Archive for the ‘food’ Category

High Farm Fish Bar fish n chips

May 20, 2020

Today coronavirus lockdown day fifty eight, this evening my first fish n chips since start of lockdown, but I have to order on line.

To date not having much luck. Last week I visited Elite on the Bail, looking forward to fish n chips, only to find not open until four.

Lunchtime today, I tried the Washingborough fish n chip shop, only to find not open until four, and have to place order on-line.

I decided to try again this evening.

A bit of a faffle but I guess second time around easier.

Place order, confirmed order taken, then turn up at allotted time.

Quite a clever system, fish n chip shop gets a print out with name and order. On arrival asked for name, a couple of minutes wait, then order handed out through the door, covid-19 restrictions, not allowed to enter the shop.

I can see this could become semi-permanent, no waiting, and order is ready for collection. Though hopefully people will still be able to turn up.

The first time I have had fish n chips from this fish n chip shop since last summer.

Portion size generous, fish n chips excellent.

On a par with Elite on the Bail or Elite Tritton Road.

Two fish n chips worth knowing about locally, Elite on the Bail and Washingborough fish n chip shop. To which I would add Elite Tritton Road.

Burton Road poor service and quality of fish n chips not good. No way Sign of the Fish in Sincil Street, service poor and quality of fish n chips not good.

Reclaim the Streets

May 16, 2020

We hear the sound of birdsong, the streets are traffic free, the cities are pollution free.

There can be no return to normal as normal was not normal.

We have been jolted into another now. We must maintain our city centres car and pollution free.

The first businesses to reopen coffee shops, tables outside, social distancing maintained,  dwell time relatively short.

To achieve this, coffee shops need to be able to spread out into the streets, out into the squares, the norm in Athens, indeed the norm across Europe, when one coffee shop in Lincoln requested this they received an emphatic no from Lincolnshire County Council, not even the courtesy of an explanation.

Unfortunately we will not agree to you increasing the number of tables and chairs you use or the size of the area that you have at the current time (your enclosure needs to still be only outside the frontage of your premises).

Kick starting the local economy, improving the ambience, worthless council jobsworths don’t give a damn.

Our High Streets were dying before the covid-19 pandemic. The loss of Big Business, corporate chains, from the High Street is no great loss, it was destroying the High Street. If we are to recover it will be through small local independent businesses.  That is why we must allow indie coffee shops, and only indie coffee shops not chains, next restaurants, to expand into the streets. Not pubs and bars as we do not want drunks on the streets.

Local businesses spreading into public space helps everyone, safeguarding staff and clientele through social distancing, improves the ambience of the locality, especially if No Smoking, and for many local businesses it will mean life or death, the difference whether they survive or not.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has recognised people are going to be reluctant to use public transport  therefore we have to encourage walking and cycling if we do not wish traffic levels to rise. But if wishes to improve cycling and walking, must also make our city centres more attractive by encouraging local councils to facilitate indie coffee shops and restaurants to spread out into our streets.

Deliveries to the pedestrianised areas,  park on the periphery and deliver by handcart or trolley.

Sheffield, an unusual city in that prior to the covid-19 pandemic a city on the up, a marked contrast to most decaying cities. And why? Independent businesses everywhere.

BBC Radio 4 The Food Programme recently featured Sheffield, the focus on how indie food businesses were bringing life back to Sheffield. With the exception of Marmadukes I would not agree with their choice of examples, but the gist yes. I could list several examples, South Street Kitchen, Marmadukes, Steam YardSheffield Cheese Masters, Bullion bean to bar craft chocolate, ShuJu Taiwanese pop-up kitchen at Union St.

Mention also needs to be made of Now Then, an indie magazine that features local culture and indie businesses, interesting articles and art, well worth seeking out.

Through reclaiming the streets, we are operating at the interface between business, environment and society, a component part of Doughnut Economics, where the local economy is designed to be regenerative and distributive, with people and the environment at its heart.  We kick cars out of our town centres, we plant trees, we improve the ambience, we create a space where local businesses and communities can thrive, breathe clean air, or simply relax with a  good coffee, read a book, sit and watch the world go by.

One of my favourite places to sit and relax, Little Tree, a bohemian bookshop cum coffee shop, not far from The Acropolis.

In Exarchia, an anarchist district of Athens, they set up road blocks, boxes with plants,  created traffic free zones. The city authorities also act, they are extending the pedestrianised areas around The Acropolis.

Doughnut Economics Cyprus

April 27, 2020

A couple of weeks ago the Cyprus finance minister opened himself up to ridicule when he claimed the Cyprus economy was going to shrink by about five percent.

The following week the figure had  been revised to ten per cent, which was at best wishful thinking.

With loss of the Cyprus tourist sector, and anyone who thinks Cyprus is going to see any tourists before the end of the season is living in la la land, the economic downturn is going to be far greater than ten per cent.

The world is heading into economic meltdown far worse than the Great Depression, international trade already down by 30%. IMF has warned the global recession is likely to be worse than the Great Depression, and has urged countries to spend, spend, then spend some more, which is an amazing about turn for the IMF.

To put the Cypriot figures in context, the UK economy is expected to shrink by anywhere between 13 per cent and 30 per cent depending on which model, the assumptions fed into the model. The Treasury has forecast April May June the economy may shrink by 30 per cent.

We can not go back to normal as normal was not normal, it was destroying the planet.

We have been able to hear birdsong, our streets traffic free, our cites pollution free, the skies free of planes. A world few of us will have seen in our lifetimes. In India they are able to see in the far distance the snow covered Himalayas, a sight last seen over thirty years ago,

We were told we could not cut carbon emissions within the timescale required for zero carbon 2035, it was impossible, impractical, and yet we have achieved massive reductions overnight.

Politics is not a race, two or more corrupt  political parties in a race as to decide who gets the opportunity to do the bidding of oligarchs.

Politics is who does what to whom.

We have seen capitalism put into suspended animation.  We are in a postcapitalist world, we have been since 2008. Who decides what the future will look look like once we are through the coronavirus pandemic?

If we look to the UK, Chancellor Rishi Sunak  has made billions of pounds available, to furlough workers with the government providing 80% of salary, a week later for the self employed, grants, soft loans to small businesses, all to keep businesses in hibernation,  ready to be woken up.

In the covid-19 pandemic we are living in another now. What we have to do is create our own another now, an alternative reality, a vision of how we wish the world to be. We failed in 2008, we cannot fail again in 2020, we cannot return to what was the norm, as the norm was not normal.

EU failed to deliver on eurobonds, offered loans that put the southern vassal states in debt bondage with austerity to follow.

We have seen post-WWII relentless rise in GDP, or at least up to the 2008, but this rise is not normal, it has been at huge environmental cost, and the increase in GDP has not been fairly distributed, it has been shared with the rich.

If I ask a bank for $100,000 to safeguard an ancient forest, I will probably not get very far. If I ask for $1 million to cut down the forest sell the timber they will happily give me the money.

If I ask a bank for 100 million euros to destroy pristine coastline for a hotel development, bring in dredged sand to create a beach, destroy bamboo groves habitat of  a rare endangered snail, show I will have guaranteed contracts with a big tour company to bring in all-inclusive guests, I will of course not tell them no benefit to the local economy, the bank will hand me the money, or at least they would have pre-coronavirus pandemic.

Destruction of a forest, of a pristine coastline, is not without costs, soil erosion, floods, loss of a carbon sink, species loss, degradation of water supply, loss of inshore fishing and fish breading grounds, which then feeds into ocean acidification, warming climate, rising sea levels, forest degradation, loss of coastline, further loss of fisheries. These costs are dismissed as externalities (a polite way of saying someone else problem).

The standard economic model showing monetary flows between households and businesses, together with flows of capital and goods and services, sometimes expanded to include the role of banks and government, is too simplified, it takes no account of the economy is embedded within society, which in turn is embedded within Gaia.

Never confuse a model with reality, even worse distort reality to reflect the model.

Kate Raworth has drawn a model, that incorporates what went before, but also includes the commons, the flow of energy, flow of materials, and thus more accurately reflects reality.

We therefore have to devise a new economic system, one that sees the poor are not left behind, are not  reliant on food banks, homeless are not living on our streets, whilst at the same time we do not exceed our planetary limits and what we do produce is fair and  equitable.

One such system is doughnut economics. How do we apply it to Cyprus, to the island, to municipalities, to sectors?

Look to Amsterdam, where the city is working with Kate Raworth to devise doughnut economics for the city, a 21st century economic system.

One of the largest sectors in Cyprus is tourism, it cannot be a return to mass tourism which not only is destroying the planet is destroying Cyprus, it brings in the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive hotels with no benefit for the local economy.

Does Cyprus need an easyJet flight every day, sometimes two a day, would not two or three a week suffice, assuming easyJet is in business and will not run out of money by August?

A proposal for a doughnut economy for Cyprus, a broad brush to be expanded upon.

Doughnut economics was developed by Oxford economist Kate Raworth as an antidote to conventional economics which does not reflect the real world and has not served us well.

What is the economy for? Until we can answer that question, how do we know what to measure, how do we measure success?

Economies need to be distributive, regenerative.

Visualise a doughnut. In the centre nothing, this is where resides abuse of human rights, poverty, malnutrition, homelessness, food banks, it is where we should not be. The body of the doughnut is where we wish to be, a circular economy, everyone’s needs met, living within the limits of the planet. Beyond the doughnut, again where we should not be, global warming, species loss, habitat destruction, acidification of our oceans, pollution, rising sea levels.

Kate Raworth has developed a doughnut economics model for Amsterdam, working with the city. Something that should be studied, adapted to Cyprus, but no two places are the same.

For Cyprus we need a doughnut model for the island and for each and every municipality and sector, and the people involved in developing it.

The largest sector in Cyprus is tourism, but it is not in a healthy state, has not been for years, and looking at crude tourist numbers is about as helpful as focusing on GDP to measure economic well being.

One only had to wander through Protaras last year at the height of the tourist season to see all was not well.  During the day, mid-afternoon, empty sunbeds, watersports siting idle. At night, during the evening, bars and restaurants empty.

The last few years many local businesses have gone bust. They finished last season in very poor shape, and many more would not have survived another season.

Tourism has to benefit society with minimum impact on the environment.

Mass tourism is bad for the planet, bad for Cyprus, it is not sustainable.

There is an over-reliance on tour companies, on mass tourism, on all-inclusive hotels.

Cyprus has become the dustbin for the dregs of the tourist industry, all-inclusive attracts the dregs, little if any money flows into the local economy.

Cyprus is not going to see tourists this year, therefore time to reflect, seize the opportunity for radical change and innovation.

Rewind the tourist sector to thirty years ago when Cyprus was a quality destination, attracted quality tourists, when hoteliers took a pride in their hotels, restaurateurs in their restaurants.

Cyprus needs far fewer tourists, quality tourists. There should be no all-inclusive hotels, tour companies should be no more than 20% of hotel bookings (no single tour operator more than 10%), pay promptly at the end of the month (with penalty for late payment).

Encourage long stay, fourteen days and longer, discourage short stay, short breaks, seven days and shorter. Fewer flights for the same hotel occupancy.

The noisy bars bulldoze to the ground.  Restaurants in an attempt to compete with all-inclusive hotels are in a race to the bottom, a race to the bottom no one can win.

What passes as coffee shops is laughable, Cyprus is infamous for bad coffee, coffee shops serving drinkable coffee could count on one hand.

Replace noisy bars with traditional tavernas and coffee shops. It would be difficult to find good examples without visiting Plaka in Athens. Paul’s Coffee Roasters and Lazaris (though not for coffee) near St Lazarus Church in the back streets of Larnaca set high standards, take a pride in what they do, as does Nick’s Coffee Bike outside Larnaca Marina, but these are the rare exceptions, not the norm, oasis amidst the dross. Once the norm in Cyprus, until a race to the bottom to attract custom from all-inclusive hotels, a race no one can win.

For restaurants slow food not fast food, local cuisine using fresh local seasonal produce.  Sea food restaurants overlooking the sea, fresh caught fish, for example Spartiatis overlooking Konnos Bay and Demetrion beside Liopetri River overlooking the sea.

Tourism is more than hotels, it is bars, coffee shops, restaurants, car hire, boat trips, water sports. All of which have suffered in recent years thanks to all-inclusive hotels.

There is a need to improve standards within the tourist sector, hotels, restaurants, bars, coffee shops. How to measure standards?

TripAdvisor is worthless, fake reviews and trolls. Google Maps marginally better. Proposal to tender a contract to assess standards  seriously flawed in a country where everyone knows everyone, someones cousin friend went to school with.

Create an open source open coop collaborate commons platform Booking Cyprus. Charge a small fee to generate a surplus to maintain and improve the platform and fund local community green projects.

There is a need to diversify within the tourist sector.

Diversify away from tourism based on a handful of coastal resorts.

Encourage rural tourism, bookings through FairBnB not AirBnB. AirBnB destroys local communitiesFairBnB works with and supports local communities.

Encourage cultural tourism.

An example would be a week of tango at Grecian Park, not organised by the hotel, they host a week organised by two dancers well known within the world of tango.

A green new deal, use it to kick start the economy. 

Look to what DiEM25 is proposing for Europe. EU needs to issue eurobonds, €500 billion a year to finance a Green New Deal for Europe.

Implement a tree planting programme. Start by planting trees at bus stops for the 101 / 102 bus service Paralimni Protaras Ayia Napa to provide much needed shade.

Pedestrianise the sea front at Larnaca and extend the pedestrianised area into the back streets around St Lazaris Church. Provide an electric shuttle bus service from, Larnaca Marina to Mackenzie Beach.

Cyprus is over-reliant on oil imports, which is crazy in a country with abundant sunshine. Install roof top solar, feed into local community owned and controlled local grids, paid a fair price, consumers pay a fair price, surplus generation fed to other local grids via a publicly owned national grid, any ‘profit’ fed back into the local grid or used to fund local community projects.

The proposed Paphos Marina with facilities for cruise ships should be scrapped. Cruise ships are floating environmental disasters.  Floating all-inclusive hotels that bring no benefits to local economies.

The project in Paphos to create a marina for 1,000 boats plus cruise ships is an example of the insanity that is destroying Cyprus. It should be scrapped.

Cruise ships are nothing more than glorified floating all-inclusive hotels, that cause horrendous damage wherever they dock, with little benefit to the local economy.

The streets of Athens, especially areas like Plaka and Acropli, are clogged whenever a cruse ship docks, causing a problem for both locals and visitors, and they do not spend any money. The tour buses ferrying them around, traffic congestion, noise and pollution.

Venice is being destroyed by cruise ships.

Cruise shop are major greenhouse gas emitters, plus passenger fly to start and end of trip. Cruise ships dump their sewerage and garbage overboard, including plastic.

Will there even be cruise ships? As we have seen floating hell when covid-19 spreads through the ship and nowhere will permit a plague ship to dock.

These floating all-inclusive hotels are now all rapidly returning to port, discharging their passengers and being mothballed. The industry has not just been devastated, it has ceased to function altogether. For it, coronavirus has been the perfect storm. It has gone from being an industry worth $46 billion (£37 billion) a year, with 26 million passengers per annum, to an almost total standstill overnight. The only destination for cruise ships, the scrap yard.

Art and culture should be part of our doughnut.

Art and culture would seem an oxymoron when said in the same breath as Ayia Napa, and yet Ayia Napa has an excellent International Sculpture Park on a hillside overlooking the sea and hosts an excellent Medieval Festival.

How many visitors are aware of the open air theatre during the summer in the grounds of Larnaca Castle?

Cyprus has a democratic deficit which should be addressed. Not only open municipalities to the public, open to public participation, live stream all meetings.

A doughnut may appear to be a simple concept, but appearances can be deceptive. Its power lies in its simplicity.

A lower social bound bellow which we should not fall. An upper planetary bound which we should not exceed. It is also circular, symbolises not only money flowing around the economy, but also symbolises mutual cooperation, collaborative commons.

A simple example will suffice. On changing money in a car hire, we are recommended to take a boat trip. The boat trip recommends a restaurant. The restaurant recommends a vineyard from where they source their wine. To visit the vineyard, we return to the car hire to hire a car. We pass through a lovely little village, learn of a house available through fairbnb should we be tempted to return. At the vineyard, we learn they are renting out a beautiful studio apartment with incredible views of the sea. We find a coffee shop which we have been recommended, and as is the nature of coffee shops, interesting conversations ensue with the owner and barista and fellow coffee drinkers, we learn of many cultural events, an out of the way fish restaurant overlooking the sea and of a taverna  overlooking the sea. We learn Cyprus has much to offer, which we would never have learnt of from tour guides at an all-inclusive hotel. And the local economy has benefited. And maybe we will return one day to explore further.

Salient points of a doughnut economy:

  • GDP is not a useful measure. We cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet. Obsession with GDP has destroyed the planet whilst at the same time creating obscene levels of  inequality. The top richest 1% have accrued more  wealth than the poorest 99%. Uncontrolled growth has a name, cancer.
  • Create, innovate, value human development. With rare exceptions there is a lack of innovation in Cyprus. One bar owner opens a bar with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Then more bars open with white seats, overpriced drinks, moronic music thudding out. Those that follow, do not bother to check the first bar always empty.
  • Understand the power of networks, how feedback systems operate.
  • An economic system must be distributive. All must share in the wealth created.
  • Transactions within an economy are not simply financial, nor are the players only government and private sector. The economy also has to include open coops, collaborate commons, each working in loose partnership with each other.
  • Economy has to be regenerative. It is a necessary but not sufficient condition to merely protect the natural world from harm.

The Cypriot economy is moribund if not in free fall, no tourists anytime soon.  The time should be put to productive use to implement a doughnut economy.

It is important public information, in Greek and English, to keep everyone informed, not only locals but also visitors. Then network and share with other municipalities, not only across Cyprus, across Europe.

Coronavirus panic buying scaremongering

March 7, 2020

Reports of panic buying much exaggerated.

Friday afternoon I visited several supermarkets, local market, fishmonger, local shops.

There was no evidence of panic buying. Media scaremongering. I visited several supermarkets, a local market, fishmonger. Supermarkets well stocked. Fruit and vegetable stalls well stocked, bread and cakes stall well stocked, meat stall well stocked. Fishmonger well stocked.

Early afternoon, local market. Fruit and vegetable stall well stocked. A bread and cake stall had not sold out, usually by early afternoon sold out. A stall for a local farm. meat, plenty of stock and the stall holder said not busy, had not even had to replenish his stall.

Visited a coupled of local shops, all were well stocked.

Mid-afternoon, Poundland shelves not stripped, no shortage of toilet rolls, the same on a market stall and in Wilkinson, plenty of toilet rolls. Catch indoor market as closing. Fishmonger no shortage, fruit and vegetable stall well stocked.

Late afternoon after visiting a coffee shop. M&S shelves well stocked, as was Heron Foods and a local Coop.

And yet, media claiming panic buying. One report on local news showed a shop with shelves stripped bare. This in the same town I found the exact opposite. Did they search high and low until they found a shop with shelves stripped to support their scaremongering story?

Yes, we should ensure we are well stocked, fridge, freezer cupboards well stocked, which I have maintained since outbreak of coronavirus in China in January, but not the same as panic buying. Face masks and hand sanitiser, I would not waste money on.

Yes we should take coronavirus seriously, which is more than UK government is doing, and here is why.

Coronavirus twice as infectious as seasonal flu, lethality ten times.

Mortality rate 3.4%. In Italy, it exceeds 4%.

Attitude of government sit back and do little until widespread, by which time too late.

As absolute minimum temperature screening at airports, ban all mass public events.

We ourselves can do our bit, coughs and sneezes spreads disease, wash our hands frequently, avoid crowded public places, pubs a no no, especially J D Wetherspoon.

Fish n chips Elite on the Bail

March 6, 2020

My third visit.

Stylish but poor layout.

First visit, service poor, second visit had deteriorated. I am pleased to report the service is improving, but at least three waitresses with hair dangling down.

First visit, fish n chips excellent, second visit chips not good. Today excellent haddock, batter crispy, the best I have had anywhere. The chips though could be better.

On each visit, fewer diners. Today almost deserted, not a single diner on the first floor. Reaction to coronavirus, people reluctant to eat out?

Pubs avoid, especially J D Wetherspoon. Restaurants, if not busy I would not avoid.

But what all restaurants must do, hand sanitiser as walk in and waiting staff before taking to table request patrons use. If they refuse, deny entry. Safety of staff and diners must come first.

Excellent views of Bailgate from first floor.

Wandering through Bailgate, absolute must this area pedestrianised.

J D Wetherspoon refuse to pay sick pay of workers who may have coronavirus

February 29, 2020

Wetherspoon are forcing into work staff who may have coronavirus.

If follow WHO advice, government advice, may have coronavirus, self isolate. If work for Wetherspoon and follow this advice will will not be paid.

Wetherspoon workers who try to do the right thing, self-isolate and try to stop the spread of coronavirus are being told, either turn up for work or you will not be paid.

This is appalling treatment by Wetherspoon of their staff who may have coronavirus, come to work or you will not be paid.

This puts their colleagues at risk, drinkers in their bars at risk, hastens the spread of coronavirus.

Do you really wish to visit a Wetherspoon pub and not be sure if the person preparing your food, serving your meal, handing you a drink has coronavirus?

The only defence we have against coronavirus is containment.

Coronavirus is twice as infectious as seasonal flu, the death rate ten times that of seasonal flu.

My recent observations:

  • Toby Carvery bar girl sneezes twice into her hands then hands over two glasses of water
  • fish n chip restaurant waitress sneezes into her hands wipes hands on tea towel then uses to wipe glasses and cutlery
  • village pub with no soap in he toilet
  • trains with no running water or soap in toilets

It takes only one infected person forced into work by Wetherspoon to infect everyone in the bar.

Tim Martin boss of J D Wetherspoon has form, low pay, zero hours, opposed increase in rate of minimum wage, crap service, food not good.

I would urge everyone to boycott J D Wetherspoon.

Government is bringing in emergency legislation. This must include forcing bad employers like J D Wetherspoon to pay sick pay, and if any employee has been forced to return to work, hit with a a heavy fine, and if Wetherspoon has forced anyone into work, close down their pubs.

The emergency legislation must also oblige insurance companies to pay for cancelled holidays, to cover the cost if stranded overseas.

The Truth About Takeaways

February 28, 2020

BBC are to be complimented on The Truth About Takeaways looking at how bad takeaway meals. [broadcast BBC One 2000 GMT Thursday 27 February 2020]

If not seen a must watch.

Takeaway meals bad on every measure can think of, weight gain, damage to arteries, fat levels in bloodstream, fitness, lethargy, alertness, cognitive skills, sleep deprivation.

A two week trial of half a dozen fit students. They noticeably deteriorated and looked worse for wear during the two week trial

I felt sick looking at the food they had to eat, and that was without the disgusting smell. I had a sample of the disgusting smell of junk food at the weekend from a travelling junk food circus.

One family was addicted to takeaways. They lived on junk food every day, and no, they did not look well. A professor of food psychology weaned them off the junk food. At the end of two weeks they looked healthier.

Where I would criticise is failure to differentiate the different types of fat, not lump all fat together.  [see Big Fat Surprise]

When deciding what is healthy what is not, we should ask how far has it travelled,  to what degree heavily processed, look at the list of additives.

Do not be taken in by the Big Businesses vegan scam peddling highly processed crap.

We are being fed a false argument vegan v meat. No, the issue is industrial farming v regenerative agriculture.

Grass fed herbivores, the grass mitigates temperature, absorbs carbon, improves the soil structure, which in turn absorbs carbon, soaks up water.

Similarly with chocolate and coffee, direct trade, bean-to-bar chocolate, trees grown under the shade of trees, will also always be superior to plantation grown industrial chocolate, commodity coffee.

A warning on Deliveroo, and not only that they are an exploitative company like Uber, serfs working for an app. They are setting up their own kitchens, cutting out the middle man, current takeaways and restaurants unthinkingly supplying the data to destroy their own businesses.

Deliveroo are also a contributory factor in the destruction of town centres. High Streets need footfall. Deliveroo is taking away footfall.

Junk food travelling circus

February 22, 2020

High Street Lincoln stomach-churning stench from junk food travelling circus.

Why?

Generators polluting a pedestrian street, stench pervading nearby shops, dreadful music blasting out Cornhill.

It was like a mini-version of the disastrous Lincoln Christmas Market, junk food and tat.

A coffee truck. If want bad coffee, sit in the warm in a corporate coffee shop. For those who love coffee, Coffee Aroma and Madame Waffle.

Sweet stall. Locals know to visit the sweet shop in Sincil Street.

Two stalls with low quality cheese. Locals know walk to top of High Street, turn left to The Cheese Society. Or top of Steep Hill, farmers market Castle Hill third Saturday of the month.

I felt very sorry for a coffee cycle, strictly speaking a trike, Happy Coffee, four hours journey from Kent, stand in the cold serving LavAzza coffee, and pay £400 for the pitch.

Elite on the Bail revisited

February 19, 2020

I last visited Elite on the Bail an upmarket fish n chip shop last week, one week after it had opened.

In summary, poor design, poor service, excellent fish n chips.

Has anything changed?

Not a lot can be done about the poor design.

The service far from improving has deteriorated, now on a par with Burton Road Chippy.

Waitress with hair dangling over the table, wrong change on bill, bill not brought promptly to the table when offered to bring, but a few of the problems experienced.

There is a problem with the dish washing machine. Black flecks on all the crockery, a rough scum on much of the crockery.

Elite need to address the poor service  and the things that are going wrong. .

Suggestion: Deploy experienced staff from Elite Tritton Road, pay their travelling expenses and time to and from Elite on the Bail.

Fish n chips?

Haddock was excellent, even better than last week, but the chips poor quality, not up to the standard of Elite.

Poor quality of chips queried. Apparently difficulty sourcing quality potatoes suitable for frying.

Lincolnshire grows potatoes but cannot supply quality potatoes to Elite.

The Hairy Bikers’ Chocolate Challenge

February 18, 2020

I did not expect Hairy Bikers’ reality chocolate show on Channel 5 to be anything other than dire. It lived up to expectations.

Dire it was, gimmicky, dreadful presenters, dreadful contestants.

I endured five minutes then turned off in disgust. I tried again the next day. I managed ten minutes before giving up in disgust.

Set in the Nestlé factory in York, one of the worst corporations in the world. York where once upon a time Joseph Rowntree started.

Industrial chocolate.

I had hoped bean-to-bar chocolate, not fat and sugar.

The programme could have been set at York Cocoa Works. And at the very least, wander through the Shambles and look in Monk Bar Chocolatiers.

York, home of chocolate, and the viewers are insulted with corporate industrial chocolate.

Corporate chocolate makers lobbied in US to water down the definition of chocolate to include  emulsifiers and other additives.

Over the last two decades we have seen shocking reports about the use of child labor, sometimes under hazardous conditions, on cacao farms in Ivory Coast and Ghana, and of widespread destruction of forests in cacao-growing regions worldwide.

Public outcry had prompted the major chocolate companies to pledge to end the worst forms of child labour in the cacao industry. But no laws were ever passed in America to require this (those same companies lobbied against the legislation and quashed it), little has changed.

We find a similar corporate story with environmental impact. In 2017, 34 chocolate companies agreed to end deforestation by their industry. But according to a 2018 report by the environmental group Mighty Earth, cacao production was still ravaging forests, and the animals living within them, at an alarming rate.

Direct trade, traceability, transparency bean-to-bar chocolate makers source the best beans, place emphasis on the growing conditions, the terroir, the working conditions, will include details on their chocolates or on their websites.

Cacao grown under the shade of trees helps to protect the natural habitat.

Across the country we have bean-to-bar chocolate makers, viewers could have been introduced to quality chocolate, instead industrial chocolate in a Nestlé factory.

According to the Fine Chocolate Industry Association, sales of premium chocolates grew in the US 19 percent in 2018, compared with 0.6 percent for mainstream chocolate like the classic Hershey bar. Over the past decade, the number of small American bean-to-bar chocolate producers — the kind with cacao percentages and places of origin printed on those hyper-chic labels — has jumped from about five to more than 250.

We could have visited a cacao grower in the Amazon, learnt of the sacred origins of cacao, learnt how cacao is replacing coca in Colombia, that quality attracts a higher price than that paid by Nestlé, direct trade not the FairTrade scam, seen the different cacao pods, fermentation, selecting the roast profile, the processing to turn the cacao nibs into a bar of chocolate.

Maybe a visit to Casa Cacao to see what experts can then do with bean-to-bar chocolate.

But no, a Nestlé factory churning out industrial chocolate for the masses.

At the very least set within Hotel Chocolat. Each person have an expert on hand to advise. Then go through the rigorous selection process. But at a guess no one would have passed, and that would have been the end of the series.

Begs the question: Is this Channel 5 series sponsored by Nestlé?