Cliff Collis started smoking fish 30 years ago at the back of his fish shop in Bermondsey. "I used to smoke anything from haddock to bloaters," he says. "It was a different world back then." Tastes having changed, however, he now concentrates on curing salmon to order, selling wholesale to caterers and restaurants, and also to individuals via the post. The smokery, bought by Cliff's grandmother in the 1930s, has been in existence since the late 1800s. What makes Cliff's salmon (only the very best, sent down from Scotland) unique is that it's smoked in the vintage smoke holes in the courtyard at the back of the building. This old-fashioned, three-day process has been superseded almost everywhere else by electric kilns, which take just a few hours to finish the job. Two or three nights a week, Cliff stokes up the fire with hardwood sawdust - oak, beech and sometimes mahogany (which helps bring out the colour, he says) - from a furniture factory in Hackney, and sets to work. "The smoke holes are laced with years and years of smoke and cure and tar; when they warm up, that's when the flavour's released," he explains. "My salmon might be a bit more expensive, but the taste is completely different. It's chalk and cheese."
A side of Cliff's smoked salmon costs from around £ 15 to £35, depending on weight; call (0171) 739 9017 for mail-order details.
Only a true chocaholic could create truffles as delectable as those made by Sara Jayne at her home in south-west London. Yet it all began by accident: in 1983, two friends who were about to open a food shop asked her to supply some truffles for their launch party. They were so well received it resulted in a regular order (though, modestly, Sara describes her first efforts as "very amateurish"). The eight varieties of truffles have subtle and unusual flavours, including tequila, chilli, ginger, saffron, pistachio and cardamom. Only the very best French and English couverture bitter chocolate is used, with absolutely no powdered flavourings. Sara is completing a book for publication this autumn on 3,500 years of chocolate from pod to palate, plus a selection of recipes. Her passion has become a mission to convert people to the glories of chocolate. You could start with one of her truffles.
Sara Jayne's Truffles, (0181) 874 8500. Prices £1250 per 1/2 lb, £21 lb, plus £4 p & p (no credit cards).