Market Report Sponsored by Oakleaf European Newsletter # 21

The Staff Canteen


An exciting new take on Live from Rungis

Products to look out for   

Lychee, mesclun Bistro, Italian and Bergamote lemon, flat bean, stone fruit, leafy celery, citrus various, ratte potato, broccoli and more edible flowers.

Fruit and Mushroom

A happy New Year to you all! This year starts with the same baby vegetable problems with which we left the last year so please be patient with us and mother nature! We are, however, getting a much better selection of edible flowers now from France and Israel. Wild mushrooms are not too exciting at present but we are offering some very good trompette from Portugal which we think has the edge on USA offerings in terms of perfume. Stone fruit is interesting with a full range available. Cherries are changing origin from Chile to New Zealand and the Australians are even sending flat peach. Citrus is about clementines which continue to be fantastic to eat, lovely sweet grapefruit from Florida, very good Navel oranges in various sizes, Seville oranges that are too sour to eat but are great for sauces and of course marmalade, and so great tasting lemons from the Amalfi region of Italy. And if you are still stuck after all that, air freight bottle and cayenne pineapple are stunning!

Vegetable and Salad

We are still in winter even if the weather has been a bit warmer and squash are still popular all around the market. We particularly loved these organic onion squash in a small caliber. Check out the huge butternut which are organic too!!! Beans are exiting at the moment with some massive arrivals of flat beans which are good. Also starting to arrive are some white shelling beans and Borlotti from Morocco. Also seen today are some broad beans from Tunisia which are good too considering the time of the year. Spanish peas in pod are quite impressive as well.  That's all for good news in beans as extra fine and bobi beans from Morocco will still be difficult to source  for  at least another couple of weeks. Root vegetable are still going well especially compared with the Artichoke side which looks a bit poor at the moment - not much on offer and high prices. We are still waiting for the first Salambo, large round purple artichokes, which should arrive soon. Spanish vine tomatoes are good; they are improving their quality year on year. All the shallots are going up in price. White garlic and purple garlic are now coming from Argentina.

Ratte Potatoes

We have picked one variety from our potato price list which  has got a little something that makes it different to the others. The Ratte potato. First, it's a steaming potatoe which means the flesh will keep firm during cooking. It is also very pretty with its croissant shape and subtle taste of chestnut. We also like the fact that the potatoes are washed and then pack in a wooden box  with peat. The majority of the production is sold in a baby calibre which is ideal for sauté. But another favourite is the medium sized one which are more difficult to source and can be use for sauté and boiling. It's particularly this calibre that Joel Robuchon is using for his famous Puree de Pomme de terre. The Ratte potato is very popular in France where they have been grown for 40 years. The main region of production is the Normandy coast, Picardie and the Loire Valley. The most famous provenance is still "Le Touquet" in Pas-de-Calais where the potatoes are cultivated in a sandy soil. Now Touquet has become a popular brand "La Ratte du Touquet" can confuse customers. We are supplying true Ratte this year from every region in different packaging; 1kg nets, 5kg and 10kg wooden boxes and we always make the distinction between each area.

And introducing...

In 1935, Jean and Jacqueline Porterie, fruit growers in Sainte Christie in the Gers, started to make homemade jams to sell off the fruits of their harvest. In 1945, they started making pears in syrup. One year later, in 1946, they had the brainwave of preserving whole white peaches to utilize the surplus from their orchard. Thanks to the variety of fruit still used in the orchards, and to the care given to its processing, they have obtained an exceptional taste. Thus was born Vergers de Gasgogne preserves. Today, the peach harvest is the highlight of the year. The factory opening time still echoes round the village thanks to the whistle stolen from a German train during the Liberation by the factory's first foreman. The emphasis is on the ripeness of the fruit and because of this most is sorted and peeled by hand (60 tones of peach each year!) All the fruit is chemical free and preserved in a light syrup. Some of the most delicate fruit has a little complimentary alcohol to bring out the flavour. We will be offering a range of six varieties of fruit, packed in 2.2kilo tins. If early indications from samples are anything to go by, we think you will be very enthusiastic about these products.

Featured Fruit Products

I think that apples can be over looked at times so here is a section singing their praises! Starting on the left we have Golden Delicious. Don't be put off by the English idea that it is a soft cotton wool waste of time. They are golden and sweet with a light freckle and colour through to a Rosée. By contrast, Granny Smith is a crisp, sharp fruit and we can source deep green examples for a super contrast in colour. Rubinette is a colourful apple with its red blush. It is also a sweet fruit with a traditional apple flavour. The last two are similar. The top variety is Reinette Clochard, or just Clochard, and the lower one is Chantecler. The flavour has a very slight acidity to it and both are very nice to eat, but their strength is in the cooking, particularly Clochard that remains slightly firmer making it ideal for tartes.

Featured Vegetable Products

Here they are the broad beans from Tunisia talked about previously, they look good, taste good and the beans are nice and small. Golden onions Grano from Spain have now started This is our new Mesclun called Bistro. Coming from the same grower as the Japonais and the Nicois, this mesclun will be perfect to use as a side salad. It includes fine frizee, radiccio, and red chard. Seen this morning. The green version of the chestnut squash. Small size with a green skin and yellow flesh. They look lovely.

 Special points of interest:

  • Rabbit - plentiful supply
  • Parma ham - new and interesting lower price!
  • Lambs Liver - added to the meat list
  • Sweetbreads - both have become much better value this week
  • Guinea Fowl - the bird of the month!
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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th January 2011

Market Report Sponsored by Oakleaf European Newsletter # 21