Food – Foreign and Domestic

While I was  pondering by tweet what to blog about, one of our local food shops (@brown_and_green) came up with the suggestion of blogging about my favourite food.  I like a lot of food, so it could be a long post. Actually I just like one kind of food – decent, seasonal, preferably regional produce.   Frankly strawberries and asparagus upset me in December because I’d far rather anticipate them for their limited and delicious season than eat half unripe, flavourless imports the rest of the year.

I am an extremely spoilt food brat.  I used to have the ultimate pleasure of shopping at Granville Island, Vancouver.  I lived in Vancouver for just over 3 years and did my weekly shopping in a market stocked with all kinds of wonderful produce from local farms and anywhere else.  Beautiful fingerling potatoes, delicious goat cheese, wonderful Italian fennel sausage, and the best fresh pasta ever.  Mandy at In a Small Wonderland recently did a photo Friday showing some wonderful photos she’d taken at Granville Island.  Seriously, I was spoilt by 3 years shopping there.

Then I moved to Staffordshire, right in the heart of pretty decent British food country.  I swapped fresh galangal and moose for delicious local lamb, blue Wensleydale cheese and wonderful British Asparagus (you’ll find none of that Peruvian stuff in my kitchen – I’d rather go without thank you very much).  We’re extremely lucky to have a great farm shop, Baa Hill just up the road.  They introduced us to the delights of blue Wensleydale cheese, wonderful beef for stews and steaks, amazing lamb and all reared within a few miles of home.  Brilliant!

So I’m still a spoilt food brat.  More so by Brown and Green that opened up at Trentham a few months ago (and can I just point out that many companies would do well to follow their lead in using Twitter/Facebook to interact with customers).  They took over a shop that had previously been filled with local food which had sadly closed down, and they do the same but they do it very very well!    I’m never convinced about whether it was the excuse to shop there or the nice walks available that made us get a Trentham Gardens season ticket.  I suspect it was a mixture of both.  Anyway, this spoilt food brat is spoiled by the choice of yummy stuff in store (and decent local beer too!).

Possibly one of my favourite dinners of all time is homemade bread, some cheese freshly purchased that day, perhaps some cold meat (peppered salami if I’m particularly lucky) and some nice oil to dip.  Recently tried some marinated baby figs which were divine, but quince (or damson or gooseberry) paste was also wonderful with cheese.  This was one dinner we started having in Canada, and one we’ve continued in Staffordshire thanks to the great food that’s produced here.

Of course, I still require chocolate.  Last September when hunting for a chocolate shop on the internet that supplied decent chocolate, I stumbled across Montezuma’s .  After a particularly crap day at work I took out a few months subscription to their chocolate club and, well, things have been pretty decent since then!  I can particularly recommend their truffles (any of them, all the ones I’ve tried are great) and their hot chocolate (which fulfils my need for decent hot chocolate).  And yes, I did spy the Montezuma’s chocolate buttons and hot chocolate down at Brown and Green!  I’m working my way through the chocolate club offerings slowly – bribery does work in my world and I get a lot more done knowing that there’s a wee chocolaty treat waiting at the end of each task.   This may be the other reason that we bought season tickets for Trentham – got to walk it off somewhere!

And sadly I still have to go to the supermarket – where else would I get guacamole, gnocci and fire lighters?  What really really REALLY irritates me is the appallingly  poor labelling on produce in the supermarkets around here.  I recall a point last summer where the supermarket was festooned with Union flags (clearly this was after or before the World Cup when the supermarket was festooned with English flags), supposedly celebrating Seasonal British Produce.  There wasn’t a thing on the shelves beneath the flags that was actually from the UK.  That irritated me, particularly seeing the shelves stocked with french, dwarf, runner and broadbeans, all of which we’d been harvesting for weeks from our garden.  How difficult is it to label the origin of produce in a manner that is not misleading?  I want to make choices about how far my food has travelled, I expect supermarkets to facilitate that choice.

Ah, that’s ending on a slightly negative note.  Perhaps for my next food related post I should talk about wine.  Wine’s good 🙂

PS – I’m still writing grant applications which means the willpower to actually write a substantive chemistry post is exceedingly limited.