Monday, December 20, 2010

The Turkeys Have Arrived

Christmas is nearly here and I've collected hundreds of kilos of Turkey from Copas Farm.

Monday, December 13, 2010


After a surprise inspection by the local environmental health team last month, Tastes was rated as "Excellent" for Food Safety, and awarded a 5 star scores on the doors rating.

I'm very pleased! They even have a widget I can put on our web site.

You can find the food safety rating for any shop, restaurant, pub, canteen, anywhere else that sells food, in the borough by visiting

Monday, November 01, 2010

Turkey Proms

Those of you who have ordered your Christmas Turkey from us will be pleased to know that this week your birds will not only be enjoying their usual mix of radio two, musical soundtracks and jazz, but fireworks as well; all in aid of de-sensitising them to their human neighbours. In the run up to fireworks night the people at Copas gradually increase the flashes of light and crashes of noise so that when the 5th November comes around the birds are less likely to panic. All this makes for a happier bird.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Eton Has the X-Mas Factor

Christmas preparations are coming to fruition here in Eton with lots of events planned for the next eight weeks. Starting now, you can enter a competition to be part of the action and join Katie Melua to switch on the Christmas Lights on our beautiful historic High Street. Simply pop into participating shops on the High Street to complete an entry form. If you can’t make it to Eton by 11th November (when the competition closes), you can enter by email via our web site or send your name, address and telephone number to Tastes, 92 High Street, Eton, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 6AF.*

Here is a calendar of some of the events planned for next month:

Thursday 11th November – The draw to decide who switches on the Christmas Lights will take place at the Barker Gallery, High Street, Eton.

Saturday 13th November – The illuminations begin with an evening of events. Starting with carols in the Eton College Chapel at 5pm, followed by a lantern procession with Father Christmas, the Irish Guards, and local choirs, and culminating in the illumination ceremony.

Saturday 20th November – The Eton Window Display competition begins. You can be the judge of the best-dressed Christmas Window. Entry forms will be available from local shops from 11am.

Thursday 25th November – Carols on the Bridge from 6pm and Late Night Shopping on Eton High Street. Late Night Shopping will continue every Thursday in December.

Saturday 27th November – Reindeer Hunt. Starting at 11am on the bridge, see if you can find all the reindeers displayed in Eton.

*By entering the Christmas Lights Switch On Prize Draw you agree to be contacted by the Eton Traders Association or its members about future events.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I know what I did last summer

Copas Turkeys, copyright Copas.While everyone else was planning for the BBQ summer, I was planning for Christmas; specifically what we were going to be stocking at Tastes. And while the BBQ summer didn't turn out to be as long or as summery as we'd hoped, I think Christmas is still on the cards.

One thing I learnt a lot about is turkey (the bird, not the place).
Did you know turkeys have a reputation for being dry and needing basting just because we eat immature birds with no fat?
Or that turkeys are game birds whose flavour and texture improves when they are left to hang?
Or that frozen birds are usually injected with water, which does nothing to improve the meat, but does make them heavier (and therefore more expensive)?
Or that "free-range" turkeys might only be outdoors for a few weeks towards the end of their lives?

Everything I've learnt points towards Copas turkeys being best for flavour, animal welfare and the environment, and those are the turkeys we will be selling this year.

The Copas family have been producing luxury turkeys in Cookham, Berkshire (less than 10 miles from Tastes) every year since 1957, when Tom Copas left school & raised his first flock for Christmas.

Nowadays Tom's three daughters & son are more involved in the family business on a day-to-day basis than he is, however the same care and artisan methods are still used and their turkeys have been acclaimed by TV celebrity chefs and discerning foodies alike; "fantastic" (The Hairy Bikers), "a king amongst turkeys" (Tom Parker-Bowles), "seriously pampered" (Daily Mail), "super & flavoursome" (Lydia Slater).

This year they have already scooped a national award for Health & Welfare in Poultry (Pig & Poultry Marketing Magazine Awards 2010), their Free Range Organic turkeys have been commended in the Organic Food Awards and their Free Range Bronze turkeys have been awarded Two Gold Stars in the Great Taste Awards. In the past, Rick Stein has listed the Copas family as one of his Food Heroes, Farmers Weekly named them Poultry Producer of the Year & their turkeys were short listed in the Daily Telegraph Best UK Food awards.

All Copas Turkey flocks are made up of naturally slow-growing breeds sourced from British hatcheries. Over twenty-five different varieties of traditional breeds have been selected for Christmas 2010 to provide both natural diversity and achieve a full range of beautifully finished adult birds, in all weight categories.

Turkeys are raised on a high quality cereal-based diet, rich in oats and free of growth promoters. Fully mature turkeys have the benefit of a deliciously dense meat, along with a natural fat layer under the skin which helps retain moisture whilst cooking - succulence without the need for basting!

In December, turkeys are dry-plucked by hand and hung like a game bird for two weeks in the old-fashioned way. This enables the rich, traditional flavours to develop fully, ensuring the finest taste and texture for Christmas day.

Each Copas turkey comes in its own carry-home box, complete with everything required to cook both the turkey (cooking instructions & a handy pop-up cooking timer) & the gravy (giblets, fresh rosemary & a traditional recipe) perfectly - no matter what your culinary experience.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chocolate Week

This week is chocolate week and what better time for us to start stocking "probably the best Chocolate in the world".

Ben Tre chocolate took an amazing 3 gold stars (the highest accolade) at the Great Taste Awards this year. The cocoa is grown by a co-operative in southern Vietnam, the unrefined sugar is grown on a family-owned plantation in Peru and the transformation from bean to chocolate takes place at an old-style third generation chocolatier in Avignon, France, using a recipe created by artisan chocolatier Marc Demarquette. It is pretty special chocolate!

To celebrate the success of this 2010 vintage bean, two limited edition bars have been produced. A dark chocolate bar (70%, and dairy free) and a milk chocolate bar (40%). The bars have a wonderful aroma, are richly flavoured and slightly spicy, melt slowly and leave a smooth after taste. And not only that, but they are raising money for Action Against Hunger as well! Action Against Hunger is an international organisation that specialises in feeding starving children. £1 from every bar sold goes to help Action Against Hunger continue their valuable work.

“This chocolate bar benefits everyone from the sustainable, small-scale producers in Vietnam to the five million people Action Against Hunger supports each year. We encourage all food lovers to make a difference by purchasing this very special product,” said Heidi Drummond from Action Against Hunger.

Friday, October 08, 2010

I can mention Thanks Giving though?

I'm not going to mention Christmas again for a while, but I do need to talk about Thanks Giving. I am very pleased to say that this year we will have Libby's Canned Pumpkin in stock. I have been promised that it is on a boat at this very moment and should arrive here next week! And to further delight our North American customers, we will have some Turkeys available for Thanks Giving as well. I am mentioning it now, as the Turkeys will only be available if ordered before the end of October. They will come from the same flock as our Christmas Turkeys; those pampered, free-range, birds currently frolicking in the cherry orchards and grass meadows over in Cookham. If you’d like to order a locally reared, Two Gold Star Great Taste Award winning, Thanks Giving bird, please get in touch.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is it too soon to mention Christmas?

Would you believe it, we're almost ready for Christmas? That's what happens when you start planning in July! It's all quite exciting, but now the ordering is complete, we can sit back and wait a couple of months before the stock room fills up with tinsel covered stock. This year we are expanding our Christmas range quite dramatically and trying to stock everything we are legally allowed to (so sadly no fine wines*). We’ll have fresh, locally reared, free-range Turkeys available to order, all the vegetables to roast including stalks of brussel sprouts, chestnuts, cranberry sauce, Christmas puddings, brandy butter, mince meat and mince pies, sides of smoked salmon, whole cheeses such as Baby Stilton and Mont D'Or, alongside an extended selection from our usual range of artisan cheese, whole hams (Serrano and British honey roast), pickled onions, crackers, Italian panettone, handmade fruit cakes, brandy snaps, mulled wine syrup, and more.

And then we also have some great gifts, from sugar mice, candy canes and gingerbread men, to gift bags and boxes of chocolates and confectionery, and of course our usual range of fabulous preserves, oils, vinegars, biscuits, teas, coffee... We'll also be offering our popular hampers and gift boxes, along with gift baskets.

But I don't want to wish the autumn away, so now the orders have been placed with our suppliers, that's the last time I am going to think about Christmas for at least a month.

*But the Eton Bridge Wine Company has moved even closer to us so you can always order your wine from Mark and pick it up when you collect the turkey.

Friday, September 03, 2010

Summer is for Weddings

Cheese Wedding Cake.I love a good wedding, and I really enjoy making unique wedding "cakes" from beautiful artisan cheeses. I like the giant logic puzzle that the task involves, finding a cheese that is "just right", not to big, not too small, not to mild, not too strong, not too yellow, not too grey, not too soft, not too hard, but "just right". I like combining all those "just right" cheeses to create a balanced cheese board and I like meeting the couples that love cheese so much, they are making it a feature at their celebrations.

It feels as though the big wedding/civil partnership season is drawing to a close. We've had a good "season" with plenty of orders for a variety of differently themed weddings. Far more than in previous years. I can't deduce that the fashion for cheese wedding cakes is growing. We have done a lot more (i.e. some!) marketing this year, we're now selling cheese wedding cakes online and we've also built on our reputation, providing cheese towers for couples who attended weddings where we had provided the cheese in the past. Now I just need to get photographs of the cheese towers we made this summer online, in time for next summer's orders.

There must be another family gathering in the winter months? Cheese Christmas Cake anyone? New Year's Eve Cheese Tower?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

County Delicacies Closed

Just heard that another of the independent delis in Berkshire has closed. Sadly County Delicacies in Reading shut its doors for the last time last Thursday. If anyone East of Reading is looking for their fix of Barkham Blue, or Wigmore or something else delicious, do pop into Tastes in Eton (or give us a call). If you are missing something we don't currently stock we'll do our best to source it for you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Getting Smarter!

I'm trying very hard to keep abreast of modern technology. We do have a facebook page, and an online shop. We don't twitter (yet) and haven't quite managed to get the GPS stamp part of facebook to work (apparently "they" need to do something).

Each time I think I'm getting there, something new comes along! Pleasingly the new google GPS type thing available on smartphones seems to work automatically without any effort from me. That is the sort of technological advance I like.

Thanks to Graham for showing me what Tastes looks like on a smartphone.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Britains favourite topic of conversation

Can you believe it is the middle of August? It is incredibly dark and wet in Eton today. And people running with umbrellas aren't all that likely to pop into the deli for a delicious morsel. I've had to resort to paperwork and photographing the rain!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


This week I've been working on the Tastes Delicatessen web site. I've resisted the urge to redesign it (although I was tempted) and have forced myself to concentrate on adding new stock to the online shop. There is so much still to describe, it is a daunting task, and it is easy to get side tracked by one particular product. But I remained focussed and now have more than 150 products listed (which isn't even 10% of what is available in store, but is progress in the right direction). If you’ve been buying things from the real or online shop, do pop by the web site and leave your product feedback.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Go local with The Times

The "Go local" campaign is coming to an end next Friday (13th). So anyone who has been collecting the tokens to save £5 at Tastes Delicatessen, should pop along or place their order online within the next week.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I do

Usually I limited my ramblings to posts about fine foods or the deli. But today I am making an exception and posting a photograph from our recent wedding. We were blown away by the messages of encouragement and best wishes from the community here. So as a thank you to the best customers in the world, here is a photograph of our wonderful day!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Cucumber & Pepper Relish

We have another special offer this week. 100g jars of Tracklements' Cucumber and Pepper Relish for 50p. Sweet and sour and perfect with barbecued burgers. We've only 24 jars, so the offer will expire once they have all gone. Those who know this relish will probably want the full-sized jars anyway. But for anyone new to Cucumber and Pepper relish, this is an ideal opportunity to give it a try.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

The Times

Today Tastes Delicatessen are mentioned in The Times! We are taking part in their "Go local" campaign. Readers of The Times can collect three tokens printed in the paper and use them for discounts at selected retailers. So in today’s Weekend supplement, right near the start of the list of "Go local" retailers you will find "Tastes Delicatessen, Eton". I think that is worthy of an update to our press clippings page.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Coffee Tasting

This Friday (14th May), Adrian from azorieblue will be spending the day at Tastes Delicatessen offering samples of the azorieblue coffee (and maybe a special offer as well!).

Monday, May 03, 2010

Olives et al Special Offer

This week we are running a special offer on Olives et al products. Buy any 3 jars or bottles for £10. This includes:

Harissa Almonds - Sweet and slightly hot roasted almonds.
Bayou Nuts - Kilm roasted nuts in a Cajun blend of herbs and spices.
Pitted Kalamata Olives - Naturally ripened, mature Kalamata olices without the stone, in extra virgin olive oil with herbes de Provence.
Sunshine Olives - Mixed olives in rosemary infused extra virgin olive oil, with tomato and garlic. Simple, stylish, rustic and great with a glass of white wine.
Classic Olives - A marinated spicy Sicilian mix of olives in Chilli infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil with, Garlic, Bay and cracked Black Pepper. These spice up the longer you leave them but a cold beer or soft drink quenches the fire.
Pink Mojo Dressing - Inspired by a Caribbean sauce, this sauce adds a magical touch to marinades and is perfect for drizzling on most things. Good with fish, pork, chicken and roasted vegetables.
Chilli & Ginger Dipping Sauce/Marinade - Fantastic for dipping, dressing and marinading. Great with fishcakes, stiring into mashed potato, any oriental style duck, pork, seafood and also useful for livening up a salad.
Chilly Billy Jelly - A sweet hot chilli, garlic and ginger jelly. A perfect accompaniment for cheese, meat or fish, or use to add flavour to soups and stews, stir through noodles, or as a marinade.
Dukkah - A middle eastern mix of roasted nuts, seeds and spices with coriander, cumin and spice tones. Use as a rub, dip for bread, coating for vegetables or as a snack.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Laithwaites Wine Festival

Tastes Delicatessen Cheese Counter.It is that time of year again, when we at Tastes join the lovely people at Laithwaites for their Spring Wine Festival. More than 30 wines from around the world to try and lots of the wine producers to meet, plus some of my current favourite cheeses to sample, what more could you want on a Friday evening?

This year the festival is taking place at Beaumont House in Old Windsor, on Friday 14th May 2010 from 7-9pm. Tickets are available from the Windsor and Virginia Water Laithwaites shops or online and cost £15 per person. The first 5 people to email me will be given a free ticket.

UPDATE: This offer is now closed.

Friday, April 23, 2010

St George's Day

Today is Saint George's Day and an ideal opportunity to remind you of all the wonderful English fare on sale here, and to quickly mention...
we also sell Dragon's Blood!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Saved by the packet!

Last Sunday some friends of mine threw a party for their one-year old son, including lunch for fifteen family and friends. I said I’d help with nibbles to fill the gap between the 10am arrival of some of the guests and the 2pm lunch. I hadn’t really considered that to reach them by 10am, I’d need to leave home by 8am, and I wouldn’t be home from “work” until 9pm the night before. Fortunately, for me, “work” involves being surrounded by food, so grabbing snacks, nuts, dips etc wasn’t too tricky. And better still I could even make something fresh using the packet Pao de Queijo Mix. Within 90 minutes of my alarm going off I was up, washed, dressed, breakfasted, and had mixed, kneeded and baked 25 delicious chewy doughballs, wrapped presents, packed all my goodies and was on my way to Sussex. Thank goodness for packets!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Happy Easter Everyone

Hope everyone has an enjoyable long weekend. I’ve been meaning to post a blog entry about this year's Easter Eggs. But I didn’t order anywhere near as many as I needed and the delicious Italian chocolate eggs have all sold out. I didn’t even get a chance to photograph them, let alone put them on our web site. Oh well, in 11 months time I’ll do it all again (but order 3 times as many).

Monday, March 15, 2010

Easy Does it

Dinner with friends. I was meant to bring rhubarb crumble. But I sold out of rhubarb before taking some for myself and the weather has improved so much that custard no longer seems suitable. Figs on the other hand, are always perfect, and never more so than the spiced fig compote from gustosecco. Just add the pack of figs, rose petals, spices and earl grey tea bag to a pan of orange juice with a bit of honey and bubble away to a thick syrup. I rustled up some spelt, oat and apricot biscuits using things from the cupboard and Sharpham Park's recipe, and served them with the figs and a good sized ball of ice cream. It took no more than 30 minutes to prepare and easily served four people, with plenty of cookies left to enjoy the following week.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Coming Soon...

Last week's organisation has paid off and given me plenty of time this week to finalise the sourcing of some new products. We've some exciting new things appearing over the next few weeks. From France we will have some prepared vegetables (which can accompany our prepared frozen meals and also tins of caussoulet and confit de canard), some interesting jams (apple and jasmine, strawberry and violet), candied rose petals which are wonderful as sweets, cake decorations and also in champagne. Four flavoured salts (with truffle, with red wine, with southern herbs and a Himalayan pink salt). From Italy the tinned cherry tomatoes that we couldn't get hold of last year will be back in stock. From our local producers we will have some new soups and pasta sauces. And there is still more which I am working on at the moment...

Friday, February 19, 2010


Thanks to the terrible half term weather, and a bit of ruthless filing, my email inbox is now empty! Now just the 2 inch high pile of paper in tray to overcome before it all starts to get busy again (I hope). I hope everyone is enjoying the half term break (and comes back soon).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting Better All The Time

Sales from the online deli we launched last November have gone surprisingly well and have motivated me to try even harder. The past few weeks have seen a flurry of online activity. More products have been added to the online shop, more photographs added to the site, our google listing updated, a facebook page set up and everything generally fluffed up a little. If you haven't visited for a while, take a look now, and motivate me further by increasing my hit count!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day

Its not too late to pick up a Valentine's gift from tastes Delicatessen, we've all sorts of suitable presents from traditional boxed chocolates, to pampering "Love" tea and quirky red popcorn. From "little gesture" pink sugar mice at 75p to "big romantic statement" boxes of chocolates at £35, and plenty in between.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Purple Love Week

Purple Love Week takes place this year from 13th – 21st February. Purple Love Week is now in its fifth year and it celebrates shops, large and small, that offer great food. Purple Love Week was founded by Dorset food company Olives Et Al and this year we are organised enough to get involved as well!

Olives Et Al are the lovely people who supply us with most of our loose olives. And during Purple Love Week we will be increasing the range of Olives Et Al products we sell. We will be trying two new salad dressings, a chilli jelly and some more of their roasted nuts. We're also going to be stocking some of their lovely olives in jars. So now you can keep a jar in the cupboard for emergency olive indulgence when the shop isn't open. We have recipe cards with ideas using all of the Olives Et Al products we stock and will be offering tastings throughout Purple Love Week.

We are starting the sampling with Siena Nuts & Seeds: Peanuts, Almonds, Cashews, Pumpkin & Sunflower seeds tossed in rosemary & chilli.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Networked Deli!

Tastes Delicatessen is now on Facebook. Not quite sure how it all works, but am having a go!

The weekly tastings will be listed on facebook.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


We recycle as much of our packaging as possible, using it ourselves to send things purchased from our online shop, giving it to other local shops, or offering it on freecycle.

So if you need any packaging for any reason just ask. We have:
Cardboard boxes from half shoe box size to TV size (and sometimes even bigger)
Polystyrene chests with lids
Polystyrene sheets
Polystyrene and corn starch "wotsit" puff things
Air cushions and pillows
Bubble wrap (small and large bubbles)

We don't have much storage space, so the best thing to do is let us know what you need a few weeks in advance and we will make sure we put it to one side for you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Year, New Products

Chan ChamThe first set of new products we've introduced for 2010 is a range of Cooking Sauces from Chan Cham. Made locally, with Sri Lankan and Caribbean influences, the cooking sauces are designed to provide great tasting meals, without hours of preparation. The range includes sauces suitable for meats, fish and vegetables and they can be used as marinades for grilling, roasting, frying or as the base for a curry. Just what is needed on these cold winter nights.