The slow transition from summer to autumn brings with it some of the finest flavours of the year.
One of my favourites are Autumn Bliss raspberries, which will be in our kitchens throughout the autumn.
My passion for Autumn Bliss raspberries stems from my time working at the Gravetye Manor Hotel – a beautiful Elizabethan manor house in Sussex.
They have a fantastic walled kitchen garden where they grow about 80 per cent of their fruit and vegetables required by the hotel.
When I worked there, there was always an abundance of Autumn Bliss raspberries. Among other things we’d turn the raspberries into jam which would last all year round. It was the sweetest and fruitiest jam I’ve ever tried.
I’m passionate about the best of local produce and Autumn Bliss raspberries are up there among the best ingredients that come into my kitchen.
They’ll be available from now until November and I’ll be using as many as I can.
There’s a popular misconception that raspberries are a summer fruit. In fact, they can be harvested across the summer and autumn seasons.
The Autumn Bliss variety take on all of the natural sweetness by growing longer and slower. It’s almost as though they store up all the flavour and sweetness of the summer and deliver it in a delicious, bite-sized mouthful late in the season.
Raspberries are one of the most versatile fruits that we use here at La Bécasse. A lot of people imagine soft fruit is only for use in desserts. But I’m a huge fan of adding natural sweetness to savoury dishes with fruit. We use Autumn Bliss raspberries in our goat’s cheese starter, which has become one of my signature dishes. I cooked it on the Great British Menu and have also shown people how to make it during chef demonstrations at summer shows including The International Cheese Awards.
The dish features beetroot, goat’s cheese and raspberries. It’s a delicious combination. We also make a raspberry vinegar, which we make by steeping raspberries in white wine vinegar.
As well as adding a lovely flavour and colour to the vinegar, the fruit helps to remove the harsh acidity from the vinegar, making it perfect for dressings. The raspberry vinegar lasts throughout the year, which means we are able to enjoy that flavour every month. Of course, we also use Autumn Bliss in desserts. My current favourite uses them with dark chocolate, lime curd, bitter caramel and amaretti biscuit.