LOADS of food stories this week, so let’s get the bad stuff over with first. Much-loved city centre pub The Squirrel has been sold and will be closing its doors for the last time tomorrow (17th). The landlord made the announcement on Facebook, saying he was “sad to see another great pub gone from the city centre on this very sad day”. A spokesman for Punch, the pub’s owners, later released a statement confirming the pub had been sold because it “no longer fitted within our pub estate and long-term plans”. He added that “we are unable to provide any more details in relation to the sale which is due to complete within the next few weeks”. At this stage, it’s not known whether the new owners intend to retain The Squirrel as a pub or use the site for other purposes such as (to pick an idea at random) student accommodation.

Staying with city centre pubs, but on a slightly happier note: following the closure of former pork pie purveyors Walter Smith’s, historic Spon Street hostelry The Old Windmill has found a new supplier of regulars’ favourite bar snack. And drinkers will be chuffed to hear that legendary Stilton pork pies WILL be back from tomorrow (17th) along with chilli pork pie and black pudding pork pie (“awesome” according to one Facebook afficionado) alternatives. The pub has also joined the Real Ale Finder app which enables you to find out in advance what’s on the bar, what’s in the cellar and what’s coming next, as well as ensuring you’re the first to know when a new beer goes on sale.

Gloria and Lil’s Parkside Cafe is bringing so much fun to Coventry! After opening in November, this brilliant new venture has already unveiled a programme of events and collaborations which will see a pop-up shop by Fargo’s Cow on The Ice in the cafe from January 20th-24th, monthly Friday Film Nights (with themed food) starting on January 24th and monthly Sunday roasts (with vinyl DJ) starting on January 26th. Live music events are also in the pipeline.

Free weekly cookery classes for 18-24 year olds from The Hank Marvins (‘Hank Marvin’/’I’m starvin” in case you were wondering) are now up and running at Holbrooks Community Care Association. Next course starts on February 26th. Email hcca@btinternet.com for more info.

More ideas for #Tryanuary (your opportunity to try new beers in January): on the bar this week at Byatt’s Brewery will be new beer Hop It, described as a 3.6% abv Session Pale Ale, golden in colour with a mild malt sweetness and a light, crisp hoppy finish.

And because we can’t have #Tryanuary without #Veganuary, Coventry Cathedral’s Rising Cafe has introduced a new vegan special for the month – say hello to ‘Vegan BBQ pulled jackfruit burger with homemade coleslaw accompanied by sweet potato fries and salad garnish’.

Coventry Market plastic-free stall COGS is now stocking delightful chocolate buttons from Warwickshire’s Henley Chocolates (price £1.20 per 100g, with donation from each sale going to a local charity), plus cling-film-alternative beeswax wraps made in Canley. And don’t forget COGS also does gift vouchers – available all year round, not just for Christmas.

New chef: Queens Road Mediterranean Kitchen has appointed a new head chef. He’s called Amit, and we’re sure he’ll be putting his own stamp on the restaurant very soon.

Ethical cookie heroes Wicked will be at their Coventry Railway Station base on Tuesdays and Fridays ONLY during January and February, resuming to five days a week in March – but they will be bringing their fabulous cookies to other events during the winter months, so check their Facebook page for details. And if you’re still trying to lose weight after your Christmas blow-out – good news! Low and no-sugar cookies are coming very soon.

An event where you can catch Wicked next week is Coventry University monthly Food Market on Wednesday January 22nd; and although the Food News is not an events listing, I do want to give a shout-out to this because awareness of it doesn’t seem to be high, and I understand it may be discontinued if support from the community is not forthcoming. It’s held outside Cov Uni’s Hub building (easiest access is from Earl Street) and is open to everyone (i.e. not just students). You’ll find an array of locally-produced foods as well as street food stalls with great lunch options.

All this food news whetted your appetite for more? Tune in to BBC Coventry and Warwickshire’s Upbeat show at 8pm on Wednesday February 5th. Coventry cook extraordinaire Sophie Hyam will be chatting all things food with host Sandra Godly, including Valentine’s Day options in Coventry plus food trends for 2020.