Twist and Sprout - The Brussels Sprout & Local Produce Fayre of Worcester (Nov. 13th-14th)

Brussels Sprouts

Photo by Esteban Cavrico — Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved

Meet Felice Tocchini, a celebrity chef with a cause. The cause in question? Eradicate the unpleasant memories of English men and women forever scarred by the taste of boiled veggies. To accomplish this, he devised a two-pronged approach: he surreptitiously incorporated local produce into his menu at Fusion Brasserie in Hawbridge and then he organized a celebratory festival in the name of one of the most detested foods on the planet.

When properly handled, the Brussels sprout has a pleasant nutty taste. When overcooked, as they most often are, the vegetable releases sulfur compounds that can lead to post traumatic stress disorder in children and dinner guests. In order to restore the faith of the vitamin-A deprived populace in the gustatory pleasures of this unfortunate vegetable, Tocchini teamed up with local sprout grower William Haines to create The Brussel Sprout & Local Produce Fayre of Worcester.

Intended to celebrate and promote Worcester’s local bounty, the fair brought in vendors such as Lightwood Cheeses, the Malvern baker La Delice and Flights Orchard Organics, with a local produce market supported by Heart of England Fine Foods.

In addition to cooking demonstrations by Tocchini and Haines, student chefs from Worcester College of Technology were on hand to publicly give veggies the respect that they deserve. Other attractions included a painting contest for children, a sprout garden designed by the award-winning Boxcourt Plants & Gardens, and the live preparation of The Sprouty Cake recipe that made Tocchini famous. Featured in local papers and on the BBC, Tocchini’s good-for-you concoction tastes like carrot cake — with Brussels sprouts thrown in. Other culinary surprises included sprout-flavored sausages, twice-baked sprout soufflé and “sproutslaw”. Still not convinced? Among other health benefits associated with the prevention of cancer, sulforaphane (the anticancer compound released when Brussels sprouts are chewed) causes colon cancer cells to commit suicide. Now if that’s not a reason to eat your veggies…

Worcester festivals are good for your health. For your daily dose, click here.

- Courtney Maum

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One Response to “Twist and Sprout - The Brussels Sprout & Local Produce Fayre of Worcester (Nov. 13th-14th)”

  1. Matt
    December 29th, 2008 08:58

    I never knew about the sulfer compounds! That explains why re-heated leftover sprouts are always terrible smelling.

    My favorite way to cook sprouts is to cook pancetta in a frying pan and then add halved sprouts. Use chicken stock to soften the sprouts, crisp them up again, and serve. It’s fantastic. Anyone who hates brussels sprout hasn’t tasted them cooked that way.

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