Life and Style

With each passing year, the Wines from Spain Awards throw up more variety and better quality across the board. Chosen from nearly 1,000 wines, the top awards demonstrate that while rioja is still a vital part of what Spain does well, there is so much more to the country’s wine today in style, in quality and in value. Spain in many ways is Europe’s greatest hope for a challenge to the New World dominance of the past two decades.

Food & Drink: Weekend Cook 12: Blackberry Fool Serves four. Total time: 20 minutes

THE COUNTRYSIDE surrounding our farmhouse in Normandy is known as the ebocage, a medieval arrangement of fields traced by the lines of hedgerows. These are the kind of hedgerows whose loss we bemoan in this country, an impenetrable tangled mass made up of an anarchic diversity of flowers, bushes, small trees and grasses.

Food: Cold comfort

From melting ice cream to tingling granita and smoothly seductive sorbet, Simon Hopkinson stirs up some culinary memories of summers past

Food: Puddings


Style Police: Simplicity is the key, says JAMES SHERWOOD. Colours have gone neutral and that means bad design has nowhere to hide

We've always known fashion is a contrary old broad. She was austere as a Carmelite nun last season. Now she's kicking up her heels like a Vegas lap dancer in applique sequins, hot floral prints and wild, anything- goes colour. In short, she's as intimidating as Blanche Dubois after one too many daiquiris. This is a tough season for women who like quiet clothes.

Search Engines: Second site: What a lot of Pooh

FOR DIANDRA, the spell has broken. "Hi welcome to my Winnie the Pooh Page that really sucks," she blurts. "It's true, my page sucks, I have to admit - I've just outgrown Pooh. I don't like Winnie the Pooh anymore ... but I'm going to keep my page up, for the Pooh fans." Why she should feel so obliged is a mystery, since hers is hardly unique. There are several Web-rings of mutually affiliated sites, with capering animals, tinkly renderings of the Pooh signature tune, pictures of the real Hundred Acre Wood in Sussex, and backward `s's in the AA Milne typographic tradition. Diandra's confused outburst is a welcome breath of fresh air, for otherwise, like Dorothy Parker reading The House At Pooh Corner to review it for the New Yorker 70 years ago, Tonstant Surfer is likely to Fwow Up.

Gardening: A little shady practice

Many shrubs thrive on sheltered north- and east-facing walls. Anna Pavord chooses the most spectacular

Eating Out: A bit of a red herring


Good taste Whittards t-zone blending bar

While new coffee bars are more ubiquitous than bus stops, tea's image seems to have stayed with the greasy spoon, or the drawing-room. But not for long. Whittard's new tea bar, the t-zone, is a designer take on the country's favourite beverage. Giles Hilton, a man who can tell from the taste of a tea leaf whether it was picked while it was raining, believes it's time that tea had a makeover. "You go into a coffee bar and, essentially, you are served one blend of coffee - usually a house blend - either in the form of a latte, cappuccino or espresso. It's a bit like going into a vintner and only being able to buy one type of wine from each country. At t-zone you can choose from over 150 different types of tea, 100 to 120 of which are single-estate teas." Not content with offering this exhausting array, Whittard customers at its new Carnaby Street store will be able to create their own blend from 12 different varieties of fruits and flowers, five oils and three base teas. Fruit and flower flavours range from rose petals to papaya, and oils include vanilla, lemon and strawberry. A blender will be on hand to help advise on balancing the lemongrass and the orange pekoe (one of the three base teas). When the customer is happy with the blend, they will get a smart label to christen it - either after the genius that conceived it, or perhaps, more classically, along the lines of the Chinese, who tend to name their teas Dragon's Whiskers, Spider's Legs or Jade-in-the-Clouds. Aoife O'Riordain.

Food: Ambrosial delights

Rice puddings are delicious hot or cold, and the best can be as good as what comes out of a tin. Photograph by Jason Lowe

Indoors: The mono pod

The taste of ... vanilla from Reunion. Nikki Spencer samples sweet, spicy orchid riches


Malta's tourists are traditionally treated to egg and chips. But a new book sets the record straight on an island cuisine packed with history and flavour.

Diary of a divorce: Beloved and Bonk

I'm paranoid. I admit it. Looking a gift horse in the mouth isn't enough for me, I have to shine a torch in its ears, prod its feet with a stick and lift its tail up. Ideally I'd like a CT scan of its whole body, plus tissue samples of all major organs for analysis. I don't trust anything any more: if I plant a seed I have to dig it up to check the roots are growing; if there's a loose thread I have to pull it. So although my Very Nice Chap (VNC) may be keen on me when he gets up in the morning, he could have developed a violent dislike of me by 20 past 10. I just don't see any reason why such disasters, having happened once, should not happen again.

Food: Sweet delights

Simon Hopkinson reinvents some old shop favourites


Tom Aikens of Pied a Terre, Peter Gordon of the Sugar Club - Britain's top chefs reveal how to make their signature desserts for the Sunday Review. By Michael Bateman; TOP 20 DESSERTS: PART 2
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Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
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Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

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Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

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