Food & Drink: Gastropod

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online
SINCE September, Waitrose, the posh people's supermarket with about 100 branches in the South, has been stocking a range of exceptionally wholesome breads made by Andrew Whitley. Based at the Village Bakery at Melmerby, near Penrith in Cumbria, the bread is baked in his massive wood-fired brick oven: 100 tons of stone and sand, which gives a more 'solid' heat, producing bread of superior consistency. His speciality is breads that contain no added yeast, popular with the growing number of people who have a temporary superfluity of yeast in their bodies. Russian Rye (pounds 1.29 for an 800g loaf) is made with an original matured dough culture imported from Kostroma, on the Volga, and his French Country loaf (85p for a 4g loaf) is made with naturally matured dough, called a 'leaven'.

The range also includes a delicious Greek olive bread (99p for a 300g loaf), and the latest addition, which arrives in Waitrose stores on Monday, is Italian tomato bread (also 99p) which, like all Mr Whitley's breads, bears the symbol of the Soil Association. This indicates that it is made with organic flour, although the baker has yet to locate a source of organic sun-dried tomatoes.

ACCORDING to food fashion and the latest nutritional research, olive oil is the elixir of life. The fresher, greener and more pungent, the better it is for one's health and epicurean status. To be acceptable, the oil must be extracted from a single pressing of the olives at a temperature below 28C and, to be truly trendy, it must be the product of a single estate, preferably one in Tuscany.

Laudemio, a consortium of estate owners from a demarcated area within central Tuscany, purveys just such an oil: olio extra virgine di oliva. Laudemio producers have replanted trees, wiped out during the bitter winter of 1985, in well-irrigated formations, and formally classified their olive groves in the same way individual vineyards are categorised.

Six of the single estate oils bearing the Laudemio label are now being marketed in Britain at rather steep prices.

Confusingly, each oil is imported by a different company and may be difficult to track down, but the suberb oil from the Marchesi De'Frescobaldi estate is available through mail order at pounds 14 per half-litre bottle, including postage and packing, from The Oil Merchant, 47 Ashchurch Grove, Hammersmith, London W12 9BU.

OBVIOUSLY intended to emulate the success of Kensington Place, the latest metropolitan restaurant to open in London, SW-twee, is Beauchamp Place. On the former site of Menage a Trois, the new venture reunites that restaurant's manager, Eddie Khoo, responsible for the award-winning wine list, and David Wilby, once Antony Worrall Thompson's sous chef at Menage. The rather pokey basement premises have undergone a transformation, with the installation of a glass ceiling and decor that is promised to be 'very dramatic and colourful'.

Diners can expect a modish menu that is heavily redolent of AWT's more recent enterprises, Dell'Ugo and Zoe, and a heavyweight wine list assembled by Mr Khoo, whose previous efforts have won him numerous accolade, including The Wine Spectator's prestigious Grand Award. Prices are intended to be reasonable, especially so next week, when they will be halved as an introductory offer.

FAITHFUL readers of the Independent will not need to be reminded that, until his untimely death in August 1989, Jeremy Round was our first food writer and author of the award-winning book, The Independent Cook. A gourmand par excellence, Jeremy's style was witty, irreverent and communicated his sheer delight in eating. In this spirit, Ferrarelle mineral water is sponsoring the Jeremy Round Award for young amateur food writers. Under-25s are invited to submit a restaurant review in no more than 600 words to: Jeremy Round Award, Media Relations, Glen House, 25 Brompton Road, London SW7 3RP, before 15 May. Entries will be judged by a panel that includes Sophie Grigson, and the winner will be announced in this column on 12 June.

Comments