trimmers— Deli belly

.Stuff the turkey. Jonathan Trew searches out some of life’s little luxuries to make the festive period a touch more bearable.

When the going gets tough the sensible head for the delicatessen to stock up on tasty treats to block out the outside world. Droning relatives. the Queen’s speech and the imminent prospect of a post-prandial walk all seem less daunting when fortified with a fine port and some crumbly stilton.

If the thought of heading across the Channel to pick up some goumiet morsels seems less than appetising then there are plenty of continental goodies available in the central belt to satisfy borne-sick ex-pats and those with cosmopolitan tastes. Anyone who fancies a touch of Latin tongue-teasing should search out some turmns, sweet little Spanish nougats that are traditionally served at this time of year. Alternatively, try dipping small almond cakes called polt'orones into your coffee; they taste a damn sight more interesting than soggy Rich Teas.

A hop. skip and ajump across the Med finds the Italians producing their own seasonal specialities. Opinion

or pane forte is the top dog in the cake stakes, the former being sponge based and the latter being richer and packed with fruit and nuts. At this time of year both are as ubiquitous in Italy as black bun in Auchtermuchty come Hogmanay. Less widespread but just as mouthwatering are fig rolls. Forget the arid sawdust-baked-in-cardboard pap

that passes for a biscuit on these shares.

Real fig rolls involve fresh figs. wrapped in a fig leaf and slow-cooked in an oak-fired oven until they go treacly. They are not cheap but then the true trencherman shows little concern for financial matters when the stomach is involved. Even so. the most

dedicated gourmet is likely to flinch at the price of Piedmontaise white truffles which are just coming into season. At £l000 a kilo all but the appallingly filthy rich would hesitate before tucking into a plateful of the tubers as a change from cold turkey sandwiches.

Closer to home, farmhouse cheeses tend to fly out ofthc nation's delicatessens about now. As always stilton is top of the Christmas shopping list which is fortunate since it is made with the last of the summer milk and is at its peak around now. However, while stilton remains popular. traditional cheddars are making a strong bid to be the Big Cheese on the cutting block once again. At Herbie's deli in

Edinburgh they recommend melting

slices of cheddar onto chunks of hot apple pie; allegedly the taste is worth overcoming any incongruity-induced inhibitions for.

Norfolk Punch is also enjoying a bit of a comeback after the relative obscurity of the last couple of hundred years or so. A mulled fruit punch that was originally made by monks, it contains over thirty different types of herbs and spices but no alcohol. In fact ancient wisdom, a dish that is usually best with a pinch of salt, has it that the stuff prevents drunkenness, hastens childbirth and kills worms. All in all it sounds similar to Buckfast but it tastes better and is more likely to bring a smile to your dinner guests’ lips than the prospect of having to dispose of a bottle of Buckie.

On a final note, remember to hide your provisions from any house guests that you may be harbouring over the next few weeks: luxuries taste twice as good when they are not shared. It is Christmas after all. (Jonathan Trew) The above can be purrhasedfrom the following stockists:

Mollie Glucose-owe: Great Western Road. Glasgow. 0141 339 8998. Grassroots 48 Woodlands Road. Glasgow. 0141 353 3278.

Herbie 66 Raeburn Place. Edinburgh. 0131 332 9888.

lupe Plato: 24 Leven Street. Edinburgh. 0131 228 6241.

Valves: and Grolla 19 Elm Row. Edinburgh. 0131 556 6066.

Filmhouse Cafe Bar

If you want a hassle free party for a lot less than you'd think, why not try Filmhouse. You'll be surprised what we can do for you!

'phone 229-5932 88 Lothian Road Edinburgh

Le Sept

7 Old Fishmarket Close Edinburgh lunch and dinner Monday to Thursday all day Friday and Saturday Sundays dinner only telephone 0131 225 5428

Experiene a Feast of Festive Treats at Bewley's!

Breakfast served all Day 4 Full Lunch Menu Breads 8t Confectionery from our on-site Bakery Finest Teas & Coffees. Opening Hours Monday - Wednesday 8am - 6.30pm Thursday - Saturday 8am - 7.00pm Sunday 8.30am - 6.00pm Located just off Princes Street. 4 South Charlotte Street. Edinburgh.


The Cellar Bar

* Some Bookings still available tor Christmas * Tickets available tor Hogmanay


1a Chambers Street. 01 131-220-4298


- ml


as at DU 8 . Ubiqaigggvssgjp

This superb Scottish restaurant has been the recipient of many awards tor excellence since being established in 197 l. The newest award is a Michelin Red M, an award never before bestowed on a Glasgow restaurant.


- i Emilia! Pi

Tol 0141-334 5007

The List ISADec 19954: Jan 1996111