I'm rather loving writing for The Lady. It's a little bit like a female 'Spectator', only with more pictures of flowers and rather off-putting ads for hearing aids and special mattresses. I've got another piece in this week's edition (look out for the poppies on the cover and a fetching pic of Rosamund Pike). Unfortunately, for reasons of space, they cut out some of my suggestions, so I'm putting them up here instead. If you fancy a bit of toffish deliciousness (with not a bit of pot or noodle in sight) - here's where to go...
Dorset Cereals www.dorsetcereals.co.uk
Have you noticed how Dorset Cereals have taken over? They look all homemade and crunchy but they’re as ubiquitous as Frosties. It’s no surprise then to learn that the men behind it have all worked for major brands – Peter Farquar, Old Etonian, was for years with Coca-Cola. On relocating to the West Country, he and two others bought this tiny brand and turned it into big business: 11,000 boxes are sold every day. “But we’re still keen that we speak personally to our consumers,” says Peter, (who by the way, denies being posh, as only the posh do, and then when I ask if he means the Fifteenths/Nineteenths when he says he was in the Royal Huzzars, cries: “No – we’re much posher than that!”).
Mr Bunbury Cakes, www.mrbunbury.com
Mr Bunbury cakes are newbies – the company began just a year ago – but they are already causing taste sensations with their brownies for grown-ups (made with 50% Madagascan chocolate), Millionaire’s Shortbread and outrageously scrummy biscuit cakes, for when you can’t decide which way you want to go. Owner Nick Fox has excellent posh foodie credentials, having learned his trade at Gü and being related to one of the co-owners of Prestat. His three young children – six, eight and two – “form the tasting panel and as a result we’re bringing out a new milk chocolate brownie next year.” Buy online or from one of the bigger Sainsbury’s stores.
Orkney Rose www.orkneyrose.com
Rose Grimond is a young woman with a mission – to bring the excellence of the Orkneys to the South. Up to 20 local producers, who couldn’t supply outside of the islands under their own steam, are powered to restaurants such as The Fat Duck and The Anchor & Hope. Look to Rose to provide you with the poshest, most delectable brunch you could find: “unadulterated, unprocessed black pudding, bacon and kippers – if you like that kind of thing.” Who possibly couldn’t?
James White Drinks www.jameswhite.co.uk
When Christmas looms large put Big Tom at the top of your shopping list. A few bottles of this spiced up tomato juice in the kitchen means that at any given moment (what is it about the festive time of year that means drinking straight after breakfast is a sign of normality rather than alcoholism?) a splash of that with more than a splash of vodka will keep you sane and your guests out of your hair. Owner Lawrence Mallinson (“I went to Marlborough – that’s probably not posh enough, is it?”) loves his juices, and it shows.
Prestat Chocolates, www.prestat.co.uk
Who knew Willy Wonka lived in Acton? At least, that’s the site of the magical Prestat factory, which is a five-year-old’s (or even 35-year-old’s) dream. The charming (Downside old boy) Nick Crean, co-proprietor, took me round the chocolate-smeared machines and fed me truffles (dark, milk, hazlenut praline), chocolate squares (raspberry and wasabi mustard a memorable combination), chocolate buttons and oozing banoffee rounds (“we get a lot of students writing to tell us that those are the best thing they’ve ever tasted”) until I was in danger of taking on the persona of Augustus Gloop. No surprise, then, if I tell you that Roald Dahl was a fan of Prestat. Luckily, you don’t need a golden ticket to enjoy them too.