A lovely girl in Market Drayton has just sent me this box of truffles. Before you all go 'Oh yes, what's all that about then?', I will explain. A few weeks ago I happened upon this small town in the eastern marches of Shropshire, and noticed that the sign said 'Market Drayton. Home of Gingerbread'. On getting my obligatory sausage rolls and custard tarts for lunch, I asked for the aforesaid confection. 'Tuesdays' came the reply. As it was Monday I said 'Oh, you mean I've got to come back tomorrow?' Tuesday's of course turned out to be a wonderful chocolaterie, and it was here that I not only bought packs of gingerbread but also fell into conversation with the delightful Nicola, and learnt that MD was not only the home of gingerbread, but also had an incredible concentration of damson trees. The fruit was used to make dye for the northern cotton industry. 'I make truffles with gingerbread, damsons and of course chocolate', Nicola tantalisingly told me, before admitting she hadn't got any. It all started when she was presented with damsons a customer had used in making gin, and used her skill to blend the fruit and gingerbread with a dark, spiced, cream ganache. Nicola keeps the recipe very close to her heart, but Market Drayton can't get enough of them. I do urge you to try a box if you get the chance. We tucked in last night, and I have to tell you that not only did I eat four in a row, but I kept leaving Inspector Lynley and his burgundy Bristol to shuffle into the kitchen for more. They are supremely delicious, and I have additionally invented a new combination in the style of port & Stilton. I bought half a dozen shot glasses on Saturday, so commissioned them with Absolut vodka and the truffles. Perfect. Thankyou Nicola, I will return for more.
Alan Aldridge: Tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
22 hours ago