Tart or Pud? The Bakewell Conundrum

There are several mysteries to do with Bakewell, at least two of them down to its most famous sweet treat. Is the world-famous Bakewell Tart the authentic dish or should we be lauding the less well-known Bakewell Pudding? And why does virtually every bakery and tea shop in the town claim to be the first-ever…

Champagne Mavericks

Every year Eric Lebel has to turn approximately 400 wines into one; a nice trick – if you can do it. As Chef de Caves of legendary champagne house Krug, Lebel uses the label’s unique ‘library’ of wines to build a champagne from scratch that both embraces and circumnavigates the concept of ‘vintage.’ There’s a…

Afternoon Tea at the Fan Museum

I’m not sure I’d recommend the Fan Museum at Greenwich to non-girls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s gorgeous, frilly froth, beautifully presented in a jewel box of a building. I utterly adore it. Men I have taken there, however, have developed a strange, glazed look halfway through Room Two. Perhaps that’s why up to now…

Colston Bassett Stilton

The tiny English village of Colston Bassett boasts a ruined Norman church, a market cross, a picturesque country pub – and what some might call the Emperor of the kings of British cheese. Stilton is, perhaps, the most distinguished cheese of all, with its thick yellow crust, sumptuous web of blue veins, crumble-cream texture and rich, piquant…

Maids of Honour

Some say Hampton Court, some say Richmond Palace. You pays your ha’penny and you takes your choice when it comes to legends about Henry VIII’s eating habits, especially when it comes to melt-in-the-mouth pastries dainty enough for a nursery rhyme. The story goes that the king, visiting his queen du jour in her apartments at…

Coddle up for Winter

When I was a kid, my mum used to make us ‘poached eggs’ using a frying pan-like saucepan with little shallow cups simmering over water. She’d put a dab of butter in each cup, break an egg into each then let them boil to a soft set. I grew up sincerely believing that that was what…

Chocolate for Men

Damian Allsop’s ‘water ganache’, dispensing with the traditional butter and cream.  The extraordinary exploding chocolates of Gorvett and Stone. The understated elegance of William Curley. Chubby cherubs gallivanting around Rococo’s fabled blue and white cornucopia. In the past few years, a chocolate revolution has burst onto our tastebuds, relegating the old choice – between cheap…