those interested in seeing how food is produced without chemicals. Call Rupert Aker on 01179 142 422 for a copy of the Demonstration Farms Network.

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ENOUGH WHOLESOME activities for one week. I thought temperamental chefs were reputed to spit in the soup of objectionable customers. The latest alleged spat in the increasingly overheated world of London's top chefs suggests they aim elsewhere. Police were recently called to Petrus restaurant in St James's, run by Gordon Ramsay's sidekick Marcus Wareing. Giorgio Locatelli, head chef of Zafferano, is due to appear in court on 6 August charged with causing criminal damage. Locatelli denies Wareing's allegation of abusing a member of staff and spitting - at the restaurant's expensive handwoven wallpaper.

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HEARD THE one about the publican who tried to flog the furniture to the customers? Flaming cheek? No, Flaming Wok, and the five other Jim Thompson Oriental bar-restaurant-bazaars where, if they're not nailed to the floor, the furnishings are available to any customer who fancies an Oriental artefact and is prepared to haggle for it. Jim Thompson's managing director Tony Carson has just won another award, this time from the trade paper Caterer & Hotelkeeper. Nothing funny about that, but we thought you should know that Tony is the son of comedian Frank Carson. That's not funny, either.

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LET'S HEAR it for the creamiest English ice-creams. Our favourite (all organic, of course) ice-cream maker, Rocombe Farm, admits its sales have doubled since last year. It's so good there's almost no need for any of us, or any restaurant, to make their own. Sadly, the Devon dairy's Cool Moon special for the eclipse - a minty chocolate ice-cream with chocolate hemispheres - will be sold only locally. Rocombe Farm's spiced rival is Wiltshire-based Hill Station, whose "gourmet ice-creams for grown-ups" include stem ginger, spiced coffee, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon. Top Indian restaurant group Shimla Pinks list Hill Station ice-creams alongside the kulfi. But the latest place to put it on the menu, Santa fe restaurant (reviewed this week) cunningly calls it canela ice-cream. What's canela when it's at home? Cinnamon in Spanish.

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