The Truffler

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The Independent Culture
FOLLOWING MY championing of British pig farmers I've been taken as a soft touch; English apple growers are on to me now. This year's is a bumper crop, and with Worcester Pearmains now in the shops, Cox's, Spartans, Gala and Red Pippins coming soon, I need no convincing of the superiority of our apples over Golden Delicious and Granny Smiths. A campaign by English apple growers, featuring the figure of Eve, hopes to persuade us to resist the temptation of cheap left-over New Zealand Braeburns and appreciate our own produce more. And so we should, even if it means having to peel off those maddening little Union Jack stickers.

IF YOU don't mind your food having clocked up a few miles on its way to you, Selfridges is setting great store by its promotion of Western Australian produce. More than 100 products including rock lobsters, yabbies, pink snapper and dhufish, wong bok, melons, cape gooseberries, lamb and venison plus the ever so slightly passe crocodile and emu, are taking over the Oxford Street store's magnificent Food Hall. Their oyster bar will be serving a Western Australian crustacea seafood platter with lime mayo pounds 19.95; with a glass of sauvignon blanc pounds 4.95. The promotion runs from 22 September to 3 October.

ONE DOOR opens, another closes. If juice is the next big thing, how come what claimed to be London's original juice bar and cafe has closed? Juice in Covent Garden - that's it's name, not just what it sold - went into liquidation a month or so ago. Coincidentally, I've been bombarded with information about the unrelated, new Jus Cafe (pronounced juice) in Soho which has climbed on the fruit-and-veg gravy train. Never believe entrepreneurs who say they'll be opening a dozen branches within two years.

TRUFFLER HAS had the distasteful task of having to flick through the October issue of Maxim magazine in search of a promised article about permitted levels of food contamination. The information that the US Food & Drug Administration allows 59 insect fragments in a 125g bar or chocolate, nine rodent hairs per 500g packet of macaroni and 10 fly eggs in a 113ml bottle of tomato juice is rather lost amongst many other foreign bodies of the bikini-ed variety. Although it's claimed the UK could follow suit by adopting similar guidelines, our food manufacturers are bound by the Food Safety Act to keep out unacceptable impurities.

NO PRIZES for guessing that Kellogg's is behind National Breakfast Week, which ends today. (What do you mean you didn't know it had started?) The cereal producer is promoting its own ways of eating breakfast on the run: Nutri-Grain, Frosties and Coco Pops bars which blur the distinction between breakfast and confectionery. Less sugary but not much more palatably, the aforementioned Jus Cafe is pioneering the liquid breakfast. Its meal- replacement drinks, such as the emetic blend of toast and marmalade, are inspired by the slop that hospitals feed enfeebled patients. Whatever next - start the day with a drip?

INCIDENTALLY, MAXIM also had the ingenious idea of asking breweries to organise a piss-up for their reporters. Winner was the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham, with second place going to Shepherd Neame. Truffler's filleted the mag so there's no excuse to read it yourself.

ALL THAT'S missing is the Duchess of, at the York Festival of Food and Drink which is on until September 26. Events centre on Parliament Street and the Food Festival Theatre, a marquee in St Sampson's Square. This has a daily programme of demonstrations, some by celeb chefs such as James Martin, the bandanna-ed one from Ready Steady Cook!, or Asian cuisine on Wednesday. The Festival market has French traders this weekend, a farmers' market on Wednesday, local growers and producers next weekend. York's hotels and restaurants are wholeheartedly taking part. Programme details: 01904 554430.

IF YOU'RE passing, the Kyle & Lochalsh Food Festival is in full swing this weekend. I gave you advance warning last week, but to remind you - the hotline number is 01478 612137.