Food & Drink: The Truffler

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The Independent Culture
ORGANIC FRUIT and veg box delivery schemes are two an ecu nowadays, but none can match Knobby Russets (0171-284 1878) for a memorable name and unforgettable contents. It's a delivery box with knobs on, specialising in rare and unusual varieties of fruit and vegetables which, like the hideous but delicious Knobby Russet apple, may not look conventional enough to be grown or sold commercially. Boxes are delivered weekly, fortnightly or monthly within London. They cost pounds 16 for 5kg to feed a couple for a week, or pounds 22 for a 7kg family-sized quantity. It's a great gift.

OUR APPLES can look after themselves, but the reputation of English wine has some way to go. And the less said about our national rail service the better. Nevertheless the link-up between the English Wine & Regional Food Festival and Connex is indispensible. Connex is making Plumpton, where the festival takes place today and tomorrow, an additional stop on the London Victoria to Eastbourne and Hastings routes. As there are more than 100 wines from English producers to taste, this is a service not to be sniffed at. The festival at Plumpton College, near Lewes, East Sussex (01273 890454) kicks off at 12noon today. Tickets cost pounds 9.50.

HOW THE other .00009 per cent live. Next Thursday, 9 September 1999, is being treated as a dummy run for millennium bug programming disasters. London's Lanesborough hotel has other - dare we say tasteless - ideas. It's putting on a nine-course meal for nine people starting at 9pm. The price includes Royal Imperial caviar, and foie gras with gold leaf, white truffles and lobster, accompanied by rarities such as 1907 Heidseck & Co Monopole champagne. If you guessed the price to be pounds 999 a head you'd be out by pounds 4,501. At the time of writing, The Lanesborough was hoping someone might snap up all nine places for pounds 50,000.

CALL ME a cheap date, but more up the Truffler's alley is the Rasa restaurant's traditional vegetarian celebration of Kerala's Onam harvest festival. Since Das Sreedharan, a passionate exponent of the region's vegetarian cuisine, opened Rasa five years ago it has been an annual event. It's at Stoke Newington from 6-12 September, with classical South Indian music and dancing displays, and a feast served on banana leaves. Tickets cost pounds 20. It then moves to Rasa W1, Das Sreedharan's West-End restaurant, where tickets for 13-19 September will cost pounds 25. Book on 0171-637 0222.

AW SHUCKS, I've missed the Tabasco British Oyster Opening Championship which took place yesterday at the Hay's Galleria Oyster & Seafood Fair near London Bridge. But there's still time before it ends at 6pm on Sunday to get down to the Thames to eat freshly-shucked oysters, drink champagne and buy seafood to take home. Entry is free. An indigestible statistic: last year 50,000 oysters were eaten at the fair.

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