Heather’s Food & Drink Hot List
Emile Wines X Frances Costelloe
Emile Wines is a female-founded wine retailer on a mission to demystify the traditionally male-dominated world of fine wine. This month, founders Rebecca and Ellena have launched their own-label white wine – an affordable, characterful burgundy. At £19, the pair describe it as a ‘baby chablis’. Zesty and vibrant with ripe fruit, full of minerals and unoaked, it’s easy to drink and would make a great thank-you gift. Like their other wines, the label has been designed by Frances Costelloe, making it a great bottle to take centre stage on the dinner table.
THE SUPERMARKET RANGE:
I recently discovered Greek and Mediterranean mezze brand Odysea, and now frequently mix and match its products to assemble a quick but delicious at-home lunch – think aubergine imam (roasted aubergine in a rich tomato sauce), harissa houmous, and double-stuffed red pepper and almond olives served alongside warm pitta and crunchy vegetables. But my hero product has to be its gherkin stuffed olives. A clever new take on bar olives, I’ve been gradually using up a jar to garnish martinis with an extra salty kick.
The Audley Public House
It’s no secret I prefer a pub to a bar, but there are a number of recent openings that really get the balance right between being a classic boozer and a stylish place for a cocktail and elevated bar snack. First up is The Audley Public House, a 200-year-old Mayfair landmark that’s been transformed by Artfarm, the team behind the Fife Arms in Scotland and Roth Bar & Grill in Somerset. Upstairs is the beautiful Mount St Restaurant – which features original pieces by Matisse, Freud and Warhol – and downstairs is a gorgeous wood-panelled pub with a painted paper ceiling by artist Phyllida Barlow. It’s the perfect place for a pint, or something stronger and half a dozen oysters. The Hicce Hart in Islington and The Princess Royal of Notting Hill will please those after a relaxed drink in a refined space.
THE CANAPÉ ESSENTIAL:
Lambton & Jackson
You can’t beat excellent smoked salmon. Lambton & Jackson’s range is one of the nicest I’ve tried – and it’s got the awards to back it up: alongside Great British Food Awards and Guild of Fine Foods awards, its Maldon Cure has won three stars at the Great Taste Awards. As well as selling to five-star hotels and Michelin-starred restaurants across the UK, the Essex-based smokehouse’s small-batch salmon can be ordered online. If you’re entertaining this season, this is the salmon to buy for the ultimate blinis or as a traditional starter on Christmas Day. And if you really want to impress? Order in a fillet of its melt-in-the-mouth oak-smoked eel.
THE FRIDGE STAPLE:
Whitebox Cocktails has launched a ready-to-serve Classic Cosmo just in time for party season. A contemporary take on a timeless drink, the fun can joins other hits from the brand, which are often in my fridge waiting for that moment I close the laptop on a Friday evening and want to switch into the weekend. My favourites include the Pocket Negroni, made with Porter’s gin, house-blended bitter aperitif and sweet vermouth; Chipper’s Cherrywood Old Fashioned, an elegant serve made with Virgin Oak whisky, cherrywood bitters and gum sugar; and its Freezer Martini, a mix of Porter’s gin, dry vermouth and lemon zest. Simply chill in the freezer for up to 24 hours and serve ice cold with a twist of lemon for a fun, zero-fuss drink – ideal if you’re kicking off an at-home dinner with friends.
Notting Hill’s Kuro Coffee has expanded with Kuro Eatery. Headed up by Andrianos Poulis (Cornerstone and Mazi) and third-generation baker Nicolas Ruty (The Savoy), the small, beautiful restaurant is a vibrant, light-soaked space. The menu mixes Japanese elements with Andrianos’s love of Mediterranean food, so expect to try reinvented pasta dishes such as tagliatelle with smoked cheese, egg yolk and crispy pork, and spaghettoni with clams and bottarga; followed by a beautiful katsu-style piece of red mullet with carrot BBQ sauce and melt-in-the-mouth chilli pork chop with aged soy sauce. An interesting wine list and short but sweet pudding menu rounds things off nicely. We recommend grabbing an espresso from its coffee shop next door before a stroll around Notting Hill.
THE FIZZ ALTERNATIVE:
Nouveau Wine sources the best fruit from South African farmers practising sustainable farming and works with award-winning, small-batch winemakers to produce low-intervention wines. For the festive season, the team is touting Pot Luck, a delicious pet nat with a lovely orange/pink hue. Easy to drink, it’s not as sweet as prosecco and some champagnes and has a lovely effervescence, making it a fun bubbly alternative over party season.
Dishoom Pineapple & Pink Peppercorn Jam
Dishoom is ready for Christmas with its new collection of gifts and meal enhancers. My pick? Its pineapple and pink peppercorn jam, which tastes excellent on toast or as a next-level alternative to mango chutney. You’ll find it in the Chutney Gift Set – which also includes its cranberry-chilli chutney, perfect in leftover sandwiches – plus a tea towels, spice sets and meal kits for special occasion at-home dining when you want to impress, but can’t be bothered to spend hours in the kitchen.
THE PARTY MIXERS:
The Artisan Drinks Co
If you’re on the hunt for good-looking mixers or stylish soft drinks, Artisan Drinks is worth a look. All made with 100% natural ingredients, the unusual flavour combinations have been developed to complement well-made spirits rather than drowning them in sugar. Flavours include Pink Citrus Tonic and Amalfi Lime Tonic, and the drinks labels feature images by acclaimed artist Alan Walsh, making these a conversation-starting option.
THE HOME BAR ESSENTIAL:
CBD brand OTO has created a non-alcoholic bitters to upgrade cocktails with the soothing and grounding benefits of CBD. Made with herbaceous botanicals, the non-alcoholic bitters brings a citrusy flavour profile and a hint of floral notes – just add four large dashes to tonics, cocktails, coffee or juice. For a festive twist, I love the sound of the ‘Lemon Sparkle’ – squeeze three dashes of OTO Bitters and one scoop of lemon sorbet into a coupette glass, top with a low-ABV sparkling wine and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
THE COFFEE TABLE BOOK:
The Gourmand’s Egg by Taschen
Taschen has teamed up with food journal The Gourmand to create a series of ingredient-focused books, each celebrating the link between food and art through original recipes and stories. The first volume is all about eggs – whether poached, scrambled, boiled, whipped into a cocktail or transformed through the medium of painting. Inside, there are essays dedicated to works by Salvador Dalí, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Frida Kahlo, David Hockney and Man Ray alongside texts and recipes from chef, food writer and critic Ruth Reichl. With its modernist, eye-catching cover, this would look great in any kitchen.
THE TIME SAVER:
Blacklines Negroni Jeroboam
Exciting news for party hosts – on 1st December, bottled cocktails brand Black Lines will launch the world’s first negroni jeroboam. At three litres, the bottle contains 30 servings of the Italian classic, which is made with an equal mix of Campari, East London Liquor dry gin and Spanish sweet vermouth to create a bitter-sweet drink that packs a punch. Just add to a sink full of ice and pour away for all the fun of a party starter with none of the measuring and mixing.
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