Jesmond Dene House: Newcastle’s foodie haven

You don’t need me to tell you that Jesmond Dene House Hotel is the best place to stay in Newcastle — you could just look on TripAdvisor to find that out — but it really is a haven of subtlety and elegance and northern warmth, and it just so happens that it’s also a very special place to me as well. Let me explain. As Newcastle spreads up the hill from the river, the city falls away very quickly, making way for parks and town moors and grazing land of the kind you’d expect to find miles out of town,…

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How to eat in Belgium: Chocolate edition

I had been a resident of Belgium for approximately four hours when an entirely wonderful thing happened to me. I was standing in Brussels’ most romantic square, gazing through the window of the country’s most prestigious chocolate shop, completely entranced by a master chocolatier hard at work inside, when he lifted his head, saw what I can only presume must have been a look of intense fascination on my face, and started to laugh. In a sequence that could have been lifted straight from a schmaltzy movie, he beckoned to me to come inside, and handed me the exquisite truffle…

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