The Truffler

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The native oyster season traditionally begins in September - as long as the toxic algae which last month closed oyster beds around the south and south east coast of England allows. A decade after it first began, the Hay's Galleria's Oyster & Seafood Fair, Tooley Street, London SE1 has become a fixture to mark the start of the season. It's on today and will give visitors the chance to taste different varieties of oysters from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and England, and get stuck into all sorts of seafood. Tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, the Tabasco prawn-peeling challenge takes place - this replaces the somewhat more lethal oyster-shucking contest.

The native oyster season traditionally begins in September - as long as the toxic algae which last month closed oyster beds around the south and south east coast of England allows. A decade after it first began, the Hay's Galleria's Oyster & Seafood Fair, Tooley Street, London SE1 has become a fixture to mark the start of the season. It's on today and will give visitors the chance to taste different varieties of oysters from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France and England, and get stuck into all sorts of seafood. Tomorrow afternoon at 3pm, the Tabasco prawn-peeling challenge takes place - this replaces the somewhat more lethal oyster-shucking contest.

The rest of the fair - under cover in the glass-roofed wharf beside the river - includes stalls of seafood and drinks such as champagne and Guinness, to buy and sample. The Oyster & Seafood Fair is open today from11am until 7pm, and from 11am-6pm tomorrow. Nearest station is London Bridge.

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One notable absence from the Dorchester Show will be Dorset Knobs made by Moore's - but, comedy name apart, I've never been able to see the appeal of these dusty-dry biscuits with their untraditional list of ingredients.

Plenty of other food from Dorset, traditional and otherwise, will be in one of two food halls at the show. Organic milk from one of the country's best established producers, smoked fish, Blue Vinny cheeses, House of Dorchester chocolates, Purbeck ice cream and chilli specialist Peppers by Post will all be there. The other food hall covers food from everywhere else, and there will be students demonstrating - not, for once, about tuition fees like we did in the old days - but, being from Bournemouth's famous catering courses, they'll be showing off their cooking skills. Some 50,000 people are expected to attend the county's agricultural show, and 800 sheep and 300 cattle have also been entered for judging. Dorchester Show's on today and tomorrow from 8.30am-6pm at the new Cokers Frome show ground just outside Dorchester. Admission £8 adults, £3 children.

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There's no need to drive to Plumpton College (Ditchling Road, Plumpton, East Sussex; 01273 890454)) for its English Wine and Regional Food Festival this weekend. Connex has agreed to stop a train an hour running from Victoria at Plumpton station, and there's even a connecting minibus to the event at the college - the only one that runs viticulture and wine-making courses. Expect most of the south's best-known winemakers, including Carr Taylor, Denbies and Breaky Bottom, to be present, with locally-produced food as well as an eye-openingly wide range of wines. It's on today and tomorrow from 11am until 6pm. £9.50 admission includes copious amounts of wine to taste - hence the train service.

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The saintly Marguerite Patten, an adviser on cookery during the Second World War , must have lived through more changes in cooking and eating than any other food writer. And she's still working.

On 5 September, in the first of a series of monthly lectures at Leith's School of Food and Wine in London, she will talk about "The Amazing 20th Century", the changes in food, cooking methods and lifestyle she has witnessed - and even look into the future. Other talks scheduled in this series addressing issues in food and wine - they're calling them Leith's Lectures - will be given by Henrietta Green, Robert Joseph, Jonathan Dimbleby and Antony Worrall Thompson. The lectures start at 6.30pm at Leith's School of Food & Wine, 21 St Alban's Grove, London W8 (020 7229 0177). Tickets cost £25.

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