To celebrate September`s Speciality and Fine Food Fair, Bordeaux Quay`s Barney Haughton has created two dishes exclusively for BigHospitality and Restaurant magazine using ingredients from the event.
“Speciality ,” muses Barny Haughton over a cup of tea in his Bristol restaurant Bordeaux Quay. “I’m not sure it’s a good word anymore. Speciality sounds like it’s something you’ll use only once in a while. But that’s not what you’re going to see at the fair. The fair is much more at the centre of what food should be about.”
The fair in question is the Speciality and Fine Food Fair, which takes place from September 7 to 9 in London’s Olympia. Now in its eighth year, the event, as Haughton suggests, is anything but niche. That it attracts so many consumers and top chefs highlights how important quality produce has become to all of us, not to mention the growing demand for locally-sourced, sustainable food. Products once considered ‘speciality’ have now become mainstream. And, Haughton argues, the emphasis on the type of specialities being produced has changed.
“What dominates speciality foods now is the concept of provenance. Because of the new food agenda, people are very focused on seasonality, on local, on really good methods of production. And they’re making sure that the customer knows everything about it.”
Haughton’s restaurant Bordeaux Quay is at the forefront of eco-gastronomy. It’s an exercise in energy-efficiency, waste recycling and food education but a major tenet of its philosophy is to source locally and organically. So it’s no surprise that Haughton is a fan of the Speciality and Fine Food Fair.
To help promote the event this year, Haughton has chosen six ingredients available at the fair and created two dishes from them: Salad of Connage Cromal Cheese and Roast Beetroot, and Roast Longhorn Beef with Pink Onions, Elephant Garlic and Aligot.
“There were two factors in choosing the ingredients,” explains Haughton. “They’re the same factors I look at when choosing any ingredients. One is that they represent taste quality – that`s paramount. They’ve got to have great flavour and textures and so on, and should be authentic. But the other factor is that they come from sustainable farming practices and all that goes with that. And that means local, organic and a short food chain. But the first thing is taste.”
The ingredients are not local to Bordeaux Quay but Haughton contends he could find their equivalents from his local suppliers. “What this is showing is that wherever you are, there are ingredients that can work in this way. There’s always going to be beef, there’s always going to be onions, there’s always going to be garlic. All of it’s growing and if it isn’t, we shouldn’t be using it. We should be using what’s in season, what’s local, what’s organic.”
“I chose these particular ingredients,” says Haughton, “because they work well together, and these dishes are very typical of the kind of dishes that we put on here at Bordeaux Quay. They`re very simple too. I’ve always argued that the less you do with good ingredients the better.”
Pink onions from Key’s of Lincolnshire, Sleaford
“I really love those onions. They have a wonderful sweetness to them and good acidity. We’re roasting them whole to get the best of that effect.”
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Elephant garlic from the Garlic Farm. Newchurch, Isle of Wight
“This is intriguing. It’s quite mild. And it’s huge.”
Organic Longhorn beef from Dukeshill Ham, Telford
“It’s aged, it has really good marbling and has a fantastic smell even when raw.”
Connage Cromal cheese from Connage Highland Dairy, Ardesier, Inverness
“It’s really interesting to see the way British cheeses have developed. We are able to equal both in style, texture and character some of the great cheeses of France, Italy and Spain.”
Farrington’s Mellow Yellow Rapeseed Oil from Bottom Farm, Northamptonshire
“The oil is lovely. It’s a very undervalued oil, rapeseed. The colour is extraordinary and it makes for a really striking dish, especially when we put it with the cheese, the beetroot and watercress, which is another great English ingredient.”
Cornish Sea Salt from the Cornish Sea Salt Co., Lizard Peninsular, Cornwall
“Accredited by the Soil Association, this salt has a wonderful texture and flavours of the ocean.”
Salad of Connage Cromal Cheese and Roast Beetroot
Roast Longhorn Beef with Pink Onions, Elephant Garlic and Aligot
Facts about the fair
• The Speciality and Fine Food Fair, which is free to attend, takes place at London’s Olympia Exhibition Centre from September 7 to 9.
• Last year, the show attracted a record-breaking 6,440 visitors including buyers from independent stores and leading food halls, top chefs, restaurateurs, deli-owners, distributors and food writers.
• Now in its eighth year, the event has moved into the larger Grand Hall, and will feature 700 producers, of which 100 are first-time exhibitors.
• For the first time, this year’s event features the Speciality Chocolate Fair, a new section dedicated to manufacturers and chocolatiers, created to meet increasing visitor demand for sourcing artisan chocolate.
• For further information about the event and to register for free guest passes, please visit www.specialityandfinefoodfairs.co.uk