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.

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
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
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
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

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

    Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
    The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

    The model for a gadget launch

    Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
    Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

    Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
    Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

    Get well soon, Joan Rivers

    She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
    Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

    A fresh take on an old foe

    Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

    As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

    Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

    ... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
    Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

    Europe's biggest steampunk convention

    Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

    Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

    Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

    The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
    She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

    Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

    The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
    American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

    Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

    James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
    Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

    Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

    Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

    Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

    If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution