What’s in Season
As the nights draw in and sunny days become a distant memory, customers are craving hearty, wholesome food.
Fortunately, the vast array of autumnal crops gives us plenty of seasonal delights that match the change in appetites. From potatoes to pumpkins and oysters to game, autumn is awash with so much local and European produce that you will be spoilt for choice. Why not ask your supplier for the best and have fun this season with your menu. After all, there are plenty of ingredients to try!
It’s not just about the pumpkin! Hearty root vegetables are in abundance and are perfect for roasting, especially squash – gem and acorn are some favourites. Red meat radish, crapaudine and white beetroots are back, along with chervil and parsley roots, braised red cabbage, and mushrooms – always a winner at this time of year.
Quince is something of a forgotten fruit. From the same family as apples and pears, it is bitter raw, but thanks to its strong perfume it can be a delicious and distinctive addition to both sweet and savoury dishes. Stoned fruit is at its best at the moment, with varieties of plums including excalibur, jubileum, marjorie’s seedling, opal, and everybody’s favourite, Victoria. If there’s a time to have plums on the menu it’s now – but make sure you get them when they’re ripe, and remember not to store them in the fridge.
While certain varieties of venison are available all year round, it’s during open season when game comes into its own, with copious amounts of grouse, partridge and pheasant on offer. These strong-flavoured meats pair well with the seasonal veg and fruits.
Fresh beans are abundant with some lovely French varieties available. The French Tarbais bean, available fresh or semi-dried, has extremely thin skin so they are light, easy to cook and have an unbeatable, delicate flavour.
If you fancy a forage, local walnut trees should be laden now. Full of moisture and with a distinct taste, this ‘super-food’ has a host of health-boosting properties, including omega-3 fatty acids. Walnuts have already been shown to help protect against breast cancer and heart disease.