For more about Secretts produce click here.
Read the text version of our Early March market report, including the full list of produce from The Milan Market, below.
The first asparagus from Provence, both green and white, is coming into Rungis, Absolutely gorgeous but, as you would expect, rather expensive so we’re only bringing it across to order at the moment. Hopefully if the weather is kind we could see the first of the Wye Valley asparagus by the middle of the month and not long after that the first of their white asparagus, the UK’s first ever commercial crop.
Also coming up from Wye Valley is their lovely forced rhubarb which, like their asparagus, should start round about the middle of the month just as the Yorkshire crop comes to an end.
The first of this year’s new season or wet garlic is on its way from Egypt, a glorious ingredient and a sure sign that spring is on its way.
Mr Secretts wonderful salad leaves, the stuff of legend in London restaurant circles, are now available to kitchens across the south west exclusively from us at The French Garden. We also have three varieties of their lovely baby beetroots; regular, candy and Cheltenham. There's more about Secretts here.
Since last November the weather in Spain has been unremittingly awful, the coldest winter on record. A lot of Spanish produce has suffered, particularly aubergines which are unseasonably dear. In fact regular aubergines from Spain are about the same price as viola or pale aubergines from Sicily so if you’re using aubergines at the moment do think Italian. Keep an eye on pepper prices too, the Spanish weather hasn’t done them any favours either.
Absolutely stunning hispi or sweetheart cabbage from Portugal, another sure sign that’s spring is on its way. British cavolo nero is at and end, there’s still dribs and drabs coming in from the end of the Italian crop but nothing consistent. Purple sprouting broccoli’s had a dreadful season, it’s simply been too cold and wet for it. Supplies are sporadic at best, quality hugely variable and prices unseasonably high, we strongly recommend you leave it alone.
We have a wonderful range of Italian produce coming over from our pals in Milan. We are particularly keen on these glorious Camone tomatoes. The Camone is a true winter tomato which is at its best right now. As you can see it has a very distinctive appearance, and a firm, almost crisp flesh that has a remarkable depth of flavour with a piquant, slightly salty edge. A superb salad tomato in February, now there’s a thing.
Also coming in from Milan we have viola aubergines, kohlrabi, mixed salad heads, monks beard, small violet artichokes, peas and broad beans, beef heart tomatoes, cima di rape, female fennel, radicchio, flat parsley and Italian spinach.
There are still plenty of Sicilian blood oranges that should be good till at least the end of the month and some wonderful Sicilian leafy lemons. Both fruits are unsprayed and unwaxed, absolutely top notch citrus.
Our lovely Italian produce simply flies out so please always check availability before committing to menu.
We have a range of lovely heritage variety potatoes from top spud growers Gourmet Potatoes in Kent. As well as old favourites like Ratte and Pink Fir we have the legendary chipper Yukon Gold and a whole lot of unusually coloured spuds. There’s more about the range over here.
Always a difficult time of the year for pastry so how about some of our superb Palmer variety mangoes from Brazil, absolutely stunning flavour and virtually fibre free. A real boon when really good fruit’s a bit thin on the ground.
Talking of good fruit we’ve spotted some early Gariguette strawberries in Rungis. A truly glorious berry with a remarkable flavour that has something of the wild strawberry about it. Certainly not cheap, and only available to order, but arguably the best strawberry we’ve ever tasted.