#34 Eat better, not more

In Food & Drink, White collar denial on March 5, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Several months of comforting myself with comfort food (see post #25) have left me feeling slightly uncomfortable. Not least around the waist area. So I have decided to heed the advice of my veg box supplier which is sending me leaflets saying ‘Eat Better, Not More’ and my local wine merchant which has recently emblazoned across it’s facade ‘Drink Better, Not More’.


Instead of grabbing whatever is on special offer at Nicolas and polishing it off in an evening (accompanied! what do you take me for?), I crossed the road to our award-winning independent wine merchant to invest in something ‘interesting’ that would also be helping a small vineyard rather than a big french chain. This week I’ve gone for La Demarrante form Corbieres in the Languedoc, produced by a young winemaker called Maxime Magnon and possessing ‘mouthfilling juicy fruit with a sweet, floral edge that comes out toward the back and a beautifully silky texture. Good with cold meats, chicken and meatier fish.’ Yes, they even print out tasting notes for you. For a white, I liked the sound of the ‘beautiful subtle, fresh pineapple, citrus, smoke and mineral flavours’ of Terras Gauda ‘Abadia’ from Rias Baixas, Galicia.

Verdict: By spending more than I normally would, selecting them on description rather than price, and having tasting notes too, I treated these wines with respect and drank them more slowly. It also learned something about the wines. 7/10


Is it possible to produce a top quality version of a Happy Meal, for the same price (average £1.99)?

mixed game burger from local organically-inclined butcher: 50p

white roll from artisanal baker: 35p

jacket wedges (maris piper potatoes): approx 20p a serving

ketchup: model’s own

gherkin: already removed

‘regular’ glass of smoothie (kids) or Badoit (me): call it 50p

pack of Match Attax football trading cards: 50p

Verdict: 10/10 taste. 10/10 cost-effectiveness. 10/10 kids actually eating it.


I have yet to find a commercial cheese made within the M25 (and I’ve tried quite hard), but the nearest producer I’ve come across is Norbiton Cheese, just outside Reading. Their Wigmore is a mild, milky cheese, with a hint of fruit, and very good around now when it has matured sufficiently for the edges to start to melt. By going for minimum road miles and seasonal awareness, I feel I can justify this purchase on eco grounds. Especially as I ate it with bread that was baked just off  the Old Kent Road.

Verdict: 8/10 for green credentials, 2/10 on budget, 1/10 gluttony (it’s very moreish and I ended up eating quite a lot of it)


It is a myth that chocolate is bad for you. Cocoa actually contains antioxidents called flavanoids which can actually lower heart disease. (These are also present in tea and red wine – hurrah!) It is also thought to stave off cancer. What is bad for you is the fat and sugar that make up the rest of the bar. In general, the higher the cocoa solids and the better the quality of bean, the higher the flavanoid count.

A single square of Green & Blacks’ cocoa rush 85% Dark  may be 23 calories, but it’s so intense you don’t need much more than that. I’m ashamed to say how much of the family-size bar of Peppermint Aero (£1 special offer at Iceland, 133kcal per 25g) I had to eat before achieving the same sense of satisfaction.

But my chocolate fix of choice would be a Paul A Young, sea salted caramel, or tea ganache. At £2 per (handmade) chocolate, you’d need to be rich to accidentally binge on those.

Verdict: 10/10 for pure pleasure

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