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Superflashy newsflash! Food, festivals, and French ballet

Want to know where you can eat an award-winning burger, drink a seasonal cocktail by the river and watch an 18th century ballet? It's all here, baby!

Openings galore

New businesses are popping up across the counties like daisies (just what we like to see). Witney sugar addicts will be delighted to hear that dessert parlour Gelato 39 has opened its doors this week, serving up waffles, brownies and a gelato brioche burger (!) that I’m dying to try.

Need somewhere new for date night? Gloria’s in Thame opened mid-April, and its Neapolitan menu looks mouth-watering – plus, every Sunday there’s a ‘Travel Around Italy’ lunchtime experience that introduces you to a dish from a different Italian regio. Si, grazie!

There’s a new Korean restaurant due to land in Headington this month. Grounded Kitchen is opening its first Oxford branch on 11 May, and its focus on fresh, healthy food with a Seoul twist sounds right up my street. If you don’t want to sit in (although, looking at the sleek interiors, whyever would you not?), Grounded Kitchen Oxford is offering 20% off all collection-only orders when you spend £25 or more. Go on then, you’ve twisted my arm.

If you didn’t get a chance to visit quirky riverside bar The Medley in Binsey when it opened last Spring, you’re in luck – it’s just reopened for the new season! Expect foodie pop-ups (currently it’s homemade, woodfired pizza – yum), seasonal cocktails and excellent views of the water – if the weather holds, naturally.

Scandi bakery Ole & Steen is coming to Henley! No confirmed opening date yet (watch this space), but the new premises will be bang in the middle of the market place and will serve up all many open-face sandwiches and filled pastries as you can scoff.

Musical notes

The festival line-up announcements are coming thick and fast! Just over the Herts/Bucks border, Chilfest has announced its biggest-ever line-up to celebrate its 10th year. Spandau Ballet star and Muddy fave Tony Hadley (he’s practically my next-door neighbour, don’t you know) will open proceedings on 1 July, and acts include Toploader, The Proclaimers and Toyah.

Classical musical more your speed? The English Music Festival has just announced its programme for 2022, which includes the BBC Concert Orchestra performing works from Sir Edward Elgar and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, live choral performances and talks from composers and journalists. The festival takes place in venues across Oxfordshire, including the beautiful Dorchester Abbey, across the May bank holiday, so pick up tickets quick if it appeals.

All the world’s a stage

Waddesdon has announced a stellar programme of outdoor performances and theatre this summer, including Michael Buble, McFly and Tears for Fears – not all at once, obv – but I’m snapping up tickets to The Teapot Prince (below) in June. It’s a contemporary reimagining of an 18th century French ballet that hasn’t been staged in 280 years, and promises a night full of magic, whimsy and very pretty dresses. Sold.

Happy birthday to Chesham Music Theatre Company, which is turning 100 this year and celebrating with a performance of My Fair Lady running from 11-15 May. The group was founded in 1922 under the name The Cestreham Singers and Players (catchy) and has been performing modern musicals since the 70s.

And finally…

Did you know that there was a National Burger Awards – or that they have an award for Mayo Mixologist? Well, now you do, because Burgervore in Bucks has won it! The grassroots burger biz scooped the prize for their mayo made with sweetcorn purée, morita chilli pulp, lime and manchego cheese. Congrats!

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