Food & Drink notes

It's all going pear shaped; birth of a legend; you herd it here first; meet my mate biscuit


It's all going pear shaped

It's all going pear shaped

Perry, the drink that is to pears what cider is to apples, is poised for a revival. The sparkling drink which Napoleon described as "the champagne of Britain" is hard to find - unless you're a Babycham fan. But Thatchers, the 100-year-old family cider-maker from Somerset, has re-introduced a traditional perry made only from conference pears. Slightly sparkling and a snip at £2.29 a bottle. Available by mail order by calling 01934 822862 or visiting www.thatcherscider.co.uk

Birth of a legend

Edinburgh's Valvona & Crolla delicatessen is legendary. After 70 years, the Contini family has opened another place to eat and drink. The new VinCaffe (11 Multrees Walk, Edinburgh, 0131 557 0088) has a shop and bar for coffee, cakes and hot panetellas from the on-site bakery, plus the deli food and wine for which V&C is so famous. In the evening it transforms into an aperitivi bar with an array of stuzzichini (exquisite nibbles). On the first floor is an osteria and wine bar for classic Italian food.

You herd it here first

Mutton Renaissance is a campaign to get us all to appreciate the meat of more mature sheep. As patron of the Academy of Culinary Arts, the Prince of Wales has added his name to the mission which starts on Monday. Prized by chefs such as Jamie Oliver, Gary Rhodes and our own Mark Hix for its fine flavour, this traditional meat comes from sheep aged over two years, rather than six-month-old lamb, and is hung after slaughter to bring out the flavour. Keep a look out for it at your butcher's.

Meet my mate biscuit

One test of how irresistible a biscuit is: leave it on your desk and see how long it lasts. The lifespan of an opened packet of Marmite Biscuits would appear to be a very short one. Made by the Fudges Bakery in Dorset, the wholemeal biscuits are less Marmitey than you might expect, especially as they were inspired by the salty brown stuff's number-one fan, Paul Hartley, author of the 'Marmite Cookbook'. They're £1.99 for a 150g box, from Waitrose and independent delis and food stores. But be warned, they may not last long.

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