The festive season might not look the same for everyone. Every person and family has their own traditions and ways of spending this season, and some people might choose to ignore it all together. However, one thing that does unite people during this period, is the importance of food and its role in the festivities. This food can range from traditional dishes like roast turkey or ham, to seasonal trends like pumpkin and eggnog, and even includes food as a gift. Even people who don't take notice of the festive season will find themselves surrounded by seasonal festive foods between November and January every year. As the festive season reoccurs every year and is filled with customs and conventions, these might need a few tweaks and additions every now and then to keep them fresh and exciting. Here are a few products that can help elevate customary festive foods to gourmet.
Oysters are a festive season staple and are considered a delicacy in many parts of the World. Oysters are a traditional Christmas Eve and New Years ingredient for multiple reasons. In the Northern hemisphere, oysters tend to be at their best during the colder seasons, which coincides with the festive season. They are also popular due to religious reasons, with certain religions encouraging their followers to abstain from meat on certain days, such as Christmas Eve.
One way to change things up when it comes to serving oysters is to add flavour pearls to them. Christine Le Tennier's flavour pearls make use of molecular gastronomy to pack a punch of flavour. When creating their flavour pearls Christine Le Tennier uses gossamer fine gel and fill it with various flavoured concentrates. These flavour concentrates range from black truffle and balsamic vinegar to passion fruit. Some flavour pearls that would particularly suit oysters are Lemon Pepper or Yuzu.
Another gathering staple, especially when done the French way, is a cheese board. This can also be spruced up over the festive season in order to make it slightly different and to include a variety of textures and flavour profiles. The cheese board should have a mixture of soft and crunchy textures, as well as a balance of rich creaminess, salty, umami, sweet and sharp flavours.
A good cheese board should consist of a mixture of cheeses, such as:
a hard cheese
a soft cheese
a blue cheese
goat or sheep's cheese
The board should also have some meats to add that salty and umami element to it. These meats can include various charcuterie cuts, like saucisson and ham, or pâtés.
There should also be briny and sweet elements to help balance out the salty and creamy elements. This can be done by using fruit, such as figs or grapes, or even marmalades and jams. The briny element can be added by using gherkins or other pickled vegetables, like pickled baby onions. For an added element of surprise, add some flavour pearls, such as Fig, to give that extra burst of flavour and sweetness.
Truffles are synonymous with luxurious eating, and what better way to indulge during the festive season? Truffles and truffle flavour are available in a multitude of forms to add that touch of gourmet to any food or dish, as well as an extra layer of flavour.
Truffle salt is a great way to finish a dish with a sprinkle of Truffle flavour. Some great uses for Truffle salt include seasoning eggs, popcorn, in a risotto or even in polenta.
Another way to infuse Truffle flavour into a dish is by using Truffle oil. Truffle oil can be used to top off many dishes, including pasta bakes, mashed potatoes, pizza, in a vinaigrette. Truffle oil does have a strong flavour so a little goes a long way.
When it comes to salads in particular or other crunchy vegetable dishes, such as roast broccoli, a tasty and fun way to add Truffle flavour is by using Truffle and Balsamic Vinegar pearls. These pearls add an interesting texture contrast to crunchy vegetables. When bitten into, they pop and fill your mouth with concentrated Truffle and Balsamic Vinegar juice.
Lastly, Truffles can also be used in their whole state when cooking. As it happens, Truffle season coincides with the festive season. These Black Diamonds can be chopped, finely sliced or grated into many dishes.
No matter what the festive season looks like for you, there are many food products that can help make it memorable. Food is often at the centre of celebrations and get togethers. Check out our product list to get ideas on how to spruce up your festive cooking.