The weather has been improving and we have a couple of bank holidays to look forward to over the next couple of months. There are plenty of foods and treats for us to eat in May, it’s just knowing where to look! Cat Gazzoli, CEO of Slow Food UK states that we need to take advantage of our ‘forgotten foods’. The Slow Food’s Ark of Taste network has a catalogue of these forgotten flavours, currently at 700 products from 30 different counties. Gazzoli says, “The producers of these foods swim against the tide of intensive production methods to continue the culinary traditions that have been passed down through the generations,
“Every product has a fascinating story behind it.”
Here are Gazzoli’s ideas of what to eat in May:
Gazzoli says, “Wild garlic is in season throughout the spring,”
“As an Italian-American, garlic is really my passion and goes back to my Italian roots. Thin garlic green leaves make the perfect addition to a marinade for the lamb before roasting, If you can’t find garlic leaves at your local farmers’ markets, give it a whirl in your garden.”
One of wild garlic’s unusual nicknames is ‘Stinking Jenny’ but don’t let that put you off!
Fresh garden radishes
Gazzoli says, “I think that if it’s amazing enough and the radish is super tasty, which it should be, then you don’t need to do a lot with it,
“It’s a great ingredient you want to savour, so I normally do it with Halen Môn – a really excellent salt – and sometimes a bit of mashed up garlic. I would throw in just a little little bit.”
A healthy, simple snack!
In one of our previous blog posts we mentioned how Alresford in Hampshire holds a street party in honour of its peppery flavoured watercress. This is because Hampshire used to be the watercress capital of the world! Slow Food UK hopes to bring this back through the Ark of taste. Watercress shouldn’t be ignored as its rich in vitamins and nutrients including iron, calcium and vitamin C.
Gazzoli explains that Hampshire Watercress is a main example of why forgotten foods are significant. She says, “We have to keep it in the market place so that we’re not just down to one kind of watercress that comes from the US for example.”
Morecambe Bay Shrimps
Gazzoli says what makes Morecambe Bay shrimps special is that they are shrimped in the old traditional method. She says, “The story of Morecambe Bay shrimps makes people think that they are a delicacy worth saving.” Since the 18th century, shrimping has been a traditional occupation on the Lancashire coast. Even though you have to peel these shrimps yourself, Gazzoli says, “ They really punch above their weight. It’s a kind salty intense flavour so we’re saying people should go a long way for the Morecambe Bay shrimp rather than losing the taste for them in favour of flown across the world type of shrimp.”
Lincoln Longwool Lamb
Lamb is a good option in May because of the new season and Gazzoli recommends the Lincoln Longwool from Woodland Farm. She explains, “It’s a really good example of protecting edible biodiversity and what it means for livelihoods.”
Longwool Lamb is supported by local farmers, producers, restaurants, butchers and nearby commercial restaurant insurance providers. Gazzoli says, “When people visit they also learn about local producers and special products on the menu of restaurants nearby, it helps revive that part of Britain as a food spot to go to.”
During the 1750s , the Lincoln Longwool was used as foundation stock by Robert Bakewell, a pioneer of stock breeding. Gazzoli says that rare breeds are very important for maintaining local, small agriculture, “Consumers can help to protect our traditional British breeds by eating them and giving them a market. There’s fewer of these breeds so it’s not going to taste as uniform as regular lamb – it’s more of a unique taste.”
Will you be trying anything new in May?