Posts Tagged ‘drink’

Guildford farmers market licensing farce

November 6, 2012
Hog's Back Brewery in its usual location in September

Hog’s Back Brewery in its usual location in September

First Tuesday of the month, farmers market in the High Street in Guildford.

Compared with the market two months ago, summer is now a distant memory, the farmers market now passed its best, no soft fruits, peas and beans season over.

There are though autumn fruits, Secretts farm had a good selection of pumpkins, the apple stall further up a good selection of apples and pears.

By early afternoon, the man selling paella had almost as much left as the start of the day, plus he had added a stew and soup. When you have tasted the real thing, it is not worth trying, and few are going to want to eat off the street when it is freezing cold and starting to rain. The market needs to tighten up its standards. It is not acceptable to be selling in McVomit style polystyrene plastic boxes which do not biodegrade and whose only destination is landfill or incineration.

Why was Hog’s Back Brewery on the other side of the street? And the guy selling wines?

The only way to find out was to ask.

Apparently their little marked out pitch only has a license for twelve times a year. The market misses January, but does hold a couple of extra markets during the year, thus exceeding twelve. The solution, to mark out a pitch the other side of the street and give it a licence!

The intelligent solution would be to simply licence the market, but that does not generate sufficient paperwork granting jobs to worthless council jobsworths.

What is the problem? Does the market fill the High Street with drunken scum each first Tuesday of the month?

On the other hand, the three large bars in Bridge Street, there used to be four, makes the centre of Guildford a no-go area Friday and Saturday nights. Even the council has woken up to the fact there is a problem. Doors, stables and bolts comes to mind.

Though not yet as bad as Aldershot where there was an attempt to foist yet another large bar on the town. The planners tried to force the scheme through on behalf of a developer, destroying The Arcade for a large bar, but for once the councillors showed a bit of backbone and acted for the local community not a developer.

Southwold says no to Costa, local council says yes

August 14, 2012
Southwold notocosta

Southwold notocosta

Dear twitter. Despite all the support objecting to Costa Coffee in Southwold, their application was passed tonight. — Emma Freud

Once again we have a local council sticking two fingers up to local residents and acting in the interest of Big Business, not the locality, not the local economy.

Advice from useless planning officials: Councillors must rubber-stamp application as will cost the Council money if it goes to appeal.

It only costs money if you lose. You only lose because the planning officials are not up to the job. They are capable of deciding where a garden shed may be sited, and often not that, anything else is way beyond their pay grade and competence.

Residents of Southwold said they did not want a Costa Coffee Shop in their town. A previous application was refused on the grounds that it could harm the town’s “unique character”. If that was true before, what has changed?

There may be grounds for a Judicial Review, though these are granted not on the merits or otherwise of the application but on whether or not correct procedures are followed.

Questions have to be raised against the planning officials who pushed on behalf of Costa. They claimed it would not detrimentally affect the “vitality and viability” of the town centre.

This is simply not true. Clone shops, the same in every town centre up and down the country are destroying our towns, turning them into clone towns. Those towns and town centres that are vibrant and full of vitality are those which lack clone shops, North Laines in Brighton is a good example. One of the pleasures of a day trip to Brighton is North Laines, three streets with individual quirky shops. Clone shops are draining money out of an area, thus are a detriment to the vitality and viability of an area. A Costa Coffee Shop is not going to draw people in when you can drink their disgusting coffee anywhere in the country.

Shame on those councillors who failed to act on behalf of local people, on behalf of the local economy. The very people they are elected to serve.

One pathetic councillor left in tears after being heckled. She has only herself to blame.

The public gallery was then cleared. The public should have refused to leave, and only left if the police were called and asked them to leave. The Town Hall belongs to the people.

What we have seen is a repeat of what happened in Bristol and Totnes: Costa like a bunch of corporate thugs muscling their way into a town where they are not wanted and lily-livered councillors kowtowing to Costa.

The good folk of Southwold now need to organise a boycott of Costa.

Supersize Me

June 26, 2012

The deal is:

  • Eat at McDonald’s every day for 30 days
  • Supersize if asked
  • Take minimal exercise

And become very very sick!

Ristorante Alla Corte

March 31, 2012
Ristorante Alla Corte

Ristorante Alla Corte

shellfish and spaghetti

shellfish and spaghetti

Mio expert with spaghetti

Mio expert with spaghetti

I had intended eating out, but there was nowhere nearby, Bassano del Grappa was half an hour walk away in the dark, and so I ate at Ristorante Alla Corte.

Not that I am complaining, as the food was excellent, and as I was to later discover, there is nowhere worth eating in Bassano del Grappa.

Many places claim to be gourmet restaurants, but few live up to the claim. Were Ristorante Alla Corte to make the claim (it actually does not), it would be well deserved as the food and service excellent.

Wherever possible, the ingredients are sourced locally.

Ristorante Alla Corte is popular with locals, which is always a good sign. Regulars were greeted as old friends.

The locals or regulars seemed to eat off menu. On my first night, a table of ten was served a leg of roast pork. I inquired and was told it had been slow roasted for ten hours.

I was then asked would I like to try.

I said yes, and was served a couple of slices of the roast pork with small, diced roast potatoes. It was excellent.

Roberto and his chef clearly took a great pride in what they served, and were very happy to sit and talk about the food if you showed an interest and they were not too busy.

One evening Roberto showed me two photo albums of cultural events where food was served, one location being the Villa Bianchi.

I was very much reminded of Nicolas Tavern in Protoras in Cyprus where Nicolas takes a great pride in the food served.

One night Roberto told me he had something special. I assumed he was going to tell me of a special dish and ask would I like to try. But no, Monetegrappa had booked a table for ten and had as their guest of honour Brazilian writer Paulo Coelho.

A great honour indeed for Roberto and Ristorante Alla Corte.

On the evening everyone was spruced up, but sadly it never happened. One hour before they were due to dine, Montegrappa called to cancel, Paulo Coelho’s flight had been delayed and he would not make it in time for dinner.

I ate there every night, not Monday as it was closed. Monday night I ate at a medieval Venetian castle at a St Joseph’s Day party, guest of Paulo Coelho.

My last night I did not enjoy. Roberto was absent and I do not think the chef was there either. The service was not as good and I did not enjoy my meal (though it may have been because I was not feeling well). My Japanese friends said their meal was good, shellfish with spaghetti. I barely touched mine. I emptied my plate onto Mio’s plate, she ate it and said it was good.

On my first night I was treated by Roberto to a glass of grappa, from Poli, a local speciality. I did not like it, and spent the rest of the night politely sipping.

Slow Food, as an alternative to fast food, was founded in Italy by Carlo Petrini in 1986.

Slow Food has expanded to become the all embracing Slow Movement, which includes Slow Money, Cittaslow, Slow fashion, Slow music.

Slow Movement embraces local, seasonal food, local culture, local seed varieties.

Although not part of the Slow Movement, what Roberto and his colleagues were doing was something similar, cultural events that celebrated local food, local customs.

Sadly we did not see Roberto to say goodbye. He was in Brussels helping to prepare a Gala dinner for over 700 MEPs!


February 22, 2012


I was passing by Harry´s Gourmeteria lunchtime today when my eye was caught by attractive bottles containing a cloudy, lemon coloured liquid.

I asked Harry what it was. Limoncello, he replied. Meant nothing to me. Italian drink, he added helpfully. I was still none the wiser.

He offered me a taste. To me it smelt like, tasted like, Ouzo, with a lemon tinge.

Limoncello is a liquer. Made by soaking lemons cut in half in alcohol for three months, with a litte added castor sugar.

The method is similar as that for Sloe Gin. Collect the sloes, spike each one, soak in Gin. I cannot though remember for how long.

No anise had been added so I am baffled by the anise flavour.

Harry´s Gourmeteria is a very popular German restaurant on the first floor of Mercado Municipal en Puerto de la Cruz en Tenerife. On this floor a little food oasis: fruit and vegetable stalls, produce of Canary islands, cheese, bread etc.

Local Flavours

October 6, 2010
Local Flavours

Local Flavours

I picked up this excellent book from a stall at the farmers market in Guildford (first Tuesday of the month). It is a guide to local producers, farmers markets, food festivals, food trails in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. It also includes recipes using local, seasonal produce.

Local Flavours is published by Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes, and Oxfordshire Food Groups, copies can be obtained by e-mailing

Local Flavours is an example other areas and regions should follow to promote local produce, foods and producers. Lincolnshire and Hampshire please take note!

Also see

Make the most of Local Flavours … (press release)

Local Flavours (pdf)

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