Food of spring

Wild mushrooms

As we went to press (mid December), mushrooms were in tight supply due to excessively wet conditions in the main growing areas, which means prices are up overall. The delayed Portuguese and Spanish girolle, chanterelle and pied de mouton seasons should be picking up in January, and you can expect larger numbers of American black trompettes through at the beginning of the month. There are very limited quantities of South African cep available, but you’ll pay for them at least 30 [pounds sterling]kg. Black truffles both Perigord and Italian are starting, and you can expect to pay around 800 [pounds sterling]kg, with the price probably dropping by the end of the month. British wild mushroom expert Brigitte Tee says UK Perigord should be available in January, along with brownwinter chanterelles, pied de mouton and pied bleu.

Game

Partridges are good, and pheasants hens in particular are in excellent condition (all 8 [pounds sterling] brace). Mallard (13 brace), widgeon (10 brace) and teal(9 [pounds sterling]brace) are in good supply, and venison continues to be top quality (saddles 18.50 [pounds sterling]kg, haunches 10kg).

Beef, lamb and pork

Beef prices look like they’ll be mirroring last month’s as we head through January. Usually you’d expect prices to fall across the board in the new year, especially for fillet (currently 22 – 23 kg for Scotch, 19 – 20 kg for English) and bone in rib (Scotch currently 9 kg, English 7.80 kg), but last year they tended to hold steady, and there’s little indication it will be different this time around, says trader Phil Muchmore on Smithfield. Lamb prices are likely to hold their pre Christmas levels until the first week of the new year, due to the effects of the bank holiday on the supply chain, but thereafter you’ll probably see some falls.

It’s difficult to call, says lamb trader Paul Andrade, but you could be looking at 5.20 pounds sterling 5.30 [pounds sterling]kg for leg, 2.80 pounds sterling 3 pounds sterling kg for chines, upwards of 4.40 pounds sterling kg for best end and 3.80 [pounds sterling] 4 [pounds sterling]kg for shoulder. And pork Currently trade is on fire, with legs (more…)