An hour before I am due to have lunch with Ruth Rogers, co-founder of The River Café, I take delivery of a box. Inside this handsome food chest are stacked a range of delicious-looking parcels, jam jars full of vegetables, cardboard containers, a slab of fluffy focaccia and an enormous lemon tart. A menu details the contents: spatchcock chicken marinated in lemon zest, oregano, thyme and black pepper; agretti with slow-cooked tomato and pangrattato, Violetta artichokes alla Romano, roast radicchio di Treviso, braised cime di rapa and cannellini beans.

The boxes are part of an initiative to bring The River Café to your home. The Italian descriptions are part of the exotica, as is the price — the box has cost an equally exotic £150. What exactly is agretti, I wonder, as I inspect a paper bag of what looks like green spaghetti. Also known as saltwort, it turns out to be a succulent that grows in coastal areas and tastes like a skinnier, more tender type of samphire: it’s great wi...

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