Pet peeves, crown jewels and panini

Michael Apichella ANL-151123-125029001
Michael Apichella ANL-151123-125029001
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Everyone’s got a pet peeve. Mine’s the “Welcome to Bury St Edmunds, A jewel in Suffolk’s crown” sign. It always gives me indigestion. “THE jewel in Suffolk’s crown!” I yell as I cruise by.

Granted, there are many jewels studding Suffolk’s crown. Take pubs serving first-class food and drink, such as The Crown in Hartest. It’s poignantly famous for the WW I-era coins hammered into its rafter by brave boys promising anguished mums and dads and fiancées they’d safely be back from the “war to end all wars” before Christmas. Or how about Tuddenham Mill, recently named Best Restaurant in Suffolk at the 2016 Suffolk Food & Drink Awards?

Then there’s the Organic Shop, Cafe Bistro, Bar & Art Gallery in Fornham All Saints, self-described as “an ethical company putting customers, the environment and a sustainable future before personal gain.” Each time I call, I think of that bloomin’ Suffolk Tiara and its gorgeous jewels. Although diminutive, the Organic Shop is one of the brightest gems in the crown, welcoming customers since 2010.

Friendly Arabella Michele and Hilary Mason recently took over managing the shop and café as licensees. “We decided to take on the management role of our beloved shop and café because we really wanted to reach more people with healthy alternatives for the kitchen,” says Arabella.

“We’re passionate about our business, and want to share the deliciousness of our produce with a wider audience,” adds Hilary. “We’ve recently obtained bright new staff who make the establishment a welcoming and helpful environment. There’s Monika, Keeley, Meg, Julie, Jake and Mark.”

According to Hilary: “We want people to no longer be afraid of the word ‘organic’. There’s a lot of prejudice circling the world of organic produce, and we’d like to help get rid of it by offering fairly priced, excellent quality food and ingredients predominantly organic, which also means it’s got high welfare standards, it’s local if possible, ethical and seasonal. We also do a lovely range of natural beauty and cleaning products.”

Arabella agrees. “We enjoy interacting with people and serving them tasty and healthy food, being able to provide good ingredients from the shop, and inspiring people to experiment more with food through our popular theme nights, ranging from vegan and other themed evenings.”

Arabella’s cooked for over 30 years and has a background in business development. Today she looks after the Café and Shop, purchasing, and the various menus. Hilary does the finance, administration and personnel. Hilary’s been a business woman for many years in her professional life, but in her leisure time she enjoys gardening and raising her own chickens and pigs which has given her a knowledge of good produce.

Whenever I drop in, I always meet people interested in healthy food and knowing where their food comes from. Some customers having specific allergies, such as gluten or dairy, stop in, and always individuals who enjoy delicious freshly prepared meals. But do you need to be a vegan to want to eat and drink here? “No,” says Hilary. “But we have vegan staff members and regular vegan evenings.”

I began discussing pet peeves. Reader Judy Greenwood’s big gripe is improper Italian syntax. “You mention that a gentleman working in the kitchen of Really Rather Good Café on Angel Hill makes good ‘paninis’. The plural of ‘panino’ is ‘panini’. You cannot have paninis, an error being used too frequently. It must drive Italians mad. Another infuriating error is asking for a ‘latte’. These people expect white coffee, but in Italy you would get milk!”

As I say, we all have our pet peeves. What’s yours?

-- Visit award-winning writer Michael Apichella’s website at www.michaelapichella.com - you can also follow him on Twitter via @MApichellaPhD