Osteria Francescana: does the world’s best restaurant live up to the hype? The entrance is a glass door in a pink wall on a cobbled street. A brass plate with the outline of a chicken is pinned to the wall; for some reason, I like this chicken. It comforts me, for chickens are normal. This is Osteria Francescana, which this year was named number one in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards. In 2015, it was second; it has been in the top five since 2011. It won its third Michelin star in 2012. It is also, according to Michelin, the best restaurant in Europe. Osteria Francescana is owned and run by a native of Modena, Massimo Bottura, and this is where he placed his restaurant.
New rules for businesses who want to call their food ‘artisan’ or ‘natural’: THE FOOD SAFETY Authority of Ireland (FSAI) and the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI) have introduced new guidelines about food labelling. The rules were devised after consultation with the food industry and are aimed at ensuring consumers are not misled by the use of marketing terms on foods.
The Nordic Food Lab wants you to eat blood, insects and brains to save the world: Insects, blood and faeces may not sound particularly appetitising, but they are among the produce we should consider eating if we want our food to be sustainable and healthy, according to a team of chefs and scientists in Denmark. The Nordic Food Lab was set up on a boat in the Danish capital of Copenhagen in 2008 by Michelin-starred Noma head chef René Redzepi and culinary entrepreneur Claus Mayer to better understand the flavours and the gastronomic potential of Scandinavia.
Recipes: from venison meatballs to mulled glögg – food cooked over a birch fire: So much Swedish cooking is about fragrance. Since I run a restaurant that doesn’t use gas or electricity, only Scandinavian wood, I appreciate the scent of burning logs and coals as much as I do the sweet caramelising of meat or the nuttiness of melting butter. At home, I often cook outside with birch fires; the smell of wood and spices mingling in the fresh winter air is delicious.
The best restaurants of 2016: Nicholas Lander’s guide: The bittersweet process of recalling the best meals of 2016 begins with technology, going through my year’s articles on the internet. Then I rifle through a stack of paper menus before finally coming to my emotions, asking myself how and why certain meals made a more lasting impression than others. So here, in a whizz around the world — with apologies to Australia, New Zealand and South America, which we plan to visit early next year — are several highlights.
‘Food writing was, as it has always been for the Observer, a celebration’: For a newspaper to cover food these days is regarded as a necessity. When the Observer started doing so, in the early 1950s, it was a move so brave it was verging on the foolhardy. Yes, there were the stirrings of a postwar food culture. Raymond Postgate had published his first Good Food Guide in 1951 and the following year George Perry-Smith opened The Hole in the Wall in Bath, a restaurant like no other. It served risotto and goulash, quiche lorraine and bouillabaisse. But sugar rationing did not end in Britain until September 1953 and meat was still on ration until July 1954. Food had been, and in many ways remained, a matter of national survival.
Pursuit of Balance Finally Called Off: In Pursuit of Balance, the movement that promoted profundity and balance in California Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, held its final tasting last week. Some of the most celebrated winemakers in California – from Ted Lemon to Steve Matthiasson, Ehren Jordan, Jeffrey Patterson and many more – showed their wines to a packed room at RN74 restaurant in San Francisco.