In Season - October
Members of the team at Stevenage share their seasonal foodie tips.
I have always been considered a bit of a carnivore. It's not that I don't like vegetarian cooking, it's just that I always seem to gravitate towards the meat dishes on the menu. However, if there's one ingredient that's guaranteed to sway my choice, it's mushrooms. Though available all year, it is autumn that I associate with my fungi friends. Whether stirred into a risotto, made into soup or pâté, or simply fried on toast, for sheer variety and versatility alone, mushrooms get my vote. To suit their earthy, savoury notes and somewhat meaty texture, my wine of choice would be a pinot noir, a grape whose profile is even described as 'forest floor'. I'd choose a new world wine made with a nod to Burgundy, like Wither Hills Marlborough Pinot Noir 2014. Its red-fruit laden palate and generosity of body combine with a slight spice from the oak, making it a great match for fungi of all kinds, from delicate chanterelles to meaty Portobellos.
Conrad Braganza, Showroom Fine Wine Adviser (and co-ordinator of the Showroom Vintage Room and fine wine bin ends)
Due to my mother's love of it and regular trips to France, duck has truly become my favourite of all fowl. Succulently juicy and loaded with gamier flavour than the more pedestrian chicken, it makes a perfect autumnal dish that is hard to get wrong in the kitchen. A duck breast with seared crisp skin, cooked medium or slightly rare, and served with herby root veg and a redcurrant and Port reduction is pure heaven. Fuller Beaujolais are often a great match, they have the fruit to stand up to the sauce along with acidity to cut through the fatty meat without too much tannin fighting it all. The Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Côte du Py 2014 combines all these elements wonderfully.
Hugo Fountain, Campaign Co-ordinator in our Marketing Department (and WSET Diploma student)
Nothing signifies the beginning of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness quite like a handful of blackberries picked from the hedgerows. They are so versatile and can be eaten on their own but are equally good paired with other seasonal fruit; apple and blackberry crumble always goes down well in my house. However the best way to eat them by far, in my opinion, is with mascarpone. Simply make a custard using egg yolks, a vanilla pod and mascarpone. Spoon over the blackberries and bake in the oven for five minutes for the perfect light but comforting seasonal pud. More than enough of a reward for the scratches gained stretching for those 'just out of reach' berries. Pair with half a bottle of The Society's Exhibition Sauternes 2014 for the perfect accompaniment.
Nicole Drath, Web Developer (and keen cook and sherry lover)