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Food News: July's hot tickets and new openings

This summer: take a river trip while enjoying a tipple, visit Suffolk's two tastiest food festivals and dine inside and out at the best new places

Go Wilde

Billed as “the first of its kind”, by the time you read this, new bar and restaurant Damson & Wilde will have opened its (seriously stylish) doors in Bury St Edmunds. The result of a nine-month refurbishment, the former Cafe Rouge building on the town’s Abbeygate Street is now home to “a modern, plush and luxurious all-day, every-day, venue,” says Toby Smith of City Pub Group, the company behind the new concept.

While retaining the building’s many period features, such as fireplaces and wood panelling - the landmark redbrick property dates from 1891 and is Grade II listed - the interior design adds both creature comforts (velvety soft furnishings) and contemporary features (a floating garden of foliage suspended from the ceiling).

With a menu spanning small and large plates, sharing dishes and drinks, Damson & Wilde is tipped to become a go-to venue for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and cocktails. Happily for us, regular visitors will be rewarded with a loyalty scheme. . .

More at damsonandwilde.co.uk

Taste the Med

A suntrap where you can drink, dine, recline in a deckchair and, on weekend evenings, relax to a soundtrack provided by the resident DJ, the Courtyard at Duxford’s The Lodge is a must-visit in the summer months. On flying days at neighbouring IWM Duxford, you can even sit back and enjoy an airshow as the historic planes traverse the skies above the hotel.

New to the Mediterranean-inspired Courtyard menu, which spans light bites through to grill dishes and wood-fired pizzas, is the Mojo Pulled Pork kebab, pictured, served with raspberry pickled red cabbage, pickled cucumber, frisee, mango and mojo salsa, all piled on a flatbread.

Full details at thelodgeduxford.com/eat

Take a Punt

We all deserve a treat on a Friday night and Rutherford’s, the much-loved Cambridge punting company, have just the thing: a guided punt along the city’s beautiful Backs while sipping a glass of something special. . .

On July 8, you can join an expert from Cambridge Distillery to try three of its signature gins while learning about the spirit’s history and how to ascertain the quality of a tipple, while on July 29, August 26 and September 23, a trio of Saffron Grange’s award-winning sparkling wines are on the tasting menu, with a member of the vineyard team on hand to talk you through the vintages.

Tickets start at £40. Book now at rutherfordspunting.com

Have a Food Fest

Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival 2021 - Picture by Mecha Morton. (57646483)
Bury St Edmunds Food and Drink Festival 2021 - Picture by Mecha Morton. (57646483)

Two of Suffolk’s tastiest food festivals are returning this summer. First on the calendar is Stowmarket Food & Drink Festival on July 3, featuring live demos from Sam Sturman, the former Suffolk Chef of the Year who helms the kitchen at The Brewers, Rattlesden, at The John Peel Centre; stalls, street food, pop-up bars and live music in the Market Place; and a family barbecue and children’s activities, including face painting, hula hooping and clowning, at Red Gables wellbeing centre.

Then, celebrating its 10th year, Bury St Edmunds Food & Drink Festival will run on August 28 and 29, bringing to town a vast farmer’s market, spanning some 100 stalls and selling everything from gin to granola; demo kitchens manned by both the county’s top chefs and star culinary students from West Suffolk College; and family fun in the form of a fairground and free street entertainment.

For more see stowmarkettowncouncil.gov.uk/food-and-drink-festival and burystedmundsfestivals.com

Cut the Caffeine

Moksha Mushroom Coffee (57646494)
Moksha Mushroom Coffee (57646494)

In a bid to reduce coffee consumption, I’ve tried what feels like every decaf alternative, herbal tea and fruit infusion on the market. But nothing quite hit the spot - until I discovered Moksha.

The brainchild of Chris Baker, motivated to make an energy-boosting alternative to coffee after his six cups a day left him sleepless, jittery and prone to caffeine crashes, it’s mostly mushroom-based and, bear with me, is genuinely both peppy and delicious.

Containing four different types of mushroom, each credited with different powers - lion's mane is said to boost focus; reishi and chaga the immune system and inner calm; cordyceps mood and energy levels - it combines them with a palate-pleasing blend of decaf arabica, chai spices and vanilla. Mix a teaspoon with hot water and top with frothed plant milk for all the feels of a chai latte, but without the caffeine (gluten, dairy, sugar, sweeteners and artificial flavours).

Priced £32 for an 180g pouch, enough for 36 servings, Moksha is available to order at noordinarymoments.co/products/moksha

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