Whilst writing elsewhere about an emphasis on shopping locally the other day I briefly mentioned eating seasonally and ever since I’ve been thinking about it and wondering what the realities are of how it affects our health and nutrition. This is particularly relevant as the Passage has launched their Winter menu this week. Why do we need a winter and summer menu? Why do we fancy salads and light meals in the summer but crave soups and carb heavy meals in the dark and cold of winter?
After a bit of research, some of the scientific (or at least theorised) reasons for eating seasonal food are that produce picked and consumed at the peak of their natural season is higher in nutritional value (see here and here), that eating locally is better for the environment as food miles are reduced, that it supports local farmers and businesses and that seasonal food is perfectly timed to help us adjust to the season we are in, for example, when we’re hot in the summer, hydrating foods like soft fruits, cucumber and watermelon help us cool down.
But if you’re still not convinced, there is the simple fact that seasonal food provides us with a wider variety in our diet and most importantly, it just tastes better! Have you ever had an out of season strawberry and were bitterly disappointed by it’s tartness? Or bought some tomatoes in January and experienced a weak watery excuse of a tomato in your salad? Food tastes best when it is in season, not when it’s been grown in artificial conditions in order to provide us with options that shouldn’t naturally be available at a certain time of year. If you are desperate for fresh raspberries in December that’s fine but you can’t get upset if they don’t taste as good as you’d hoped. If you enjoy your food, it is just common sense to buy in season so you can experience the best taste possible!
With that in mind, I was allowed a cheeky glimpse of the aforementioned new Winter menu for the Passage House Inn and boy, were there some dishes that got my mouth watering! They’re certainly catering to our autumnal eating desires with delicious sounding main meals such as Hunters Chicken, Shredded Beef and traditional Fish Pie. And in the sharing section, beef chilli nachos appear which certainly would do the job of adding a bit of heat when you’re feeling chilly (pun definitely intended!) You’ll be happy to know though that the some of their most popular seafood dishes remain on the menu and actually, I would argue that their incredible Ferryman’s Seafood Platter definitely has an all year round appeal. I was also intrigued to see that they’ve expanded their range of sauces to go with their infamously tasty mussels and you can now choose from creamy garlic, onion and white wine, lime, chilli and ginger or bacon, spinach and cream sauce. The latter especially seems like a tempting choice this winter to me!
So if you need a bit of cheering up as our the darkness starts to creep in to our afternoons or fancy a special night out with loved ones, why not pop down to the Passage to sample some of their culinary delights this winter? With delicious food, some of the friendliest staff you’ll ever meet and an amazing choice of ales, you won’t be disappointed. I’ll see you there!