Posted By Claire Ashbridge-Thomlinson in News

A host of London’s leading restaurants are rising to the London Brewers’ Alliance’s challenge to create dishes, almost on the spot, using the world’s most expensive vegetable - hop shoots. Known to sell for nearly €1,000 per kilo(!) on the continent, the shoots are so expensive due to a labour-intensive picking process and extremely short growing season.
 Hop field

This Friday we're going to be in a field in Kent picking these delicious "poor man's asparagus" with hop growers, brewery peeps, pub guys, bloggers, and beer fans, and then delivering them to restaurants around London, where they will be cooked into exciting dishes. 

Venues include Fera at Claridges, Duck & Waffle, Gauthier, The Dairy, The Drapers Arms, The Bull in Highgate, The Florence in Herne Hill, The White Horse in Parson’s Green, Powder Keg Diplomacy, Temple Street Brewhouse in the City, The Bell in Walthamstow and The Hop & Berry in Islington. Find the full list here.

The initiative’s flying hop ambassador, beer & food expert Melissa Cole, adds: “Similar to asparagus in flavour, but with a slightly earthy element, hop shoots are delicious simply steamed & tossed in seasoned lemony butter; used like samphire in a delicate seafood risotto or you can even pickle them for use all year round.  

Here's a photo of us from last year, after a wonderful lunch of hop shoots cooked in a variety of ways with other foraged foods, and beer provided by Head in the Hat brewery. There's still time to sign up and come chat about beer, pick your own lunch, and generally have a lovely time in the countryside. If you can't make it to the picking this year, head over to one of the participating venues and try some delicious hop shoots.


Hop pickers


 Images used with permission. Copyright S. Farina T     @LaFermata_         @iampissedagain

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