We have just taken delivery of some lovely strings of onions, shallots and garlic direct from Roscoff in Brittany, France. The Roscoff Onion is famous for its sweet, delicate flavour, high vitamin and mineral content, and longevity. They thrive in the climate and soil of Brittany and are picked before they fully ripen to ensure that they will keep, hung in a cool dry place, for months.
When you think of Frenchmen in striped jerseys on bicycles laden with onions, these were the onions they carried. This industry has been going since 1828, and continues in much the same way today. The bicycle has been replaced by a van, but Jean still delivers an identical product, direct from Brittany. Jean wears a beret, has a perfect French accent, although sadly no striped jumper today.
These strings of onions, shallots and garlic look beautiful hanging in the kitchen, they last for ages, and the quality is superb. The finest onions can become the star of the meal and not just an ingredient. Think of French Onion soup, or onion tarts, or even whole, slow-cooked as one of your vegetables, alongside a roast chicken.
The garlic has huge cloves, easy to cook with and mild enough to enjoy roasted. The smoked garlic smells glorious and perks up mashed potatoes and can be added to mayonnaise and dressings, while being great with seasonal Romanesco or cauliflower.