Whether you’re planning a show-stopping spread or a series of quiet family meals, Christmas means one thing. Presents? If they’re good. Eggnog? Not this year thanks. A tree? Every year we say we’ll get a fake one to save on the mess, yet….
Let’s be honest, isn’t it all about the food?
As one of the UK’s leading ambient and chilled food suppliers, Team Quattro is on hand to help our customers who serve those cooking for family and friends at home, as well as the restaurant industry, including independent eateries and high street chains.
Walking through the streets of the City of London on a chilly December morning on our way to meet a client, the Quattro management team was struck by the sight of changed seasonal menus outside restaurants and images of cosy, happy food-lovers inside, enjoying a range of festive fare. We are proud to be associated with bringing culinary cheer to our customers, and their customers in turn. This is a time for warm flavours and mouth-watering indulgence and we are happy to reveal some insider industry info about our special Christmas offerings and how they differ from the rest of the year.
Q. Have you had any interesting seasonal requests from customers?
A. Yes – a braised beef shin ragu cooked with Borolo wine and also a venison and beef ragu spring to mind, both of which are rich and full of warming flavours. A sauce based on a Bloody Mary recipe is also currently on sale, which is a new one for us. We are fully expecting the detox dish requests for the New Year as well…
Q. Do orders change significantly over the Christmas period?
A. As many of our customers are retail restaurant chains, we can see the increase in orders during the party season, which creeps up steadily from the beginning of December. Between Christmas and New Year, sales are relatively low, although we’re madly cooking in the kitchen, as everyone is getting ready for orders needed on 2nd January. Not only do sales jump back up again in the New Year, but many menus also change, so there are a lot of new recipes in production from the 27th December; it’s a really busy time for us.
Q. What are your favourite wintry ingredients to work with?
A. We love to work with all the usual seasonal vegetables and meat, although we relish using some of the lesser used ingredients, such as juniper berries, which is used to spice up the venison ragu to add a floral and peppery note to the dish – a perfect pairing for venison.
Q. Have you created any Christmassy sauces or recipes?
A. For the festive period menus, we did have one request for turkey meatballs in a creamy cranberry sauce from one customer but that fell at the first hurdle though…a bit too outlandish maybe for even the over indulgent crowd – although on a seasonal high, we have produced a beautifully creamy and very indulgent lobster bisque, as well as a luxurious pumpkin caraway soup lifted with saffron and for those really in the festive spirit, a very merry and boozy shredded pork and fennel sauce laced with prosecco, which have all gone down extremely well with customers.
Q. Describe the atmosphere at Quattro Foods at this time of year?
A. It’s incredibly busy. We’re not hugely festive in the office; with the team continuing to grow, there’s no room for a Christmas tree any more, but we have just had our Christmas meal, where everyone gets the opportunity to glam up and dance until the wee hours!
Q. Are the staff offered festive tasters?
A. With the Christmas ranges in production this month, there’s lots of opportunities to taste the fayre. Different team members take part in the positive release process too, which entails every single batch cooked each day to be tested to make sure it’s perfect, before we despatch this to customers. However, there’s always more interest in what’s in NPD, as these are the new recipes being developed. The varying delicious smells waft through the office and there’s certainly never a shortage of hungry ‘tasters’ then!