Quince is an old-fashioned fruit that grows well in Britain and is an autumn/winter highlight for us. Quince is quite rightly coming back into culinary fashion and, as owners of our own tree, we look forward to the annual ritual of making membrillo (quince cheese) as soon as the fruits are ready, as well as quince vodka or quince syrup to flavour a cava aperitivo.
As we approach the festive season we often use quince just as a table decoration (the Victorians used the fruit to scent their knicker drawer!), but they do well as an alternative Christmas dessert, roasted in the oven or in a jelly, subtly flavoured with cinnamon with Greek yoghurt and pistachios. For parties, we often pair slivers of membrillo with delicious Manchego (Spain’s most famous cheese) to make the most wonderful tapa, the perfect flavour combination, especially when accompanied by a glass of nutty, dry Oloroso sherry. Another favourite is quince and lamb tagine. Lightly spiced with ginger, cinnamon, turmeric and paprika, this is a classic Moroccan pairing of slow-cooked meat and fruit that is rich, earthy and warming which is perfect as winter creeps in.
At Moro we will be using quince in our charcoal grilled duck breast with patatas pobres, quince alioli, red cabbage and apple salad dish, on our Christmas menu.