United Kingdom:

Restaurants take cauliflower off the menu as hot July killed crops

Those hunting for a bubbling dish of cauliflower cheese in a restaurant will be in for disappointment after the crop was killed off by the freak July weather, causing a shortage.

Britain is usually self-sufficient for cauliflower, which has become fashionable in recent years, roasted whole as a plant-based Sunday dinner and whizzed up as an alternative to rice.

As the country baked in temperatures, which hit a record 38.7 degrees, brassica plants were killed off. This means wholesale prices have been hiked from 60p-£3 in some cases, and restaurants have taken cauliflower off their menus entirely.

Vernon Mascarenhas, a vegetable wholesaler from Nature's Choice at New Covent Garden Market said: "Right now we have none."

Mr Mascarenhas, who supplies many of London's leading restaurants and hotels, including The Ledbury and Le Gavroche, added: "Cauliflowers suffered because of the freak weather we had a few weeks ago, the incredible heat, that basically just killed all the crops coming through. The wholesale price of cauliflower was 60p, it's now £3. We have none. That's the wholesale price - it's not even reached the shops yet. There will be none in regular greengrocers, supermarkets are stocking tiny weeny ones."

Mr Mascarenhas said the vegetable is not featured on menus at the moment, explaining: "Most of my clients I have spoken to have taken them off. The trendy dish of cauliflower couscous is on hold at the moment, they are using other vegetables. You'd have to rethink the whole dish of cauliflower cheese, broccoli is having issues too. Courgettes and squashes are in abundance at the moment. A lot of my restaurants are changing their menus."

Head Chef Tom Brown from the restaurant Gauthier in Soho said that the supplier they use has put prices up by 50 per cent. He added: "We were going to put our usual tri-color cauliflower dish for autumn but we’ve decided not to because of price increases."

Other members of the brassica family are also in short supply, including broccoli, and it is feared that the Brussels sprouts plants may suffer before the Christmas harvest.

Mr Mascarenhas added: "What we don't know going forward is what will happen with things like Brussels sprouts for Christmas as the plants are still too young so we haven't seen how the heat will affect them."

Source: Telegraph.co.uk


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