On The Menu: Choucroute garnie; Grillstock; Round the World Chilli Tour; Selfridges' Local Food Heroes
Samuel Muston is deputy editor & food editor of The Independent Magazine. He writes a weekly food column – On the Menu – which appears in The Independent on Friday and i on Monday. And also travel and general features. Follow him on Instagram at @smuston
Thursday 11 April 2013
This week I've been eating... Choucroute garnie
It's the 1648 Peace of Westphalia I have to thank for half the pleasure of my Saturday night. If the treaty hadn't thrown Alsace to France, it's unlikely I would have been eating expertly cooked, well-portioned bits of pork and a hillock of sauerkraut in Mayfair.
Why? Because what we now think of as one of the apogees of French peasant cookery, the choucroute garnie (the "garnish" of the name is, inconceivably, pork) would be unlikely to have reached this bit of central London, keeping itself quiet in the Rhineland beer halls in which it was first created.
And how sad I would be to have never eaten Eric Chavot's version. To never have tried that belly, sausage, back bacon and shoulder on its glistening mound of cabbage with its hidden bounty of potatoes and carrots. If that's peasant food, then get me to the fields of Alsace quick.. brasseriechavot.com
Booze, barbecued ribs and music – if that is your idea of bliss then get booking your tickets for Grillstock now. The two-day event on 11 and 12 May at Lloyds Amphitheatre, Bristol, has live music from various rockabilly and folk acts across both days. But, let's be honest, if you're going, it's probably for the sweet taste of barbecued pig. And what a lot there is to choose from.
There'll be hot wings and chilli-eating competitions, a variety of craft beers and more pork at the "low 'n' slow" barbecue than you can shake a trotter at. £7.50, grillstock.co.uk
Chilli fanatics bow down before Round the World Chilli Tour. The 7-spice pack takes you on a cross-continental tour along the spice trail. You start out in Mexico (piquin chillies), cross the Atlantic to Spain (paprika and espelette pepper), move into India (bhut jolokia chilli powder) along the silk routes into Korea (gochujang paste) and Japan (shichimi togarashi), then circle back round to America for some tongue-burning Louisiana hot sauce. £37.50, souschef.co.uk
Just ad butter
Butter hardly needs much eulogising, its various wonders all too easy to taste and see. But Lurpak's latest advert does the seemingly impossible, and makes it seem even more like something I need to be eating now, this very second. The short is directed by Scott Lyon and takes us, apparently, inside the world of "the unshowy cook with 'slightly blunt knives'" who turns everyday ingredients into feasts – for the eyes and the stomach. Sponge cakes, pasta, meringues, fresh bread, quiches, pancakes – it is 60 seconds of blissful temptation. Watch it here: http://bit.ly/16paadU
For the next two weeks Selfridges' stores will be celebrating Local Food Heroes. Pop in to the stores in London, Birmingham or Manchester to see the best of what your area has to offer – from gourmet sausage rolls from Cheshire to Paul Wayne Gregory's Brixton-made chocs. selfridges.com
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