At long last we are seeing a little sunshine.  It’s time to start thinking of summer and planning our food and drink for lazy summer days.

Here are some of my latest food and drink finds:

Tip Top Soda

London Essence’s Crafted Sodas are great.

Now in a new 250ml slim can, available in Pink Grapefruit; White Peach & Jasmine; Raspberry & Rose (my favourite), with Aromatic Orange & Fig soon. They are delicious, and a perfect refresher on a hot day. 

Pink Grapefruit blends zesty grapefruit with lime leaf distillate, while the White Peach & Jasmine blends white peach and floral notes. Alternatively the citrus with the Aromatic Orange & Fig, take your taste buds to a summer garden. As too will Raspberry & Rose’s raspberry, infused with a hint of sharp blackberry, balanced with lavender and a signature rose distillate. 

They’re available from major supermarkets including Waitrose, Tesco, and Asda at £1.45. 

‘Tyrrellbly’ Good Crisps

Tyrrells is a multi award-winning company and when one tastes the crisps, it’s easy to see why.

The company has just launched some new flavours and they’re fab. 

Black Garlic & Sour Cream (carefully aged garlic balanced with cooling sour cream) Truffle & Sea Salt (a perfect balance and nice and ‘truffly’) and Tomato & Chilli Chutney (sweet tomato with a subtle spicy kick). 

Around £2.75 for a 150g sharing bag from major supermarkets including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Tesco.

Hot Stuff for the BBQ

As we enter BBQ Season (🤞 🤞 🤞), it’s time to stock up with some top-notch accompaniments, so they’re to hand when we fire up that barbecue.  

Tracklements Special  Edition Chimichurri Chilli Relish is a great standby.

A popular, green sauce originating from Argentina and Uruguay, it’s a ‘flavour fiesta’ of coriander, oregano, parsley, garlic and lemon juice, with a smack of Bird’s Eye Chilli. Traditionalists may say it should be for complementing the richness of grilled or barbecued meat – but it has a host of other culinary uses. 

Tracklements Special Edition Chimichurri Chilli Relish RRP £4.10 for 170g, is available from fine food delis and farm shops nationwide and online at

Cheezey Update

Applewood Vegan, launched in 2019, has been tweaked to improve the cheeze’s texture,  and make it look and taste more like a dairy cheese.

Many folk following a plant-based diet feel that what stands Applewood Vegan apart from other brands of cheeze is its ‘meltability’. It melts like dairy cheese, while many other cheezes don’t. 

So, Applewood Vegan has changed the original recipe, making it more “dairy cheesey” with a creamier taste and texture.

I’m impressed; it makes a pretty good toastie and is good in recipes.

Now available in blocks or slices at Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose and Ocado.

Nice Rice – and with a Conscience

Look out for a new brand of premium, organic  rice available here in the UK, from Cambodia.  IBIS Rice directly supports farmers in Cambodia, involved in preventing deforestation and protecting indigenous wildlife.  They sign up to a program of organic agriculture, zero deforestation and zero poaching and are paid a 70% premium for their crops.

The IBIS Rice farmers grow a local variety of long grain jasmine rice known as phka rumdoul, voted the best rice in the world five times at the World Rice Forum.

It’s available as rice grain, either white, brown, or semi-milled; puffed into rice cakes and popped for a breakfast cereal.

From Planet Organic, selected health stores and

Out of Africa

Buying Amarula Cream Liqueur, you indulge in a delicious creamy drink, and support female entrepreneurs and their families in Africa.

From tree to bottle, it takes over two years to create each bottle of Amarula Cream Liqueur. The exotic marula fruit is considered one of Africa’s botanical treasures.

Harvested by hand, it gives Amarula a distinctive taste and texture. The rare tree grows naturally across sub-equatorial Africa and can’t be cultivated.  Fruits are selected when they are perfectly ripe and yellow.

Then they’re made into a wine, double-distilled, and matured in oak barrels for two years, then blended with fresh cream.   

The Amarula Trust ensures that this precious eco-system lives on with its commitment to safeguard African elephants, sustain local communities and take conscious action for conservation.  Amarula Cream Liqueur bottles wear the image of the African Elephant and are decorated with a gold tassel, narrating its ethics.

Available from most supermarkets at around £13.50 for a 70cl bottle

Delish: Cornish Gin

I love a good G&T, and I was delighted to discover Padstow Distilling, a young business created by wine merchant David McWilliam. 

The company makes a series of excellent small batch, award-winning Cornish spirits, using local barley, in the heart of Cornwall’s culinary capital. 

Padstow Gin, a gem in Padstow Distilling’s portfolio, is distilled by hand, from locally sourced natural ingredients, foraged along the North Cornwall coastline. The botanical recipe combines tradition with the beauty of its location, blending juniper, citrus, and pepper with local Alexanders, an ancient coastal plant foraged from the cliffs above the same beach on the western side of the estuary. 

It’s £48 for the Padstow Gin range, while there are 50cl Limited Edition runs of Spiced Cranberry and Orange Gin and Sloe Gin available from £38. 

Padstow Gin is fabulous – do check out the website here for more info.

A Fine Argentine

One tends only to think about red wine when Malbec is mentioned, but there is far more to it:  it was International Malbec Day last month, and I had a chance to try some delicious Trivento Malbecs 

There is so much more to Malbec than I had realised.

Trivento is the leading family of Argentine Malbecs in the UK, with an extensive range of well priced, award-winning wines ranging from £8 – £15. 

There are traditional Red Malbecs, a Rose Malbec and a lovely White Malbec.

Available in supermarkets including Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Ocado, and Tesco.

‘ABC’ What Tosh!

You’ve possibly heard someone saying ‘anything but Chardonnay’ when asked which white wine they’d like.

But how many folk say they don’t like Chardonnay, but in fact they love Chablis?

Chablis is made from the Chardonnay grape, so is 100% Chardonnay, the only grape allowed in the Chablis Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC).

This Moillard-Thomas Chablis Premier Cru is from one of the oldest wine merchants in Nuits-Saint-George. For this Premier Cru Chablis, they ferment the grapes separately – part in barrel, the rest in stainless steel. After 12 months of ageing, with regular lees stirring for complexity, the wines are then expertly blended.  

Expect floral and mineral aromas with citrus fruit flavours and a long finish.  £29.99 per bottle (£24.99 mix six), from Majestic.  It’s worth paying a bit more for a superb wine.