How to Find the Best Seasonal Ingredients
These long, warm days remind us that there is a plethora of vibrant, in-season produce available to us at this time of year that we can use in our bars.
Traditionally, Australia plays host to many tourists and locals enjoying the long days, warm temperatures, and incredible produce, whilst playing host to a large variety of festivals, events, and summer celebrations.
These long, warm days remind us that there is a plethora of vibrant, in-season produce available to us at this time of year that we can use in our bars and restaurants when we feel like getting creative with our drink serves.
What are three of the most important factors that we should be talking about when we consider using seasonal produce?
Let's take a look...
1. More Environmentally Friendly
By purchasing local foods and mixing with them seasonally, you are helping to protect our planet.
2. Better Value Ingredients
This is a simple, yet complex, matter of supply and demand. When we use in-season produce, we buy products at their peak supply.
When local farmers harvest seasonal produce, food distribution costs go down, along with the price you pay at the store. Out-of-season is normally sourced from further afield
Meaning increased transport and storage costs which will always push the price up.
It shouldn’t be a surprise that in-season produce is at the peak of its freshness. This means it will taste better and be sweeter and perfectly ripe, making it much more enjoyable when used in cocktails.
There is nothing better than having a zesty sweet orange in winter or that crispy sweet pineapple in summer when the flavours are at the peak of their powers.
So, after all that information, how can we stay informed about what fruits, herbs, and spices are in-season and readily available to us in our venues?
Below we discuss the options available.
Whoever you place your fruit orders with, speak to them! They deal directly with the local markets and sometimes directly with the farmer, so these people are going to be super knowledgeable. They also spend a lot of their time at the markets looking for the most cost-effective produce. Pick their brains.
If you work in a venue with a chef, take the time to chat with them each week and see if they can add any insight into what is coming in and out of season. The chefs will already be looking for cost-effective and tasteful options just as much as you are. This will also increase your communications with your kitchen staff which often leads to better working relationships and comradery.
Local Fruit & Veg Store
If you live near or shop at a local greengrocer, you will get a better conversation about seasonal produce than if you approach a staff member at a massive chain supermarket. Support the local fruit, veg suppliers, and ask them what they see on the way out and on the way in.
Every major capital city has a giant fruit market or markets where a lot of providoors will buy their produce directly. These markets often have websites that you can go onto that will be able to guide you on your journey to find what’s best in each season.
SPROUTING GORDON'S GIN FIZZ
Although a divisive inclusion in festive meals, brussels sprouts can be a fantastic botanical addition to the crisp flavour of a G&T. Adding a caramelised sprout to a flute of gin and cranberry syrup topped with prosecco can elevate a classic and the Sprouting Gordon’s Gin Fizz is an exciting use of this often discarded ingredient.