Food Forever Experience

London

On 27 November 2019, the Food Forever Experience London celebrated festive dishes featuring ingredients not commonly used in the culinary mainstream. Along with Liberian wild rice, foods featured include lion’s mane, a toothed mushroom with a rich and savory lobster-like flavor touted for its health benefits; enset, a banana wild relative native to Ethiopia known as the “banana on steroids” for its many uses and high yields; and British lop pig, a heritage breed renowned for surviving on little and making use of otherwise unproductive land, amongst many others.

Bringing together over 200 leaders from the world of food and agriculture and beyond at Google’s UK Offices, the event showcased the incredible importance of the diversity of our foods and the positive impact we can have when we come together around the same table.

Meet the Chefs


The Ingredients

  • Banana Shallot

    Named for their distinctive shape and size, banana shallots originated in the United Kingdom. Inheritors of an onion’s size and a regular shallot’s sweetness, banana shallots cook quickly and add a subtle, sweet flavor to any dish. 

  • Beremeal

    Hailing from the northern Scottish island of Orkney, beremeal is a flour made from Bere, a distinctly Scottish variety of local barley. Before use significantly declined in the 19th century, Beremeal was a critical ingredient in a number of Scottish breads, produced by both large and small-scale farmers. Highly nutritious with a nutty and earthy flavor, Beremeal is now rarely found away from its native northern island.

  • Borlotti Bean

    Also known as the cranberry bean because of its bright violet shells, the borlotti bean was first bred in Italy. Thick-skinned and relatively large, the colorful beans have a sweet flavor and a smooth, creamy texture. Equally flavorful raw as they are cooked, borlotti beans are often found fresh in salads or mixed into soups and stews.

  • British Lop Pig

    A heritage breed from England’s West Country, the British Lop is known for its iconic floppy ears, but more importantly, for surviving on little and making use of otherwise unproductive land. The Lop pig was one of the first rare breeds recognized by the Rare Breed Survival Trust (RBST), who noted that the British Lop is rarer than the Giant Panda.

     

    Image credit: British Lop Pig Society
  • Buckwheat

    Despite its name, buckwheat is unrelated to wheat and is not a grass at all. The triangular seeds can be milled into flour with a nutty flavor. It is gluten-free and rich in protein and fibre. Buckwheat was domesticated in Central Asia and is a hardy plant which can tolerate poor soil and cold climates. It can be used as a ‘cover crop’ to help keep weeds away and to reduce soil erosion.

  • Carrot

    Originally grown as a medicinal crop, the carrot has over 5,000 years of history that has produced over 100 varieties. Within this diversity, one can find white, purple, and yellow carrots that are older and often more nutritious than the orange carrots we find in our markets today. Carrots are also renowned for their culinary versatility, their high sugar content enabling them to feature prominently in both sweet and savory dishes.

  • Chestnut Mushrooms

    Also known as brown cap mushrooms, chestnut mushrooms are an uncommon but extremely flavorful variety. Whether found sautéed in pasta dishes, baked into quiche, or raw in salads, chestnut mushrooms are recognized for their almost crunchy texture and peppery flavor. 

  • Coconut

    Coconuts historically allowed humans to voyage to new lands in the Pacific, as they are a portable source of food and water. Humans have also helped the coconut to travel, with researchers believing that Austronesian seafarers from the Philippines took the coconut to Ecuador over two thousand years ago. Universally recognized as an icon of oceanside relaxation, the coconut is much more than an exotic snack. The fruit is in fact one of the tropics’ most critical crops, known as “the fruit of a thousand uses” in Malaysia. Coconut flesh is high in healthy fats and its milk is a significant ingredient in many recipes such as curries and popular Indonesian beverages known as bandrek.

  • Delica Pumpkin

    The Delica pumpkin is the prized winter crop of the Lombardy region of northern Italy. Beneath its scarred, irregular rind, the dense, vivid orange flesh is high in sugar and richness. The buttery sweetness of the Delica sets it apart from other pumpkins, opening a range of creative ingredient pairings.

  • Enset

    A member of the banana family, enset has been cultivated for tens of thousands of years in Ethiopia. Enset is incredibly space-efficient, feeding more people per square meter of crop than most cereals, a feat which has earned it the name “the tree against hunger.” Not only does enset feed millions of people every year, it is also highly resilient, able to withstand drought, heavy rain and flooding much better than many other crops.

     

    Photo credit: James Borrell, RBG Kew

  • Hafod

    Hafod Welsh is a true superstar in the organic dairy tradition of Wales. This artisan cheese is handmade in Bwlchwernen Fawr, the longest-certified organic farm in the country. Meaning ‘summer place’ or ‘pasture’ in the Welsh language, this golden, savoury cheese comes from the raw, unpasteurized milk of the Ayrshire cow, native of Scotland. This breed of cattle is noted for being highly adaptable and capable of surviving on less feed and fertile ground, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable production. This allows breeders Patrick and Rebecca Holden to lead a groundbreaking organic farming model deeply focused on soil carbon sequestration and preservation of local biodiversity.

  • Innes Log

    The Innes Log is an award-winning cheese handcrafted at Highfields Farm Dairy using time-honoured traditional craft methods. This cheese with its characteristic fresh, nutty taste comes from unpasteurized milk of the Golden Guernsey Cross. This rare breed of goat, emblematic for its golden-hue coat, traces its origins back to the small island of Guernsey, off the coast of Normandy in the English Channel. After a critical shortage in the 1970s, the Golden Guernsey is now successfully bred in some areas of England due to their high milk yield. The Innes Log cheese is produced in Staffordshire by cheesemakers Joe Bennett and Amiee Lawn, associate members of the Land Workers’ Alliance, a union of farmers and growers promoting better food and land-use systems based on agroecology.

  • Kalette

    Bred just south of London, kalettes are a natural cross between kale and Brussels sprouts. With the sweetness and nuttiness of kale and the aesthetic of brussels sprouts, kalettes are grown in small florets along a thick, central stalk. They are a rich source of valuable vitamins and fibers that make kalette so nutritious.

  • Kelp

    While kelp and other algae are frequently used as food in Asia, their potential in European diets largely remains untapped. Kelp has a salty and seafood-like flavor profile that can be served in multiple forms, including raw, dried, or cooked as a low-carb pasta alternative. Not only is kelp delicious, it’s sustainable: it requires no arable land and cleans the water wherever it grows.

  • Lentil

    Lentils were domesticated at about the same time as wheat and barley in the Fertile Crescent. The seed protein content of lentil is about 25%, and the crop contains no cholesterol, virtually no fat, and very low levels of anti-nutrients. Apart from proteins, lentils are also rich in vitamin A, fibre, potassium, B vitamins, and iron. There are many different varieties of lentil. The colors, which can range from yellow, to orange, green and black, also reflect differences in taste and nutritional composition ranging from earthy to peppery or even sweet. They require little water to grow and have a carbon footprint over 40 times lower than beef.

  • Liberian Wild Rice

    Rice is the central ingredient in Liberian cuisine, and it is one of the country’s primary domesticated crops. For centuries, smallholder farmers have been producing Liberia’s heirloom grain red rice, known to local consumers as “Country Rice.” Packed with antioxidants, fiber, iron, and more, this wild rice is highly nutritious and produced using entirely chemical-free techniques.

  • Lion's Mane

    Growing on hardwoods from North America to Europe to Asia, these large, shaggy mushrooms is as useful in a kitchen as it is aesthetically unique. In place of the typical mushroom cap one would typically recognize, a lion’s mane mushroom is covered in tiny teeth that resemble a lion’s mane. It is often described as possessing a flavor and texture similar to crab or lobster meat and can be enjoyed raw, cooked, or even steeped in tea.

  • Muntjac

    Muntjac venison is fine-grained and lean compared to virtually any other venison one might find at the local meat counter. Introduced to Britain from China in the early 20th century, Muntjac deer escaped their enclosures at Woburn Abbey in Bedfordshire and their population quickly boomed in the wild. Today, it’s the most widely distributed deer species in the United Kingdom.

     

    Image credit: Cks3976
  • Nigella Seeds

    Rumoured to have been found in King Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, nigella seeds are one of the world’s oldest spices. The nigella flower is native to the Mediterannean and has been grown from Northern Africa to Southern Asia. The tiny black seeds are slightly bitter and have traditionally been kneaded into white breads or sprinkled on top of bread’s cooked exterior for texture and an oregano-like flavor.

  • Parsnip

    A close relative of the carrot, the naturally sweet root vegetable is native to Eurasia. Before the arrival of cane sugar to Europe, it was actually used as a sweetener. Today, parsnips are roasted, boiled, pureed, and add a rich flavor and a unique texture to a variety of meals.

     

  • Peacock Kale

    Brightly colored in shades of green, white, and purple, peacock kale first stands out for its attractive appearance. In addition to adding a splash of color to a dish, peacock kale is highly nutritious and flavorful, with a unique combination of sweetness and a peppery taste. It’s also resistant to cold temperatures and tolerant of poor soil quality, making it a powerful crop for a resilient, nutritious future.

     

  • Pearl Millet

    Also known as bulrush or cattail millet, pearl millet is one of the world’s most important cereal crops. The cereal is highly resilient to harsh climates, and it’s mostly grown under hot, dry conditions, where many other crops cannot take the heat. Long a significant component of cuisines from South Asia to West Africa, pearl millet is high in proteins, iron, calcium and other nutrients.

  • Porcini

    Most commonly found in Italian dishes, porcini mushrooms are renowned for their rarity and strong nutty flavor. Easily recognizable for their thick stem and rich brown caps, they can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. From mid-summer to late fall, Porcini mushrooms can be found in forests near pine, chestnut, hemlock and spruce trees.

  • Salsify

    A root vegetable belonging to the dandelion family, salsify is known as the oyster plant because of its taste when cooked. The root looks similar to a parsnip, with white flesh and a thick outer skin. As with most root vegetables, salsify can be boiled, mashed or used in soups and stews.

  • Scotch Bonnet

    The most widely used hot pepper in Caribbean cuisine, Scotch Bonnets are small, brightly-colored chili peppers that pack a remarkable punch. Beneath the heat is a rich, fruity flavor profile that plays a substantial role in making many Caribbean jerk sauces and preparations so irresistible. The scotch bonnet is named for its resemblance to the traditional Scottish bonnet worn by men. It measures 80,000–400,000 SHU on the Scoville scale. For comparison, most jalapeño peppers have a heat rating of 2,500 to 8,000.

  • Star Anise

    One of the world’s oldest herbs, anise spread around the Mediterranean in ancient times. To this day, it is an indispensable spice in many kitchens for soups, stews and some desserts. However, the unique star-shaped spice is perhaps best known as an ingredient in famous spirits such as raki, mastika and ouza.

  • Stonebeck Wensleydale

    The Stonebeck Wensleydale is deeply rooted in British breeding history. Cheese was already being made in the Nidderdale farm in Yorkshire back in the mid-1950s. The farm’s current owners, Andrew and Sally Hattan, have safeguarded this century-old tradition of cheese-making by maintaining traditional, sustainable methods and by gathering artisanal practices from the early 20th century. Noted for its smooth, pungent and buttery taste, the Stonebeck Wensleydale is made using the milk of the Northern Dairy Shorthorn, a rare breed of cow, which grazes from traditional wildflower meadows and pasturelands, therefore preserving the biodiversity of the upland hay meadows ecosystem.

Our Partners

The experience was made possible by the commitment of our partners


Resources

  • Recipe Cards
  • Images
  • Video
  • Media Kit

Liberian Jollof Rice, Crab Salad & Crab Custard

Porcini Mushrooms with Borlotti Beans & Soft Fennel

Punjab Five-Jewel Creamed Lentils

Silqy Swr with Kocho

Rotis

Pumpkin Chutney

Charred Cucumber, Star Anise & Fennel Pickle

White Salsify Hummus with Burned Salsify Skin Crumbs

Black Salsify Barigoule/ Pickled Black Salsify / Crispy Salsify Leaves

Salsify Leaf Gazpacho / Glazed Salsify with Honey & Bay Leaf

Khichdi, Indian Spiced Lentils & Rice

Beremeal & Muntjac Dumplings

Mushroom Parfait on Buckwheat Sourdough

Roghni Roti

Candied Lion's Mane, Chestnuts & Sprouts

Candy Cane Lox

CBD Ganache

Heirloom Corn Tostada with Roast Pumpkin & Cashew Nut Mole

Carrot Osso Buco with Parsnip Puree

Roast Loin of Pork Goan

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