Fruit & Mushroom
We are moving closer to the citrus season with Spanish lemons almost ready as these leafy ones show the colour is still a little green! Clementines, however, are superb already and the early variety ClemenRubi is proving a real winner. Today saw the first arrival of grapefruit from Florida. A pale pink at present but with very little acidity. It might also be a good time to incorporate citrus into other areas of the menu with the finger limes or lime caviar. Inside the hard skin are small, pale green citrus pearls that burst in the mouth when crunched.
Spanish mangoes are in full season and we are offering three different varieties – Kent, Manzanillo and Osteen. All are sweet and full of flavour, with little fibre; the first two in particular.
The offering of apples and pears continue to grow each week. Particularly good this week is a Golden Delicious from a grower near Nantes which is both colourful and great to eat being sweet and crunchy.
Vegetables & Salad
At this time of year we see more and more product coming up from Italy because of the better climatic conditions. Bright green flat parsley, sold in 5 kilo bulk boxes, is a great example of new season product replacing the older French crop.
This is also very true of our tomato offering that sees the list shrinking in varieties and being replaced with Italian fruit. Datterino is a great example as it is an unusually shaped vine tomato, just a little larger than a cherry vine and packed with the flavour of sun ripened Sicilian fruit. It is one we try to offer throughout the winter.
Another Italian favourite is the round purple aubergine. Larger and spherical not elongated like the black ones, it has a slightly different flavour too.
It is a squash festival at the moment and there are plenty of different varieties to choose from. It is hard to say which is the best as they all have different flavours and uses but we particularly appreciate the Butternut, the Onion squash, the Muscade pumpkins and obviously the Jack Be Little.
Datterino tomatoes are a lovely sweet variety that has a date shape.
Crapaudine is the oldest variety of beetroot that lost favour because of its flaky, hairy skin. Now enjoying a resurgence because of the flavour
Cherry apples are tiny apples complete with the stalk. The flavour is, however, pretty tart.
One of the many varieties we are offering from Spain at the moment – these are Kent. Lovely sweet flavour with no fibre.
A lovely selection of radish available now. In the left picture we have the green meat and in the right one we have the red meat, sometimes known as watermelon radish and the Rose de Chine. The heat is in the Rose while the other two are ‘sweeter’ and less peppery.
Sitia Olive oil was brought to our attention by a chef a few weeks ago and we were so impressed with how good it was we have now added it to our list. We believe that the Cooperatives’ farmer-members have a passion to produce the world’s best Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Although they are not yet as famous as some of the Italian brands, once discovered, it won’t disappoint.
The Union was established in 1933 and today totals 43 cooperatives and over 8,700 farmer-members. This represents almost all of the farming families in the province of Sitia, on the island of Crete.
This oil is distinguishable by its golden-green colour, its intricate fresh aromas of unripe fruit and green herbs, the balance between sweet and bitter, the magical taste on the tongue and the amazing duration of its after-taste
Both in 1998, in the competition organized by the Spanish National Council of Olive Oil as well as in the 5th SOL Exhibition in Italy, in 1999, this exceptional extra virgin olive oil, SITIA 0.3 was awarded the 1st prize, confirming and rewarding in this way the endeavours of the Union of Agricultural Cooperatives of Sitia.