They keep saying we're in for a lovely summer, but I have to say that my wisteria is looking a bit waterlogged at the moment.
I'm looking for a few special menu items for the darts team's annual al fresco do next week - it's the only time some of them ever actually see daylight. Fingers crossed for a good day, although I have a sneaking suspicion that a sudden downpour and the chance to get back into the bar wouldn't bother them too much.
3663 fresh produce
That new barman fancies himself as a bit of a joker. Ask him where anything on the menu comes from and he says "the kitchen". Really not funny after the 20th time you've heard it. In contrast, 3663 can specify the origins of all its fresh fruit and vegetables. For example, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are sourced from Boston, near Spalding in Lincolnshire, while a farm in Newport in Shropshire supplies little gem, iceberg and cos lettuce. That's better provenance than half our customers. It's anyone's guess where they come from.
I generally prefer fish to arrive well-battered and ready for the fryer, but I do like a bit of fresh mackerel too - at its best over the summer. It's available from 3G Food Service in sizes from 200-800g. It's best grilled or baked and has a medium-firm textured, moist flesh with a rich flavour best complemented by sharp, fruity sauces such as cranberry, redcurrant or gooseberry, so they tell me. I'll have to offer chips as well, though.
3G Food Service 0870 850 5213 www.3gfoodservice.co.uk
Mövenpick VSOP Cognac ice-cream
Ice cream, cognac - what's not to like? I normally just buy a big tub of economy cash & carry Neapolitan, then as long as you're careful with the scoop you can offer three flavours of ice-cream. Mövenpick's VSOP Cognac flavour will be a bit of a leap for some of my customers, but it's worth a go. It even includes cognac-marinated Granny Smith apple pieces. One of your five-a day? Who cares…
Mövenpick 01483 205500 www.movenpick-icecream.com
Millac Cappuccino Milk
Cappuccino milk? I thought they were having me on. How does the poor cow know whether she's being hooked up to a milking machine for a cappuccino or just a standard cuppa? Turns out Pritchitts do something clever to protein-infuse it afterwards to make the milk foamy, and it's now been reformulated to contain just one per cent fat. And unlike regular milk, Millac Cappuccino Milk can be refoamed time and again. A neat trick if you can manage it...