Milk, white, dark, orange, mint, hazelnut, chilli and salt – we could go on. Chocolate has come a long way since its Mayan beginnings. There’s an abundance of flavours, a multitude of brands and it’s available pretty much any way you like it, including raw. It’s fair to say we’re a world that can’t get enough of the sweet stuff. There’s even festivals to celebrate all things cocoa.
As part of London’s Chocolate Festival, Unreal City Audio and Cocoa Hernando have produced a theatrical tour of Georgian London’s chocolate houses. The tour will feature Aztec slaves, dukes, Spanish conquistadors and, of course, chocolate. Led by Dr Matthew Green, the tour offers a glimpse into the world of gambling and depravity at establishments such as ‘White’s Chocolate House’. Participants will also get to sample authentic hot chocolate from the era, including ‘Monsieur St Disdier’s Baroque Chocolate’ (1692), which promises to be a cut above your standard cup of Bournville.
The tours will take place on December 14/15 (11.30am and 2pm), starting at St James’s Church, Piccadilly. Tickets are £15 and can be purchased from unrealcityaudio.co.uk
Nothing says ‘whoa, it’s December’ like a bumper crop of film and TV releases. In the week’s Time Out magazine, we’ve chatted to a chap who’s in two of the biggies coming up this month. Martin Freeman is the man of the moment with ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug‘ opening this Friday Dec 13 and the new series of ‘Sherlock’ making a welcome return to our screens on New Year’s Day. In our interview, he talks about fans imagining him and Sherlock having sex and how he enjoys fighting wargs (giant wolves kept by orcs).
Elsewhere in the mag, we find the best 24-hour eateries in London, reveal London’s best independent shopping streets and go behind the scenes at ‘Fuerzabruta‘. We also talk to Idris Elba about playing the late Nelson Mandela, reveal our albums and dancefloor fillers of the year, review theatrical vampire fest ‘Let the Right One In‘ and count down London’s top 10 cock-ups.
Looking for fun stuff to do this week? Why not let us be your guide. Here’s what our editors recommend in the worlds of film, music, clubbing, cabaret, comedy, theatre, art, and good old television. Enjoy!
If you need another excuse to stuff your face this month (we doubt it), it’s time for another birthday in the Meat Liquor family and you know what that means – 50 percent off! Hot off the heels of the original Meat Liquor’s second birthday last month, Hoxton’s Meat Mission is turning one this week and they’re offering half price food for everyone who books a table on Sunday December 15 – and who brings in a balloon.
Book ASAP on email@example.com as judging by the queues at the last birthday celebration, tables will be snapped up quicker than you can scoff a deep fried pickle.
It’s always difficult to know exactly what to do with leftover sprouts at Christmas. Do you go all Ottolenghi and disguise them with fancy condiments to feed to your relatives on Boxing Day? Or give them to the dog and hope it doesn’t squit in front of the fireplace? How about using them to light up your Christmas tree instead? Unlikely as it seems, you may be able to do just that very soon. Because clever clogs from The Big Bang UK Young Scientists & Engineers Fair have built the world’s first ‘Brussels sprouts battery’, which was used to illuminate an eight-foot fir on the South Bank for 24 hours last week. Here comes the science bit: copper and zinc electrodes pierce 1,000 sprouts, creating a chemical reaction that generates a 63-volt current – enough to make the LED lights twinkle with sprout goodness. But what will the creators do if it ends up breaking down? Not a problem: they can just eat them all and create their own wind turbine instead. Alexi Duggins
I think we all got a bit freaked out last Thursday when weather reports suggested that we were going to be hit by an enormous storm surge. And then the apocalyptic storm came and went and we weren’t all underwater. We got off pretty lucky and it’s all thanks to the Thames Barrier. Many parts of the UK were left devastated as one of the worst storms in 60 years rampaged through the country on Thursday and Friday.
The Environment Agency predicted the tidal surge could be worse than the one that hit in 1953, when over 300 people died and tens of thousands of homes were destroyed. As a result, the alarming decision was taken on Thursday to close the 520 metre-long barrier to protect London from the estimated flood chaos (as illustrated in the picture above).
Good call guys! Chief executive of The Environment Agency Dr Paul Leinster said of the measures taken to save the capital: ‘We estimate that at least 800,000 homes and businesses have been protected by flood schemes in the past 24 hours.’
They might have internal satnavs, but what do London’s cabbies really know about the city? From good fish suppers to bad loo breaks and worse passengers, four of London’s finest share what they’ve learned on the job. Interviews by Eddy Frankel.
There’s a growing trend for French Dips in London – where sliced meat is dipped backed into its cooking juices before being put into a sandwich. The latest place to get on board is Dip & Flip. One half burger joint (where the patties – beef, chicken and veggie – are of course ‘flipped’), one half hot sarnie joint (there are currently two choices of ‘dips’ – lamb and beef, both served with a small side of gravy for extra dipping), it’s perfectly pitched between the pubs and bars of the Northcote Road and the commuter spill-out of Clapham Junction station. Read the full post…
As always, there are some fab film events happening in London this week. Here are five of the best:
1. Winter Shuffle: ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ + Nic Roeg Q&A.
If you’re after a taste of Dickensian London, head to St Clement’s Hospital in Bow. The former workhouse and psychiatric hospital is now the happy home of Shuffle, the brilliant community-run film festival Danny Boyle first curated back in May. Returning with a winter edition, Shuffle’s line-up is pretty special. Boyle will drop in to chat with Prof Brian Cox and Mark Kermode after a screening of his film sci-fi ‘Sunshine’, while Jarvis Cocker will interview Brit director Nicolas Roeg on stage after a showing of his masterful 1975 space oddity ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’. Roeg’s hugely ambitious and imaginative film transforms a straightforward science fiction story into a rich kaleidoscope of 1970s America. St Clement’s Hospital, Mile End Rd, E3 4LL. 4pm. Sat Dec 14 – £15.
Got a few pairs of old jeans lying around? Not sure what to do with them? Make them into a giant picture of London, obviously. That’s exactly what artist Ian Berry – aka Denimu – has done. Until this Wednesday the Catto Gallery plays host to his solo show, exhibiting all manner of images of London collaged entirely out scraps of the blue stuff – there are denim pubs, a denim Primrose Hill and even a denim depiction of the tube. Read the full post…
We got our first look at part two of Peter Jackson’s epic three-film adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s ‘Lord of the Rings’ prequel ‘The Hobbit’ last week. As our reviewer Keith Uhlich enthuses, this is a much pacier, more action-heavy film than its rather chatty, slapsticky predecessor ‘An Unexpected Journey’. Kicking off with a shapeshifting bear-man on the rampage and climaxing with Smaug the dragon in full flight, the film doesn’t sit still for a moment, cramming the screen with marauding orcs, man-eating spiders, pratfalling dwarves, pompous elves, untrustworthy man-folk and one seriously unconvinced hobbit. Along the way we get to witness arguably the most complex action sequence of Jackson’s career – it involves barrels, bows and arrows and more death-defying leaps than you can count – and some rather silly, rather sweet elf-on-dwarf flirting.
All in all, as Uhlich suggests, this is a film for those who’ve already bought into Jackson’s fantasy universe. If you’re looking for dramatic heft and real-world drama you might want to go elsewhere, but if all you want is to lose yourself for 161 minutes in total, spectacular escapism, look no further.
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