“Watch out or the Krampus will get you”

08 November 2018, 09:25 am
Fine Food by Charles Campion

Christmas is just around the corner but it’s a fair bet that even the most fervent Brexit remainers are unlikely to be including Krampusnacht in their calculations.

Throughout Central Europe the Krampus plays an important role in Christmas frivolities. In Britain smiley old Santa Claus rewards boys and girls who have been good with toys and gifts. On the Continent the emphasis is different; if you have been wicked during the year gone by the Krampus will punish you.

The Krampus is Saint Nic’s wingman and he’s an anthropomorphic figure described as “half goat, half demon, horned and hairy, carrying chains”. On Krampusnacht (the day before the festival of Saint Nicholas) the youths in any self-respecting Alpine town don Krampus fancy dress and take part in a night time fun run.

It’s all a bit moody but the greetings card sellers will do a handy line in Krampuskarten, while the drink of choice for spectators is a punishingly high octane fruit schnapps.

Recently Nathan Pelletier (an eggs-pert ecological economist working at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus and funded by the Egg Farmers of Canada) addressed a weighty question: why don’t we eat more turkey eggs? For North Americans the turkey market is strongest at Thanksgiving and then steadies over the Christmas period. Where there are turkeys there are turkey eggs.

Pelletier suggests that the reason for chicken dominance may be primarily about profitability – turkeys take up more space, eat more and don’t lay eggs as regularly as chickens.

Nevertheless, eggs of all kinds provide relatively cheap protein. Following the quail’s egg boom – it seems that every pub menu in Britain features miniature quail egg scotch eggs – perhaps we should investigate less obvious options? A goose egg omelette is a large and sustaining dish. Duck eggs have long been a favourite with cake bakers for their intensely orange yolks.

From a culinary point of view the most exotic and expensive eggs are gull’s eggs – if you exclude caviar! The gull’s eggs are very rich, in very short supply and with a lamentably short season. They are gathered on the marshes of the south coast and are then snapped up by smart traditional restaurants.

Who would argue that 2019 will see some big issues homing in on the food and drink industry. The current hot fave is cannabis. Autumn saw the mega corporations quietly going about their business. A succession of stock market raids in America saw drinks heavy hitters concentrating on buying into Canadian cannabis companies.

It seems that everyone wants in just before various forms of weed are legalised for both medical and recreational use. Coca-Cola bought billions of shares in cannabis producers while Diageo was also active in the market. Coca-Cola are probably even now working on a medical soft drink which is somewhat a full circle as that is where they started when the company made a drink that teamed cocaine and cola nuts. Refreshing!

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