Market Report Sponsorsed by Oakleaf European Newsletter #19

Peter Evans

Peter Evans

Executive Chef 3rd December 2010

IN ASSOCIATION WITH

Fruit and Mushroom with Robin

The news this week seems to revolve around citrus with the arrival of Newhall oranges from Italy (see over), the start of Niçois lemons from the South of France and, for us at least, the start of the Salustiana juicing orange from Spain. Until now it has remained too sharp but we are confident that the sweetness is coming and there can be no questioning the volume of the yield. Clementines from Spain continue to impress be it with or without leaf and no matter which variety we choose. (The same cannot be said for Corsican fruit yet.) Melons are coming from all over with Moroccan fruit the best value and air-freighted from the Dominican Republic possibly the best to eat but certainly carrying a premium. Exotic fruit comes into its own about now and the first little luxury must be the lychee on the branch. Hard to beat from a presentation point of view, the fruit is also large and juicy and has a great flavour. Thai passion fruit is popular  because of its intense flavour and for those looking for a firmer alternative to Kaki, then Spanish Sharon could be for you.

Vegetable and Salad with Matthieu

Here they are my first Rainbow chard!!! I have been looking for them as if it were my quest for the holy grail. Always heard of but never seen until this week. Quantities are uncertain and delivery is limited to once a week. Pre orders are recommended. The first frosts, or first snow, have had their usual effect on prices. They are all moving in the same direction. Basic products like leeks, cauliflower, salads, tomatoes, broccoli and water cress are always linked to the weather conditions. We have to deal with it. By this time of the year Italy is always providing a bigger part of our supply. Italy has always produced some of the nicest vegetables. These purple aubergines are a good example . The only fault we can find with Italians is their pack size, which can be as bad as their products are beautiful. No point to put 10kg of lovely tomatoes in a box that can only contain 3kg"¦ We are caught between two season for tomatoes at the moment with the French season finishing and Spanish and Italian ranges not in full production yet. My favorite for flavor has to be Datterino from Sicily - a small sweet variety with a distinct shape.

Christmas Poultry with Jon

With the build up to Christmas finally getting into full swing we are seeing a lot more seasonal poultry appearing on the market, Capons being one of the latest to make their debut and also one of the most popular festive birds for the French. A Capon is a castrated rooster and as a result becomes much mellower, losing the aggression commonly associated with roosters. This makes them easier to handle, and also changes the way in which their meat matures. Raised for between 6 and 8 months, Capons have tenderer, fatty flesh because they are not as active as roosters. They also tend to taste less gamy because they do not develop sex hormones, which can impact on the flavour of the meat. In addition, their bodies undergo small physical changes, including the development of a smaller head, comb, and wattle. Roast capon is moist, flavourful, and very tender since the flesh starts out tender and the higher fat content acts as a natural basting agent. We have many different guises available from free range red label models to a top of the range "˜Chapon de Gasgon', only bred for Christmas and hand selected by the producer. Other festive birds appearing are Poularde or Pullet in English; these are none laying hen birds, bred solely for fattening, and have a lovely moist sweet flesh. Turkey is now available again with the top of the range Bresse birds coming individually wrapped in fancy blankets no less. Guinea fowl are also very popular over here at this time of year with oven ready and "effile " birds readily available and even some castrated birds bred exclusively for the festive season. We're on the web! www.oakleaf-european.co.uk
Peter Evans

Peter Evans

Executive Chef 3rd December 2010

Market Report Sponsorsed by Oakleaf European Newsletter #19

IN ASSOCIATION WITH