Food news & reviews: Macarons; truffle oil; moose steaks; Betty's Tea Rooms; Christmas-flavoured treats


This week I've been eating... macarons

Dainty, smooth-skinned and airily light, these macarons are no relation to the weighty lumps of coconut and chocolate that go by the name "macaroon" in Britain. These are emphatically French, from the new range by France's most revered pastry chef (not a small field) Pierre Hermé, in fact. His winter flavours are more robust than usual, "dressed for winter", as Hermé himself describes them. So there's white truffle and roasted piedmont hazelnut slivers, and rose hip, fig and foie gras (not as bad as it sounds). But, best of the lot is the candied chestnut and marron glacé. Quite possibly the nicest macaron you could wish for.

You bite through the eggshell crust and the soft, smooth, almost oozy chestnut puré filling covers your tongue, with little chippings of sweet marron glacé following close behind. Superb; so good you almost forget they're £1.85 each.

Wow factor

Truffle oil divides foodies. For some it is a luxurious treat, for others an overpriced provision Gordon Ramsey once dubbed "the most pungent, ridiculous ingredient ever known to a chef". If you're a fan, however, you might be interested to know that Cotswold Gold has launched a white truffle oil using extra virgin rapeseed oil rather than olive oil, the traditional oil used. Having all the health benefits of rapeseed oil (low in cholesterol and less than half the saturated fat of olive oil) it is a fine way to add a bit of wow factor to your pasta. £12, 100ml,

Moose ruse

In a bid to head off the criticism it faced last year, Lidl has withdrawn reindeer steaks from its festive "premium range", and, instead, will this year be offering shoppers, er, moose. Packets of four leg steaks from the similarly antlered creature go on sale this week and are described as "succulent" on the packet and "outrageous" by animal rights campaigners, who accuse Lidl of culinary tourism. They join that other acquired taste: Lidl Argentine hare leg. £9.99,

Who's Betty?

Who was Betty? It seems even the family that owns the granny-standard cakery and tea room founded in Harrogate, north Yorkshire, in 1919, don't know who she was. So, they've decided to make it up. A gang of famous writers from God's Own County has been engaged to speculate, in verse and prose, as to who she was. Alan Ayckbourn, Jilly Cooper and the poet Ian McMillan are among those who have contributed to the whimsical book. The profits from it go to the Yorkshire Rainforest Trust. £5.99,

Crunch time

As sure as Christmas means Santa and teary John Lewis ads it also means frenzy in the food aisles. Supermarkets are lining up to turn standard produce into "Christmas-flavoured treats". So far spotted: Waitrose mince pie flavour ice cream, Yeo Valley limited edition spiced apple yoghurt. And, what no Christmas is complete without, Tesco mince pie flavour crisps.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaning Manager - York and Bradford

    £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The post holder is a key member of the V...

    Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Drivers

    £18000 - £28800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Vehicle Breakdown Recovery Driv...

    Recruitment Genius: Processing Partner

    £15000 - £19200 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Processing Partner is require...

    Recruitment Genius: PPC Manager - SW London

    £34000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist travel agent ba...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower