The50best Food Luxuries

The Independent (London, England), September 22, 2007 | Go to article overview
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The50best Food Luxuries

Spanish ham, Scottish salmon, Somerset chutney. These classy culinary treats will make your mouth water, says Rhiannon Batten

1 Hollandaise Sauce

According to Jo, once you've tasted this stuff, "you will never bother to make hollandaise again". She advises spooning it lavishly straight from the jar, or heating it gently in the microwave before enjoying it "indulgently" with asparagus, fish or baby veg. Winner of an organic food award in 2002, "it's perfect every time, unlike the home-made stuff, which is so temperamental".

Where from available from farm shops, delis and speciality food shops throughout the UK (01428 608870; much prices vary

Jamon Iberico

2 Bellota Reserva

"This ham is real melt-in-your-mouth stuff," says Sara Guild. "You'll pay more than 10 per 100g, but it is worth the splurge for a special occasion." Count on paying around 315 for a whole ham ( Katy agrees that "Iberico ham is arguably the world's best". For those on a leaner budget, she recommends the Waitrose Iberico Ham selection, with its chorizo slices, nutty pork loin and fiery salami.

Where from Waitrose (0800 188884; much 2.99


3 Red Velvet cakes

"This retro store (inspired by New York's Magnolia Bakery) has branches on both Portobello Road and Old Brompton Road," says Katy. "They offer a different flavour cupcake each day. But to my mind the best cake is a permanent recipe, the totally trashy Red Velvet, a chocolate sponge with red food colouring and heaps of cream-cheese frosting." Where from Hummingbird Bakery (020-7229 6446; much 14.95

Pimientos de

4 padrn

"A tapas delicacy from north-west Spain, these tiny little green peppers are quite a gamble. They say that for every 10 that are mild, there is one spicy little number lurking in there," says Gizzi Erskine, which makes eating them the foodie equivalent of Russian roulette. "Deep fry them for 30 seconds until they pop, then drain and douse with salt crystals. They are unbelievably moreish." Where from Little Green Men (01257 482998; much 1.99 for 100g

5 William Curley millefeuilles

Still in his early thirties, the chocolatier and ptissier William Curley has worked with Raymond Blanc, Marco Pierre White and Pierre Koffmann. "To judge by the size of his tiny shop in Richmond, London," says Katy, "you would never guess he had a global fanbase - until you try the goods. His creations are little works of art. Try the superlative, and justifiably popular, millefeuille of chocolate." Where from William Curley (020-8332 3002; much 2.50-3.50 per piece

6 Organic dill pickle

"The scent of fresh dill jumps out of the jar," says Joanna Blythman, who also warns that the contents tend to "disappear within hours of a jar being opened". Produced by Huntly Herbs, a small, specialist producer in Aberdeenshire, this home-grown, hand- made, organic product has a light courgette base and goes well with cold fish, chicken or mild hard cheeses such as cheddar or wensleydale.

Where from Huntly Herbs (01466 720247; much 1.50 for 120g

Morecambe Bay

7 potted shrimp

"Give me these flavoursome little shrimps over imported, farmed tiger prawns any day," says Joanna. Quite. An English seaside institution, Morecame Bay shrimps make for the perfect lunchtime pick-me-up on a crisp autumn day. For almost indecent amounts of fulfilment, serve them at room temperature on hot, thin slices of toast.

Where from Forman & Field (020-8221 3939; much 5.95 for 100g

St John Bread & Wine

8 brown sourdough

"The bakers at the St John Bread and Wine are craftsmen," enthuses Gizzi.

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