Listening to nature

How hand-selecting produce influences my menus

It’s no secret that I love visiting the local market to hand select my own produce for use at the restaurant, and I’m spoilt with the incredible fare available at Nice’s bustling product markets. I love being surrounded by the riches, colours, flavours, fragrances and texture of nature, and really getting to interact with the produce hands on is one of my favourite influences for our menus. In fact, there’s no shortage of reasons why hand-selecting produce will benefit your dishes.

It’s vital for a seasonal menu

Different seasons mean different produce and flavours, and updating our menu to reflect the season gives us the chance to play with all these unique flavours. Every season we try to innovate and bring about new variations on old favourites, and so often the very first step in this process is strolling through the marketplace and getting hands-on to see what is available.

Mother nature allows us to hand select the best products

I’ve learnt that the only way to really trust your purchase is to get up close and personal with it. I mean handling it, weighing it, smelling it and giving it that oh-so-satisfying squeeze every now and then to make sure it’s at the right stage of its lifespan. Working with your produce in such a tactile way means that you can trust its flavours are more robust, giving dishes a fuller, more distinct taste, and in-season produce coming from smaller suppliers hasn’t been genetically modified to survive long trips on the road so will have a more natural taste.

Market produce is usually healthier

Most local farmers don’t use harmful pesticides on their crops, so the local produce sourced at a market ends up being more nutritional. Studies have shown that in-season produce can have up to three times more nutritional value than out of season ingredients, and sourcing them locally also makes a difference since the longer fruit and veggies spend on trucks or in storage, the greater the loss of vitamins and other nutrients.

It’s more sustainable

Not only do you have faster access to ingredients if you hand-select produce at a market, they’ll also be fresher and have a lower carbon footprint because they won’t be shipped to you from across the country. It’s a win win!

Overall, I can’t stress the value of good and clean ingredients enough, similar to how artists select the finest materials for their masterpieces, winemakers rely on only the best grapes from nature, and quality crafted beer is made from the finest hand selected hops, the final product is directly influenced by the quality of your building blocks.

Hand-selected hops for hand selected beer

Using the finest hand selected European hops, in every sip of a Stella Artois is a legacy of craftsmanship that produces the perfect beer to savour moments with the ones you love the most. Every year, the team visit the hop farms and evaluate their aroma, painstakingly selecting only the best to ensure each glass of Stella is brewed with the utmost quality so you can taste more in the Life Artois.