• Red meat is out, fish is in: 7 delicious recipes to help you make the switch
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    The Telegraph

    Red meat is out, fish is in: 7 delicious recipes to help you make the switch

    It’s no secret that ‘the Med diet’ – one that’s rich in oily fish, nuts, fruit and vegetables – is the best thing going for a healthy body and mind.

  • Father’s Day meal deals 2019: Morrisons, M&S, Tesco and the best UK food offers for dads
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    Evening Standard

    Father’s Day meal deals 2019: Morrisons, M&S, Tesco and the best UK food offers for dads

    Father's Day is very nearly here but there's still time to find the perfect gift for him, so don't worry. Which is why we've gathered some of the best Father's Day meal deals around so you can get him what he's always wanted - whether that's a massive box of meat or a big bottle of whisky, there's something here that will suit every budget. Perfect for either a full English or a mixed grill-style dinner, this 650gm box of meat includes a rump steak, lamp chop, pork chop, three sausages and two pieces of black pudding.

  • 10 best independent coffee brands to please any aficionado
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    The Independent

    10 best independent coffee brands to please any aficionado

    The independent coffee scene continues to boom, and with many of us conscious of the environmental impact of disposable cups we’re keener than ever to get in on the act at home. Whether you brew with a barista-worthy coffee machine, cafetiere, stovetop or good old drip-filter, you can grab yourself a piece of the coffee shop action with some great coffee and do your bit for the farmers and the planet.Independent, or “speciality” coffee differs from commercial coffee as it tends to be traceable and pays the farmer a fair price, while large brands sold in bulk may be driven by their bottom line leading to less favourable conditions for both the coffee and the growers.Thomas Haigh, Head of Tate coffee and Certified Q Grader (the highest certification in coffee requiring 22 sensory exams) runs the Tate roastery and sources coffee worldwide. “Better coffee comes through more direct trading; relationships between growers and roasters are key to sustainability and coffee is becoming increasingly more delicious as a result. But the industry is fragile: 80 per cent of the world’s production is grown by smallholders facing increasing challenges due to the climate crisis, migration, conflict and social inequity. Investing in these farmers’ coffee can contribute to the development and sustainability of these communities,” he says.As Thomas mentions, these coffees are traceable, so more information ont the packaging helps you determine what kind of cup to expect. Look for 100 per cent arabica beans, but there are varietal differences, details of provenance, processing method and roast level which alter the experience.Colombian coffee, for example, is often sweetly nutty, whereas Brazil’s sits the creamy, chocolatey end of the spectrum, but other factors can influence this.“Some people prefer syrupy natural processed coffees while others go for cleaner, washed processed coffee but it’s important to discover which coffees are right for you. Roast level will also impact the flavour, so if you like a brighter coffee err towards a lighter roast. For sweeter, rounder coffees try medium,” Thomas suggests.We tested 30 coffees to whittle down this shortlist and used different brewing methods over a month to see which made the grade. The final coffees were whole beans which we ground or ready-ground coffee. Each was brewed using filtered water, given the same brew time and coffee:water ratio and tasted as instructed by a Q Grader (skimmed for excess grounds then tasted black from a spoon using an aerated sip, like a wine). We were looking for fragrance, aroma, the taste profile and sustainability efforts from the brand. Put the kettle on and read on for our pick of the top of the coffee crops… You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. Lost Sheep Coffee, Sulawesi ~ Toraja coffee: £9.95 for 250g, Lost Sheep CoffeeLost Sheep Coffee won’t look at a coffee with fewer than 80 points on the scale. As a result, its coffees are fully traceable, farmers will have been paid fairly via the direct trading model and your chosen bean is probably going to be something quite special. All of Lost Sheep’s beans receive only a light roast to showcase their natural profiles, such as this Indonesian Sulawesi Toraja variety. Indonesian coffee is famous, though not usually lauded in the speciality coffee arena as it tends to be too savoury and strong. This, conversely, is like a tropical explosion of pineapple and mango – really. This is a remarkable cup of coffee: there is a startling amount of pineapple on the nose and the whole experience is sweetly fruity and fresh with an overall tropical vibe which should convince anyone into the benefits of a light roast. This is so unusual that it’s, probably, not for anyone looking for a run-of-the-mill cup, but we can’t get enough of it.Buy now Cafédirect, D. R. Congo ground coffee: £5.50 for 200g, WaitroseCafédirect invests over half of its profits back into farming communities and pays a premium for beans in order to drive positive environmental and social change. This particular coffee is sourced from the Muungano co-operative, situated in Eastern D.R. Congo – an emerging coffee growing region. Muungano translates as togetherness in Swahili, as this cooperative unites farmers of various ethnicities that were previously divided by the civil war and seeks to address gender equality (they run workshops on gender justice and recently elected two female farmers onto the board). This single origin arabica is a bourbon variety ( a sub variety of arabica), grown on lush volcanic soil which offers ideal conditions for growing sweet, bright, and complex coffee beans. The coffee is small-batch roasted in Cafédirect’s London Fields roastery and it boasts a full-on flavour with delicate acidity. We’d agree. We found it had a powerful heady aroma considering its light roast that went over to burnt butter, which they characterise as a honeycomb note. There is a very pleasant limey citrus finish which lifts this coffee to an elevated status. Pleasingly, its London Fields range is 100 per cent plastic free and packaged in kraft bags suitable for your home compost or food waste bin. Good news all round.Buy now Grind, house blend coffee and tin: £10 for 227g, GrindIf you’ve been to any of Grind’s London café-restaurant-cum-bars you’ll recognise the House Blend coffee as its go-to flat white or latte blend. Grind works with farmers across the globe, paying significantly more than the Fairtrade price to ensure quality can be maintained alongside being environmentally responsible and sustainable by investing in projects to improve the communities they rely on for their beans. Grind produces two coffee varieties, the house blend and the black blend, though other than being 100 per cent arabica, Grind does not give more information on the beans’ provenance, but says it works with a team of boutique importers to keep a consistent overall flavour profile, season to season. The house blend is roasted, ground and tasted daily at its converted Shoreditch warehouse ready for you to buy in its Instagrammable millennial pink tins. We found the house blend to be straightforward and crowd pleasing with a light, bright roast but perhaps a lack of interest for serious coffee buffs.Buy now Dear Green, Kenya tano ndogo ab: £10.75 for 250g, Dear GreenDear Green – a roastery taking its name from its Glasgow home, The Dear Green Place, roasts and supplies speciality coffee alongside training baristas and coffee lovers alike in sensory and technical classes.Ethical sourcing is a big focus, as is organic and Dear Green tries to visit every coffee farm to see that the beans are sourced fairly and sustainably with each smallholder. As with most truly ethical coffee brands, Dear Green pays over the odds for beans to encourage further sustainable agricultural methods and benefits for the coffee communities. Coffees are super seasonal and may only be on the site for a short while, so grab them while you can. We tried the Kenyan Tano Ndogo coffee, from a newly formed group of farmers from Gitwe, Kenya which has been awarded a cup score of 88.50/100, so this is a special one. Dear Green says there are fruity notes of guava and clementine, and often with things like this it’s just about detectable, but this coffee has an incredibly forward flavour of both in the initial hit and then in the aftertaste. We loved it, but it’s so lively and zippy with oranges that it could be a divisive one for others.Buy now Union, Bobolink Brazil coffee: £6.25 for 200g, UnionUnion began roasting in 2001 after its founders visited San Francisco and became set on bringing the same buzzing artisanal coffee scene to the UK. They gave up their day jobs as scientists and set about redressing some of the devastation faced by coffee farmers after the world commodity price dropped by sourcing coffee using a newly direct trading approach and paying a premium price allowing farmers to invest in their land and work. Today, Union works across 14 countries to source impeccable small batches of coffee – blends, single origins or unique microlots – to be roasted in its east London roastery by roastmasters keen to show off each bean to its best ability.We tested the Bobolink Brazil which is reported to be a favourite at the roastery. Union says it’s “beautifully smooth with a rich aftertaste that lasts and lasts” and we’re minded to agree; it’s exceptionally creamy with a noticeably rounded mouthfeel thanks to a macadamia note. Some ever-popular milk chocolate hues thrown into the mix, plus its lightness mean that most people would enjoy this coffee.Union should be commended for its environmental efforts too: coffee chaff (husks) is recycled into bedding for barista-milk producing cattle, coffee grounds become bio-fuel and it has invested in a single burner roaster which cuts energy consumption by 80 per cent and is smoke-free. Impressive stuff.Buy now Revolver World, Honduras fairtrade and organic coffee: £3.99 for 200g, Revolver WorldThis multinational co‐operative aims to maximise opportunities and income for producers and members alongside campaigning on human rights issues and supporting NGO’s. A quarter of profits are reinvested into producer communities, such as the two Honduran cooperatives who produce this coffee from its base near to the country’s highest mountain, Cerro Las Minas.Both cooperatives are committed to growing sustainable and organic coffee in a way that benefits their communities and families – one has recently built a library for the farming neighbourhood and a sports centre and playing fields are in progress. Revolver World don’t do coffee blends, preferring to showcase cooperatives’ efforts through individual country instead: all are 100 per cent arabica and organic, you just need to choose whether you’d like your coffee from Costa Rica, Cuba, Ethopia, Peru, the list goes on. We really liked this Honduras coffee, which is billed as a medium bodied number with mild acidity and distinctive caramel and apricot flavours. This is a wake you up coffee if we ever saw one; we found an overriding and delicious taste of dark caramel finished with French apricot tart. This coffee is one of the only ones to deliver a buzz after one cup, if you like that kind of thing. We do.Buy now Pact, house coffee: £7.99 for 250g, PactPact offers subscription based or one-off purchases of coffee from a roster of beans that have been awarded an international Coffee Quality Score of 80 or above. Pact, like other good guys, invests fully in the direct trade model in an effort to be a positive force: going straight to the source of the beans, paying above the Fairtrade rate and supporting farmers with ongoing investments and training with the goal of improving local economies and benefitting communities.This house coffee of mixed arabica from South and Central America, goes through rigorous standards of green coffee sorting and includes smaller beans than most buyers would usually pay for; meaning the farmer achieves a higher price for the yield. These beans are grouped, blended and roasted at the HQ in Bermondsey to achieve a consistently high flavour profile which Pact says is “toffee-like with rich cocoa and mild acidity”. On tasting, we were surprised this wasn’t an espresso-specific blend as there is a very intensely sweet chocolatey aroma that turns into a reassuring bitterness once on the palate. It would make a fabulous espresso regardless or we’re equally happy to drink it long and black.Buy now Eat Your Hat, zesty monkey ground coffee: £5.90 for 200g, Eat Your HatThis brand is all about sustainably-grown, organic and ethically traded chocolate and coffee, with a big emphasis on soil health and caring for the environment; almost everything it makes is recyclable and compostable. The coffee beans are sourced from smallholder farmers across the world, are all pesticide, fertiliser and toxin-free with the aim of making the purest cup of coffee possible. Eat Your Hat currently has five coffee varieties available, all of which are graded 80 points or above on the standard 100-point scale. We plumped for the zesty monkey ground above others, sold by its claims of caramel, citrus and apricot aromas and found it was dangerously easy-drinking. We liked the subtle lemon and lime notes with a silky caramel backdrop just before it turns to burnt toffee.Buy now Paddy & Scott’s, jerry can coffee: £5.49 for 227g, Paddy & Scott’sThe jerry can is the brand’s flagship coffee, so-called because Kenyan children in the coffee communities carried jerry cans of water along a busy road to school. Paddy & Scott's work in farming regions funded a fresh-water pipeline allowing children to swap the jerry cans for the classroom and today has its own coffee farm where it works with a local Meru family to cut out any middle-men and give more profit back to the coffee-growing community.The Meru Farm coffee arrives at the Suffolk roastery for a series of expert roasts and taste tests before being delivered fresh to homes, businesses and starry events. On the nose, this coffee smells like some kind of deeply fruited cake – almost Christmassy. There’s a faint smokiness but the medium roast means that some dark fruit elements can still be found flavour-wise as a good compromise. Buy now Roasting Plant, Ethiopian reserve coffee: £12.50 for 250g, Roasting PlantBringing the coffee culture of NYC over to Borough Market and beyond, Roasting Plant has a high tech set-up, using its “javabot” machine which roasts and grinds beans at calculated conditions, tailored to each varietal. Beans are hand sourced from small farms across the coffee communities – which are then delivered to your door. There’s a constantly changing seasonal array of beans, but we settled on a stunning Ethiopian reserve blend. Known as the birthplace of arabica, Ethiopia’s coffee is diverse and until recently Ethiopian smallholders were required to be sold through the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange which meant quality and traceability were lost. Reform in 2017 meant farmers could separate their top lots, improving quality and achieving higher prices for their goods. This particular variety hails from the Yirgacheffe forests which is characterised by a floral, creamy coffee with clear acidity. Roasting Plant says this bean has notes of stone fruit, with cacao and floral notes and a smooth mouthfeel; we loved the unique fruity floral mix and noticed a healthy whack of chocolate and a sweet light citrus too.Buy now Coaltown Coffee, pit prop No. 1 signature blend: £7.50 for 227g, Coaltown CoffeeCoaltown Coffee was born from a desire to restore a former Welsh mining town to its industrial glory after the last colliery closed in 2003, causing extensive unemployment. Since then a roastery and academy was was set up to help bring locals into coffee culture and possibly a new career path. Coaltown exclusively deals with specialty coffee and focus on sustainable and transparent trade with small farms from across the coffee growing regions of the world. The resulting crops are hand-roasted in small batches using timing and temperature to drawing out personality and complexity from each coffee. Coaltown offers a range of interesting blends, single origins and subscription based packages, but we were drawn to the signature coffee, pit prop no1. It’s an espresso blend of Nicaraguan, Guatemalan and Sumatran arabica that has already bagged a Great Taste Award thanks to its deep, dark chocolate orange flavours. Coaltown says this is for coffee fans who enjoy new flavours and though it wasn’t the most out-there of the coffees we tried in this test, we noted how luxurious it felt. The profile is darkly sweet, smokey and savoury making it a persuasive double shot, but we particularly enjoyed the tobacco note which is prominent with a satisfying tang.Buy now Common Coffee, birght: £9 for 250g, Common CoffeeCommon Coffee was started by a group of festival-loving entrepreneurs with a penchant for coffee. After travelling the country serving up coffee and nitro-cocktails at events, Common began its own roastery out of Edinburgh with the expertise of a self-taught coffee roaster, taster and profiler. It now produces four coffee varieties, sold by their overriding profile: strong, sweet, bright and complex. We really like the bright roast, which is made using a washed red bourbon arabica from the Kayanza region of Burundi and grown by a smallholder who sun-dries the coffee on raised African beds. Common says it tastes like cherry, mandarin and honey and we do get the cherry notes along with a definite citrus feel, though it feels more like grapefruit to us – plus a nice hum of something floral and heady. It’s an excellent coffee and one we’d very much like to drink again. It’s also worth knowing that Common’s packaging is omnidegrabable, so bags and labels are fully compostable and biodegradable in any environment – water, compost or landfill. Buy now The verdict: Independent coffee brandsCoffee is such a personal choice, but for us, any coffee lover would do well to try Lost Sheep’s Sulawesi ~ Toraja as the beans really do have a tropical personality all of their own. We feel the same way about Dear Green’s deliciously aromatic Kenyan number; both have a seriously unique profile that coffee nerds will enjoy but Lost Sheep’s is more pocket-friendly. For an every day cup, we’d turn to Cafédirect’s D.R. Congo which is handily in Waitrose, but for an enlivening espresso we’ll take Pact’s house coffee.

  • Kellogg’s launches beer made from Rice Krispies and Coco Pops to cut down on food waste
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    Danielle Fowler

    Kellogg’s launches beer made from Rice Krispies and Coco Pops to cut down on food waste

    Perfect for when you crave Coco Pops down the local.

  • 10 best cocktail books for creating tantalizing tinctures
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    The Independent

    10 best cocktail books for creating tantalizing tinctures

    Who doesn’t love a cocktail? Whether it’s a jug of Pimm’s at your summer barbecue, an after dinner martini garnished with an all-important olive, or a retro snowball at Christmas, there’s a drink for every occasion.And the market is certainly booming, especially with the continued rise in popularity of gin, plus a renewed interest in spirits such as vermouth and Campari (negroni, we’re looking at you!).Recent consumer shifts towards more health-conscious lifestyles have seen an increased demand for lower alcohol or alcohol-free beverages, and in turn it’s not uncommon to be offered shrubs (drinking vinegars), kombucha or alcohol-free spirits such as Seedlip in lieu of boozier counterparts in bars.Cocktails needn’t remain the trusted secrets of bartenders, either; whether you like yours shaken, stirred, boozy or healthy, the following books have you covered. Bottoms up!You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. ‘A Mixologist’s Guide to Making Cocktails' by Jordan Spence, published by Carlton Books: £6.95, AmazonPart of the appeal of a cocktail, aside from its delicious taste, lies in its appearance – and this no-nonsense guide illustrates each recipe with a wonderfully-straightforward at-a-glance diagram which handily details precise components and proportions for each drink. What’s more, thanks to these articulate and colourful diagrams – which take up the majority of the page – recipes are so concisely written they’re often no longer than a sentence or two, making it an easily accessible, even if you’ve had a few!Whether you’re a vodka, gin, brandy, rum, whisky, tequila, champagne or liqueur enthusiast, there are aperitifs for every taste, handily divided into chapters for each spirit. There’s also a section dedicated to shots at the back, covering everything from Alabama slammers to slippery nipples, if short drinks are more your thing.Buy now ‘Fever-Tree – The Art of Mixing’ by Fever-Tree Limited, published by Mitchell Beazley: £10.60, WorderyUtter the words "Fever-Tree" and thoughts of a refreshing gin and tonic are bound to swiftly follow. The popular premium mixer is now stocked in bars and restaurants around the world, and this 224-page guide to long drinks and cocktails features more than 125 recipes from some of the world’s best bars and bartenders. Recipes are refreshingly straightforward and chapters are divided according to the type of mixer you intend to use: from quinine-heavy tonic water to ginger ale, floral and fruity cordials and botanical-inspired mixers. Look out for the rising sun fizz from London’s City Social – a riot of yuzu, lemon and whisky. The book is nicely compact, with fetching gold embossing on brown paper – one to keep out on the coffee table or liquor trolley.Buy now ‘Fizz' by Olly Smith, published by Ebury Press: £12.99, WaterstonesAward-winning wine writer and broadcaster Olly Smith certainly knows his tipples; on top of being a regular wine expert on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen, he regularly appears on BBC Radio 2, presents his own podcast, A Glass With, and has scooped up an impressive number of awards and accolades to boot. And his new book, Fizz, is positively buzzing with enthusiasm and energy for all things bubbly.It features over 80 cocktail and mocktail recipes, and each one comes with a handy icon denoting the type of glass it should be served in. There are ample options for the non-drinkers too, all clearly marked booze-free; the bees crumble (featuring freshly-squeezed rhubarb and Granny Smith apple juice) and ginger kombucha are ones to savour in particular.Buy now ‘Redemption Bar – Alcoholic-Free Cocktails with Benefits' by Andrea Waters & Catherine Salway, published by Kyle Books: £8.57, AmazonWith chapters divided into: classics, martinis, mojitos, long drinks and fizz, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was a regular guide to cocktail making. From the brains behind London’s popular Redemption Bar group, this book is a tasty tour de force of all things non-alcoholic – plus there’s recipes for canapés, too. Many of the most popular intoxicants served at Redemption Bar have made it into the book, including the apple mockjito, fro-co-rita and the flu fighters martini, alongside some new inventions. Recipes include detailed introductions explaining the inventive and experimental cocktails and their health benefits, and the accompanying photography is luscious and seductive, enough to make anyone forgo the booze.Buy now 'Around The World in 80 Cocktails' by Chad Parkhill, published by Hardie Grant: £9.35, WHSmithCocktails are synonymous with holidays – so how about a book that combines the two? On top of detailing how to make 80 delicious brews, this colourfully-illustrated guide also describes the history of the respective concoctions, as well as fun facts about the countries where they originate. Around The World In 80 Cocktails features all of the classics you’d expect, from Ernest Hemingway’s much-loved daiquiri to New York’s manhatten and Lima’s pisco sours, as well as lesser-known gems such as a stone crush from Iceland.Buy now ‘Tequila Mockingbird' by Tim Federle, published by Running Press: £6.83, AmazonThis one’s for the literature lovers out there. While Tequila Mockingbird is not a new release – it was first published in 2013 – it’s nonetheless one that deserves returning to time and time again, just like a favourite novel. Offering "cocktails with a literary twist", this book is as much a celebration of some of history’s classic works of literature as the classic drinks themselves. It’s packed with puns – One Flew Over The Cosmo’s Nest, anyone? – but there’s substance among the wit too, as demonstrated in the detailed introduction, glossary and recipes.Buy now ‘Free The Tipple: Kickass Cocktails Inspired by Iconic Women' by Jennifer Croll, published by Prestel: £7.19, WHSmithWhat do Frida Kahlo, Beyoncé, Margaret Atwood and Simone de Beauvoir all have in common? On top of being inspiring and influential women, they each have a cocktail dedicated to them in Free The Tipple. Bright, vibrant and fun, this entertaining book features some seriously impressive and colourful portraits of some of the world’s most iconic women, alongside the recipes for the beverages inspired by them. Each recipe also comes with a short biography of each featured muse, as well as a description of how the creation suits their respective personalities – makes for a nice read when sipping on your chosen tipple.Buy now 'The Cocktail Guy – Infusions, Distillations and Innovative Combinations' by Rich Woods, published by Pavilion Books: £12.10, AmazonThis is just the book for anyone looking to take their mixology skills to the next level – and to learn a secret or two from award-winning bartender Rich Woods. On top of shaking and straining ingredients and cocktails, this informative book also covers techniques such as infusing, clarifying, dehydrating and sous vide – certainly things to impress the guests. For budding distillers, there’s a chapter at the back which covers infusions such as coriander gin, beetroot and chocolate liqueur and bay and vanilla vodka – yum! Don’t be put off by the adventurous nature of this book; each recipe is clearly labelled with preparation and mixing time, plus a difficulty rating.Buy now ‘The Modern Cocktail: Innovation + Flavour' by Matt Whiley, published by Jacqui Small: £25, FoylesIn this beautifully-photographed 224-page compendium, bartender Matt While – AKA The Talented Mr Fox – provides an almost scientific approach, breaking down to practically DNA-level – looking at everything from flavour profile to the provenance of ingredients.Recipes are fun and inventive and there are some curious yet classy takes on classics, including a monster munch gibson, which comprises gin, spring onion and a homemade monster munch-infused vermouth!Buy now ‘The Healthy Hedonist: 40 Naughty but Nourishing Cocktails' by Nicole Herft, published by Kyle Books: £9.99, WHSmithLike the sound of a book that turns your alcohol consumption into an opportunity to imbibe some of your five-a-day? Look no further than The Healthy Hedonist, which does just what it says on the book jacket. In this creative book, author Nicole Herft provides alternative suggestions to the often-used sugary syrups, in turn replacing them with superfoods. With recipes such as peach and chia bellini, kombucha Pimm’s punch, kale and pineapple daiquiri and kefir mango lassi, Nicole shows that it is possible to enjoy a cocktail, guilt on the side.Buy now The verdict: Cocktail recipe booksFor an overall survey of the classics, A Mixologist’s Guide to Making Cocktails is a recommended go-to, especially thanks to its handy drawings which detail parts and measurements. Special mention needs to go to Free The Tipple: Kickass Cocktails Inspired by Iconic Women for its colourful illustrations and inventive libations, while Fever-Tree – The Art of Mixing is a must-have for any gin lover.

  • Wedding guest branded 'tacky' for very specific dietary requirements at the back of their RSVP
    Style
    Lauren Clark

    Wedding guest branded 'tacky' for very specific dietary requirements at the back of their RSVP

    They wrote out the exact strict vegan meal they wanted served at the buffet reception

  • Pret Is Launching A Lobster Roll – And It's Only £6
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    HuffPost UK

    Pret Is Launching A Lobster Roll – And It's Only £6

    Next time you head out for a bite to eat on your lunch break, you might wantto pop into Pret for the fanciest lunch ever: a lobster roll

  • 15 best rosé wines to sip all summer long
    Style
    The Independent

    15 best rosé wines to sip all summer long

    Rosé started off as a wine you might sample when you were in the South of France. It went with the blue skies and endless sun. Back in the rain-lashed UK the only rosé you were likely to encounter came from Portugal in a funny-shaped bottle and tended to be slightly sweet and slightly sparkling.But things have changed. Britain’s now experiencing the sort of weather most of us went to the Mediterranean to find and sales of rosé wines have risen as consumers discover that it’s the ideal accompaniment to an al fresco meal or a long summer’s day.And now it’s not only Provence where you can find excellent rosés. Europe, Spain, Italy, Germany and even the UK produce some first-class wines, while further afield, South Africa, Chile, Australia and New Zealand have all got in on the act.So, put your feet up, say hello to Mr Blue Sky and pour yourself a glass of liquid sunshine. Lalomba de Ramón Bilbao rosado 2018, 75cl, 13%: £23.50, Great Western WineFrom mature garnacha (grenache) vines planted on the Lalomba hillside, 700 metres above sea level on stony clay and limestone soils in the Rioja Alta region of Spain comes what Ramón Bilbao consider to be the jewel in their crown. “Rosés should just be as expressive of their provenance as reds and whites,” says chief winemaker Rodolfo Bastida and this pale blush rosé made from only perfect, hand-picked berries is exactly that. Orchard and red fruit flavours are tempered by mineral notes and an elegant acidity in a wine that’s as perfect as a sunny Spanish evening.Buy now Miguel Torres Las Mulas cabernet sauvignon organic rosé 2018, 75cl, 13%: £9.39, WaitroseA certified organic and vegan rosé from the Torres family of Chile, who make wine using traditional methods without herbicides or pesticides. Produced from cabernet sauvignon grapes grown in the Rapel region of the country’s Central Valley, it’s a dry wine for those who like big flavours. Lots of intense cherry and red berries on the palate with a pleasing but not too overwhelming acidity.Buy now Barone Ricasoli Albia rosé toscano 2017, 75cl, 13.5%: £14.99, FlagshipFrom a Tuscan family famous for its chianti, whose links to the wine trade date back to the 12th century comes a beautifully pale and fragrant rosé made from a blend of sangiovese and merlot. An initial sip brings strawberries, cherry and red fruits to the tongue, balanced with a pleasing minerality and a lasting finish. One to be enjoyed lightly chilled with any classic Italian dish.Buy now Rustenberg stellenbosch petit rerdot rosé 2018, 75cl, 13.5%: £8.99, WaitroseThe Rustenberg Estate in the valley of the Simonsberg Mountain in South Africa’s premium Stellenbosch wine region was established in 1682. But it was in the 1940s that the Barlow family took it over and established an outstanding portfolio of wines. One of the newer additions is this rosé made from the small-berried and thick-skinned petit verdot grape. Bright pink in colour with strawberry and cherry flavours come to the fore, making it the ideal accompaniment to a summer barbecue.Buy now Simpsons Railway Hill rosé 2018, 75cl, 12.5%: £19, RobersonBefore you do anything else, just admire the bottle. A beautiful club-shaped vision of blushing rosé loveliness with an exquisite glass stopper. And, happily after that build up the wine doesn’t disappoint. An English rosé from the North Downs of Kent, it’s crisp, bright and fruity with notes of peach and stone fruits and a balanced but delicate allure. Summer was made for wines like this.Buy now Proudly Vegan Chile Valle Central rosé 2018, 75cl, 12%: £6.99 OcadoFrom the UK-based Broadland Wineries comes a Chilean wine that’s not afraid to boast about its main selling point – a rosé so vegan that even the printing ink and the label glue have no animal-related products in them. What you get is a soft and well-balanced wine with plenty of fruity flavour – all plum and red berries – which could partner baked vegetables, a quinoa salad or a simple olive crostini.Buy now Waitrose Côtes de Provence rosé 2018, 75cl, 12.5%: £9.99, WaitroseFrom their Blueprint range of wines, here’s a Waitrose product that does exactly what it says on the tin, or in this case, label – ie, delivers an impressive rosé from the French region that’s the established and spiritual home of this summer staple. Chock-a-block with cherry and red fruit flavours, it’s a blend of cinsault and grenache grapes and was made to enjoy with a salad niçoise.Buy now Bird in Hand pinot noir rosé 2018, 75cl, 12%: £14.25, FrontierOne of a range of limited release wines from an Australian winery built by the Nugent family on the site of an old gold mine in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. The pinot noir grapes were picked during the coolest part of the day. They were then destemmed and spent up four hours on skins, before being tank fermented, giving the wine it’s delicate blush hue. Strawberry and soft fruit flavours along with floral notes make it an ideal outdoor aperitif or an accompaniment to a picnic lunch.Buy now Adnams marlborough rosé 2016, 75cl: 9.5%, £8.99, AdnamsThe grapes for this blush rosé, produced for Adnams in New Zealand by WineWorks, were picked slightly earlier than usual, so that wine has a more modest 9.5% ABV compared with similar wines. That doesn’t detract from the taste, though, as winemaker John Forrest has made sure that the red fruit and elderflower flavour, balanced by a pleasant acidity, is as potent as ever. Fine to drink on its own or with light salads.Buy now El Coto rosado 2018, 75cl, 13%: £4.39, VinissimusThis won’t break the bank and for under a fiver you get a good everyday Spanish rosé made from grenache and tempranillo grapes grown in Spain’s Rioja Alavesa region. Pink and colourful in the glass, it has plenty of upfront red fruit and red berry flavours and a fresh acidity. Enjoy it on its own as a summer aperitif or as an accompaniment to light fish or rice dishes.Buy now Coteaux Varois en Provence rosé 2017, 75cl, 12.5%: £9 (£54 for a case of six), Marks & SpencersFrom the Provençal region of Var, this is a light but fruity rosé made from grenache, cinsault and syrah grapes, with a dash of mourvèdre and carignan added to the blend too. There are red fruit and strawberries on the palate with floral hints and an acidity that’s balanced without being overpowering. Like many rosés it’s not a wine to be kept for too long and needs to be consumed within 12 months.Buy now London Cru Rosaville Rd pinot noir rosé 2018, 75cl, 12%: £15, RobersonFrom London’s first ever winery, launched six years ago by Cliff Roberson, comes a succulent pinot noir rosé made from grapes grown in a Surrey vineyard. Some 90 per cent of the wine was fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks while the rest was put in oak barrels resulting in a creamy yet delicate wine with a citrus aroma and notes of red fruit and strawberries. Best enjoyed young as a superb aperitif or to complement light salad dishes.Buy now Mas de Cadenet Côtes de Provence Sainte Victoire rosé 2018, 75cl, 12% : £16.20, TannicoOne for art lovers, since the grapes for this very more-ish rosé were picked in a vineyard at the base of Sainte Victoire, the mountain that famously features in many of Cézanne’s landscapes. Now a recognised sub-appellation of the Côtes de Provence AOC, it’s home to some of the region’s finest rosés. Made from 45 per cent grenache, 45 per cent cinsault and 10 per cent syrah, it had a slightly more balanced texture and a lengthier fruit-filled finish than other Provençal rosés, thanks to the mountain’s micro climate and notable terroir.Buy now Villa Wolf pinot noir rosé 2017, 75cl, 12%: £9.90, The Bottle ClubA German rosé from the well-established Villa Wolf winery in Pfalz, Germany’s second largest wine-growing area, where the sunny and equable conditions resemble Tuscany. As a result, it’s an ideal location for all varieties of pinot grapes and this lovely pink-hued rosé is light, crisp, full of red fruit flavour and an ideal accompaniment to al fresco lunches or meals. It’s great value, too, at under £10.Buy now Château des Muraires Séduction Côtes de Provence rosé 2018, 75cl, 13%: £16.99, Laithwaite’sThis is a seduction that starts with the colour – the most wonderful pale rosé – and continues with that sniff of perfumed Provençal promise that’s released as it’s poured into the glass. Winemaker Bernard Magrez’s Provençal estate, mid-way between Nice and Aix-en-Provence may be small - only 1.3 hectares – but it produces some outstanding wines including this blend of grenache, cinsault, syrah and the local rolle grape. There are strawberries and red berries in each sip plus a deft acidity that makes the wine an ideal partner for any Mediterranean fish dish.Buy now The verdict: Rosé winesWines such as Simpsons Railway Hill rosé from the UK or the Bird in Hand pinot noir rosé from Australia are worthy contenders. But if you really want to splash out, go for the best buy, Lalomba de Ramón Bilbao Rosado, a Spanish wine that's everything a magnificent rosé should be – fruity, mouth-watering, refreshing and satisfying. Summer wouldn't be the same without it.

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  • 9 best tequilas that are made for sipping not slamming
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    The Independent

    9 best tequilas that are made for sipping not slamming

    If your experience with tequila so far has been with a wedge of lime and a lick of salt – stop what you’re doing and think again.Tequila may feel like a pretty stiff drink to serve neat, however, with an average 40% ABV, it’s no stronger than other sipping spirits, like, whisky.If that’s a step too far for now, try it in a cocktail – you can’t go wrong with a refreshing margarita.Made from the juice of the blue agave plant which takes at least seven years to reach maturity, it must be produced in one of five designated regions in Mexico (with Jalisco probably the most well-known) in order for it to officially bear the tequila label.It’s then fermented with yeast and generally distilled twice in a copper pot. So now you know how much work goes into each sip, you might be less willing to down it in one shot next time.We tested our tequila samples in multiple ways. First up, we sipped these neat to allow the more nuanced flavours to shine through.After that we tried it using the brand's signature serve – sometimes that was simply with tonic, others in a straight up margarita. Regardless of the aging each spirit had undertaken, we were looking for a complex flavour profile and a long smooth finish for it to warrant its place on this list. When selecting your tequila there are four main types you should be aware of:Blanco – this is unaged and usually bottled shortly after distillation. Reposado – this will be aged for up to a year. Anejo – aged for anywhere between 1-3 years. Extra Anejo – as the name suggests, this is aged for 3 years +You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent. Casamigos Reposado Tequila 70cl, 40%: £59.25, The Whisky ExchangeSilky smooth with notes of caramel, vanilla and smoke, but then what else would you expect from the suave movie star, George Clooney. Yes, the actor has created this spirit with American businessmen Rande Gerber under the name Casamigos which roughly translates as “house of friends”. Best sipped neat to really appreciate the nuanced flavours imparted from the seven months of ageing in American oak, the agave is fermented for twice as long as normal and roasted for 10 times longer. In this case, slow and steady wins the race.Buy now El Rayo Reposado 70cl, 40%: £43.75, Master of MaltTry switching the G for T and teaming this tequila with your favourite tonic (this one from Sekforde is specially created for tequila). An easy, refreshing serve, the Reposado from Tequila El Rayo has benefited from seven months in whisky barrels before bottling. The beautiful label depicts the folkloric tale El Rayo takes its name from. The story goes that a lightning bolt struck the blue agave plant which was then seen glowing by a local farmer who followed it and discovered the cooked agave and hence, tequila was born. We’re grateful he did otherwise we may never have discovered the smooth caramel, nuts and earthy notes in this tequila. Buy now Fortaleza Blanco Tequila 70cl, 40%: £56.75, The Whisky ExchangeDon’t be fooled into thinking an unaged tequila will lack complexity. This is a fabulous example of a blanco with notes of lime, vanilla, herbaceous basil, earthy olive and a crack of black pepper. Small batches are made using the traditional method, with a fifth generation family member overseeing production. From slow-cooking the agave in their old stone oven right through to decanting into hand-blown bottles, there’s nothing about this process that is rushed.Buy now Tapatio Anejo Tequila 50cl, 38%: £33.75, The Whisky ExchangeThis sipping tequila is aged for around 18 months in old bourbon barrels, which have imparted their lovely rich spicy flavours into the spirit. This extended time in the cask really smooths everything over, bringing out the sweet vanilla notes and long chocolate-flecked finish. The perfect nightcap, simply team with a square of Mexican dark chocolate.Buy now Código 1530 Rosa Tequila 70cl, 40%: £65.50, Harvey NicholsYou can always rely on Harvey Nichols for something a little special, and this pale pink number is definitely that. The spirit gets its rosy hue from its time in ultra-premium uncharred cabernet French white oak barrels from a top-secret wine producer in California's Napa Valley. As such you can expect a delightfully delicate floral finish. Completely unique, and one that must be tried, it’s particularly good over ice with nothing more than a wedge of orange or pink grapefruit to garnish.Buy now Patron Silver Tequila 35cl 40%: £25, AsdaCrisp, fresh and crystal clear, this straight forward tequila is all about the zesty citrus notes which make it the perfect partner for a margarita. There’s a smooth, sweet undertone on the palate, with white pepper on the finish and overall a bright purity. We love that each bottle is signed, numbered and bottled by hand, despite coming from one of the most famous tequila houses in Mexico.Buy now Tequila Clase Azul Plata Reposado Tequila 70cl, 40%: £160, SelfridgesThis blow-the-budget tequila will surely take pride of place on your bar cart, presented in a stunning, hand-painted ceramic vessel, decorated by local Mexican artists. Although, rest assured this is so much more than just a pretty bottle. The award-winning tequila is aged for a minimum of eight months, before bottling, imparting silky smooth notes of creamy toffee, vanilla and honeyed tropical fruit. A very special gift for the true tequila aficionado, we’d recommend sipping this like you would a single malt whisky.Buy now Herradura Reposado 70cl, 40%: £43.63, Master of MaltThis moreish tipple has a complex palate with sweet toffee and gingerbread reflected in the deep copper hued spirit. It’s rather strangely aged for 11 months (one more and it could have been a classed as an Anejo!) but the flavours are very well integrated with a long memorable spicy finish. Perhaps this explains why the Herradura brand is the most gold-awarded tequila in the world.Buy now Ocho 8 Tequila 50cl, 40%: £18.50, WaitroseA great value spirit to kick start your agave obsession. We’ll be rustling up cocktails a plenty with this bright 100 per cent agave silver tequila boasting mint and pine on the nose and candied orange and white pepper on the finish. It’s a single estate, meaning the agave all comes from one specific field and that allows each locations distinctive characteristics to be appreciated. Ocho allow the agave to grow for eight years before cutting, and as such, batches are small and made slowly in the traditional way.Buy now The verdict: Tequilas It’s not the cheapest bottle out there, but we’re big fans of the versatility of Casamigos Reposado Tequila which we found delicious drunk neat and in cocktails. If you’re looking for an unaged version, we’d recommend the Fortaleza Blanco Tequila which provides a lot of bang for your buck.

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    What to Eat for Breakfast to Stay Full to Avoid a Snack Binge

    It really is the most important meal of the day.

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  • Lonely Planet reveals its top 10 European destinations for 2019
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    Evening Standard

    Lonely Planet reveals its top 10 European destinations for 2019

    Just in time for summer, travel guide publisher Lonely Planet has revealed its ‘Best in Europe’ list for 2019. The list, which determines the destinations that ought to be on travellers' radars, includes remote coastlines, vibrant cities and off-the-beaten-track regions. High Tatras in Slovakia was named Europe’s number one destination for summer 2019 for its rugged, ethereal landscapes and distinct wild life – this is one of the only parts in Europe where you can see brown bears in the wild.

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    Lauren Clark

    Bride shocked as wedding cake is decorated with two 'balls'

    The clamshell pearls on her ocean-themed order resembled something else entirely.