J Leblanc Vinegars

J Leblanc vinegars are widely considered the best in the business. When Tim, our Director, worked for the famous Roux brothers these were the vinegars they insisted upon. Flavours include: cider, raspberry, red wine, white wine, walnut, champagne and truffle. This company has been making oils and vinegars for more than 120 years in the south of Burgundy. Here's more detail:

Leblanc Balsamic Vinegar 500 ml

This balsamic vinegar has a rich, fruity flavour. It is produced according to traditional techniques using the cooked musts of grapes that are aged in wooden barrels to achieve the distinctive colour and flavour. It is ideal for use in salad dressings, seasoning vegetables and grilled meat and adding depth to sauces and stews.

Leblanc Walnut Vinegar 500 ml

Their walnut vinegar has a distinctive nutty flavour. It is flavoured with specially selected walnuts chosen for their flavour and aroma. It is simply processed for a naturally rich, nutty flavour and is perfect for salad dressings.

Leblanc Truffle Vinegar 500 ml

Their truffle vinegar has a distinctive earthy flavour. It is infused with specially selected truffles and simply processed.

Leblanc Red Wine Vinegar 500 ml

Their red wine vinegar made has a full bodied, rich flavour. It is made from grapes grown in the Burgundy region and has a fabulous rich flavour and colour. Perfect for cooking, this superb vinegar adds depth and flavour to stews and marinades and is great for deglazing meat pans to add complexity and quality to sauces.

Leblanc Bourgogne Vinegar 500 ml

This white wine vinegar has a crisp, fruity flavour. It is made from grapes grown in the Bourgogne region. It is simply processed for a naturally smooth fruity flavour and is perfect for making salad dressings, flavoursome marinades and deglazing meat pans to add depth and quality to sauces.

Leblanc Banyuls Vinegar 500 ml

The Banyuls vinegar has a distinctive sweet and sour flavour. It is made from the same grapes that are used to make the famous Banyuls dessert wine. It is perfect for making salad dressings, flavoursome marinades and seasoning foie gras, cheeses, figs or even vanilla ice cream.

Leblanc Tarragon Vinegar 500 ml

The tarragon Vinegar is made by white wine vinegar infused with tarragon resulting in a herbal, aniseed flavour.

Leblanc Raspberry Vinegar 500 ml

Their raspberry vinegar has a sweet and sour fruity flavour. It is perfect with game or soft cheeses in salad dressings, marinades or sauces.

Leblanc Cider Vinegar 500 ml

The cider vinegar has a distinctive fruity flavour and is made from apples that are specially selected for their flavour, texture and aroma. 

Leblanc Champagne Vinegar 500 ml

Their champagne vinegar has a superior quality and distinctive flavour. It is made from Pinot Gris and Meuniere grapes grown in the Champagne region and is one of the finest white wine vinegars available.

Ponthier Chestnuts

UPDATE DECEMBER 2017: There has been a sharp price rise this year, with a very poor season in France and Spain - 15% of normal harvest. Cynips, a chestnut disease, that has spread to Europe over the last few years and has now spread to Spain, has destroyed most of the production and it will take no less than 6 years for trees to regain a production considered as "normal". 

No-one beats Ponthier for chestnuts. Their range is top-notch, including these bestselling 400g vacuum packs. We love the fact that they are prepared with zero added chemicals, additives or preservatives - it's a 100% natural product. They are also gluten free. 

Vacuum Packed Cooked Chestnuts in 400 G (2X200G)
Packaging: thermoformed packs of 400 G - 12 packs per carton
Palletisation: 8 cartons per layer- 10 layers per pallet- 80 cartons per US pallet
Shelf life: 15 months from production date

You can heat them up by immersing the packs in boiling water for 5 minutes. Or pierce the bag and heat in the microwave for 2 minutes at maximum power. 

Chestnuts are a classic ingredient in stuffings. For a bar snack, try roasting them in a hot oven and sprinkling with sea salt. The nuts are a lovely accompaniment to game, roast meats and even fish. Ponthier suggests a recipe roast fillet of cod meuniere with chestnuts, softened leeks and mushrooms with champagne - very decadent! Another of their tips is roast chicken with chestnuts and white wine with fine-spice pumpkin puree. A Picture restaurant in London they sometimes serve an amazing dish of ravioli with quartered baby Brussel sprouts and beurre noisette. They sneak a layer of chestnut puree to the bottom of the bowl, which adds a lovely subtle sweetness to each mouthful. 

Balsajo Black Garlic - 150g pots

Black garlic is a new line for ESC and the on-trend ingredient for many chefs and caterers. Ours is the best quality on the market, made by Balsajo here in the UK. How to use it? We spoke to Balsajo's founder Katy Heath to get the low down ...

"It's like a flavour explosion in the mouth," explains Katy - who sometimes eats the bulbs whole as a snack. "It has so many layer, textures and flavours. It works as a flavour enhancer but also an ingredient in its own right." 

Black Garlic adds a rich depth of flavour and umami, the sixth taste, to a wide range of dishes. It is subtle but powerful. Used judiciously it does not overpower a dish. "You can use it in so many things that the problem is where to focus," says Katy. 

Top chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Pascal Aussignac, Steve Drake and Anna Hansen have been experimenting with black garlic - see cooking suggestions below. 

A brilliant recent article by Great British Chefs puts the appeal of Black Garlic like this: "The wonderful balance of sweet and savoury yields notes of molasses, chocolate and dried fruit, coupled with tangy hints of balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and tamarind. ... Although it has flavourful garlic undertones, it cannot really be compared to using raw, white garlic – the effect it has on food is so different. Importantly, it leaves none of the pungent odour of traditional garlic – the compound that creates this smell is completely absent from aged Black Garlic."

Suggestions for using black garlic in the kitchen:

- Mash the cloves and add to dressings, sauces and marinades. 

- Add depth of flavour to sauces such as bolognese or ragus. 

- Mix with soy sauce and chilli for a stir fry dressing. 

- Try a wild mushroom and black garlic risotto.  

- Cookery writer Lindsey Bareham recommends adding sliced black garlic to scrambled eggs. 

- Try adding to a normal vinaigrette - a "real winner" says Katy. 

- Whizz into a black garlic allioli. 

- Pair with cheese or spread on toast for cheese on toast.  

- Mix with yoghurt as a dressing for roasted aubergine, says Ottolenghi. 

For a bit of background on the product, black garlic first arrived in the UK in around 2008, but in tiny quantities. Back then, awareness was extremely low and it was marketed mainly as a health product.

Katy and the Balsajo team have refined the 3-week technique for producing the garlic, so that it is more sweet. "It's quite a complicated process - not easy by any means. It needs a lot of loving care," she explains. Only heat and humidity is used to transform the raw garlic. 

Shelf life for the product is extremely long. Store in a cool, dry spot.