Table Talk – Friday 10th August

Shropshire Salumi

It has been a good week for Shropshire Salumi. The company produces handmade Salumi the traditional way, with high quality locally sourced ingredients, using artisan methods. First they were awarded a silver medal at the first British Charcuterie Awards, announced at the BBC Countryfile Live Show. Then they featured on ITV’s ‘Give It A Year’ programme where Karren Brady follows new start-ups. You can listen again to the programme here and the obstacles Will Macken overcame to launch his food product.

Shaun Ward Ludlow Gin

It is one of my favourite tipples, so I will be looking out for a new brand of gin next month. Ludlow Gin is a hand-crafted, single batch, copper pot distilled gin that will be launched at the Ludlow Food Festival in September by Shropshire Hills Distillery. Find out more at

Seven17 burgers.jpg

I reported on their opening, so I was sad to read on Facebook this week that after only a year in business  Seven17 burger shop in Coventry has closed. The owners said “ We started this journey and put our heart and soul into it, but it just didn’t work the way we had planned. We won’t look at it as a fail but more as seeing what works best with our concept and the shop we had just wasn’t right for us.”  Even though the restaurant is closed, it is not the end of the road for these burger boys.



Table Talk – Friday 3rd August

Church Farm Brewery

Slurp in Leamington is offering a free Church Farm Beer tasting next weekend.  Just pop into the shop between noon and 3pm on Saturday 11th August to try some expertly made, local craft ale and beer. (Can’t guarantee that the lovely dog will be there though!)

The Blue Bell Inn Kidsgrove

Kidsgrove’s The Blue Bell Inn has re-opened after a £75,000 makeover. The canal side pub has a selection of real ales and 30 different gins and will be offering a warm welcome to dog walkers, ramblers and visitors by barge.

Atlantico Rum

Looking ahead to National Rum Day, Atlantico Rum has teamed up with Malmaison to celebrate the spirit on Thursday 16th August, with a five-course menu crafted by Malmaison’s head chef and five rum cocktails created by Rob Wood (the man behind Smultronstalle and 18/81). Tickets are £55 each.

Celebrate Summer


Take a culinary trip to the Caribbean, Greece and Thailand in this month’s events as we celebrate Summer in August.

Check the Events page for more details of Yiayia Mama pop up, Rum & Reggae night, A Taste of the Mailbox, Sophie Hyam’s pop-up, An Afternoon Tea & Tasting with The Cotswolds Distillery and Birmingham Whisky Club plus the Lichfield Food Festival.

Table Talk – Friday 27th July

So many delicious things to eat in this week’s Table Talk, from a new deli in Leamington to a Greek-Cypriot pop-up in Birmingham and sizzling sausages in Shrewsbury.Tuck in!

Sampling at Fred & Virginia deli Leamington Spa

Congratulations to mother and daughter team Jacquie Smallwood and Lauren Castle, who opened the doors to their new deli in Leamington yesterday. Fred & Virginia on Regent Street offers fresh food for breakfast and takeaway lunches as well as pantry items, ready meals, soups, bread and cakes. It will also stock a selection of luxury hampers and gifts. The plant-based deli also plans to hold meet the producer events for sampling artisan produce.

Tim Phedon

Recreate that holiday vibe in the heart of Birmingham, with chef Tim Phedon who is launching his inaugural Greek Cypriot themed pop-up restaurant, Yiayia Mama. On Friday 3rd August Tim will create authentic dishes from the villages of his grandparents in Cyprus, mixed in with creative reinterpretations of some classic recipes. Menus will be themed around mezze, and all dishes – from bread and dips to a Cypriot custard filo pie for dessert –  will be homemade.

sausages and cider Shropshire Live

For a sizzling banger, head over to Shrewsbury on Saturday (28th) for the new Sausage and Cider Festival. The team behind the Shrewsbury Food Festival and Shropshire Oktoberfest  is staging this one day celebration in the Buttermarket. Entry is £5.

Table Talk – Friday 20th July

Hot! Hot! Hot! Cool down with a pint of craft beer after a fiery chilli festival and an evening of rum, reggae and Caribbean street food. On the menu in this week’s Table Talk are Warwick Chilli Festival, Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap plus Rum & Reggae night at Fargo Village.

Jackys Pantry Warwick Chilli Festival

This weekend Market Square in Warwick heats up with the annual Chilli Festival. Chilli flavoured food to eat and buy, plus a chilli eating competition and a chilli con carne cooking competition will be taking place from 10am-4pm.

Leave it to Esmie

Friday 3rd August is a date for your diary if you love Caribbean food as the Rum & Reggae event returns to FarGo Village in Coventry on from 5pm. Tuck into dishes from Leave It To Esmie, Dookie’s Grill, Cornography and West Jerk Centre and speciality rum and cocktails to enjoy from FarGo Bar, Trailer Made Cocktails and Backhaus & Co. There will also be live music from Phase One Steel Orchestra and DJ Dave Marshall Barrett will be on the decks. Tickets cost £3 in advance from Eventbrite and £5 on the door.

Marts Brewhouse and Tap Hanley

A new tap bar has opened in Hanley, so that real ale fans in Staffordshire can enjoy a pint made from an on-site brewery. Mart’s Brewhouse & Tap has opened in the former Club International unit in Piccadilly, by husband and wife Will and Holly Haywood along with former Coachmaker’s Arms landlords, Sue Grocott and Jason Barlow. The two level bar can accommodate 90 people and offers up to eight real ales brewed on site and 14 tap beers, plus a selection of spirits.


Table Talk – Friday 13th July

Hencote Vineyard Estate

Hencote Vineyard Estate near Shrewsbury, is expanding to open a new winery, restaurant and shop on the 60-acre hilltop estate in September. Their new restaurant will feature open fire cooking and a large terrace that overlooks the 17-acre vineyard and a new bar will be used for wine tasting experiences. The family-run business is also working on new luxury vineyard lodges so that visitors can extend their stay.

Cyrus Todiwala

TV Chef Cyrus Todiwala OBE will be headlining the Cosford Food Festival, which takes place from 21st – 22nd July.  On the demo stage at 1pm for both days, Cyrus will be showcasing his passion for great Asian food at the event which attracts in excess of 13,500 visitors.

Hohm Coffee and Bar Uttoxeter Burton Mail

Uttoxeter will be welcoming a new coffee house next week. Hohm Coffee and Bar will be situated in the old Indulgence building in Market Place and run by father and son team Sam and Simon Webster.  As well as coffee, teas, craft sodas, smoothies and milk shakes with homemade cakes will be on offer. Sam, who used to manage BEAR Coffee Co, said: “We’re licensed so we’ve got a daytime cocktail menu as well as a small selection of wines, craft beers and gins too”. Photo: Burton Mail

‘Tuk’ into patisserie treats, from Bake Off The Professionals finalists

I have never seen a judge cry on a cookery programme before, so Sunday’s final of Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals was a first for me.

I am sure that the audience’s heart went out to Resort World’s Head Pastry Chef Darryl Collins and sous chef Bharat Chandegra, as their showstopper piece of sugar work came crashing down to the floor whilst preparing  their final dessert for judging. It left judge Cherish Finden in tears!

Even though this dashed their chances of winning the competition, as finalists on the programme they had demonstrated their inventiveness in crafting signature desserts, that you can now try.

Tuk Cakes

Served straight from a shiny new tuk-tuk van in Resorts World’s Atrium, Tuk Cakes serves handcrafted patisserie treats.

Tuk Cakes at Resorts World Birmingham

The full range includes mega macarons of peanut butter and jam, salted caramel and malted milk as well as chocolate orange are on offer, (if you can’t decide on a flavour take one of each for £6).  Chocolate bon bons in salted caramel, passion fruit and caramel or orange and raspberry flavours, as well as the ultimate éclair, in vanilla or raspberry and white chocolate and petits gateaux featuring mandarin or strawberries and cream.

You can also try their hazelnut caramel travel bars that featured on the programme.

hazelnut caramel travel bars


Table Talk – Friday 6th July

Local chefs and a craft gin distillery take the spotlight in this week’s news round up.

Darryl Collins and sous chef Bharat Chandegra Channel 4_s Bake Off The Professionals 2018

Congratulations to Resorts World’s Head Pastry Chef Darryl Collins and sous chef Bharat Chandegra, who are through to the finals of Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals. The final is this Sunday 8th July at 8pm – good luck guys!

The Spirit Works Lichfield

Good news for Lichfield – the team behind Fifth Spire Gin have opened a new bar. The Spirit Works opened on Swan Street this week and offers a distinctive range of premium spirits.

Adam Pieprzak Head Chef The Bell Alderminster

As well as celebrating their 10th anniversary, The Bell at Alderminster is also welcoming a new Head Chef Adam Pieprzak. Adam describes the menu he has designed for The Bell as modern British with a European twist.


Table Talk – Friday 29th June

Phew  as the scorchio weather continues, this week’s Table Talk is dedicated to liquid news and keeping hydrated.

The Little Gin Company elderflower gin

If you have tried The Little Gin Company’s own blend of elderflower gin from their horsebox mobile bar, you will be pleased to hear that it is now available to buy online from their website. Priced at £36 for a 70cl bottle, the ladies say that it is best enjoyed as a long summer drink with premium tonic and strawberry garnish.

Astley Vineyard Worcestershire

After six long months of construction (and even more months of planning) Astley Vineyard’s cellar door shop is finally complete.  Taste the entire range of English wine and meet the family at this Worcestershire vineyard  on Saturday 7th July. Between 10am and 4pm soft drinks, punch and a small selection of nibbles will also be provided.

Greek wine

Richard and Joanna, owners of The Square wine shop in Warwick are half Greek and thought that it was high time that they held a Greek Wine Tasting night for customers. On Thursday 26th July David Floyd will be on hand to guide you through the selection. Olives, cheese and nibbles will also on offer. Tickets  are £25.

July 2018 events

July 2018

My top picks of where to eat and drink in July begin and end with a gin event.

Juniper fans are in for a treat this month as there are several tastings and events on just for them. There is a Whitley Neill tasting at The Fat Pug  and July culminates with a three day spectacular Gin in the City.

But there’s plenty more for non gin drinkers! If cider and rum are more your tipple, head over to Rugby for The Merchants Inn’s week long celebration and  wine connoisseurs may want to snap up a ticket for a Michael Chapoutier  at Slurp in Leamington.

Festival wise, we have the urban celebration of local bars, restaurants and hotels in the Colmore Food Festival in Birmingham’s Victoria Square and the first outing for Nuneaton Food Festival.

If you can’t resist a cocktail or two, then Friday 13th – Sunday 15th July should already be in your diary, as the Birmingham Cocktail Weekend takes over the city centre.

For extra special dinners, head to The Old Vicarage in  Burton on Trent for their French Rustic Evening or you could chow down at the new Italian Supper Club in Shrewsbury.

For something a little bit different, how about learning  about the array of edible plants and mushrooms growing all around us on the Warwickshire Wild Food Foraging Course Walk, or mastering new skills with Aubrey Allen’s Butchery Class and BBQ?

As usual all of the details are over on the Events page. Wherever your culinary journey takes you to in July have fun!