We all need a bit of chilli to warm us up this December. We can offer many varieties – from bullet jalapenos to birds eyes – plus all the classic seasonal fruit and veg for winter.
Lychees and clementines are the quintessential festive fruit. The citrus hails from Spain and Italy, including leafy lemons, oranges and some of the more offbeat Italian gear such as bergamots. The South African stone fruit season is building up pace and the first peaches are already eating well. (The best plums are currently Italian).
Closer to home, don’t forget the English apples and pears. Braeburn, Cox, russet, Bramley and Comice are all still in good nick out of store. Pomegranates and figs are also a clever bet.
December is a time for brassicas. Savoy cabbage is magnificent, along with Hispi, kales and purple sprouting. Brussel sprouts and their tops are a must-buy. All the roots enjoy this cold weather and leeks are in their prime. There’s some decent Italian tomatoes about. Don’t forget Jerusalem artichokes – a good twist for the traditional Christmas roasts.
If you’re prepared to pay for it, Italian peas are a sweet surprise. The best salads are from the south of France. Wild mushrooms are on good form, including some large Cep.