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Midwinter and there’s lots of produce on offer

chef

The Chef reports from the Ontario Food Terminal that Ontario root cellar fruits and vegetables, including wonderful butternut squash, are all available, excepting pears, which are done. Ontario hothouse products are very scarce, except for cucumbers. Some of the producers are reported to have stopped their businesses due to high Ontario hydro bills that they cannot manage.

On the import side of the Terminal, almost all products are on sale other than Brussels sprouts. The Chef was particularly pleased to see California fennel, and even artichokes, which surprised him. All prices were lower than last year and everything looked good.

The Chef bought Sunkist mandarins, which he liked a lot, as well as other excellent oranges and lemons. Meyer lemons are available, and their price has come down from last year. We noticed a recommendation for Cara Cara oranges in a health newsletter from Nutrition.com. Here is the glowing report:

“Cara Caras may be the perfect oranges: intensely sweet, lower in acid, juicy, no seeds. And that drop-dead gorgeous pink-grapefruit color.

Then there’s the 1½ days’ worth of vitamin C, 30 percent of a day’s vitamin A (regular navels have just 2 percent), and 15 percent of a day’s folate, for just 80 calories.

As for taste, think of a cross between a navel orange and a tangerine, with a hint of berry. Makes us go all weak in the knees.

Cara Caras—they were discovered in 1976 on the Hacienda Cara Cara plantation in Venezuela—are available from December through May.

And it’s only February!”

We bought some and found they were just as delicious as described.

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Photo from Nutrition.com

Italian and American pomegranates and persimmons are done. The remaining persimmons from Israel were soft. Italian blood oranges and kiwis were not in evidence. This may be the result of low sales last year.

Wild mushrooms from the West Coast are scarce because of the season. The Chef is using French bluefoot mushrooms for his requirements. This year, in expectation of the opening of the wild mushroom season in B.C., the Chef is putting on a special wild mushroom dinner on April 21 that has the staff at GEORGE excited…

There is nothing much new on the fish front, except the Chef is purchasing glacier bass from the Falklands. The Chef has located a new supplier of fresh Ontario Cornish hens, which he is pleased about. Duck confit is being introduced on the menu, along with Ontario short ribs. The chocolate tasting, composed of five different chocolate desserts on a sharing platter, went so well on Valentine’s Day that the Chef is putting it on the GEORGE dinner menu. It consist of a coco blondie, a chocolate espresso mousse, a chocolate coconut torte, a black-out cake, and a chocolate canelé.

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