On The Menu: Pisco sours; Cornish party; Hope and Greenwood; Welsh Wagyu fat; Juna's exotic fruit juices
This week I've been drinking...Pisco sours
Like Paddington Bear in reverse, the lunching classes have all been looking across the Atlantic to Peru this year. The land of meat skewers with spicy sauces, Peruvian corn and marinated fish and vegetables (ceviche) has been touted as the dining experience of the year by food futurologists (yes, such people exist) for at least the past six months.
But there's another story here: the booze, Peruvian drinks. At Ceviche, a Peruvian restaurant in Soho, the drinks are as much a part of the fun as the food. In fact, they near-eclipse it.
This is thanks, almost entirely, to the bar's liberal use of Pisco, a clear grape brandy and the national drink. When mixed, as it is here in the house cocktail, with lime, sugar syrup, egg white and Amargo Chuncho bitters, it makes an explosive little drink that seems to do a little jig on your tongue as it goes. Alone, that makes it worth the trip.
If you're a fan of mussels and beer (and I'd hazard most of us are partial to at least one of the two), Cornwall is the place to be on the weekend of 24 and 25 March. St Austell Brewery and celeb-chef Rick Stein are hosting a festival dedicated to molluscs and the county's many ales at Padstow's Cornish Arms pub. There'll be live bands in the marquees outside the pub throughout the day, moules in pretty much every permutation you could think of inside, a fundraiser for Children's Hospice South West on the Sunday, and 30 local ales to keep you nice and hydrated.
Internet find of the week: Hope and Greenwood, the Dulwich and Covent Garden sweet shop run by the eponymous Miss Hope and Mr Greenwood, has added a new line of chocs and sweets to its website. As well as Easter eggs, fudge and toffee, both bars and boxes of chocolate, it also has a lovely range of retro school sweets. So you can now sate your lust for flying saucers, Parma Violets or Jesmona mint balls at a click of your mouse.
Last summer, while judging at the finals of the Great Taste Awards, I came across Welsh Wagyu fat from Alternatives Meats. This provoked a number of feelings in me. First, something along the lines of: 12 quid!? For 190g of stuff chiefly used for cooking chips with – are you kidding? And afterwards: God, I bet it tastes nice. So, of course, I ordered some. And indeed, the smooth, silky fat does make for a rich-tasting, quite superb bowl of chips. Is it worth it, though? Well it worked out at, err, £6 a bowl.
Bored of your morning orange juice? Tired of grapefruit juice? Not a fan of apple either? Check out Juna's range of exotic fruit juices, which include viscous guanábana, sharp mora berry or sweet and tangy lulo juice. A proportion of the profits made on each bottle goes towards sustainability projects in Columbia.
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