Food & Drink notes
Ooh-la-lympia; Time for tea; Whisky galore; Strange fruit
Just when dreams of decamping across the Channel are recurrent, Vive La France at the Grand Hall, Olympia, London W14 (www.vivelafrance.co.uk) this weekend (until 6pm today and tomorrow) offers a walking, talking, eating, drinking, singing evocation of France. Selling properties and holidays and Gallic charm is the raison d'être, but for £15 entry, you can stock up in le marché on the French cheeses, pâtés, olives, jams, mustards, bread and patisserie we go mad for in Mammouth.
Time for tea
You'd be hard pushed to find a more virtuous hot drink. It's even named after a high-minded suburb. Hampstead Tea & Coffee's Organic Fairtrade Green Tea is 'purifying delicate, and detoxifying', and comes from the world's first biodynamic tea estate, in the Himalayas. As well as the green tea, there's First Flush Darjeeling (leaves only, 125g for £2.99) and the ever so élite White, from hand-picked new leaves and buds. At £5.99 for 50g, it's a dear cuppa, but a rare one, too.
Salt Whisky bar and diner has a jaw-dropping line-up of 250 whiskies but, in the spirit of the times, gives the drink a lounge-around makeover. A band of deft and savvy boy bartenders will turn whiskies into innovative cocktails like the honey fig sour or reach up for rarities like the 1955 bottle of Macallan Sherrywood. On 26 January the attached restaurant puts on a Burns Night supper with contemporary twists, but the rest of the time it's Italian. Salt, 82 Seymour Street, London W1 (020-7402 1155).
Although it counts towards your five-a-day intake, chewing on dried fruit like tough old prunes and rubbery apple rings seems a drab alternative to fresh. Southern Alps' beautiful packs of brightly coloured slow-dried and irresistible fruits are something else. They're mostly organic, all dried more slowly than usual for a more concentrated taste and colour, and have no preservatives. Try a pack of trail mix for breakfast - or a bowl of the fruit-packed muesli - or pick a packet of strawberries as a treat. Buy at Borough Market, London SE1 on Saturdays; Fenwicks, Newcastle; Daylesford Farm Shop, Moreton-in-Marsh; Harvey Nichols or call 01732 824222 for more stockists.
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