© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd


© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

Articles in Seasonality category

Who is Ottavio Rube?

In today's wine review article, there is a throwaway reference to Ottavio Rube. But I'm sure your editor isn't the only one who is less than assured that he could pick out Signor Rube on the top deck of a number 47 bus. A quick Google name-check came up with an interview in Italian: not particularly revelatory if your linguistic capabilities were less successful in crossing the Alps than Hannibal's elephants. But help is at hand, thanks to the Autumn 2010 (launch) issue of the carafe (the quarterly newsletter from Aubert and Mascoli), from whose article we have drawn the following quick guide.

Ottavio Rube Ottavio Rube (right)

  • collaborated with Cesare Berutti and Enrico Boveri to set up Valli Unite in 1977 in opposition to intensive and specialised farming.
  • is part of a family wine business in the region that dates from 1382.
  • has seen Valli Unite grow into a self-sufficient, interdependent community of 30 farmers mixing animal and arable farming of all sorts.
  • eschews the use of exotic yeasts to introduce flavours artificial to the area, and rejects the use of barriques to disguise and homogenise flavours. Instead, his aim is to have every vintage as a pure expression of the region and the season.
  • says “Wine should express many time spans: the millions of years of geology, the shorter cycle of botanical layering, the millennary cycle of human intervention, and finally the climatic tribulations of the year.”

Truly, a man whose philosophy is not a million kilometres from that of QED.

Quirky. Eccentric. Different.

QED Quality Christmas Food Market :  Shop At Your Local
The Antelope (76 Mitcham Road Tooting SW17 9NG)
Thursday 25 November

Antxmas A quality food market in a pub? Certainly QED. Pop along to The Antelope to enjoy the comfort of indoor shopping with top quality artisan traders: a great opportunity to buy Christmas gifts for the food enthusiasts in your life or to stock up the store cupboard for the festive season ahead. Entrance is free with no commitment. Why not make a night of it and take in a drink or meal while you’re at this award-winning gastropub?

Who’s who and what to look out for?

Baljekar’s Kitchen. Food writer Mridula Baljekar produces highly acclaimed innovative chutneys. Put together a selection for a perfect gift or get ready to pep up all those Christmas cold cuts.

Noel Fitzjohn boasts a range of blockbuster handmade mustards and condiments, forages for the wild and wonderful, and will be bringing in carefully sourced cassoulet and foie gras. Plenty here to tempt you.

Rainha Santa have their roots in sunny Portugal. Don’t miss their internationally famous Elvas Sugarplums, glorious semi-conserved fruits. The apricots and figs are stunning too. They’ll all be gone by Christmas so buy now to avoid disappointment.

Palmavera specialise in all things Sardinian from whole bottargo (wazzat?) to mirto-scented torrone; pane carasau to pecorino sardo. Great discoveries to be made.

Guidetti Fine Foods have a host of sweet delights. Grab a sour cherry pannetone while you still can or feel a million dollars with chocolate “caviar”. Their candied chestnuts offer the best quality/price ratio we’ve ever encountered.

Savourez. Don’t miss their to-die-for range of organic pâtés and personally selected artisan specialities from Aquitaine, Burgundy and Provence. Wanting a hamper? A really classy one? Organic? Yes. Eco-friendly? Catherine will be happy to supply and has just the thing, whatever your budget.

Aka “The Nut Case”. Not generally available in retail quantities, this is a great opportunity to get hold of some of those highly addictive glazed spiced pecans (as enjoyed at The Antelope). Just the job when entertaining. Or put together a total nut case gift pack with jars of equally intriguing macadamias and almonds.

Plus delicious urban honeys, cured meats, oils and vinegars — constantly evolving menu of unmissables. Probably the most exciting produce you’ll find under one roof — your Local specialist.

And don’t miss our Rooting Tooting Christmas Fair down the road at The Tram (No 46, right by the tube — as if you needed telling) 5-9 pm on 21 and 22 December. Last-minute needs and panics catered for!

Between the woods and the water

... we've had two reasons to celebrate recently.

Firstly, a delightful find, and a great excuse to go out and explore Zone 3. Highgate Woods is one of the glories of not-too-far-north London, and it has a hidden gem: the Pavilion Café. When we visited recently, there was a fine balance of dishes on offer, from small meze to full plates. All very tasty, and a good range of drinks too (including a cracking pinot noir), and very good value indeed. Just the thing for the parkland setting, when one never knows quite how much one will want (but one knows that some will want more than others). The range also spans the line from the familiar to the exotic: the inspiration starts from the Mediterranean rim and spreads from there. Open daytimes, and into the summer evenings.

Seasonal items (such as asparagus, at least last week) are to be found on the Pavilion Café menu; another short season has heralded itself with some extremely handsome wild sea-trout, now being caught in British rivers (particularly in the Teifi) and thereafter to be found in the better fishmongers. Two QED directors landed one from Borough (1.6kg) at the weekend: prepared en papillote, stuffed with a delicate mix of courgette, mushroom and ground walnut, and baptised with a little dry cider, the fish came out succulent and smooth, but with a robustness of flavour that only a well-exercised wild life can impart.

These great experiences gave us not only the choice between the woods and the water, but showed us yet again that each change in the season is a time of gifts.


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