Friday, 26 April 2013

On another note (no.9) - Mama k's

Another review for British Street Food, from the Treacle Market, Macclesfield. Mama K's also visit Artisan and farmers markets in Wilmslow, Congleton and Knutsford, Cheshire.


Holly Bush House,
5, Canal Street,

Tel. 01244 336412

I visited the Treacle Market, Macclesfield on 31st March 2013. Mama K's visits Treacle Market, Macclesfield, Wilmslow Artisan Market, Rode Hall Farmers Market, Congleton and Knutsford Artisan Market.


For a taste of authentic Tex Mex hang up your spurs at the All- American MAMA K'S and lasso yourself  an authentic Enchilada or tortilla with refried beans. Join the queue to find out why they're going like hot cakes - or award-winning Tortilla Chips in this case - and buy into the Original American dream.

In front of the striking red and yellow banner, under the sombrero, the team from MAMA K'S are frying rice in large pans and assembling Enchiladas to order. Choose from a wide array of Salsas and Dips and pick-and-mix with salad, rice and Cowboy Beans. Choice is all at MAMA K'S and whether you go for an Authentic Mild Salsa or a more spicy Chipotle Queso Dip is between you and your taste buds: MAMA K'S caters for all.

All the food is made with fresh, natural ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. The Salsas are zinging with fresh flavours and the Tortilla Chips won a Great Taste gold award in 2012. Try some and see why for yourself.


Authentic Mild Salsa - fresh and full of flavour without the heat

Authentic Roasted Salsa - an amazing roasted flavour with a little more warmth (but not enough to blow your head off)

Ranch Dip - a staple food in America (so they claim), creamy, moreish; slather on any savoury food, salad or vegetable

Chipotle Queso Dip - a smoky, spicy cheese dip 'that will awaken your taste buds'. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. Served warm, and great with tacos or quesadillas.

Authentic Tortilla Chips GREAT TASTE GOLD AWARD 2012 -great with any of the dips , and sprinkle with cheese to make nachos.

Authentic Enchiladas - Cheese and Onion (vegetarian), or beef or chicken, made with homemade tortillas and MAMA K'S red sauce. Eat alone, or with rice, refried beans and salad.

Chilli, cheese corn bread - a heavier bread with a great flavour. Best when dipped in the beans.

Cowboy beans - pinto beans with onions, peppers and spices.

For me the most compelling thing about this stall was that I met a lot of the other street food stall holders - including people I have done reviews on - waiting in the queue for their lunch. Service was brisk and friendly and served by real Americans with an All-American smile. The stall was scrupulously clean with disposable gloves being worn by the cooks. All the Salsas and Dips and Salads looked bright and fresh and vivid; and all made with natural, locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. The Great Taste Gold Award winning Tortilla Chips knocked spots off anything out of a bag. I loved the fact that there was a choice of breads, with the heavier Chilli cheese corn bread being a better option - in my opinion - with the Cowboy Beans.

Waken up your taste buds and try a little Authentic Tex Mex from the people who know what they're talking about - the true American team at MAMA K'S.

'Let's go, Tonto - Hi-yo silver! Away!'

Best wishes,


Monday, 22 April 2013

April 21st - Blackpool '68 and Eating Benjamin Bunny

Dear Nigel,

It was a beautiful Spring day here yesterday, and, after lunch in the garden - the first one of the year - I took the kids for a walk up the village for 'an outing'. After the thrills of 'the locals' evening at nearby Alton Towers (only a handful of miles away) the night before, it took a little bit of persuading that a meeting of the local history society inside the church was going to match things for thrills. In the end the children all played out in the sunshine, running round the patinaed  tombstones in the ancient churchyard, as generations of children have done, whilst the adults ate cake and looked at census returns going back to 1841 and old photos laid out on tables. Because everyone here seems to be related in some way and migrance to the surrounding villages is about as far as most people go, there was quite a crowd, mostly tracing their family trees.

For me, the most interesting thing of all was a photo taken in 1968 of the 'Youth Club' visit to Blackpool. Not being of that generation (- the midwife said I had a Beatles haircut when I was born, so that places me), I was intrigued to look at all these young people - this 'Youth Club' - who were probably all mainly in their late twenties - not the image of a youth club that we have today. But then, the sixties is when the 'teenager' was invented. These young people dressed like their parents, although one sparky lad at the back hinted at the revolution to come.

The photo is a faded black and white one with a border round the edge. The young people are standing in front of Leek monument, smiling, with a round-ended coach behind them. Someone has added names round the edge; there are Renshaws - Vera, Harold and Howard; Mollatts - Geff and Eddie; Brindleys - Ted, Jinny and John; and names I recognise locally like Bagshaw ( the Butcher) and Wint (the tiny coach company at the back of one of the farms, that still does day trips to Blackpool, most probably).

Looking down, there is a smiling Barbara Woodward, who still tends the churchyard and does the altar flowers. I stare at the faces of these happy young people, excited at the prospect of a welcome day out, and then go to check on my children playing in the churchyard. I look at the names on the stones and follow families generation by generation. I find one to Howard William Lawrence Renshaw died 8th August 2003, who smiles out to me from '68. And Geoffrey Eric Mollatt 17th March 2006, age 68. Never went far. There is also a rather sad and telling one to Graham John Bagshaw, age 27, beloved son on Linda and Bert, who died the year after this photo was taken. Linda is there in 1980 (age 67) and Bertie added on in '93. There is no 'coming home' for these folk -the truth is that most of them never left. For one who has so often felt the call of the clever North Wind, I find this strangely trapping.

You are carving up Benjamin Bunny. It's a strange thing, isn't it, how ambivalent we are towards rabbit. On the one hand 'farmed rabbits are almost always tender', and 'the wild meat is often a tad more interesting from a flavour point of view'. Yet 'generally one doesn't eat ones pets'. We have had chickens that have ended up in the pot, and goat (unfortunate males only), but never the children's rabbit - and yes, he did look like a wild rabbit and we did call him Peter: a fox dug him out in the end. So maybe I am a little 'chicken' about eating rabbit, or at least cooking with it, and there isn't really a good answer why. - I don't have a problem cooking and  eating Bambi.

Your chosen herb is Tarragon, which is one of my all-time favourites; and the fact that this recipe (Rabbit with Tarragon page 166) can be adapted to chicken 'if bunny is too cute for you', is great. Still, you make me question my own unfounded prejudice and I am wavering. Your bunny arrives as 'wild rabbit portions' and maybe this is the thing: The idea (which I gently declined) of being left with a couple of recently shot rabbits to skin by Terry the Gamekeeper next door, is probably what puts me off more than anything.The lack of fat on rabbit (which makes it an ideal candidate for a Spring-induced reining in of the calories) gives rise to fears that the meat will be dry or tough. You have been working on a way to get the meat to remain moist and tender involving simmering it in stock with onions and fennel, and finishing with a tarragon cream.

On most day you make a salad of some sort, and today is no exception. However, you devote an entire page of your diary to 'The salad spinner', do you not? I know exactly what the problem is - why so many words - I hear it is the undercurrent...It is 'a present from a friend to the cook who has everything...or a mad purchase online'. What you are trying so very hard to avoid saying is that this piece of equipment is very, very naff. Unfortunately, it also works exceptionally well. So, like you, I also have one in my kitchen. I hide it in the cupboard out of view ( even if it is the slightly less-naff modern version of the really naff - although probably gone hip and retro? - seventies version I remember my ex-husband's mother using). I have tried waving a chic french wire egg basket round my head, but it really doesn't get the salad leaves nearly as dry. And, as you say, 'It's fun, like our first chance to play with a humming top since we were four.'

So, go for it Nigel, let loose with a little bit of culinary naffness and enjoy a salad with dressing which 'adhere(s) nicely to the leaves without slipping off or turning watery.' I would hate to be without mine, too.


Thursday, 18 April 2013

April 18th - Blackbird Pie and Ramsons for Lamb

Dear Nigel,

Coming home is like a different land. It doesn't matter how short the holiday, nothing is quite the way you left it somehow. The dust has settled and the air has been sucked out of the place. You feel as if you're a balloon tied to a string, bobbing around - tethered, yet not quite of this place. Not yet. You open the windows to let the house breathe and try and ground yourself in a life you distantly remember living.

I find the best way to ground myself is to cook back a memory. Yesterday I made a Blackbird Pie - an old, old family favourite. The Blackbird in question wasn't real, of course, just a nursery rhyme remnant fashioned in clay and glazed. Some of my earliest memories revolve around this bird and the Steak and Kidney pies my Granny used to make, fashioning the initials out of pastry to mark the divisions. The kidney had to be tucked down one end of the pie so that those of us who loathed the stuff could enjoy the rich gravy it gave without the strong, acquired taste.

 A great deal of fighting went on between my brother and sister and I as to whose turn it was to have the blackbird on their plate in order to be able to gnaw off the baked pastry round its neck. And the Blackbird I remember always had eyes. The badly made modern ones have little more than a touch of yellow on black. For years I have been searching for a Blackbird with eyes; and then, like buses, three came along at once in an antiques emporium. So I bought all three to prevent the inevitable infighting. Yesterday's Pie had two atop - mind you, it does rather pinch the space from the nice golden crust.

 Of course it would be easy to look at this little blackbird and think it rather naff - and, of course, it is - but that would be failing to see the memory behind the meaning behind the function. We may look at some immaculate house on 'Grand Designs' and imagine for a moment how great it would be to live there, but for most of us, the things around us that matter have provenance and memory attached to them. Sometimes you look at these incredible homes with little more than a few pebbles in a large goldfish bowl (in both senses) and wonder if they keep their children in the cupboards.

Spring is eventually underway here, though its progress is slow. There are catkins on the trees by the stream and a handful of celandines in the meadow. The flowering currant has lobes like mulberry fruit and the rhubarb is making a come-back after being submerged under a foot of snow. No doubt things down your way are streets ahead.

 Lambing has been mercifully late for most, although a couple of local farmers at Alstonefield lost almost their entire flocks to the snow. We had huge cutting machines here breaking through on the roads, which resembled a bobsleigh run with ice banked up 8-10 feet on both sides, in places. Thankfully all gone now and in its place howling winds and warmth enough to turn the heating off. It is lovely to see the little lambs out in the fields at last - most had kept lambing under cover this year as the depressing sight of a newborn lamb frozen to the quick is heartbreaking, and financially quite a blow, too. My friend Jenny is knee-deep in lambing at the moment and Ruby rarely makes it to the bus in the morning on time. They are looking tired but thankful that lambing for them came just as the snows abated.

Someone has been bringing you wild garlic to cook with. I have searched the woodlands here and, although I can tell by the wonderfully fresh and overwhelming scent that it is on its way, there are barely a few tips to be seen above the surface. This is such a wonderful, abundant plant to forage for, tasty, and unmistakable for beginners to find. Its Latin name is Allium ursinum, and derives from the fact that it is a favourite food of the brown bear, who loves to dig the bulbs up. It is also a favourite of the wild boar, and one can only imagine what such a diet would do to enhance the taste of the meat naturally.

You say, 'you can grow the leaves in the garden or on an allotment. I have tried to get a prolific patch going, in much the same way as I have with sorrel. But some things seem to resent being told where to grow.' I have to admit to never having tried growing wild garlic because I have always found so much to pick elsewhere - and half the enjoyment of the walk being to come back laden with bounty - but I am surprised that you have had the same problem with sorrel. It is one of my great fish accompaniments in the summer, and, although not particularly attractive-looking (it rather resembles that weed that we called 'tea leaves' as children) it is very useful and productive if not allowed to bolt.

The recipe for 'Roast lamb with garlic butter' ( page 158) has spring onions and garlic leaves chopped and mashed into butter and slathered on lightly browned lamb fillets. More leaves are used to wrap the meat and it is roasted in the oven. The new wild garlic leaves (when they arrive) are milder in flavour and repeat on you less. Later on in the spring it is wise to use them more sparingly, unless you have an iron digestion and no friends.

Yesterday, you decided to make lemon curd - real, pampered, first-class lemon curd, using 'the most fragrant lemons, the sweetest farmhouse butter and the freshest organic eggs...(to make) a preserve that is head and shoulders above ones made with lesser ingredients.' After all, such a delight is fleeting. Unlike some of the jars stacked on supermarket shelves, a true lemon curd like this one (page 161) will only keep a couple of weeks in the fridge - so there's little point making a huge quantity, unless you have friends and neighbours to give it away to. My favourite uses for lemon curd are as a filling for a sponge cake with icing sugar merely sifted on the top, or stirred into thick yoghurt for decadence. You fold it into softly whipped double cream and freeze for an instant ice cream. That sounds marvellous, and one that could preserve the taste for a Summer's day, like the taste of a proper cloudy lemonade made with Sicilian lemons. Other suggestions I like the sound of are as a filling for pancakes or on toasted teacakes ( a speciality here). The Peak District Dairy in Tideswell (which makes superb local ice cream) also makes its own butter ( which not many people round here seem to know about). So now for some local eggs and fragrant lemons (which may be more of a challenge - but I'll know them when I see them, that's the great thing about good produce: It's obvious).


Wednesday, 10 April 2013

April 10th - Dracula's Castle

Dear Nigel,

You've been taking your holiday in a cool climate in Kyoto. A cooler climate is more energising than a warm one I think, and gentler on a pale English skin.

I'm staying with a friend north of Aberdeen where the expanse of sky and rolling hills seem endless. It makes my little cleft in the side of the Peak District feel like the top of a curtain - all gathered and tightened by heading tape. Loosen the threads, pull out the fabric and you will discover a piece of fabric almost three times the size.

The Peak District is a small and gathered space. Sometimes it feels remote but this is an illusion. Turn the corner, cross the brow of that hill and you will find an army of Ramblers heaving forth with vigour. Cross the valley and a school party is heading for a day's rock climbing. An area so focused on tourism, and farming, it is well-served by the sort of good local pubs you would want to be in, cafes where muddy boots and dogs are welcome, and places to visit to cater for every taste. It is Centreparks without the bubble, and relatively 'free' of charge at that.

Here, however, in Aberdeenshire, things are not falling over each other to claim your attention. There is plenty to see and do, but space - lots of space - in between.

Yesterday we went to Slains Castle, a forbidding spot. They say that this is the place where Bram Stoker got his inspiration for writing 'Count Dracula' in 1897; it is not hard to see why. It stands impenetrably on the very edge of the cliff face overhanging the raging sea. The stone is pink, and angry as the gulls that wheel overhead. But we mustn't forget that the Slains Castle that Bram Stoker stayed in had been done up as a Scottish Baronial Hall, with gardens laid out only two years previously. This Slains Castle is more menacing and evocative of the spirit hidden deep inside Dracula than any Victorian Gothic fantasy.

Bram Stoker should have stood where I am standing now, inside the ruins, and feel the anger everywhere. It is there in the gusting winds that rip across the scrub land. It is there in the swell and spit of the sea, deafening against the cacophony of gulls. The roof ripped off to avoid taxes in 1925 (-something which might find itself reinvented now with the new council tax rules on empty properties), allows the grey/blue sky to rain down into the round towers in which we stand. I look up to see perhaps two dozen rooks circling round, maybe on a thermal or uplift from the tower, like something from 'The Birds', and shudder involuntarily.

I stay away from the gaping windows lest a hand unseen in the buffeting wind should place itself on my shoulder.

Suddenly I want to leave this place, and I am out and off down the puddled lane without a backward glance. The wind has driven right through the heart me and taken away my anger, leaving me worn-out and spent.

I am reading 'Tender volume 2'. There is an echo of my thoughts from you:-

'I am a winter person, never happier than on a clear, frosty morning. The ash-grey branches of bare trees against a crisp sky; cinnamon leaves and blood-red hips still holding on to charcoal twigs...this is my time, just as others long for the dog days of Summer.' This is why you always choose this time of year to take your annual leave. It is your time.

I find the perfect cake for a blustery day, on page 1174 of 'Tender vol. 2'. It is 'Fig and Walnut cake'. I have been making, and eating, too many tea breads of late, and this will make a welcome change. It is 'a big family cake made in much the same way as carrot cake' with an icing of cream cheese, mascarpone, butter, icing sugar and vanilla. The cake itself is spicy, and fruity and moist (with natural yoghurt). I have used yoghurt inside a cake before and love the creamy, moist texture it seems to impart. The fruit is simply soft dried figs and some shelled walnuts.

You give a very welcome tip that I hadn't heard before:- that when looking for packets of shelled nuts in the supermarket, it is 'worth looking out for those that are light in colour. They will probably be younger and less inclined to the bitterness that can occasionally develop as the nuts darken and dry. An effective way to remove any hint of bitterness is to soak them in boiling water for ten minutes.' I will remember this next time as I probably tend to keep the nuts too long, anyway.

Welcome home, soon,


Friday, 5 April 2013

On another note ( no. 8) - Las Paelleras

Another British Street Food Review. This one taken from the Treacle Market, Macclesfield, which I can't speak too highly of - I think they do a wonderful job there, and have added greatly to a slightly flagging town that needed a bit of a leg up.


Stephanie Probert
Tel. 07922778737
Lee Pointon
Tel.07717 848649

Tel. 07717848649
Las Paelleras' Twitter Page
Las Paelleras' Facebook Page 

I visited the Treacle Market, Macclesfield on 31st March 2013. Las Paelleras visits  The Horse and Jockey Farmers market, Chorlton Green, Manchester (last Saturday of the month), and Treacle Market, Macclesfield (last Sunday of the month). Also various festivals.


From small beginnings on a market stall in West Didsbury with only a couple of paella pans, to a thriving Street Food business in only two years, Stephanie Probert, Lee Pointon and their team have taken South Manchester and the surrounding area by storm with their Authentic Giant Paellas, bringing sunshine and a taste of Spanish Street food to one of Britain's coldest corners.

All the food is cooked from scratch in huge iron Paella pans, which bring a wonderful carnival atmosphere to the Red Tent. Every time Stephanie seems to expand the business she buys an EVEN BIGGER Paella pan! There is a riot of colour and texture in the Red Tent with piles of Patatas Bravas, rich golden Paellas with blue/black Mussels scattered on the surface, and a thick red Tomato sauce bubbling in a pan. And movement -  as the food is snapped up as fast as the team can serve it out. In a sea of busy, thriving Street Food Stalls at Treacle Market, Las Paelleras was holding its own as the long queue was proving. Punters know where the going is good - and here it was certainly going. Trying to take a decent photograph was a tall order - and I'm not that tall.

Stephanie, Lee and the team use fresh, free range, and sustainable produce sourced from independent and specialist suppliers in the area. Onions, Garlic, Sweet Peppers, Courgettes and Beans come direct from local growers; whilst the Rice and Chorizo are sourced from Valencia, Spain ( home of Paella). Even the biodegradable food packaging from London Bio Packaging is made from renewable plant resources with a low carbon footprint, that can be composted or recycled. Stephanie and Lee clearly have a very ethical policy with everything they do. This includes introducing a sustainable Fish Paella which promotes the use of more diverse and sustainable fish such as Coley, Mussels and Squid, as championed by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall in 'Hugh's Fish Fight'.

The menu varies but usually includes Paellas, Spanish Stews ( in the Winter months), and Tapas dishes.


Free range Chicken and Chorizo Paella with Green Beans and Rosemary

Traditional Seafood Paella with Tiger Prawns, Mussels, Squid and Seasonal Vegetables

Sustainable Fish Paella with Seasonal Vegetables

Spicy Vegetarian Paella with Picquante Peppers, Artichoke, Fennel and Broad Beans


Catalan Beef Stew served with Artisan Bread

Chickpea and Chorizo Stew served with Artisan Bread


A selection of Authentic Tapas dishes.

There is a huge attention to detail in everything Stephanie and Lee do. The Catalan Beef Stew, for instance, is made with chocolate and cinnamon which has a dark bitter sweetness that complements the meat perfectly. Served with fresh organic bread from 'Bread Connections', an Artisan Bakers and Sourdough Specialist in nearby Disley, Cheshire.

If you're looking for rich flavours and textures and something to warm the bottom of your heart then look no further than the team from Las Paelleras and their Authentic Giant Paellas in the Red Tent.

Best wishes,


Wednesday, 3 April 2013

March 31st - A huge dollop of Treacle

Dear Nigel,

For a while now I've been thinking that British Street Food was some kind of Urban myth. I've been searching for it, and finding a little here, a little there; but the idea of rows of stalls each trying to outdo each other with heavenly wafts of scent, was something I thought might only exist in the city where you live. Until now. Today I visited the Treacle Market in Macclesfield with James and Hannah.

Maxine was there with her mobile pizza oven, and a whole row of Street food stalls with enormous dustbin lid-like pans of Paella, towers of homemade steaming pork dumplings and golden noodles; and pies, Burritos and organic sausages sizzling on smoky barbecues. There were queues of lively, excited, hungry people everywhere taking in the intoxicating fog.

My pie man was there, tucking into someone else's Burrito. Another stallholder was taking round a kitty for the couple on the wooden garden furniture stall who were getting married next week. There was a lovely, convivial attitude. The sun came out and musicians started strumming away in an alleyway close by.

Treacle market differs from the other Farmers markets that I've visited lately in that it has a huge emphasis on Street Food (Good thing as poor Richard Johnson is probably pulling his hair out right now with my inability to conjure something out of nothing most of the time.) Its name originates from a centuries old incident when a horse-drawn waggon overturned on the cobbles spilling its cargo of treacle. It was shortlisted for the BBC Food and Farming Award - Best Food Market 2012, and named as one of the Top Ten UK Farmers Markets by the Independent. It also has an amazing party atmosphere, probably helped by the arrival of the sun for about the first day this year, it seems.

'Eat noodles - live longer,' grins the young Chinese lad with the Chow Mein who tells me he runs Sushi workshops during the week.

I stop to buy some wonderful chocolate from the Grenada Chocolate Company being sold by Pure Origin Chocolate, and the stallholder and I discuss the merits of 60% cocoa with nibs ( I couldn't be persuaded by the 100% cocoa). I love the painting on the  bright sun-drenched wrapper with its burnt orange foil, like the setting sun, and the footage we'd both previously seen of the chocolate being brought over to this country on a huge old fashioned square rigged sailing ship called the Tres Hombres (which took two months).

 A quite amazing company who pride themselves on producing chocolate from tree-to-bar in an Organic Cocoa Farmers and Chocolate-Makers' cooperative in Grenada. The stated aim of this small company is to revolutionise the cocoa-chocolate system that typically keeps cocoa production separate from chocolate-making and therefore takes advantage of cocoa farmers. The Grenada Chocolate Company think that the cocoa farmers should benefit as much as the chocolate makers.

I'm diplomatic and I buy one of the guy from Pure Origin's Grenada chocolate bars too.

By the end of the market we have eaten our way round half the market and my over-grown teenagers are sunk. I have enough photographs and notes to keep me busy for a while writing reviews ( though I'll have to go back again next month as there's simply so much more to say here). Our taste buds have been tantalised, interests kindled...and it's good to know that the next generation is learning by example to make good choices and think about the provenance of the food they eat, if only some of the time. Knowledge is a powerful weapon.

I look to find what you've been up to and find a photo of a tree in leaf. Not here I'm afraid, Nigel. Not a single leaf anywhere. The garden, as I left it on Tuesday was still a carpet of white and the trees are hanging on to anything precious away from the cruel frost. The sun was out here today and I predict that a couple of sunny weeks will bring Spring tumbling into Summer in a rush of leaf and bud. I wonder how this will affect pollination this year.

You are cooking with olives - a rare thing by your own admission. I have to admit that I use them more freely than that in my cooking. For while I don't particularly like the look of a wizened olive sitting on a pizza base, I am totally addicted to their warm and juicy taste. I don't know if it's really "allowed" but I have even been known to take a box of olives from the Deli counter and warm them in a microwave just for the joy of sucking the warm oil out of the fruit.

The dish you are making is 'Chicken, olives and lemon' (page 141). The chicken thighs are coated in a spice paste of smoked paprika ( something else I can't get enough of  - and ought to be far wider known), turmeric, garlic, cumin and a little olive oil. With lemon, saffron and green olives this dish wafts on the breeze of a Mediterranean summer which will hopefully come. And we all need a little hope. This Winter has been just a little too long. I love the cool and the white but now I am eager for it to move on and let my poor flowering currant burst forth. There is a pent up energy everywhere and the moles still having a field day in the high meadows. I saw a fox, silhouetted against the snowy meadow, run past above my house the other night, like a page from a Pienkowski story book. The birds are scoffing every scrap of crumb I leave them on the bird table.

As if we hadn't eaten enough of the black stuff lately you are tempting our palates with discs of dark chocolate and crystallised rose petals. The photo is simply beautiful. You have added pistachios, sugar almonds and sea salt flakes. (The adding of salt to chocolate of late has been my undoing; added to the salted caramel and burnt salted fudge I have vainly struggled to stay away from.) There is no chastising by you over the use of this or that percentage of cocoa in the dark chocolate and I am thankful for that. There has been a kind of inverted snobbery these last few years against anyone admitting to (heaven forbid) actually liking milk chocolate. Well, I like milk chocolate. And, if my tasting of rare chocolate bars of late has taught me anything it is this: I, who profess to not really liking anything over 70% cocoa content will happily eat one 85% bar whilst turning down the next with a lower percentage, simply because beans and chocolate from different countries and different sources have as much variety in taste as any grape.