Seasonal Update 23/05/11

Seasonal Update 23/05/11
Wild Harvest UK

Wild Harvest UK

Standard Supplier 25th May 2011

Seasonal Update 23/05/11

Hello Chef,  
I hope your weekend was well and productive; I went for a long walk along the Thames (now that the Wild Garlic season is over in England, so my visits to Hampstead Heath will be limited), but was delighted by a find of elderflowers and an enjoyable boat ride back home, before listening to Hugh Laurie’s new album, which is just fantastic, especially coming from Blackadder’s HRH The Prince Regent.  
Enough of my weekend, let’s turn our attention to the weather, and therefore our produce.  There has been much scaremongering this week from weather forecasters regarding our warm, dry spring and the seasonality of produce; I have taken to reading the Cloudspotter’s Guide to avoid the pitfalls of Michael Fish.  Wild Harvest promises to buy simply the best of what is available to eat on a week by week basis.  Reading these updates and following us on twitter will keep you up to date with the latest news.  Mondays can be hard work, so here is an extra special Weekly Update to bide your time:
We are coming towards the end of our Cacao Barry promotion, please take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to receive 20% discount across the full range by Tuesday, May 31. Don’t waste a fantastic opportunity; if your pastry chef needs support, please get in touch as I have a full back catalog of tasting notes and recipes and welcome any questions or dialogue.  There is no nicer topic of conversation than chocolate.
In case you hadn’t heard, we have been working with our forager, based in Norfolk, for over 10 years now.  Items such as Sea Aster and Sea Purslane are picked from the shoreline; their tender leaves may be served raw, blanched or wilted.  They are a great garnish for fish, with natural salinity.  Sea Aster leaves are more succulent than Sea Purslane, but with a similar flavour profile. Sea Beet is also available, which is the ocean’s wild answer to landlubbing spinach.  Nettles can also be found in London, as can dogs, pollution and drunks, but our foraged nettles can be used in traditional Italian pastas and soups; supply can dry up a little in the peak summer and frozen winter months, but this is an accessible product.   Elderflowers, which will evolve into elderberries nearer to the end of summer, have just started and can be made into cordials, which work great in sorbet, or the delicate, elegant flowers can be deep fried in a light, tempura batter.   This year we have also picked up a new supplier from Scotland, which will increase our options for Scottish wild mushrooms (roll on Scottish girolles!) and Sweet Cicely has been a welcome addition to this range, which will be around till late summer.  The leaves make an elegant garnish and the aniseed profile works well with fish dishes or pares well when cooked with rhubarb.  The Wild Garlic season may have come to a close in the positively Mediterranean climate of England, however we can still back up supply from the cooler climates of Scotland.  It is a well known and well loved product, it makes a mean pesto, or for braver, typically single, souls an opulent soup.
Morels have been coming in fast and furious from Turkey.  Cheaper varieties are around, but these beauties have very little moisture loss, a great shape and honeycomb pattern, which will hold a cream sauce well, and have been clean and pest free with a light, smoky flavour.  These are just lovely stuffed with chicken mousse.  We are expecting the season to last until the end of June, weather dependent, but may be able to extend our availability with back up from America and/or Mexico.  To have this specialty as a year round product on your menu, we have dried and frozen morels of differing size.  Pied Bleu is a cultivated hybrid of the exotic genus, field blewitt.  We have a long standing relationship with a French supplier who grows these colourful Adonis’ of the mushroom world in caves.  Mousserons (aka Fairy Ring) will be with us from Bulgaria until the real peak of summer, a great alternative to the lumbering button mushroom in omelets.  We may anticipate a late second flush in autumn, due to Bulgaria’s diversified micro-climate.  St George mushroom, from Bulgaria, will be coming to a close in the next fortnight, but a good mealy flavour and another choice alternative to the simple button mushroom.  Chicken of the wood mushrooms have been a great find by our Scottish forager, a mushroom with a close profile to chicken and a meaty bite.  Don’t put this as a staple on menu, as it is rare, but it will pop up and we recommend making the most of it when it does.  Black Summer Truffles are the best we have seen of this season, and have had a recent price drop, coming from our trusted Italian supplier, and will be around to autumn, when the more sophisticated autumn and winter truffles will be coming in, before moving on to the prestigious white truffle.Don’t forget we also have the following seasonal produce in our warehouse:
o        Tomberries from Holland; smaller than the size of a five pence piece, they are a small part in a tomato offering
o        Italian Borlotti Beans, soon to be joined by French Coco Blanc pulses
o        Great assortment of leaves including Metisse and Ficoide from France
o        Israeli Samphire and the last trickle of Monks Beard from Italy
o        Italian Round Aubergines
o        Indian Alfonso Mangoes; almost spicy in flavour, aromatic with a colourful yellow flesh
o        French Cherries getting better by the day
o        Italian Apricots
o        Charentais Melon from Provence; orange fleshed and fragrant
o        Unwaxed Italian leafy lemons
o        Flat Peaches & Blood Nectarines to follow in the next month
Don’t forget Monday May 31 is a bank holiday and the Wild Harvest offices will be closed. 
So that wraps it up nicely for this week chef; as always please feel free to ask questions or contact your account manager directly.
 Best wishes, Louise

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