Sunday, 24 January 2016

New Row - London
Dark clouds, rain lashing down with no sign of abatement, protected only by a flimsy umbrella that has seen better days, is certainly not the best time to be walking the streets of London in search of new food ideas. 

Of course, weather has no impact and does not deter the serious foodie from its quarry, no matter what is thrown at you the prize will always be obtained. New Row is just off St Martin's Lane in Covent Garden. Business was 'slack' and dribbling much like the rain...

Pan de Vie is relatively new to the food scene in London according to the Catersales website, opening in December, 2015. Pan de Vie, described as a French-Chinese fusion offering good coffee and even better patisserie. Their website is still under construction.

The shop is bright, with white counter tops and good lighting around the main counter. My only criticism would be that the lighting in the corner requires a torch in order to see some very interesting baking products including: Japanese Matcha Melon Bread; Japanese Beef Curry Bread; Cherry Bacon Mayo Bread; Japanese Chicken Teriyaki Bread.

All items are ready to grab and go priced from £1.95 upwards. I was slightly alarmed that many of these products were not can only assume a coach load of Japanese tourists were due in soon! Great blocks of Matcha Castella, a popular Japanese honey-sponge cake, were on sale at £8.95, gift boxes available.

Two employees were working in the shop on the day of our visit both extremely well presented, engaging and obviously loved their jobs! 

Across the road from Pan de Vie is the Jamaica Patty Co. Jamaican food been around for a long time but has kept a low profile. This was one of the main reasons that Jamaican born Theresa Roberts decided to open her business, frustrated by a limited Jamaican food offering on the high street, JPC came to fruition in 2013.

Unlike Cornish pasties the crust is made with Tumeric to give it's distinctive colour. Fillings include, Jerk Chicken; Beef; Spicy Beef, Curried Goat and Vegetable. The owners other half was braving the rain providing samples on the day... and very tasty they were indeed. Having a sweet tooth meant that the Tortuga Rum cake was to die for!

Interestingly, at the top of New Row you will find Benito's Hat a bustling Burritos bar which was doing a roaring trade on this wet and grey day, selling tacos and Mexican tapas all washed down with a Margarita cocktail or a chilled bottled beer. Posted by Spike.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Fancy a PLOPP?
PLOPP...yes, you did read that correctly. 

Plopp, is a popular Swedish chocolate bar but alas I had never come across these humorously named bars until I met the guys from Hej Coffee who were handing out some freebies at a recent event, much to me delight.  How can anyone make it through the day without a Plopp?! Ok, I promise to keep the lavatorial jokes to a minimum. 

Plopp, produced by Cloetta, founded in 1862, is a leading confectionery company in the Nordic region, employing 2,500 people, 6 countries, according to their website. Plopp was created in 1949 as a small bar and has been improved upon ever since with interesting flavour additions such as Liquorice; Currant; Caffe Latte and Tutti Fruitti. Has anybody tried these?

Unfortunately, I left my Plopp sitting in the baking July sunshine and you know what that means. A few minutes in the fridge helped rescue my melting bar! Fortunately, its taste was not impaired by being zapped by the sun. Overall, this is a pleasant and not too sweet, milk chocolate and soft caramel snack.
Swedish Milk Chocolate and Caramel Centre
Totally Swedish sell this chocolate bar which is available online or in their stores located in Marylebone and Barnes. Totally Swedish provide anything from herring to books in an attempt to satisfy our lust for all things Swedish and of course the many Swedes that have made London their new home and might feel a little homesick. To buy online click here

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Doisy & Dam - goji & orange we get down to the delicious subject of chocolate lets talk coffee...

Inspiration comes in many guises and a recent visit to The London Coffee Festival certainly helped provide that necessary ingredient by the bucket load. It has been a while since I've attended such a vibrant and enthusiastic event. It made me realize how creative, diverse and brilliant the London coffee scene is. 

As you'd expect I literally left the place buzzing, not from the caffeine hit, I didn't touch a drop, but the sheer vibrancy of the place. 

So, even if you don't know your v60 from your espresso why not percolate yourself down to The London Coffee Festival, Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane. 

Grab a deckchair, watch the coffee masters fight it out, visit a lab, indulge in some Bavarian comfort food from Herman Ze German and finish off with a joyous sticky Crosstown doughnut. Follow the exit signs and wander through Milk and Sugar for some retail therapy. Festival ends 3rd May...
Doisy & Dam - Goji and Orange
New kid on the chocolate block is Ed Smith's, Doisy and Dam. Made in Norfolk...yes you heard me correctly, made in Norfolk. Has climate change shifted dramatically in the night? 

Not only is their dark chocolate organic it is also suitable for vegans, gluten free and soy-free diets...ticking a lot of boxes so far. Current range is made exclusively from Dominican cacao, 74%. But a little birdie tells me white and milk chocolate varieties are not far off coming to market. 

Chocolate is always finding new ways of promoting itself as being healthy and Doisy and Dam has gone down the the super-food route. Introducing interesting but little known ingredients such as, hemp seed and Lucuma, a fruit native to the Peruvian Andes, that you wouldn't necessarily come across in other chocolate bars.
Dominican Cacao 74%
For this particular bar goji berries have been added and in my opinion not necessarily for the better.  The dark chocolate is certainly delicious but the goji berries are an unwelcome guest in this menage a trois of chocolate, orange and berry. However, the other half did say that the addition of the chewy goji berries added another there! The bar is well balanced and the orange is not at all over powering. However, coming across a goji berry lurking in the depths is like chomping on a piece of foil and needless to say you know what that feels like...I enjoyed this bar, minus the goji, and look forward to trying the other varieties in their range including, ginger, chilli flakes and hemp seed; coconut and lucuma.

Ocado and Planet Organic currently stock Doisy & Dam priced at £3.75 for a 100g bar. Click here to buy online or go directly to the Doisy & Dam shop.