The Truffler

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

At a time when it's in a desperate plight, and making a living in the country has never been harder, along comes the Country Living Spring Fair. It's going ahead as planned at the Business Design Centre, in Islington, London N1 from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 March. Tickets are £12 on the door or £10 in advance (from 0870 739 9111), giving townies access to rural enterprises and produce at a time when it's well nigh impossible to get into the countryside itself. Food and drink producers include those selling meat and poultry straight from the farm. Heal Farm in Somerset, which specialises in rare breeds, has managed to have some lambs and a cow slaughtered and is bringing its superb fresh meat to the fair; and Seldom Seen Farm, known for its geese at Christmas, will sell boned chickens stuffed with ricotta, sundried tomatoes and olives, and ducks boned and stuffed with chicken mousse, apricots and pistachio nuts.

At a time when it's in a desperate plight, and making a living in the country has never been harder, along comes the Country Living Spring Fair. It's going ahead as planned at the Business Design Centre, in Islington, London N1 from Wednesday 21 to Sunday 25 March. Tickets are £12 on the door or £10 in advance (from 0870 739 9111), giving townies access to rural enterprises and produce at a time when it's well nigh impossible to get into the countryside itself. Food and drink producers include those selling meat and poultry straight from the farm. Heal Farm in Somerset, which specialises in rare breeds, has managed to have some lambs and a cow slaughtered and is bringing its superb fresh meat to the fair; and Seldom Seen Farm, known for its geese at Christmas, will sell boned chickens stuffed with ricotta, sundried tomatoes and olives, and ducks boned and stuffed with chicken mousse, apricots and pistachio nuts.

Also, encouragingly, both winners of Country Living magazine's Enterprising Rural Women Award are involved in food and drink. Gina Burt, whose husband farms 3,000 pigs in West Sussex, has built up her Farmhouse Cookery business to produce 5,000 cakes a week. As an inspiring example of farm diversification, she supplies the restaurants at Harvey Nicholswith cakes, and plans to set up a mail-order service. The winner of the Small Rural Business category is a brewster (as women brewers are called) - Sara Barton, of Leicestershire. Beers from her Brewster's Brewery are sold to 200 pubs between Sheffield and Northamptonshire.

* Covent Garden's Porterhouse, in Maiden Lane, London, is celebrating St Paddy's by bringing in beers from small breweries all over Ireland. In a blindfold tasting to uncork the celebrations, its own Oyster Stout and Brainblasta strong ale were among the winners, but "best in show" went to the Franciscan Well brewpub, which is on the site of a 13th-century abbey in Cork. The winning beer was Rebel Red, which was described as "lively and peppery" by the chairman of the judges, Michael Jackson of The Independent.

* Gordon Ramsay has been confirmed as the occupant of Claridge's restaurant. From September, "Gordon Ramsay at Claridge's" will be open in the art-deco hotel, joining his existing three-star Michelin restaurant - and, Ramsay hopes, earning another three stars to make him the first British chef with half a dozen. He's installing a head chef at Claridge's and will flit between the two restaurants by taxi. Although the guidebooks are far too discreet to admit it, and because foodies are above such things - "prominent glass sculptures not to everyone's taste" is as far as the Good Food Guide would be drawn - Truffler has always found the decor at Gordon Ramsay aesthetically challenged, and is relieved that the Claridge's restaurant is being designed by Thierry Despont, rather than by Ramsay's team.

Comments