Stephen Bulmer was formerly Chef Director of the Raymond Blanc Cookery School at the Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, but in May he set up his own cookery school in Winslow, Buckinghamshire. Brook Hall is a Grade-II listed townhouse with two teaching kitchens, a walled garden with heated swimming pool and three guest bedrooms. On 13 and 14 November, there are two one-day courses covering all aspects of treating and cooking game, and the recipes range from classics such as roast pheasant with apple and Calvados to show-off dishes like duck liver mousse. Cost: £175 inclusive of lunch.
Brook Hall, 9 Sheep Street, Winslow, Buckinghamshire MK18 3HL (01296 712111), www.brookhall.net
Even the most traditional of our festivals had to start somewhere – tomorrow's Apple Day was dreamt up by a small charity called Common Ground as recently as 1990. This year Sue Clifford and Angela King have brought out a splendid book called The Apple Source Book. It's about "particular uses for diverse apples": you can use it to find out which apple varieties are indigenous to your county; you can read about cider making and wassailing; you can work your way through some excellent recipes from a Who's Who of food writers: I particularly enjoyed reading about Bob Flowerdew's way with baked apples that he calls Flying Saucers.
'The Apple Source Book', by Sue Clifford and Angela King, published by Hodder & Stoughton, £16.99, www.commonground.org.uk
Doctors have long promoted the benefits of an apple a day; now, perhaps, they will have to add chocolate. According to the boffins, the benefits of chocolate stem from it containing antioxidants called flavanols. Prestat, one of Britain's poshest and most experienced chocolate makers, has developed the rather irritatingly named Choxi+. This wonder bar is rich in epicatechin – the antioxidant that's meant to help reduce the risk of stroke, heart failure and some cancers. Epicatechin may be the next big thing, and there is speculation as to whether it should be classified as the "14th vitamin". In the meantime, we can munch away knowing that it may be doing us good.
Choxi+ comes as milk, dark, milk with sweet orange, or dark with oriental mint. £1.99 a bar,www.prestat.co.uk
The new ewe
The mutton season runs between October and March – it was not ever thus. For many years mutton was just another name for the meat of old sheep – usually elderly ewes who had brought up several generations of lambs and been sent to slaughter by a farmer who thought that they were past it. But now we have the Mutton Renaissance Campaign headed by a well-known organic farmer – HRH The Prince of Wales. To meet the Renaissance Standard mutton must be from a sheep that has been reared for two years or more and the meat most have been matured for at least two weeks. The premium price this mutton commands encourages farmers to keep sheep on after lambing and allow them to regain condition before they go to market. Restaurants such as Roast in Borough Market and Quartier Vert in Bristol have put it on their menus; I have tried it and both the flavour and texture are outstandingly good.