If there's one thing Londoners love more than chocolate it's chocolate biscuits, and the very best chocolate biscuits are scrummy crumbly classic Hobnobs literally dripping with McVities cocoa heaven. So rejoice, it's now finally possible to enjoy these hand-baked classics with a slosh of artisanal fruit juice at a brand new luxury snack experience coming to central London this winter.
A beautiful marquee has been set up on the third floor of an iconic Soho car park, where platters of Hobnobs will be laid out for gastronomic sampling, coupled with exotic cordials to enhance the flavour. TV chef Ellie Jameson has curated four amazing food and drink combinations, including 'Milk Chocolate and Elderflower', 'Dark Chocolate and Elderflower' and 'Milk Chocolate and Lime', plus one other top secret blend pairing only to be revealed when you visit.
"What I've always remembered," says Masterchef reject Jameson, "is being served squash and biscuits as a small child. Not only are these the ultimate comfort food but they're also ridiculously cheap to source, as a thousand church hall refreshment tables confirm. So I've been down to Lidl to bulk buy a vanful of packets and bottles - apparently Robinsons don't do lime cordial any more but I've found something generic, and once it's poured into jugs nobody can tell. A few fancy doilies and some seasonal cups and the whole thing looks quite evocative... easily enough to validate the £15 ticket price, so our market research in southwest London confirms."
The Hobnobbers Chocolate Sensation is open at the Lexington Street Multi-Storey, from Friday week until the buzz dies down. See website for full details and to book individually timed tasting sessions.
A frozen gin palace is coming to London
If there's one thing Londoners love more than gin it's ice castles, especially at this frozen time of year. So budding Princess Elsas rejoice, it's now possible to enjoy this classic Arctic combination at a brand new alcoholic pop-up super-igloo experience coming to central London this winter.
A full size fairy palace has been sculpted from ice infused with gin, and visitors will be able to sample cubes carved from the crystal clear turrets and enjoy the heavy juniper flavours. Chief mixologists Calvinas and Nash have joined forces with Knight Peveril gin to bring this Christmas miracle to life, and all you have to do is wrap up warm and skate down to the courtyard at the Royal Mayfair Hotel.
"What we actually did," says entrepreneur Bert Calvinas, "is fill a bouncy castle with water, then pour a bottle of gin through the nozzle and leave it out overnight until the mixture froze. Then we peeled off the plastic really carefully, and the end result looks almost impressive now we've draped a few fairy lights over it. Obviously we can't let anyone get too close in case they try chipping a bit off, so instead we used an industrial freezer to make some ice cubes with a dash of gin, thinly diluted. We're going to present these on small velvet tasting cushions whilst feeding the customers some waffle about authentic distillation and botanical notes, then charge extra for dishing out plastic goblets of warehouse-sourced gin."
The Frozen Gin Palace is open at the Royal Mayfair Hotel, Grosvenor Street from 18 November to Christmas Eve. See website for full details and to book tickets at extortionate prices we dare not reveal here.
A contactless hygge tunnel is coming to London
If there's one thing Londoners love more than scouring the listings for fresh new consumer experiences, it's believing they've found a fresh new consumer experience none of their friends has heard of. So rejoice, we're now going to reveal the ultimate exclusive London pop-up, known only to you and the other thousands of people reading this, with Instagram cachet and Snapchat kudos guaranteed.
A mystical wellness tunnel has been erected on the South Bank, within which the cosy warmth of the ancient Danish art of 'hygge' will be celebrated and enjoyed. Participants will be asked to swipe their contactless card at a series of meditational checkpoints to gain access to each subsequent chamber, entering a succession of dazzling light shows whose hidden messages will help them to relax and cultivate inner satisfaction.
"Obviously it's drivel," says the chief con artist who prefers not to be named, "but hygge is the bandwagon concept this festive season. So we bought some lanterns and a polytunnel, used curtains to divide it up into five moneyspinning sections and spray-painted a few key buzzwords on the canvas. The clever bit is that customers can only progress to the next section by swiping their contactless bank card against a tarted-up reader, and they have no idea how much we're taking off every time. By the end it adds up to quite a bit, but nobody complains, and everyone's happy because they've had an experience. In truth it's vacuous extortion, but we see it as the ultimate pop-up experience."
The Hygge Wellness Caverns will be soft launching this weekend in a secret South Bank location. Please check Facebook for the latest details. Cash and cheques not accepted.