tea in cupWine, dark chocolate and tea improve thinking and memory skills in men and women aged over 70. A study conducted by researchers from the universities of Oxford and Oslo found that a combination of wine, dark chocolate, and tea, consumed in moderate amounts, enhanced cognitive performance in the elderly. All three food stuffs contain relatively high levels of flavonoids.

Flavonoids are found in many food and drinks but there are particularly high levels in grapes; apples; green and black tea, cocoa and soy beans.

heart shaped wine glassClassed as antioxidants, flavonoids have many health benefits including reducing blood cholesterol levels and easing menopausal symptoms. They can also enhance the memory’s ability to remember and think clearly.

The researchers analysed data from over 2,000 Norwegian men and women aged between 70 and 74 and found that those who consumed wine, chocolate or tea did significantly better in memory tests.

To see an effect you’ll need a daily intake of at least two squares of chocolate, two cups of tea and half a glass of wine (preferably red). What should be done with the rest of the half-consumed chocolate bar, pot of tea and bottle of wine the researchers didn’t say.

PG Wine Reviews

Vinorium wineDream Weaver Australian Chardonnay 2015

£4.99 Co-op (down from £6.65 until June 21)

Apple and apricot flavours with a hint of banana. Fresh and creamy

Dream Weaver Australian Shiraz 2015

£4.99 Co-op (down from £6.65 until June 21)

Fruity with a liquorice edge. Had better Shiraz though for the price.

Tesco Finest Chianti Riserva 2013

£6 Tesco

Light flavours of redcurrant and black cherry that require to be drunk with food.

Namaqua South African Reserve Selection Chenin Blanc Chardonnay 2015

£6.75 Co-op

Sweet-sour flavour of fresh lemon tart. Very nice.

Finca Las Moras Argentinean Pinot Grigio 2015

£6.99 Co-op

Very fruity and very refreshing – warm weather flavours that don't remove the teeth enamel.

This article also appeared as Paula's Wines of the Week on

Bramah teapotGrowing a grapevine on the allotment or in a conservatory is not that unusual. I even know of a fully functioning coffee tree growing inside a house (each year the kitchen-bound tree produces about half a pound of coffee beans), but I know of no-one else with tea bushes growing in pots on their bathroom windowsill. They're still rather small but when they're fully grown (reaching about three feet high in larger pots) the Camellia sinensis plants should provide me with enough tea leaves to make about 250 cups of tea.

tape measureInevitably some of us will have put on weight over Christmas and, if like me, you not only cooked the food but ate it too then the waist-band button is probably straining a bit. One way of dealing with this post-Christmas excess is to be sensible and eat slightly less and exercise slightly more.

whiskey labelNine whiskies, both Scottish and British, are sampled this week as I get started baking the Christmas fruity puds and cakes. Recipes for booze-soaked Christmas fruit cake always say you should let the cake 'mature' for at least a week before you ice it. But the cake will still taste wonderful if you start munching when it’s only been out of the oven for an hour and just (about) cooled down.