Award winning Lichfield Gin is a real tonic for Selfridges, Birmingham.


Sometimes a Gin and tonic is the only thing that hits the spot (and I know it) after a long day and this gin is closer in mileage to Birmingham than you may think.

An exclusive gin brewed in Lichfield has landed at Selfridges Birmingham just in time for the weekend 🍸 and Christmas.

The Gin wowed judges in an international competition just five months after launching. Fifth Spire won a gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition in April this year, is made by Greywood Distillery.

Best friends Tom Lindsey and Rory McKerrell registered the business in late 2015 after a few months of making gin as a hobby and set up one of the UK’s smallest micro-distilleries, eventually launching their gin in November last year.

Fifth Spire creates its uniquely flavoured gin using twin copper stills, one of which contains the main botanicals such as juniper berries, coriander seed, cassia bark, angelica root, orris root, liquorice root, pink peppercorns, almonds, and Seville orange peel.

The other is only used for fresh citrus fruits including lemons, limes and grapefruit. When combined, the result is a smooth spirit that has a classic gin base and waves of citrus notes.

Tom said: “To win a gold medal at such a prestigious international competition has really helped to launch our brand and within a month of winning that we were invited to Selfridges.

“We’re  still producing on a very small scale -just a few thousand bottles a year – and we’re thrilled that Birmingham is now the exclusive city centre stockist and we’re looking forward to introducing our premium brand to the department store’s discerning customers.”

Sam Watts, general manager of Selfridges Birmingham, said: “Gin has never been more popular and because our customers are always keen to try out new brands we’re always on the look-out for interesting new talent. Fifth Spire really impressed us and the fact that we’re able to support a local distiller is even better.”

In 2016, UK drinkers bought 40 million bottles of gin – 12% more than the previous year, outstripping sales of sparkling wine and beer. Artisan distilleries are also on the rise, with more than 130 in the UK, double the number from 2012.

Go on enjoy!

THE PERFECT WAY TO SERVE FIFTH SPIRE GIN:<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<
ic

Big glass

Lots of ice

Wedge of pink grapefruit

Thanks for reading,

Andy 😊

Thanks to Clive Reeves PR for information and photo.

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#TastyMorsel: Now open Natural Healthy Foods, Birmingham. 


  
  

What was once the 100% Vegan shop has now become Natural Health Food. Still based in Allison Street, Digbeth in the same building as Veggie/Vegan The Warehouse Cafe, it’s expanded its stock and had a complete refurbishment and hence  double quick relaunch. 

Lovers of Vegan, raw, Gluten Free, Organic, dairy free and Vegetarian and healthy plant based food will love it’s packed shelves in Birmingham City Centre. It’s genuinely a one stop source for health and nutrition based goods that are very tempting. 

I visited last week and was impressed with the stock on offer in the shop, which was very varied and catered for Vegans, Gluten Free and Raw food diets as well as vegetarian. 

The staff are friendly, enthusiastic, passionate and had a good knowledge of the products. I spoke with the owners Simon and Susan who were genuinely interested in the products they sold and especially the health benefits of reducing or cutting out sugar from your diet. 

Natural Health Food are in the process of setting up their website which when completed will allow the customer to purchase the products in the shop and more online to be delivered to the home. They are open to suggestions as to what stick they sell and what the customer would find useful and would like to see displayed. 

I found the shop beautiful presented, with real wooden shelves and cases to display the products which I was told was handmade for them locally to the shop, and gave the products an organic feel and look. They looked as if they belonged in the room and were presented in a very clear and ordered fashion. It was very easy to browse and find what you would need. 

What Natural Health Food are attempting to do is encourage a more plant based diet, and fashionably reduce the amount of sugar we eat in our diets by promoting those products as an alternative. 

The products I tried had zero sugar and you couldn’t tell, as the natural sugars gave the kick to the bars that compensated for this. In fact the moisture of the juices came through. 

This was especially true of the Raw Health bars. 

The face of health and vegan stores is changing as more products come to market. I’ve noticed the packaging is brighter, more inviting, more professional. The products are superior and you can feel the benefits and differences when you try them. What the Natural Health Food Shop are doing is embracing that change. This is good news for Bimingham and anyone who cares for what they eat and drink. 

There are plans to introduce make up and more beauty products too. Obviously cruelty free, vegan and organic. They already stock a fine selection of toiletries such as shampoos, shower fells and deodorants etc.

I’m looking forward to returning soon and buying some more and seeing how things are progressing. 

 
   
   
   
    
 
  
    
   
   
    
 

Products sold from, health bars, drinks, chocolate, snacks, gluten free products from pasta, gnocchi, flour, bread. Plus tofu, Ready meals, Fresh soups, toiletries, dairy free products, coconut water, teas and coffee. Plus many more. 

Natural Health Foods is a one stop shop for health and nutrition and being independent is a business well worth supporting and enjoying. 

Allison Street, Birmingham B5 5TH. 

Open: 10-7pm Monday-Saturday 

11-5- Sunday. 

   
 

  

Everyone needs good neighbours: 

Next door to The Warehouse Cafe. Birmingham’s original Vegetarian Restaurant. Pop in for lunch and dinner. In fact combine the two. 

  
Goodies kindly given to me by Natural Healthy Foods to sample. 

In particular the Raw Hemp and Protein Balls made by Raw Health  were delicious: organic fruits bursting with dates and the subtle hint of orange. Using raw organic ingredients, Raw Health soak and sprout the ingredients to bring their natural vitality to life. Using low temperatures to make them in order to keep the health giving nutrients and enzymes alive and well. Very enjoyable. 

   
 
 
The dark chocolate snack bar from Organica, Hazlenut nougat.

I also enjoyed the Coconut Water from Go Coco, which had a lovely sweet tasting and natural flavour. It tasted very refreshing and isn’t from concentrate. Includes 5 essential electrolytes. Won a GreatTaste award in 2012. 

  
 Fresh soup. 

  

   
 
http://www.naturalhealthyfoods.co.uk

@NHfoodsUK

Facebook: Natural healthy foods. 

Thanks for reading. 

Andy 😊

Disclaimer: I was invited to Natural Health Foods to take some photos after mentioning to them that I was going to put a post on my blog on their opening. They gave me the products to try and pass on my honest feedback on what I thought. All opinions are my own and honest as always. 

Thanks to Simon and Susan for their time and showing me around their shop.

#TastyMorsels: Cruelty Free Christmas Fair and Digmas @ the Custard factory Saturday 20/12


This Saturday the 20th seems to be the climax of Birmingham’s December Festive seasonal foodie calender.

It’s a bit like buses, you wait around for ages and then three turn up at once.

I’ve mentioned Brum Yum Yum KingshEATh already, but two more events also going on in or near the City Centre.

First off is, The Birmingham Cruelty Free Christmas Fair at Carrs Lane Church Centre B4 7SX in the City Centre.

From 10.30-4pm 30 stalls will be offering a wide variety of animal free products, chocolate, cosmetics, cakes, recipe books, soaps, sweets, and gifts and much more with delicious vegan catering from ChangeKitchen whom I’m big fans of and much more fresh food stalls and nibbles to tempt you.

http://www.changeKitchen.co.uk

@changeKitchen

Also, stbestcaterers, will be bringing top quality food, the best in Caribbean cuisine will be showcasing too.

http://www.stbestcaterers.co.uk
@stbestcaterers

Run by West Midlands Vegan Fest, promoting veganism in the West Midlands including free food fairs and events.

http://www.midlandsveganfestival.org.uk

Supporting local Animal Sanctuaries, campaigning groups and small ethical traders. The fair will be free entry and run from 10.30am-4pm.

The second event is Digmas 12pm-6pm at The Custard Factory in Digbeth, Birmingham.

The Christmas Fair will be an alternative day out and be the best of local traders, Street food, a pop up bar and entertainment.

Digbeth Dining Club will be doing the food and for veggies and vegans the esteeemed Vegan Grindhouse will be there along with The
Bournville Waffle Company.

Alfie Birds another Veggie Foodie Favourite will be provideing the drinks with a pop up bar- including craft beer, Bailey’s Hot Choc, and Christmas Cocktails.

Street food and bar running until 8pm.

Plus, there will be live music, an Urban Village Vintage fair, and a Mockingbird Theatre treats (see website) plus other independent luminaries from The Custard Factory to tempt and loosen your purse strings.

So catch them both if you can, 🙂

Digmas @ the Custard Factory 20th December 12pm-6pm.

http://www.thecustardfactory.co.uk/digmas for full programme.

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Thanks for reading 🙂

@andydhare

#TastyMorsel: The Eight Foot Grocer opens: A Feast of Veg in the Jewellery Quarter


If you are a vegetarian and you don’t eat or like fruit or vegetables, then maybe ask what’s the point. Veg are the kings of vegetarian and vegan living. All hail the veg 🙂

So in that respect any news that an Independent food grocer is opening in Birmingham is therefore greeted with the applause and plaudits it deserves.

That’s why I love the idea of The Eight Foot Grocer. i did wonder if the guy who owned it initially was a giant, that eating all those veg like your Mother told you to do had made him grow so much that he had turned into a fairy tale character, old Jack himself.

No in fact, his name is Chris James and his grocers is in the lovely Jewellery Quarter and is housed in a eight foot wide former loading bay near
St Paul’s Square.

Chris has turned a quirky venue into a new fruit and veg store selling exciting deli produce locally sourced where possible and all in a eight foot wide space. The store is in Caroline Street next to the Braderie Vintage shop and opposite The esteemed Bloc Hotel.

The shop is an eclectic mix of local art, and photography, and receives daily fresh bread deliveries from nearby Peel and Stone bakers and stocks such items as jams, marmalades, loaclly made Cufuffle preserves,
Kneals Chocolates, Pip’s Hot Sauce, pastas and olive oil.

It also serves porridge for breakfast, and sandwiches, salads, and cakes for lunch.

It’s a proper shop, independent and local and open from
8am-8pm Monday-Saturday.

The Eight Foot Grocer
13-15 Caroline Street
off St Paul’s Square
Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham
B3 1TR

@The8footgrocer

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Veggie Foodie Guide to: The Birmingham Christmas Markets for vegetarians


Navigating the Frankfurt German Market in Birmingham City Centre at this time of year for vegetarians and vegans can be difficult.

The times I’ve been out with Ruth, family and friends and whilst the meat eaters have a array of fleshy delights us veggies are left eating cake and pastries and if we are being greedy Garlic Bread. Good but hey, we like Christmas too 🙂

Then of course it is easier for veggies to drink more at the market than eat some super independent food.

This year it appears their are though some jewels to be sought out and tasted. Yes, you have to search and yes you have to walk a bit, but it is worth it..trust me 😊

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The Birmingham Christmas market that stretches all the way from The Bull Ring up New Street into Victoria Square and onto the area around the Town Hall, and the Art Gallery up to The Hall of memory and up to the New Library of Birmingham and the Big Wheel.

The lower part from the Bull Ring to Victoria Square is the long running and expensive generally German Market which turns Birmingham tourist crazy for a month and makes Brum feel like a European city bathed in Christmas joy. It’s good fun and full of drinking dens, but little hot good veggie food.

The Frankfurt Market leads into the Birmingham Christmas craft markets by the Art Gallery which is much more independent and has a greater amount of food outlets that veggies can enjoy and stretches up to the New Birmingham Library.

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On wandering around the markets last week with my brother Pete (also vegetarian) we found a number of options.

Within the Birmingham craft market (further on from the Frankfurt Market) by the old Central library and Birmingham Art Gallery lie two good options to begin with for veggies.

First is Woktastic which serves noodles and a variety of Japanese dishes some veggie options. A good option. They also have a stand at Paradise Forum and restaurant too.

Then, nestled within the Christmas trees at the top of the steps lies The Mumbai Grill. For curry and a spicy kick it can’t be beaten. They have a vegetarian menu that includes a vegetarian platter, onion bhaji wraps, samosas, channa chaat, and a chana chickpea wrap. They also have balti chips.

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Then, further through the Paradise Forum over bridge past the Hall of Memory you will find local Pips Hot Sauce, a creperie, and a fully veggie and vegan falafel stall.

The falafel stand sells numerous falafel options, a veggie burger, and is the markets only completely 100% veggie option. Prices start from £4.50. It looks brilliant, and I can’t wait to try it. Their are falafel wraps, spicy Jalapeños, grilled Halloumi and other falafel dishes. See menu.

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Next door so to speak is a Creperie stand that sells sweet and savoury crepes and has veggie options on the savoury side. The creperie has outside tables and is popular.

Next door to the Creperie nearest the New Library of Birmingham is Pips Hot Sauce with vegan options.

Trader Pip Bradley from Kings Heath sells dishes such as sweet potato fries, nachos, salsa, jalapeños, guacamole, and vegan friendly sauces. Try a combination of the dishes and a few sauces maybe?

Pips Hot Sauce also sell gift packs of her superb sauces that can be brought as gifts. Well recommended.

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Back to The Frankfurt Market, their is a stand that sells pizza, and Italian sandwiches near the Town Hall and a stand in the centre near the fountain that sells a nice spinach and feta strudel. Plus, sweet ones too. One I’ve not noticed before.

Then last but not least is the aforementioned garlic bread stand, that is a delight. Try it with cheese, always a winner, but this year it seems not the only hot option. Stationed next to the long bar nearest to the Council House on Victoria Square.

As well as those hot food options their are a number of sweet food stands and some are brilliant. I will leave you to discover those 🙂

As always the Frankfurt Market divides opinions in Birmingham, but at least some independent and local food traders are involved in Birmingham’s Christmas Markets, and their is always Digbeth Diner and Brum Yum Yum to satisfy that independent street food demand.

If you get out into Birmingham have a good Market experience and eat, and drink and be merry, but watch those alcohol prices at The German Market that are quite steep compared to elsewhere. Their are a good selection of drinks at the craft market, near the town hall, including mulled cider, mulled wine and Pims.

Their is also a Hogan’s cider tent near the hall of memory with sofas inside. Looks great, very popular.

Have fun and thanks for reading and Happy Christmas. 🙂

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Library of Birmingham

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HARD TO FIND WHISKEY: WELL NOT ANY MORE


I came across information on The Hard To Find Whiskey shop in Birmingham’s Jewellery quarter via Twitter and a fabulous piece in the Birmingham Post by Mary Griffin.

http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/…/good-whiskey-no-longer-hard-7878177

I’m a big whisky fan and single malts always go down well with me.

Birmingham has a few places that you can buy whiskey by the bottle, the Whiskey shop in the Great Western Arcade is the pick of them and the most reliable for a good range and good service.

That is until now. The Hard to Find Whiskey Shop is different, it aims to sell those hard to find drams for collectors, but also celebrates single malts and splits their display into whiskey regions, areas and a section for foreign imports. For example Japanese.

The shop newly opened in the Jewellery Quarter is crammed full of whiskey from the most expensive at £35.000 ( a 50 year old Macallan) to a £25.00 bottle plus £1.95 on some whiskey liqueurs.

They also sell Macallan honey, marmalade, and even a whisky bath gel, for those indulgent whiskey moments,

The shop is on Spencer Street and has set out its displays on whiskey producing regions in Scotland: The Highlands, The Lowlands, Campbell Town, Islay, The Islands.

The Hard To Find Whiskey Shop Also sells Bourbons, blends and is in the process of setting up tasting masterclasses and a bar stool area where customers can sample the whiskey.

Keep an eye on their website for details and classes when they arise,

http://www.htfw.com

There is also a growing link with whiskey and food.

Itihaas restaurant have recently held a whiskey and indian food tasting with the Birmingham Whiskey Club who run events throughout the year.

There maybe plans for more nights like this and the growing trend to pair Spirits with food is becoming more available such as Jekyll and Hyde’s Gin tasting and gin inspired food menus.

The Birmingham Whiskey club have up on their website an event next March 2015 Birmingham’ s whiskey festival at The Bond in Digbeth, where the Soul Food Project and Peel and Stone will be developing a menu for the festival. Menus to be announced.

http://www.whiskeybirmingham.co.uk

The Birmingham Whiskey scene is certainly on the up and for Hard to Find Whiskies the shop in Spencer Street, Jewellery Quarter is the shop to start.

Go seek out those Whiskies😊

http://www.htfw.com

1 Spencer Street
The Jewellery Quarter
Birmingham
B18 6DD

08456803489

Email: sales@htfw.com

http://www.Facebook/HTFWhiskey

@HTFWhiskey Twitter.

The Whiskey Shop

Unit 35 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham B2 5 HU

http://www.whiskeyshop.com

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TALL POPPY FOODS: VEGETARIAN/VEGAN FOOD WITH GOOD TASTE


Tall Poppy Foods are a small family based food company based in the Selly Oak area of Birminghamthat specialises in delicious 100% Vegan Foods.

Tall Poppy Foods have been running since October 2012 selling cupcakes online and catering for events. such as weddings, with wedding cakes. They can also be seen at farmers markets.

Their mission is to break the stereotype that Vegan and Vegetarian food together can put a bad taste in people’s mouths, and believe that good tasting food should be available to everyone whatever their dietry requirements.

Tall Poppy Foods cakes are dairy, egg, honey, lactose, and animal by product free and are lovely. They are 100% suitable for vegetarians and vegans and their ingredients are ethically sourced. Tall Poppy foods use organic flour from renowned millers Shipton Mill.

I have enjoyed their cup cakes at Veg Out Cafe in Kings Heath, they taste beautiful.

Tall Poppy foods provide foods and cakes for all occasions and deliver 15-20 miles from Birmingham. They can deliver further if they have advanced notice.

They can be contacted via their website http://www.tallpoppyfoods.co.uk
Their website has full details of their products.

Tall Poppy Foods also sell gourmet coffee, wraps and sandwiches, and real fruit smoothies.

They are a real vegetarian/vegan food hero.

Twitter: @TallPoppyFoods
Facebook/ TallPoppyCakes

email them for orders also at info@TallPoppyFoods.co.uk

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#VEGGIE/VEGAN FOOD HEROES: 100% VEGAN SHOP AND THE WAREHOUSE CAFE


The second and third veggie/vegan Food Heroes are the
100% Vegan Shop and The Warehouse Cafe in Digbeth Birmingham.

They are both housed in the same building, on Alison Street, Digbeth near the Bull Ring, Selfridges and Moor Street Station.

The 100% Vegan Shop is an independent one stop shop which aims to promote the vegan cause by being a good honest business.

They are passionate about all things vegan, from good honest whole food staples to the little treats that are hard to find. It was started by a couple of vegans who wanted Birmingham to have a good honest business with exciting products, promoting the vegan cause. They are based in The Friends of The Earth Warehouse building in Digbeth.

They stock, vegan alternatives to traditional products, such as cheese, meats, ice cream, dried fruits, flour, nuts, seeds, tofu hand made pasties, pies and gluten free products such as breakfast cereals, and biscuits and cakes. They also sell household products.

For full range see their website:

http://www.100percentvegan.co.uk/our-range

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian or neither The 100% vegan shop is a lovely independent shop in Birmingham and well worth taking a look at for new and interesting stock.

Open 10-7pm Tuesday-Saturday.

100% Vegan Shop
The Warehouse
54-57 Allison Street
Digbeth
Birmingham
B5 5TH

0121 633 5539
Twitter @100pcvegan

http://www.100percentvegan.co.uk

The Warehouse Cafe is Birmingham’s original Vegetarian restaurant. It’s independent and a must visit for any veggie or vegan or anyone who likes good healthy food.

It is based in the same building as the 100% Vegan Shop in Digbeth Birmingham and has been serving unpretentious food and a good dose of a healthy sense of humour for a many a long year.

Their healthy food is very well regarded in Birmingham, and the environment is cute and has a nice atmosphere.

The Warehouse Cafe is committed to sustainability and its core values. They recycle and use a bicycle courrier (or foot) for the majority of fresh produce that is delivered.

They are piloting a scheme to use local allotment produce gifted by friends and supporters in their resturant.

The menus caters for both vegetarian and vegan, and there are a healthy selection of vegan dishes available:)

For menus see http://www.thewarehousecafe.com

They are open:

Tuesday-Friday 12-3.30pm and 5.30-10pm
Saturday 12-3.30pm and 5.30-10pm
Closed Sunday, Monday and Bank Holidays.

facebook/thewarehousecafe
Twitter: warehousecafeUK

0121 633 0261

The Warehouse Cafe
The Warehouse
54-57 Allison Street
Digbeth
Birmingham
B5 5TH

I plan to visit The Warehouse Cafe soon to eat and do a review.

Do you have a particular favourite? It could be in Birmingham, The Midlands, or beyond. Anyone that should be mentioned, that flies the flag for vegetarians and vegans:) Let me know either in the comment box or via twitter @andydhare.

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INDEPENDENT BIRMINGHAM (Believe in Birmingham)


Birmingham is thriving as a city of independent businesses. It is quite easy to believe the opposite looking around the Bull Ring and the high street. More and more independents, shops, cafe’s and restaurants are now thriving in and around the city centre.

Independent Birmingham is the flag waving movement and website of all things independent in Birmingham.

IB as it known is dedicated to unearthing the very best of Birmingham’s hidden gems and best kept secrets with the aim of encouraging people to re-discover the city we love.

The ethos of supporting businesses with a local leaning and conscience is superb in my opinion, some of the best places to go in Birmingham City Centre and its neighbourhoods are independent and offer friendliness and a uniqueness that chains don’t provide.

Independent Birmingham provide a year long membership card for £15 or two for £20.

The card provides discounts and deals in signed up shops, bars and restaurants. It is a unique pass to a sunshine of localism and top quality places that provide an experience as well as uniqueness.

Their website http://www.independent-Birmingham.co.uk provide a directory of all outlets signed up.

Independent Birmingham announce new additions to the card frequently so keep an eye open for more.

Recent additions are The Electric Cinema in the city centre who are offering IB card holders 2-4-1 tickets on standard seats form Sunday-Thursday, Rico Libre tapas in Digbeth who are offering 10% off breakfasts and tapas excluding Saturday evening, Itihaas Restaurant, 20% off Sunday-Thursday and The Coffee Lounge on Newhall Street 10% off and 20% off for afternoon tea for 2 people.

They have recently announced places such as, Vintage Hideaway, Fletchers Bar and The Sun at the Station and Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath and the Dark Horse pub, Cafephillia, and The Java Lounge in Moseley.

Plus Michelin starred restaurant Adams in the city centre, Ju Ju’s cafe by Brindley Place have joined along with the Jekyll and Hyde pub are offering 20% from Monday to Thursday off food. See website for full offers.

Keep on eye on their twitter and Facebook accounts for further details, new additions and discounts.

Others already signed up include:

Stirling’s bar and lounge, Loki wine, The Victoria bar, The Bureau, Brewsmith’s coffee and tea, 6/8 Kaffe, Cherry Reds, Alfie Birds, Rose Villa Tavern, The Church inn in the Jewellery Quarter, Urban Coffee Shop, Home is where..cafe and deli, Island Bar, Twist, The Sun on The Hill in the city centre.

For more see the website directory on
http://www.independent-Birmingham.co.uk.

Or you can sign up for the Independent Birmingham blog via their website and sign up for the card on the website too.

If anyone has any personal favourites and wants to recommend places please feel free to leave a comment below at,

Twitter @independentB’ham
Facebook independent Birmingham community
Hello@independent-Birmingham.co.uk

Or at Twitter @andydhare or on the comments section below.

Thanks for reading Veggie Foodie.