Trend Watch - Veal

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Veal is increasingly being featured on pub menus
Veal is increasingly being featured on pub menus
PubFood looks at ideas for how pub caterers are capitalising on food trends

Thanks to better animal welfare and more ethical farming techniques, the negative image of veal is steadily becoming a thing of the past.

For a long time, the European white veal industry came under fire for housing calves in crates so small they couldn’t even turn around. But that practice was outlawed in 2007, and the meat has since remerged as a serious gastronomic option.

In the UK, where greater ethical standards have been in place since 1990, rosé veal comes from calves deemed unsuitable for beef production. The calves are slaughtered when they are around six months old, and the meat produced is pink, tender and delicately flavoured.

Soil Association chief executive Helen Browning is an advocate of veal. Browning, who also chairs the Food Ethics Council, has veal calves suckling off their mothers in open fields for up to eight months on her organic farm in Wiltshire, before they go to slaughter.

Much of the veal is supplied directly to her pub, the Royal Oak in Bishopstone, near Swindon. The pub currently offers on its menu a s​low cooked osso bucco (an Italian casserole made with veal shin) with soft polenta and Berkswell cheese for £16.00.

And demonstrating how far the meat has come, veal was a central part of the winning main dish in the north-west final of Great British Menu 2014, which aired on BBC2 last month.

James Durrant, chef/licensee of the Plough in Longparish, Hampshire, cooked up a ‘Blitz Spirit’ sharing dish that featured beans in veal stock with veal sweetbreads, green beans, mushrooms, veal loin and breadcrumbs fried in veal stock and butter. The grand final will be on BBC2 in June.

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