We are indeed very fortunate to live where we do

ginI know I am really fortunate in life to be able to travel extensively, but I’m equally blessed that I have a number of friends around the world who are very happy to accept me inviting myself to visit. Such is the case with my longstanding friend and work colleague Val. Val has worked tirelessly for us for a number of years and even though she has tried to retire four times, she can’t!

This is because she is an essential and fundamental part of our success. We know exactly why that is, she embodies the real FOODIES values we hold dear. Val in particular is a real support you can trust. She does what she says she will, never in part or poorly, but always on the button.

So off I went to the USA to see her and her lovely patient hubby in Florida, where she occasionally suns herself in their lovely apartment (sorry condo).

It’s not too bad a trip and they speak the same language but the worlds we inhabit seem so different.

Two shocking discoveries – Florida in the main (forget NYC and other international cities, they are separate from the real America) has no artisanal coffee shops and in my humble opinion you can only get watered down black ‘sort of’ flavoured options. The coffee boom has not hit these shores at all!

The other discovery is that although they may have 2 or 3 Gins available at most bars, in general they use post mix tap tonic – really!! My personal suggestion for the new president is get that sorted as a priority! It’s ridiculous to have great Gins then destroy them with fizzy syrup.  I’m sure an artisanal offer exported such as fever tree could be the answer – Someone has to save the nation from poor G&Ts!!!

Years ago I used to visit the USA to see the food offers and all that was shiny and new, but when I look at Florida, it’s evident that they are a tiny bit stuck in time, with little adventure on the food and beverage side.  It’s pretty much the same as I’ve seen the last 10 years. I know the main cosmopolitan cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago may be better, but sadly the good news hasn’t spread beyond the city walls. A lot of favourites on the menus are still there, and pretty safe they are, if you like high calorie option. So whilst in the UK the world of the small artisanal producer and specialist has become the supplier of choice, in the USA super-sizing suppliers are still king.

We are fortunate that our fabulous evening food eatery choices are booming on the artisanal front and don’t just remain in our cosmopolitan cities of the UK. I have particular proof of this statement as I recently was in a pub in middle of nowhere (literally) and there was a Gin menu, even my favourite Gin was included, and proper tonics!!

Bliss, so the Great really is in Great Britain!

So when I land I am going to kiss the ground, say thank you for fever tree and go get a decent cup of real coffee with a nice G&T to finish the day off while I count my blessings.

We are indeed very fortunate to live where we do.

Wendy Bartlett

Executive Chairman