French chef JEAN-CHRISTOPHE NOVELLI compares Continental food and wine with British cuisine

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Whether or not it is a glass of crisp Chablis, a slice of spicy chorizo or a sliver of creamy brie, there are numerous European meals which have change into a part of the British culinary panorama.

In order the UK strikes away from the EU, there’s by no means been a greater time to take a look at the European favourites that many is likely to be stunned to find are made right here, too.

And who higher to wave the flag for British meals than Michelin-starred French chef Jean-Christophe Novelli, who has lived right here for 40 years. He insists the UK now produces high-quality variations of many European delicacies.

‘After I first got here right here making an attempt to make a reputation for myself, I used to import 70 per cent of my produce. I had vans coming from Paris twice per week,’ he says. ‘Now I most likely solely want to herald Italian olive oil, some smoked Spanish paprika and a few vanilla. That is it. It is extraordinary!’

Jean-Christophe Novelli's European blind food taste test. Pictured trying the wine

Jean-Christophe Novelli’s European blind meals style take a look at. Pictured making an attempt the wine

‘There isn’t a restrict to what you are able to do right here.’

So Libby Galvin challenged Jean-Christophe to pit the European classics in opposition to the perfect of Britain’s deli choices in a blind style take a look at. However might he recognise which was which — and choose whether or not the UK can beat the European favourites at their very own sport?

GREAT GRAPES OR VIN ORDINAIRE?

Chablis La Sereine (£20, ralphswinecellar.com)

Chablis La Sereine (£20, ralphswinecellar.com)

Chablis La Sereine (£20, ralphswinecellar.com) versus Henners Native Grace Chardonnay (£15.95), East Sussex

Chablis — named for the area of France the place it is made — is a wine constituted of the chardonnay grape, however not like most chardonnays isn’t often oaked and is grown in a barely cooler local weather. The British chardonnay right here is made with chardonnay grapes grown within the even cooler climes of East Sussex.

jean-christophe’s blind-tasting verdict on French Chablis: ‘That may be ironic, a Frenchman who can not recognise a Chablis, they may shoot me!’ he jokes. ‘However that is undoubtedly a Chablis. Straightaway, this one is extra fruity, extra of the chardonnay grapes, you may odor it clearly. That is what a Chablis is meant to be.’ 8.5/10

English Chardonnay: ‘Ah, this isn’t the identical. This one is somewhat sharp, the opposite one may be very fruity. In France due to the climate, the sunshine, the grapes have somewhat extra time to sweeten. You may see it clearly within the richer colors, too. However nicely performed, to provide a chardonnay on this cooler local weather is spectacular.’ 7/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: France

Charcuterie is the French word for cold cuts of meat. Classics include Parma ham, salami and coppa

Charcuterie is the French phrase for chilly cuts of meat. Classics embrace Parma ham, salami and coppa

MEAT THAT IS A CUT ABOVE

Italian charcuterie (from £1.95 to £4.25/100g, buongiornoitalia.co.uk) together with Parma ham, Stoffolotto salami and ventricina vs a number of British charcuterie, together with spiced coppa, salami and ham (from £5.50/75g, tempusfoods.com)

Charcuterie is the French phrase for chilly cuts of meat. Classics embrace Parma ham, salami and coppa.

Italian charcuterie: ‘All these meat began across the Mediterranean, and it is all in regards to the spice, the pimento, the chilli. There’s a contact of the solar in these. You’ve got obtained Parma ham sliced so thinly it is clear, however a few of the meat is sort of greasy.’ 6/10

British charcuterie: ‘When it comes to flavours, that is superior, though fairly completely different with chestnut, cloves and pepper. I feel that is the British plate, and it smells improbable. The one downside is the thickness. If I used to be serving it I might minimize it thinner.

CHOOSY CHORIZO 

 Senorio Iberico Bellota Chorizo, Brindisa (£7.19/100g, farmdrop.com) vs Dorset Chorizo Picante by The Actual Treatment Firm (£5.95/ 155g, farmdrop.com)

Spanish chorizo is a tough, cured pork and pork fats sausage with spices, specifically paprika, which provides it a signature crimson color. Among the greatest Spanish chorizo is constituted of Iberico ham, constituted of black pigs fed a eating regimen of acorns.

Spanish chorizo: ‘This one has extra colouring, the odor is impeccable. That’s any person making an attempt to do higher than one thing that already exists — so I feel that is British, and it’s superior to the opposite. The spicy kick is correct there, bang!’ 9/10

English chorizo: ‘The paprika there’s improbable. Not an excessive amount of fats, it has been floor very nicely. It is salty, it is candy, it is performed to a uniform recipe, it is excellent, very basic — it is Spanish.’ 8.5/10

Was he appropriate? No

(‘Are you critical? I am shocked,’ he says.)

Winner: Spain — simply

‘In my restaurant in Belfast we now have charcuterie from Corndale Farm simply an hour away and, the primary time I arrived, my chef stated to me: ‘What do you assume?’ I stated: ‘You should have spent some huge cash to get it over from Spain.’ He stated: ‘No, it is Irish!’ It was the largest lesson.’ 9.5/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Britain

PASTA THAT’S THE PEAK OF PERFECTION

Italian Rana tortelloni (£2.50, most supermarkets) vs English La Tua spinach and ricotta tortelloni (£5.50, latuapasta.com)

Tortelloni is a medium-sized pasta full of cheese akin to ricotta — one shouldn’t be too thick.

Italian pasta: ‘That is good, it is constant, the pasta isn’t chewy. I truly really feel nostalgic, my grandmother used to make them, the identical odor, the identical expectation. That is clearly Italian like her. However this isn’t the perfect pasta on the earth as it’s prepared made, it has to final on the shelf.’ 5.5/10

British pasta: ‘This appears plasticky. If that is Italian my grandmother can be screaming in her grave. But it surely has odor of spinach [tastes it] and ricotta — mmm, mmm! Mmmm mmm mmm! [Swears] Excuse the language, that is beautiful. I assumed the opposite one was Italian however now I do not know . . . if that is the British product it’s fairly stunning.’ 6.5/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Britain

CHEESES you may get a kick out of

French Vacherin Mont d’Or Sancey Richard (£12.95/450g, mons-cheese.co.uk) vs Hampshire Winslade Cheese (£7.25/280g, farmdrop.com)

English La Tua spinach and ricotta tortelloni (£5.50, latuapasta.com)

English La Tua spinach and ricotta tortelloni (£5.50, latuapasta.com)

Vacherin Mont d’Or is a seasonal cheese made with fatty milk from Alpine cows. It’s wealthy, with piney tones from the strip of spruce it is packaged in. Winslade cheese is made in an identical method, however with milk from native cows.

French Vacherin: ‘This is superb. It is not the French one but it surely’s excellent. This one is a younger one as a result of it is nonetheless a bit sharp — if I am flawed I will mean you can kick my a***. The style, the odor.’ 10/10

English Winslade: ‘If you would go to a restaurant within the Seventies and Eighties solely French cheeses have been on the trolley. Possibly sometimes you’ll have a little bit of Stilton. Now, that is modified. This one is so creamy, it is French, it have to be. Pretty.’ 10/10

The Grid Iron Charcuterie Yorkshire Frankfurters(five for £7.50, gridironmeat.co.uk)

The Grid Iron Charcuterie Yorkshire Frankfurters(5 for £7.50, gridironmeat.co.uk)

Was he appropriate? No

Winner: It is a tie

FRANKFURTERS Flying the flag

German Herta Frankfurters (4 for £1.50, waitrose.com) vs The Grid Iron Charcuterie Yorkshire Frankfurters(5 for £7.50, gridironmeat.co.uk) and F&Co Beef Scorching Canine (4 for £6.95, farmison.com)

A conventional frankfurter is cured, then smoked, and sometimes heated in boiling water slightly than grilled, to serve.

German frankfurter: ‘No one does it just like the Germans. I used to undergo Germany 4 occasions a 12 months and my youngsters are loopy about frankfurters. The odor stays for about six hours! It is a very particular wooden they use, that you simply discover while you go to Baden Baden.’ 8.5/10

British frankfurters: ‘Neither of those are proper. One is pork [The Grid Iron], it’s what you count on from a Frankfurter fashion sausage but it surely’s lacking that odor, it does not have the wooden. The opposite sausage [F&Co] isn’t pork, it’s gamey — however extraordinarily salty, I am unable to inform what it’s.’ 6.5/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Germany

Cypriot Halloumi Vryssaki (£4.50/250g, ralphswinecellar.com)

Cypriot Halloumi Vryssaki (£4.50/250g, ralphswinecellar.com)

BUTTERING UP THE OPPOSITION

Danish Lurpak (£2, Waitrose) vs Netherend Farm Natural from Gloucestershire (£2.99, milkandmore.co.uk)

An excellent butter is constituted of good cream, from cows which have grazed on good pastures. Lurpak has a fame for consistency.

Lurpak: ‘Immediately I’ll inform you that is Lurpak! Is it? It is positive, it is what you count on, easy and constant.’ 7/10

Netherend: ‘That is very yellow for an unsalted butter. Mmmm, that is sensible. I can determine the great sturdy milk, the churning, the supply of the flavour is excellent. It’s a deal with — I might purchase this one. I imagine this one is the English one.’ 9/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Britain

Netherend Farm Organic from Gloucestershire (£2.99, milkandmore.co.uk)

Netherend Farm Natural from Gloucestershire (£2.99, milkandmore.co.uk)

WHICH HALLOUMI SQUEAKS IT?

Cypriot Halloumi Vryssaki (£4.50/250g, ralphswinecellar.com) vs Excessive Weald Dairy halloumi (£4.68, highwealddairy.co.uk)

WHICH IS THE BRIE’S KNEES? 

French Brie de Meaux (£20.49/kg, ralphswinecellar.com) vs English Baron Bigod (£29.50/kg, buongiornoitalia.co.uk)

An excellent Brie (named for the area wherein it originated) is made from rennet and uncooked milk, comfortable within the center and agency on the rind, with loads of flavour.

French Brie: ‘That’s French, I assure, a million per cent. That is fantastically creamy Brie de Meaux, or I’ll kick my very own bottom. It’s excellent.’ 9/10

English Baron Bigod: ‘This has a improbable aroma — excellent. Now I’ve obtained an issue — they’re each so good it’s going to should go to a penalty choice! But when I overlook about my nostalgic odor and flavours, that is phenomenal.’ 9.5/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Britain, simply! 

Halloumi is a Cypriot brined sheep and goat’s milk cheese, often served grilled or fried.

Cypriot halloumi: ‘The one you factor you are able to do with that’s grill it. It is very salty. I am not an knowledgeable in the sort of cheese, however I’ve no pleasure consuming this, it is like consuming rubber — is it purported to be? That is the British.’ 6/10

English Halloumi: ‘When it comes to look this one is best. However style and texture, it is worse, it is like consuming the only of your foot. That is horrible.’ 4/10

Was he appropriate? No

Winner: Cyprus

QUIDS IN WITH THE QUINCE

Spanish membrillo (£2.50/120g, Waitrose) vs England Preserves quince fruit paste (£6.75, mons-cheese.co.uk)

Spanish quince paste is historically served with manchego cheese, or eaten as a candy. Quinces are more durable to develop within the UK however England Preserves makes use of UK quinces for its jelly.

Spanish membrillo: ‘At first you assume it’s extremely candy but it surely’s not too candy. There’s nothing artificial, you may odor the quince, it is genuine. It appears like a pure color.’ 7.5/10

English quince jelly: ‘That is very fruity, it is extra fragrant, it smells higher and it tastes two or thrice higher. This recipe is there to make a mark — wherein case I feel this one is the English. Within the flavour, the odor and what I might use it with, this one is extra my cup of tea.’ 8/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Britain

HARD CHEESE for the italians?

Natural Italian pecorino Sardo DOP, Italicatessen (£5.50/200g, farmdrop.com) vs White Lake The English Pecorino (£8.95/200g, whitelake.co.uk)

Pecorino (Italian for ‘of sheep’) is a tough, sharp and salty sheep’s milk cheese, typically eaten sliced, or grated over pasta.

White Lake The English Pecorino (£8.95/200g, whitelake.co.uk)

White Lake The English Pecorino (£8.95/200g, whitelake.co.uk)

Italian pecorino: ‘This isn’t my kind of cheese, however I feel this one is slightly weak in flavour. I do not like the feel.’ 6/10

English pecorino: ‘This one is extra highly effective. There’s sweetness, a little bit of sourness, texture. Wherever it is come from it is the winner.’ 8.5/10

Was he appropriate? Sure

Winner: Britain

WHICH FETA’S IN THE FINEST FETTLE?

Greek Kostarelos barrel-aged feta (£6.40/250g, maltbyandgreek.com) vs British Blackwoods Cheese Firm Graceburn and Shepherds Purse Yorkshire Fettle (£6.95/250g and £3.95/150g, Farmdrop.com)

Feta merely means ‘slice’ in Greek — it is a curd cheese made from sheep and/or goat milk. An excellent one is comfortable and tangy. The outline feta can solely be utilized by variations which might be made in Greece.

Greek feta: ‘This is a little more acidic but it surely has extra flavours. It is the higher one. Is it British?’ 8/10

English ‘feta’: ‘A bit smoky, but it surely’s not nearly as good. Why is it not nearly as good? It is smells higher however the issue is it is too salty. I feel that is the Greek one.’ 6.5/10

Was he appropriate? No

Winner: Greece

JEAN-CHRISTOPHE’S FINAL VERDICT:

‘At present, Nice Britain is on the prime of the desk for creating a few of the most refined produce, there are such a lot of improbable gadgets on the market — and that is solely the start for British meals.’ 

  • Jean-Christophe’s restaurant is Novelli at Metropolis Quays on the AC Marriott Belfast

AND THE WINNER IS… 

BRITAIN: 93.5/120 successful six classes, and one tie

EUROPE: 91/120 successful 5 classes, and one tie



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