Have a delicious New Year: The best foodie events in 2012
From cool cocktails and foodie festivals to hotly anticipated restaurant openings, it's shaping up to be a tasty 2012.
Le Cordon Bleu School
Christmas dinner not all it should have been? Well, you're in luck: Le Cordon Bleu, the French cookery school par excellence, is opening a vast new "international flagship institute" in London's Bloomsbury Square on 13 January, recognition, says the institute, that the UK now leads the way in the culinary arts.
Pitt Cue Co
London's meat vans are losing their wheels at a rate of knots in 2012. Meatwagon, of lovely burgers fame, found a permanent perch late last year, and now Pitt Cue Co, the barbecue shack that wowed us on London's Southbank, has graduated to a full bricks-and-mortar restaurant on Newburgh Street, Soho.
Fish: Recipes from the Sea cookbook
From the publishers of the Silver Spoon Cookbook, the much-cooed-over Italian cookery bible, comes a new one – this time dedicated to all things seafood. Weighing in at 200 recipes, it's much slimmer than its beefy older cousin, but no less accessible or instructive.
Basque tapas makes its way to Marylebone in February. Former head chef at Barrafina, Tomasz Baranski, will be serving up some regional crackers including pil-pil cod and stuffed squid in ink alongside a range of smaller pintxos, from his new restaurant in London's Seymour Place.
Jamie Oliver Manchester
Jamie Oliver has delayed the opening of his first restaurant in Manchester a couple of times already but it seems, all things being well, the King Street joint will open its doors this month.
Zorokovich 1917 vodka
After finding out he came from a long line of vodka brewers back in the Ukraine, Londoner Dan Edelstyn decided he'd reprise the tradition and kick-start the long dead brand. So Zorokovich 1917 Vodka was (re)born. A film documenting his efforts won plaudits at the BFI Festival in October, and will be shown as part of theTrue Stories series of programmes on Channel 4 this spring.
Lords of the Manor
Greedy gourmands take note, the last in a series of five-course wine and food feasts will be taking place on 15 March at the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Lords of the Manor hotel in the Cotswolds. The theme this time is the wines of the Rhone valley.
Fiona Cairns online shop
She was responsible for the third most praised thing at the Royal Wedding after that dress and Pippa Middleton. Come April you can have your very own Fiona Cairns wedding cake, which you can order from her new online shop.
Tony C's cocktails
Want to learn how to whip up a cocktail like Tony Conigliaro? The owner of 69 Colebrook Row, the Islington cocktail bar recently voted as one of the top 50 in the world, is running complimentary mixlogy classes throughout April in conjunction with Beefeater 24. If you prefer drinking, rather than making, them – head to the Hippodrome Casino, which opens in April, and try out Conigliaro's drinks menu.
The eponymous cookbook from Mugaritz, the Spanish restaurant rated third in the respected San Pellegrino restaurant top 50, doesn't promise to get you cooking like its double Michelin-starred chef and author, Andoni Luis Aduriz – but if you're a serious about you're home cooking you'll want it on shelves in 2012, even if it is just to show off to your friends.
South American food is set to be huge this year and, if the hype is to believed, top of the tree is likely to be Lima, the new Peruvian restaurant opening it's doors in mid May in London's Fitzrovia. Heading up chef Virgilio Martinez's menu will be pisco soups and ceviche.
Taste of London is to food what the Frieze Art Fair is to art. The showcase of the city's finest food and restaurants even sits on the same Regent's Park site as the art beano, too. It runs from 21 to 24 June, then it's on to Taste of Edinburgh, which runs from 6 to 8 July.
The Diamond Jubilee
Dust down your royal wedding bunting and get the trestle table out for the street party. It's the Queen's Diamond Jubilee – and we all get an extra bank holiday on 5 June. To celebrate, royal grocers Fortnum and Mason are getting into the spirit with a range of special jubilee foods fit for Her Maj. Particularly fine are the jubilee champagne truffles.
Juicy, tart and full of fibre and vitamin C, gooseberries are a summer treat we too often overlook in Britain. So get picking come July and get that gooseberry fool on the go.
Restaurateurs are rubbing their hands at the expected 70 per cent pick-up in trade from the Olympics, which roll into town on 27 July. Good news for hard-pressed restaurants; not so good if it's your birthday in late July. If you do want to eat out then, get on the phone now.
Grouse shooting season
The grouse shooting season kicks off with a quite literal bang on the "glorious 12th". So expect the game bird to be in the butcher's window and on restaurant plates the week after. Try them simply roasted with bread sauce and a few fried breadcrumbs.
Abergavenny Food Festival
The Brecon Beacons will be alive with foodies a-munchin' and chefs a-cookin' over the weekend of the 15 and 16 September as the Abergavenny Food Festival gets underway with samplings, workshops, and, if past years are to go by, no small amount of alcohol "tasting".
Although a big trend in the past year or two, some have dismissed foraged food as a bit of a fad. Maybe so, but one thing you cant deny: it's incredibly environmentally friendly. So why not learn how to tell a morel from an ink cap or from a death cap mushroom with a course from Sustainability Centre in Hampshire on 15 September.
Get delving into those hedgerows, it's sloe season, the essential precursor to sloe gin season. If gin's not your thing, check out some jam recipes, just don't miss out on these autumnal treats.
Taste of Christmas Food Fair
Get into the festive spirit a little early this year with the Taste of Christmas Food Fair at the Excel Centre in London's Victoria Dock from 30 November to 2 December. Last year's saw numerous stars of the culinary firmament – Jamie Oliver, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Michel Roux to name but three – showing off their skills down in the docklands, so you can expect some equally big names this year, too.
BBC Good Food Show winter 2012
Starting on 28 November, but running through to the first few days of December, Good Food magazine's seasonal expo opens once again. Last year's beano featured live MasterChef and demos from the likes of Rick Stein and Rachel Allen. Expect similar treats to be found in the halls of Birmingham's NEC. There's also a spring show at Bluewater, Kent (12-15 April); a summer show in Birmingham (17-17 June) and a Good Food Scotland event at Glasgow's SECC (19-21 October).
St Austell Brewery's Beer Festival
The Cornish brewery throws open the doors of its Victorian cellars in mid-December for its annual Celtic beer shindig. Raise a glass of one of the 150 ales on offer and nibble on some Cornish pub food, and you'll be helping raise money for the brewery's charitable trust.
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