The summer festival season is sadly drawing to a close but there is still plenty to cheer about with Citreus Catering as we begin to focus our attention on the forthcoming feasts throughout autumn and into the New Year.
Months away, Christmas is already on the minds of chefs and we are poised and busy preparing for the new seasons ahead.
Whilst on the subject, if you are already thinking about food at Christmas, you can take some of our creative ideas from last year’s blog – https://citreuscatering.co.uk/get-creative-this-christmas-with-citreus-catering/ – and proceed with your own festive contribution for a 2023 Christmas dinner to remember.
Speak to us about your plans if you are planning an event this Christmas.
Between now and then, chefs will adorn tables with fresh produce for elaborate and unusually abundant feasts, accompanied by celebration and cheer.
Read on for more about feasts and the latest food trends this autumn…
Harvest Festival Feasts
Since pagan times Brits have given thanks for successful harvests. We’re big fans of local produce at Citreus and during September or October, when the Harvest Moon occurs closest to the autumn equinox, a flavoursome bounty of butternut squash, pears, hazelnuts, parsnips and wild mushrooms are all at hand for chefs to gather and get creative.
We don’t have a national holiday in the UK but it doesn’t mean that celebrations won’t take place with mouth-watering feasts consisting of meat, fruit and veg.
Depending on the geographic conditions, harvest festivals are found at different times around the world with a variation in climate and crops.
Likewise, the food drawn from the crops culminates in family and public feasts to celebrate life and all that nature has to offer.
Based on a Northern Hemisphere autumn, here are some inspirational recipes – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/top-20-autumn-recipes .
All Hallows’ Feasts
The kids are back at school now and already the commercial aspect of our lives draws attention to the next autumnal celebration and, in particular, Halloween.
From the 4th century, feasts commemorating Christian martyrs were held and, particularly from the 9th century, some churches celebrated all saints on 1st November.
In Western Christian practice, the ritual of worship begins on the evening of 31st October (All Hallows’ Eve) and is marked by the consumption of enough sugar to induce diabetes.
It is thus the day before All Souls’ Day which commemorates the departed.
Like many Christian festivals, feasts form the basis of the celebration but the consumption of sugar during Halloween seems to profit large, multi-national confectionery companies such as Haribo and Cadbury. As you will see, this doesn’t always have to be the case.
As in many Christian cultures, All Saints’ Day is all about remembering the dead. Italians combine the memory of their loved ones with their love for food, visiting graves and setting out a feast of food and wine for the spirits.
Unlike in the UK, All Saints’ Day is a public holiday in Italy. For us Brits, it is unlikely that Halloween will ever be a Bank Holiday unless a British football team wins the World Cup and Wednesday Addams scores the winning goal.
However, the Italians make the most of an excuse to party and, in typical Italian fashion, the prospect of a social gathering permits for sit-down feasts of varying traditional dishes, depending on the region.
Soup, chickpeas, meat, hazelnuts, fish and cheese combine to make hearty Piedmontese dishes – https://www.greatitalianchefs.com/collections/piedmontese-recipes#google_vignette , of which Vitello Tonnato is the most famous – https://www.greatitalianchefs.com/recipes/vitello-tonnato-recipe .
You may be familiar with Northern Italy’s Piemonte wines. If not, it’s a big deal; a top region and here is a guide to help you get up to speed: https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/piedmont-wine-guide/
From Piedmont in Northern Italy, the Nebbiolo grape is responsible for the continued success and accolade of the wine from the Barolo and Barbaresco regions – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piemonte_(wine).
However, feasts in Italy do not solely exist of quality wines. The foods of Piedmont consist of some of Italy’s most esteemed ingredients. Considered only second to the cultural powerhouse that is Emilia Romagna – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emilia-Romagna – Piedmont is a close contender for being the best region for Italian food.
Here is a list of some of the region’s most essential foods – https://www.lacucinaitaliana.com/italian-food/italian-dishes/essential-foods-of-piedmont?refresh_ce= .
Not forgetting how we got to the feasts of Piedmont, here is a highly relevant Halloween recipe from Savoring Italy, entitled pan dei morti (bread of the dead). The kids will love the taste as much as the macabre novelty as it’s a sweet, spicy cookie mixed with nuts, eggs and cinnamon – https://www.savoringitaly.com/pan-dei-morti-bread-of-dead-cookies/
Autumnal Wedding Feasts
Amid the celebratory discussion, did you know that, according to ‘The Knot’ – https://www.theknot.com/ – the most popular time for a wedding is late summer to autumn?
Last year, 43% of wedding feasts took place between September and November.
Already well established in this area of celebration, Citreus Catering welcomes any wedding enquiries and, for those interested in the history of the tradition, we encourage you to read a previous blog from our extensive library – https://citreuscatering.co.uk/a-history-of-wedding-celebrations-and-catering/
This time of year, we start to consider more wholesome, stodgier food as the evenings start to draw in. As our brains and the pancreatic system begin to recover from the sugar rush of Halloween, it’s time to consider feasts for Guy Fawkes Night celebrations.
Yes, only an indoctrinated and well-established Western culture could celebrate terrorism and torture with food and pyrotechnics.
On the subject of broadcasting for the indoctrination of the masses, the BBC has a great collection of bonfire night recipes for the whole family to enjoy – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/bonfire-night-recipes , including Parkin…
No, not an excuse for a Nottingham City Council fine – https://westbridgfordwire.com/nottingham-1-6m-of-fines-for-motorists-at-canal-street-bus-gate/ – but a highly rated traditional ginger cake from Yorkshire. And as the recipe suggests, bake the Parkin the night before the party and enjoy beneath the stars (weather permitting).
We couldn’t manoeuvre beyond November without mentioning winter squash, the annual seed-bearing fruit known as Cucurbita – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucurbita .
Cucurbita is not the latest signing for Chelsea but the Latin name given to herbaceous fruits known as squash or, more commonly, the pumpkin.
Loaded with antioxidants, vitamins and fibre, the only scary thing about pumpkin is the smell. Once beyond the pungent smell of something inappropriate, the pumpkin is a winner-winner, autumnal feasts for dinner.
The pumpkin’s association with Halloween has a long history. The availability of the said fruit has a lot to do with the tradition but the myth behind the demonic carvings is a great story.
Jack-O’-Lantern feasts an eye on this
Stingy Jack is the character behind the Irish myth – hence Jack-O’-Lantern – and his avarice got the better of him when he tricked the devil for monetary gain.
Upon his death, God failed to grant him access to paradise and, much to his surprise, the Devil turned his burning back on him too; not permitting him to enter Hell either.
There was serious debate and it was then decided that Jack should face a fate far worse than Hell; something befitting of Jack’s devious, greedy and dishonest character.
Jack’s avarice was judged to be so bad that he was sentenced to eternity in post-Brexit Britain, following 13 years of Tory rule where incompetence was almost equal throughout all political parties (okay, maybe the last part of the original story has slight variations).
Anyway, as Jack’s evil soul wandered around the streets of Ireland, Droitwich, Nottingham, Hull and Chipping Norton, there was a recognisable over-abundance of produce from the autumn harvest.
The people then started to carve malevolent faces into fresh produce such as turnips to frighten away the wandering soul of corporate CEO, Jack-O’-Lantern (Again, he may not have carried the status of CEO in those days).
It was only upon mass immigration that the Irish took the tradition to America and began carving on the native pumpkins for the eve of all wandering souls, at the end of October.
And when you’ve carved out your pumpkins here is what you do with the pulp: from pie and cakes to stew and soup, the pumpkin is as diverse as a Premiership football team on international duty.
Check out these tasty and highly nutritious feasts – https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/pumpkin-recipes
Root vegetables are always popular around autumn and we are going to kick off the food trends with a standout, violet-coloured food that is all the rage on Instagram at the moment.
It’s not just subtle, it’s bright purple!
The violet Ube, meaning tuber in Tagalog, is a purple yam from the Philippines – https://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/recipe-collections-favorites/popular-ingredients/what-is-ube .
Packing colour and flavour, the Ube is sweeter and more mellow than a sweet potato but has a similar nutritional value – high in carbohydrates and fibre, and packed with vitamins.
The purple popularity of desserts trending on social media is often down to the addition of the surprisingly delicious Ube. There are Ube pancakes, ice cream – https://www.cafe-86.com/menu/drinks/halo-halo – and Ube has now even entered the craft beer scene – with a crazy 8.2% ABV porter that has a nutty, coconut finish – https://www.brewyardbeercompany.com/beer/beer-list/?ao_confirm.
And if you are looking for feasts that catch the eye this autumn, the kids will love some of these recipes that, literally, turn the table purple – https://insanelygoodrecipes.com/ube-recipes/ .
Ube Healthy Feasts
If you are looking for a healthy treat before we get into the autumnal stodge, try this salad for size – https://cinnamonandcoriander.com/en/purple-sweet-potato-ube-salad-with-coconut-dressing-vegan/ . It’s got the look, the flavour, and enough antioxidants to keep you going until Halloween.
Ube is more likely to be sold in Asian markets than in Tesco but what we like about Ube is its versatility. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes and it can certainly brighten up autumnal feasts when the temperature drops and the nights draw in.
Continued Food Trends 2023-2024
According to leading food expert, Hanni Rützler – https://www.ktchnrebel.com/food-trends-2024-gastronomy/ – a lot is happening in the food industry for all the right reasons.
No longer content with trusting corporate giants and just consuming anything that is stacked on a supermarket shelf, we are becoming more environmentally aware as well as conscious about the detrimental effects of foods, how they are produced, and how they can affect our health.
There is a growing rejection of mass meat production and the focus is now on sustainability and local produce using the latest, ethically-minded, technologies.
Here is our take on locally sourced food and the benefits – https://citreuscatering.co.uk/locally-sourced-food-citreus-catering-events-and-weddings/ .
Driven by climate change, plant-based feasts are now trending more than ever as the negative consequences of animal-rich products reside over us like the threat of nuclear war from an insane Russian dictator.
Even processed food can be plant-based and if you are concerned whether your feasts are containing enough protein, Medical News Today has 15 sources of protein that are void of something’s flesh – https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321474#15-best-vegan-proteins .
To keep a little sunshine in your soul this autumn, take comfort from Cozymeal with some top food trends from the Caribbean – https://www.cozymeal.com/magazine/top-food-trends#:~:text=Look%20for%20a%20fusion%20of,simple%20dishes%20into%20unique%20experiences .
Island flavours such as passionfruit, pineapple and coconut are trending this year with a slow-cooked, healthy, chicken curry on the menu – https://thatgirlcookshealthy.com/jamaican-coconut-curry-chicken/
The Caribbean is a great place for fresh fish markets but a surprising hit on the Tiktok trends radar is tinned fish.
And we’re not just talking about tuna and salmon either.
Delicious, accessible, and amongst the list of the doctor’s orders, tinned seafood, such as mackerel, squid, mussels and sardines, are an excellent way to increase your intake of protein, omega-3, zinc, and vitamin B12.
And, furthermore, you’ll be pleased to know that the mercury content in tinned fish is much lower than your regular serving of a seafood steak.
Going into the new year, indubitably, increased numbers will be signing up for Veganuary in 2024 – https://citreuscatering.co.uk/veganuary-how-many-will-sign-up-for-veganuary-this-year-citreus-catering/ – and one food that is trending at the moment are vegan eggs.
For those of you who didn’t realise that such a thing existed, they are right up there as a suitable alternative. Described by Cozyfood.com as a low cholesterol, ‘thrilling new food trend for 2023’, vegan eggs contain only one gram less of protein than a traditional egg and they are practically identical when used for omelettes and quiches.
Vegan eggs have come along way, and the fat and calorie content are identical and therefore an excellent substitute in a world where – as touched upon earlier – people are making conscious decisions about eating animal-free.
As chefs, we are consciously aware of a desire for people to swing in favour of plant-based diets and we have adapted accordingly with more variety in our menus.
If you are looking to organise an event or wedding feast in the near future and are concerned or interested in dietary options, please contact us for more details. We’d love to hear from you – https://citreuscatering.co.uk/contact-us-citreus-catering-nottingham-weddings-events/