Seven days and counting! I haven't even put a tree up and I wonder how many of you fellow Londoners are like me? With Christmas around the corner, I'm sure most people are finishing up gift wrapping and card writing (admit it!). I feel like this Christmas period has been a much busier one, more worky and less fun. Fear not however, we will soon be eating and drinking our way through our days off a week from now...
We make so many allowances for the Big Smoke that would perhaps annoy us otherwise - I'm talking about the standstill traffic, the hordes of people and the queuing for almost anything! So when it comes to indulging, we always seem to find time to 'treat ourselves'. We wanted to share with you some great London purveyors of fine foods and drink before the year is out, add their products to your last minute list of gifts/treats to buy and you will not be disappointed!
1. Babelle UK - Babelle make some of the best and most interesting Canelé (or Cannelé) available in London (delivery to most W and SW postcodes). We had the pleasure of meeting the Babelle team through a good friend of ours C at the Young British Foodie awards (if you missed that blog post, you can read it here). I, being the Canelé connoisseur that I am, immediately wanted to know how they made such volume of Canelé so perfectly... turns out the secret is silicon moulds instead of the traditional copper - I hear what you are saying, I was also skeptical - however these were some of the best Canelé I have tasted, a deeply caramelized, firm, chewy exterior containing a light, slightly sweet and airy vanilla interior.
2. Bold London Spirit - What can I say about Bold Spirit other that its namesake is the perfect fit. It was created by a man called Thomas Lenko, whom we had the great fortune to meet (and maybe do a few shots with!), he has created a drink that I feel initially was filling a gap in the market but has ended up becoming a bartenders favourite for many different cocktails and uses over London. Bold is essentially a distilled grain spirit but infused with sour cherries, spices and cassia bark. Its slight bitterness and colour immediately bring to mind Aperol or Campari but it is much more balanced, a well rounded fragrant drink to have neat or in your favourite cocktails.
3. Cobble Lane Cured - Another of those great purveyors of fine foods at the Young British Foodies, who also struck close to my heart, had to be Cobble Lane Cured. Their stand was simply heaving under the strain of so much cured meat! If you don't know how much I adore charcuterie, I have written an ode of passion to the cured meat products here. Run by a young butcher turned charcutier and his wife, Cobble Lane Cured is based in Islington and already supplies some of London's best bars and restaurants. Their produce is available to North London customers through the new and highly polished online retailer Hubbub.
I hope we have given you some ideas about cheeky foodie gifts and treats to enjoy. I have to apologize that this is a London-based rundown, however we love to hear about people growing/making great products across the country so don't hesitate to comment below and tell me about them! A.