When the Christmas menu went live near the end of November, the blurb on the back promised more info would be put on the blog. So here it is.
After the shenanigans of Christmas 2020, we thought a bit harder on how we might incorporate an ambitious series of seasonal dishes into our December pizzeria menu. From a culinary standpoint, Christmas is a strange time: it's laden with food traditions, some of which don't make loads of sense (hello, turkey). The flip-side is that it's a time of year when we do a fairly good job of eating seasonally: root veg, preserves, more preserves, mince pies. Even tangerines are seasonal, albeit a little way south of the UK.
One of the highlights of the WK year, as ever, is the process of fermentation. In our attempt to shoehorn Christmas themes into the menu this year, or to serve things which would, by late November, be unavailable, we got a good run up and did some nice preserving. Without even touching on the health benefits, preserving and fermenting is a great way to minimise waste. We made the most of the late summer Opal plums and Tundra cabbages, turning the former into prunes (served alongside wonderful Tempus guanciale) and the latter into a punchy kimchi with late summer Dorset chillies. We pickled some of these chillies as well, for the Christmas salad, as well as a pile of wet walnuts from the autumn.
Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the menu was the salad dressing, which incorporated Sea Buckthorn juice from the autumn and a delicious rye miso made from 2020's excess rye loaves, left over after lockdown messed with our Sustainable Christmas menu that time round. To know that a menu has been borne of months of thought, planning, preparation and- ultimately- has had time to develop in its various fermented states, is immensely rewarding. This is the beauty of fermentation: it adds and adds to food. Deeper, richer, more complex flavours hidden in plain sight and unlocked by time, bacteria, enzymes, salt. There were many other awesome aspects of the Christmas menu in 2021 and perhaps there's the risk that all this is too lofty for plain old pizza, but probably the opposite is true: there is no detail too small, even for fast food. It's our goal to make fast food that's sustainable and beats with the real heartbeat of life lived well: community, future hope, memorable flavour, wonder and discovery, innovation and fun... dignity doesn't belong on expensive menus; it's in the excess rye bread that, with time and TLC, becomes the next year's most delicious flavour.