FRESH FACT: The Sydney Festival is a key event on the Sydney summer calendar bringing a constant stream of interstate travellers and diverse cultural events to Sydney for three weeks every January. Last year the festival contributed $56.8 million to the NSW economy and with an estimated 650,000 expected to attend in 2013 and additional events being hosted beyond the city centre, it is an exciting time for foodservice and hospitality businesses.
It may be hard to believe but Spring is on the wind up for another year, meaning the long days (and even longer nights) of summer are just around the corner. With the warmer temperatures encouraging more and more patrons to eat out, Summer is undoubtedly an important season for the food service/hospitality industries. With resources stretched to capacity, we thought we would profile the summer produce lines sure to bring both vibrant colour and fresh flavours to your menu with minimal fuss.
CURRANTS (red /black):
My English sensibilities (even after 20 odd years) have yet to come to terms with celebrating Christmas in summer and while pulling together a traditional Christmas turkey on a 40 degree day is akin to torture for many of us, we can at least be grateful that fresh red currants are available as a show stopping decoration or tasty addition to an Aussie Christmas menu.
Seasonality: difficult to predict availability for this product, traditionally availablefrom mid-late Dec to mid Jan
Flavour: red currants are more sour than their black counterparts, but still boast the distinctively sweet, tart currant flavour that makes them ideal for both sweet and savoury dishes
Inspiration: Roast Pork with crackling and apples in red currant jelly – Steffan Jensen via SBS Food
While some berry varieties have already started, the best is yet to come with the main berry season (and its vast range of flavours/colours and textures) starting in December.
Seasonality: uncommonly cool weather has slowed the growing process of many fruits, so there is a chance that some berry varieties may appear on the markets late or inconsistently this year.
Early season (Dec onwards): Blackberries, Blueberries (already in good form), Boysenberries, Loganberry, Raspberries (red), Gold raspberries (Dec only), Strawberries (VIC), Youngberries (Dec only)
Inspiration: Elderflower jelly with summer berries and strawberry sorbet – Martin Wishart via Great British Chefs
NATIVE FINGERLIMES (fresh):
It’s fantastic to see native produce gaining traction in the industry and with stunning fruits such as fingerlimes, it isn’t hard to see why they are in demand.
Seasonality: weshould see the first of the fresh fingerlimes around Xmas/early January. Season lasts until May/June, peaking Mar – May
Flavour: same tangy, citrus flavour as common limes however the flesh is made up of small, translucent pearls which lend a unique texture and stunning aesthetic
Inspiration: Finger Lime Tart with Coconut Cream – Justine Schofield via LIfestyleFood
Figs are a highlight of the Summer, Autumn season for many of our chefs and with their rich colour, flavour and unique texture we can only lament that the season doesn’t last longer.
For more detailed information on fig varieties, please refer to our previous bulletin ‘Figs: The hidden treasure’– or click here
Seasonality: the main commercial variety – Black Genoa- is available late Dec – May
Flavour: distinctive rich, sweet flavour
Inspiration: Quail with cracked wheat, figs and aged balsamic vinegar – Gourmet Traveller
When it comes to visual appeal, you really can’t go past the brightly coloured skin, white flesh and little black seeds of a dragonfruit. While subtle in flavour, their refreshing, crisp character makes them ideal for summer.
Seasonality: Oct – Apr (red with white flesh), red fleshed fruit start December/Xmas
Flavour: crisp, refreshing, sweet flavour- the flavour of red dragonfruit is often said to have a hint of raspberry
Inspiration: Dragon Fruit Caipirinha – Quantum Cocktails
These exotic fruits are hard to go past in summer- not only do they boast symbolism and tradition (e.g. Chinese New Year) but also refreshing, unique and wonderfully exotic flavours
For more information on these varieties, please refer to our previous bulletin ‘Escape to the Tropics’- or click here