Gastropod

'IT'S what Italians put on pasta' says the slogan in the new television advertisement for Sacla pesto, which started broadcasting in the TVS region this week. This is perfectly true - but it's also being a bit generous with the truth. Many Italians prefer to pound together the basil, garlic, pine nuts and cheese themselves; it's the British who put ready-made pesto sauce on their pasta. We buy almost a million more jars per year than the Italians. At least, we will this year. Next year things may be different.

Last week the Gastropod saw sodden mounds of pungent basil being packed with brine into barrels in Piedmont, to be shipped off to makers of second-rate pesto. Heavy rain had waterlogged the fields around Asti and Giuseppe Ercole of Sacla, the Italian brand leader, had rejected the whole crop, which would usually provide three-quarters of the company's annual production. Signor Ercole is optimistic about getting replacement supplies, but people who are addicted to having Sainsbury's red pesto on toast with their tea should be warned that supply could be tight next spring.

WHEN the Bombay Brasserie (071-370 4040) celebrated its tenth anniversary last month by offering its renowned buffet lunch for the 1982 price of pounds 5.50, the response was so overwhelming that the normally imperturbable waiters were all but overrun by the hungry hordes. The restaurant, in Courtfield Close, SW7 (opposite Gloucester Road tube station) has therefore decided to continue this offer every Thursday and Friday lunchtime throughout July. While tucking in, you may find that you are the Bombay Brasserie's millionth customer. Lights will flash, bells will ring and the lucky one in a million will win a holiday in Goa.

IN YOUR rush to take advantage of the Bombay bargain, don't forget that many other restaurant treats could be yours, as a member of Les Routiers' Club Bon Viveur. This column is giving away a couple of dozen memberships to readers who write in before the end of the month with the most entertaining eulogies, revolting recipes or wittiest dissertations on gastropods. One of the earliest replies comes from Dr John Taylor of The Malacological Society of London, which also uses a gastropod as its logo and next year celebrates its centenary. In order to raise funds to continue its work in molluscan biology, the society is marketing an Irish linen tea-towel depicting a particularly attractive snail. The towels cost pounds 3 and are available from Dr David Reid, c/o The Natural History Museum, London SW7: cheques should be made out to the Malacological Society of London.

AT THE launch last week of Giles MacDonough's biography of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, The Judge and his Stomach (John Murray, pounds 25), the first person spotted by the Gastropod actually dipping in to the new tome was the diminutive antipodean Glynn Christian. He confessed to finding it rather heavy going: 'There are more characters in this book than there are on stage in Les Miserables, and they've all got hyphenated names. But I'm enjoying it,' he insisted.

COUCH potatoes across the country have scratched their heads, contemplated their navels and rubbed their tummies in front of the television set every Sunday night for several months as Loyd Grossman has deliberated, cogitated and digested his way towards this weekend's Masterchef final. Why did seven of the nine regional finals feature bloody venison. Where were the vegetarians? On what basis are the celebrity judges chosen? What is the appeal of the series?

Last week the expert judge was Alastair Little, which put the Gastropod in mind of the self-taught chef's debut on the Food and Drink programme, when he was asked why sweetbreads weren't more popular with housewives. 'They look so offal,' he replied.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
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

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Old Royal Naval College: ORNC Visitor Experience Volunteer

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

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service / Sales Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This airport parking organisation are looking...

    Recruitment Genius: PCV Bus Drivers

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Do you enjoy bus driving and are looking for ...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project