Plant-based and alcohol-free Christmas? Yes, but not right away

Plant-based and alcohol-free Christmas?  Yes, but not right away

For the end of year celebrations, are there plant-based alternatives to foie gras, smoked salmon or stuffed turkey? Will we enjoy alcohol-free bubbles? In Europe, great chefs are working in this direction while recognizing that demand is currently marginal.

Mauro Colagreco, chef of “Mirazur” in Menton (south of Europe), 3 Michelin stars and best restaurant in the world 2019, according to 50 Best, believes that these dishes must be “regressive and generous” and please both children and adults. for a successful party.

As a vegetarian alternative, I like artichoke tart, with truffle and Comté cheese.“, the chef told AFP. Rich in the five hectares of the Mirazur garden in biodynamics and permaculture where some 1,500 varieties grow, Mauro Colagreco builds his menus around vegetables with beetroot and caviar as a party dish.

Stephan Paroche from the table of Castigno (one star) in Occitania presents this winter vegetable in an “airy and crunchy” risotto with candied beetroot inside and invites us to “open our eyes” to what we find as a product seasonal vegetables (cabbage, truffle, chestnut, etc.).

“Not yet used to it”

Both chefs offer non-alcoholic drinks as an “extension” of their dishes.

This research launched at Mirazur during Covid led to the creation of the Tempera brand, offering a natural sparkling wine based on sea samphire and elderflower.

A lot of people aren’t used to it yet, but it will come, I’m sure, because, even I who love wine, sometimes I don’t want it“, underlines Mauro Colagreco.

The figures confirm this potential: while wine consumption has continued to plummet in Europe since the 1960s, more than half of alcohol consumers say they drink less or not at all and 66% of wine consumers are interested in a alcohol-free version, according to a study commissioned by the Moderato group, producer of alcohol-free wines.

For its co-founder, Sébastien Thomas, Christmas and New Year are perfect times to alternate the two.

Fill the restaurant

But on the ground, commercial logic dictates different behaviors, even among committed leaders.

A restaurant needs to sell wine to survive“, told AFP Manon Fleury, who recently opened her first restaurant in Paris, Datil, after offering stunning non-alcoholic food and drink pairings during ephemeral projects.

This advocate of cereals and vegetables has created a recipe for onions stuffed with anchovies and einkorn on almond breadcrumbs and dumplings made from choux pastry and celery, but does not rule out making meat on the holiday menu.

Baptiste Renouard, a star at the “Ochre” restaurant in Rueil-Malmaison, near Paris, assures that he is “necessary” to have a plant-based and alcohol-free proposition and “those who ignore this part of the profession will be outdated in ten years”.

For the holidays there will be a pie with Berry potatoes instead of beef Wellington or a fermented pear-lemon-black garlic dessert served with green tea kombucha with cocoa bean peels. And for next Christmas, the chef promises a vegetable foie gras made from pumpkin seeds with spices.

He normally offers a vegetarian menu, but not during the holidays: last year he imagined one and had “zero requests”.

Same story with Glenn Viel, three-star chef at Oustau de Baumanière, in Baux-de-Provence, in the South: “We won’t be able to fill the restaurant by only making vegetables.”

However, the establishment has offered a plant-based menu since 1987 when it was “not well received”. As at the time for plant-based products, demand for alcohol-free products, which have been in place for a year, is still “in its infancy”, he confides.

Christmas menus around the world

Slide: Christmas menus around the world