Food: Gastropod

August is the month when the London- based restaurant advisory and reservation service, Restaurant Switchboard (081-888 8080), has to deal with an annual rash of requests from foreign tourists for the telephone numbers of places recommended to them by their (also foreign) friends. Inevitably, there is some confusion to be cleared up.

It is easy enough to deal with inquiries about 'The Vine' (it's The Ivy) or 'Faithful Partridge' (Constant Grouse). Other mispronunciations, however, have been more inspired. Tiddy Dols, an 'olde English' eating house in Mayfair, was described by one caller as 'Tribal Balls'. The Gay Hussar, Hungarian haunt of pinko politicos, has been described as 'The Gay Hustler'. Orso, the Italian annexe to Joe Allen's Covent Garden basement, is frequently called 'Also' but was referred to by one mixed-up young man as 'Arsehole'.

MAYBE you have just returned from a foreign country, where you drank strange and wonderful wines. If you want to find out more about them, the courses being offered at various regional centres by the Wine & Spirit Education Trust might be the answer. They are designed to teach the novice not only the bare facts about vinification and the differences between the various regions, but also how to taste wines systematically and assess them using an easily comprehensible vocabulary.

The weekly two-hour sessions run over two months, leading to a certificate that is recognised by professionals in the wine trade. The courses, which start early next month, cost pounds 100. To find your nearest centre, contact the registrar, Gareth Lawrence (071-236 3551).

YOGURT spelt without an 'h' and sold in square cartons with fruit compote in a separate compartment in the corner is all the rage. The market leader is Muller, a German company with a UK subsidiary based at Market Drayton, Shropshire. In the five years since it launched its Fruit Corner range, it has grabbed a remarkable 18 per cent of the British market, which is expected to be worth pounds 500m this year.

A few years ago, the only competition to Ski (owned by Unigate) came from the fruit- packed St Ivel Prize Guys (also owned by Unigate). They were usurped by the supermarkets' own-label brands, which now account for more than 40 per cent of the market. According to Ken Wood, managing director of Muller, the companies in the fruit yoghurt sector competed on price to the detriment of quality - until his company came along.

Although he accepts that the novelty of the packaging (originally developed to keep the muesli mix from getting soggy in Muller's Crunch Corner) has been a factor in this success, he insists that it is the extra-creamy consistency of his yoghurt which has won the loyalty of the consumer.

Of course, he is bound to say that, but he does have some proof in the form of an enormous pile of letters from satisfied customers, demanding that the yoghurt be marketed in bigger cartons and without the fruit. Consequently, Muller Thick and Creamy yoghurt is now available in conventional (ie, not square) 500g tubs for 69p.

IT IS David Wolfe's grave duty to evaluate competitors for Decanter magazine's Restaurant of the Year Award, and last week he took his clipboard to Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. The Gastropod went along to carry the pen, and to join Mr Wolfe in a meal that he declared to be the best he had ever eaten. Since Mr Wolfe could have been the model for the huge Mr Creosote in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, The Gastropod's only fear was that he might yield to the sort of offer - of a 'leetle, waifer-teen' mint at the end of the meal - that did for Mr Creosote.

At breakfast next morning, The Gastropod was touched to be given a souvenir menu listing the food and drink we had consumed the night before: the courgette flower stuffed with truffle sabayon, the stunning salad of langoustines and strips of courgette, aubergine and peppers (a deconstructed ratatouille, laid out like a Mondrian painting) and so on.

The only false note in an otherwise stupefying treat was the water we drank. The Decanter award is sponsored by Ferrarelle, the lightly carbonated Italian mineral water that is seeking to replace Badoit as the gourmet's choice. Generously, the importers of Ferrarelle do not insist that restaurants must serve their water to be eligible for the competition. At Le Manoir, we drank Abbey Well.

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager - Commercial Cable & Wire - UK

    £60,000 - £75,000: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the major Aer...

    ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

    Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    Day In a Page

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

    Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
    The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

    Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

    Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
    Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

    What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

    Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
    A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

    Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

    Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
    Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

    'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

    A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

    Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

    The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
    Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

    Paul Scholes column

    Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
    Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

    Frank Warren column

    Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
    Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

    Adrian Heath's American dream...

    Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
    Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

    Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

    A Syrian general speaks

    A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    ‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

    Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
    Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

    Fall of the Berlin Wall

    History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
    How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

    Turn your mobile phone into easy money

    There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes