Category Archives: Shopping

Food Find of the Week – Cannon and Cannon

I’m really excited about my Food Find of the Week – it gives me a chance to share my passion for new producers, products, people and places and also makes me even more motivated to search harder and wider.

This week’s food find is Cannon and Cannon, a pair of young brothers from North Norfolk (Sean and Joe Cannon) with a serious passion for meat. They specialise in artisan British charcuterie, so are a one stop shop to buy the very best produce from passionate artisans leading the way in hand crafted cured meats. From Cornwall to Scotland, Wales to Kent, the brothers have scoured the country to find the very finest they can. By selling produce from superb producers such as Forest Pig, Moons Green, Trealy Farm and Great Glen Game (among others) and always being on the look out for the next new thing in charcuterie you really can be assured of buying the highest quality and most pioneering produce possible.

I’ve only met one of the brothers, Sean, who really knows his stuff about charcuterie. They have a stall in the Green Market area at Borough Market, Thursday – Saturday where you can learn more about, taste and buy from their range. I ended up taking home a veal, thyme and lemon salami from Trealy Farm and a rather special hazelnut and champagne salami from Forest Pig. I can’t wait to go back for my next meaty fix!

Have you already heard of Cannon and Cannon? If not, find out more by visiting them at the market, following them on twitter @cannonandcannon or take a look at their website – www.cannonandcannon.com. I’ve been told that there is exciting news being announced on Friday, so stay tuned.

Check back here next Wednesday for my next Food Find of the Week, or why not pop your email address in the box over there on the right, and you will get emailed as soon as I write a post!

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Introducing my Food Find of the Week

I have decided to introduce a new element to this blog, a weekly post dedicated to my ‘Food Find of the Week’. I regularly meet wonderful producers, retailers and food lovers, and find new products, books, cool shops and places to eat and drink –  it seems a shame not to share my favourites here on my blog, and by going weekly I have no excuses but to post!

I speak to a mix of well established, popular producers that you may already know and people who may just be in the development stages of their business – I love asking questions about why they came to do what they do, why their products are so great and whether there is anything new in the pipeline.

Look out for my ‘Food Find of the Week’ on Wednesday!

Oh, and just in case you thought any differently, please be assured that I will only write about things I genuinely love/ like/ am excited about on this blog.

 

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The Cheese and Wine Company

A few years ago I met my colleague’s dad Steve Parker at one of the BBC Good Food Shows and we excitedly talked in-depth about his dream to open a cheese and wine shop that would host tastings too. 18 months ago Steve opened The Cheese and Wine Company in Hampton, and I am embarrassed to say that it has taken me this long to pay him a visit (sorry Steve!). I was really impressed with the place, firstly as a brilliant fine food shop but even more with the way he has created a destination for foodies to come to taste, buy, eat, learn and share their passion.

The shop is a cheese/ wine/ food lover’s dream – a wall of wine, an open fridge with a diverse range of cheeses, fresh bread, a selection of speciality and artisan produce and an enormous table in the room next door to host meals and tasting events. One thing that Steve made clear was that they didn’t just sell cheese and wine, but the stories behind the produce and experiences too – The Cheese and Wine Company is about tasting, learning and sharing and having fun whilst doing so.

Steve and his team really know their stuff about cheese – the fridge is divided into different types of cheese, from the recognisable to the unusual. As a result of Steve encouraging tasting in his shop, customers are able to try things they wouldn’t normally dare to, and this exploration can lead to finding some great new cheeses that you wouldn’t ever normally buy. I’m sure we are all guilty of choosing cheeses we know we are going to like!

With wines to suit most budgets and tastes, and helpful advice on what and how to choose the best wines, it’s a perfect place to buy wine whether you know your stuff or don’t have much of a clue.

The shop is also filled with other artisan produce such as chutney, biscuits, flavoured salts, fresh bread, oils, vinegar and a few sweet things too!

I was particularly intrigued by this bottle of olive oil, which is from Steve’s brothers farm in France, La Ferme du Bon Dieu. He produces this cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from Provencal verdale olives – exclusively available from The Cheese and Wine Shop! 
The second room is dedicated to tastings, events and meals where a huge shared table is surrounded by cosy corners, bookshelves and interesting cheesy paraphernalia.

 

 

Steve talked us through some of the cheeses, cutting off small pieces for us to try. Norwegian brown cheese (made with condensed milk) was a little too weird for me but we tried some amazing cheeses too. We bought Halloumi for tonight’s dinner, a creamy wedge of Soumaintrain from Saint-Simeon and a bottle of Doppio Passo (Italian primitivo wine) which came highly recommended. I can’t wait to return for one of the tastings or themed evenings, I doubt I will be able to miss the hot cheese night on Thursday when he is serving fondue alongside fine wines without a corkage fee! Check out his website for more information about his produce and events or to buy online – although its definitely worth the trip to Hampton for!

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Possibly the Best Shop Ever?

I’m afraid this isn’t a food shop, but a snowboarding one. However, whether interested in snowboarding or not, the format of this shop could possibly mean it is one of the best shops ever. Alongside a great selection of clothing, equipment and accessories, Boardriders (Chamonix) also had a mini cinema to watch snowboarding films, big squishy cushions to sit back and relax and an awesome bar serving beer and vin chaud! That’s not to mention the helpful staff, technical services area, camera rental, etc, etc.

We sat and had an apres-ski drink while watching amazing snowboarders jumping out of helicopters, and then realised we were going to be late for our aperitif and canapes back at our hotel, so stomped off in the snow with rosy cheeks.

In terms of awesome food shops, Eataly came the closest to perfect for me. I went to the Turin shop (the original) but they also have shops across Italy, in Japan and they have a new one in New York. The shop is divided into different areas, and where relevant there will be a fresh counter (more pasta than I have ever seen before!) and a restaurant serving up the corresponding type of food too. There was even a truffle counter, with restaurant serving things as simple as fried hens eggs with truffle shavings. I’m sure they also do demonstrations there too – their manifesto is eat, shop, learn, and it certainly shines through in their shop set up.

I took these pictures there in 2010…

Have you found a perfect shop? If not, whats your dream?

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BBC Good Food Show – The Lovely Bits and My Highlights

There was so much going on at the BBC Good Food Show Winter this year that I’m pretty certain I missed a lot of it! With 13 theatres at the show, featuring the Great British Bake Off, Saturday Kitchen and MasterChef and the very best line up of chefs possible, there was just too many places to be at the same time! So what was I doing if I wasn’t watching the chefs?! Well, I was in my element in the Producers’ Village – tasting, talking, learning and loving every minute of it! This blog gives a little  some of my personal highlights from the show.

‘Pizza Time!’ I loved getting this text message from Tim Croft from Paddy’s Hooked on Fish – he had a deal with Amy and Chris from The Northern Dough Co (delicious frozen pizza dough) on the stand opposite… he provided the Queenie scallops, and they provided the dough, tomato sauce and cheese. Scallop pizza. I’m so glad he shared. Amazing with black pepper and a squeeze of lemon!

I always stop and consider my audience before pronouncing the word chorizo. Obviously its a spanish product, so perhaps you should pronounce as the Spanish do, which is chor-ith-o. I feel a bit of a twit saying it like that, so I usually go with chor-itz-o or chor-ise-o. I came across Ana, from Flavours of Spain, (who knows more about chorizo than anyone I know) teaching one of our visitors how to pronounce it the Spanish way. This photo catches it perfectly, don’t you think?!

I didn’t get round to eating any, but don’t these oysters from Rossmore look great!?

I almost bought this Moorlands Cheesemaker’s cheese making kit for my sister, but after asking a few strategic questions to find out if it would be a hit, we concluded that it would all be a little too smelly for her. If my flat wasn’t the size of an average person’s lounge then I would have bought one for myself.

Judy Goodman and her family rear wonderful geese – just look at the lovely way they are presented in the picture below. Goodman’s Geese are Jamie Oliver’s favourites and I can certainly vouch for them after having one at the centre of my  Christmas table for the past few years. If you haven’t tried goose then its a must – so much more luxurious than turkey.

I was very excited to taste the World Cheese Awards World Champion (we hosted the World Cheese Awards and the results were announced on the Wednesday of the show) which was a 10 month Ossau Iraty made by farmhouse producer Fromagerie Agour. I was also delighted that the Cornish Cheese Company came second overall (they were supreme champions last year). I’ve got some in my fridge to take home for the Christmas cheese board.

The World Cheese Awards judging is a spectacular occasion – over 2,500 cheeses all laid out to be judged by the ‘who’s who’ of the cheese world. Favouring Blur over Oasis back in the day, meant that seeing Alex James (from Blur) and his floppy hair perusing over the cheeses did make me go a little weak at the knees!

Beautiful freshly ground spices from Spice Boys London – it was their first BBC Good Food Show and I’m sure you will agree a great addition to the show.

I was delighted with the all round success of Simon Diss at the show – host of the Magimix Theatre. It was his first time presenting at the BBC Good Food Show and we all agreed that he was brilliant! Look out for him at future shows and follow him on twitter (@simondiss). His estate up in Cumbria also rears delicious Geese and Turkeys for Christmas, has an award winning farm shop and sounds rather idyllic – The Cowran Estate.

Now, this is a little bit embarrassing, but I featured on some of our show graphics this year at the Winter Show. It was a welcome to the Producers’ Village message (my area of the show) with a few of my highlights on it. Rather embarrassing when I had to walk past, but I’m still pretty proud of it (and so is my Dad)!


Anyway, I could go on and on, but thats enough for now… I would love to find out what I missed though – what were your highlights?


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Pick Your Own, Pumpkins and Poppies

So this year, my ‘grow my own’ dream hasn’t exactly delivered, and so to pick my own I had to turn. My boyfriend and I produced little more than a handful of clove sized garlic bulbs, a few scraggy herbs and a dozen or so of the tiniest potatoes I’ve ever seen. So a few weekends ago we headed off to a local farm shop where we knew we could get that little bit closer to the good life by picking our own.

It was the last weekend of the year for pick your own and families were out in full force to find the perfect pumpkin for Halloween. There were a few things still available in addition to the pumpkins – sweetcorn, beetroot, spinach and to my surprise strawberries!

Some wasted cobs left naked on the ground…

 

A poppy surprised us in the middle of the corn field, which now reminds me of the amazing sight which was looking down from the gallery of Olympia, at the thousands of silent and still chefs, workers and crowds at MasterChef Live at the weekend. It was a truly moving, goose bump inducing sight.

A few strawberries still left ripe for the picking…

We left the pick your own area of the farm (Garson’s Farm in Esher) with 5 corn on the cobs which were rather over priced considering we had to do the picking ourselves! It was fun though, and got us out into the fresh air for a little while. We then heading for the farm shop where I spent as long as I could get away with looking all the wonderful produce! Jamie gets bored very quickly in such places so I have to scan the shelves wide-eyed to try to absorb all the jars, packets, boxes and tubs of goodness.

I really liked these bottles of french fizzy pop from La Mortaucienne, which are one of my Grandparents’ favourites, come in beautiful bottles and are available online from Natoora.

The other thing that caught my eye were these jars… unfortunately I didn’t stop long enough to pick up on the brand and a half-hearted google search for ‘Just So…’ didn’t bring up any results. They look great though!

The trip to the farm shop ended up rather costly (we couldn’t resist buying a picnic of meats, cheeses and olives), so I think we needed to put a little more effort into growing our own in 2012 – watch this space!

 

 

 

 

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BBC Good Food Show Scotland – Highlights

I am recovering today from a particularly brilliant BBC Good Food Show Scotland – I worked hard and played hard and hope that anyone that either visited, demonstrated or exhibited had as good a time as I did! From kippers to karaoke this blog is going to cover my personal highlights – please do add your own to the comments section.

The Port of Lancaster Smokehouse brought their traditional kipper smokers, and mounds of kippers and smoked meat, fish and game. You can order ‘kippers by post’ on their website.

We don’t do stand awards… but if we did my winner would be Crabbies, it was magical!

Although I don’t like whisky, I think one of the most innovative products we have at all our shows is the Whisky Tasting Company‘s tasting sets – perfect if you want to try whisky but not buy full bottles of each (especially the expensive ones!).

Really good smoked salmon from Rennie’s Smokehouse.
Mojito Jelly from Trotter’s Independent Condiments – tangy and tasty.
The Commonwealth Orchard‘s beautiful apple display.
Just Slate‘s gorgeous slate cake stand.
The Truckle Cheese Company‘s range seems to grow every time I see them! Make sure you try their chocolate cheese if you see them!
 
Luponde Tea‘s delicious teas ready to sample. 
Super shiny knives from Hammer Stahl Cutlery.
Gorgeous cupcakes from Truly Scrumptious.
Iron Brew Sorbet from S. Luca Ice Cream. 

Miss Tunnocks (Caramel Wafers) took a tour of the show – that dress is made out of wafer wrappers!
The Rachel’s Organic team enjoying a few drinks at our exhibitor party.
The team went to a lovely Italian restaurant on the Saturday night – Fratelli Sarti, on Bath Street. From there it went downhill with a rather fun karaoke session! We were all very proud of the show this year and hope all our visitors enjoyed!
 
So, countdown now begins for our next show – MasterChef Live, hope to see you there!

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Irresistible New Kitchen Things

I must admit to being a bit of a shopaholic, without the salary to support my addiction… So, with a £30 voucher from my recent birthday I popped into the John Lewis cook shop and allowed myself a few treats.

I’ve been lusting over this Orla Kiely design for a good few months now, with its deep dark blue colouring and retro styling. I thought the ideal size of the sugar bowl would be perfect to use as my Maldon sea salt keeper. At £17 it took a hefty chunk of my voucher, but I love it, and the time I’ve spent loving it definitely justifies buying it. Continue reading

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Ludlow Food Festival 2011

The Ludlow Food Festival is probably one of the most successful regional food festivals in the UK. The organiser’s strict policy to ensure all exhibitors are from the Ludlow Marches area means you are sure to find genuine local produce and meet passionate artisans from the area. As suggested in my previous post, the passion for food that shines through in the town is what, I believe, makes the Ludlow Food Festival the huge success that it is.

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Ludlow – Around the Town During the Festival

Ludlow is a beautiful little foodie town on the Welsh borders in Shropshire. Just looking round the town makes you realise why the Ludlow Food Festival is so successful – there is obviously a lot of passion and commitment both from producers and the townsfolk that buy it. There are butchers, bakers and probably candlestick makers – so many independent shops, cafes and restaurants line the streets of Ludlow.

 

One of my favourites is Price and Sons, a craft bakery headed up by the very talented Peter Cook. They always come up with a new bread for the Food Festival’s popular bread trail, I particularly like their pear and perry sourdough loaf.

 

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Nottingham – Concrete Lace, Scotch Eggs and a Marvellous Deli

I spent 3 fun-filled years at university in Nottingham and last weekend went back for a visit. I wish I could say that I went back to visit all my favourite foodie haunts but to be honest my budget and interest in food was rather different then to how it is now. So, I left my friend to guide me round the gastronomic highlights and also consulted the mighty twitter too.

First stop – The Kean’s Head. The lure of their scotch egg, as recommended by @simonhjohnson, was too strong to resist. The pub itself wasn’t particularly impressive, although if I liked beer then I would have been in my element – there were many to choose from!

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Producer Highlights – BBC Good Food at Westfield

We had a lovely selection of producers at  BBC Good Food at Westfield London – visitors could choose from cheese, chocolate, fine wine, curry sauce, apple crisps, rapeseed oil, sausages, cakes, chutney, olives… I could go on. Instead I will take you on a brief tour of the producers in pictures!

The stands – ready and waiting for the shopping centre to open.

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Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival – Best Bits

Although the restaurants at Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival were awesome, I realised while writing this second post that what I liked most about it were the other bits! A mini farmers market, Mussel Men, giant fruit on forks, the WI, sparkly brownies, music, crumpets and strumpets!

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Pop up BBC Good Food Show at Westfield London!

Over the last couple of weeks the team have been busy getting things ready for our first ever pop up event at Westfield London. We have brought together some of the very best MasterChef and BBC Good Food Show talent for our Cookery Theatre and have gathered a selection of the most popular producers and retailers too. Continue reading

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All over for another year – BBC Good Food Show Summer 2011 Highlights

Wow, I can’t believe the show is over for another year! Time seems to be going so quickly at the moment. I have a well needed day off today so am taking the opportunity to run through some of my personal highlights of the show. I hope you enjoy them, and if you visited I would love you to add your highlights in the comments section below!

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Gator Bites!

On the very last day of our Florida holiday, before packing up and leaving for the airport, we distracted ourselves with a visit to Gatorland which, as one might guess, is dedicated to Florida’s famous alligators. Its one of the smaller attractions in Kissimmee and is well priced too at around $15 for a ticket (compare that to $90 to see Mickey Mouse!). I like that the real Florida shines through here – a little rough around the edges, faded neon colours, red necked gator wrestlers and authentic(ish) Floridian cuisine.

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Pup-cakes and Paw-fitterols

The world has officially gone barking mad. Of course its nice when people can spoil their pets, but the new dog deli in Harrods seems a little ridiculous. I was amazed as I took a touristy tour of Harrods Pet Kingdom, and surprised to find that some of the doggy treats actually made me feel a little hungry.

There was a beautiful display of, at first glance, what looked like delicious cakes, pastries, cupcakes and chocolates but as you look closer, you realise that they are for dogs! I couldn’t believe there were people out there firstly wanting this kind of stuff, and secondly, being able to afford to spend £4 on a mock profiterole for an animal!!

Pup-cakes – will you choose liver or chicken and herbs?!

 

So the next thing that amazed me was this stack of paw-fitterols…

I have no idea what they are made of and really wonder what they taste like – meaty?! So with all these treats to indulge, how does the Harrods dog manage to keep their weight down? Well they head to the doggy gym to hit the treadmill!! In case your wondering, thats Beethoven (doggy film) playing on the TV…

Well, they do say you can buy anything in Harrods!

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