Customers had to blink and look again the other night when they witnessed a tin of tuna being served at the Angel Inn! This was no ordinary tin. The tin in question was a tin of Ventresca tuna which is widely regarded as being in league with foi gras and caviar on the luxury food scale.
Simon and I first came accross the phenomenum when we were in Burgundy back in May. One night we had been particularly looking foward to a pizza after feasting on so much rich Burgundian nourishment. (After a few days in Burgundy no matter how much you love the area, alot of the menus do start to look the same!) However the Piqu’ Boeuf on Rue Faubourg Madeleine was closed which was a real shame because their Pizza’s are very good. So walking back down the Rue D’Alsace we walked passed La Part Des Anges, as I have done a thousand times seeing no people in it and thinking ‘what’s the story there?’. Yet we saw signs for tapas and decided to sit on stools outside the place and watch the world go by.
I had been quite surprised and excited that Beaune has somehow discovered Jamon Iberico and we saw it on several menus around the town. (Quite bizarre when you think that the Burgundians are so fiercely perochial with their eating habits, which may also explain why the place always looks so empty ). Anyway a plate full of Bellota was an immediate choice and we had two glasses of Rose with it. Then we asked the very knowledgeable and helpful waiter for some advice and he recommendedthe Ventresca tuna. I had not seen it on a menu in France and my French although good was preventing me from knowing what was coming. We ordered a bottle of Aligote to go with it and were tickled pink when the tin came out on a wooden tray with bread accompaniment. That wasn’t the only thing that was pink! Ventresca is the belly fillet of the Yellowfin Tuna and is almost pink with purpley specks. The best Ventresca is preserved in very neutral oil so as to enhance the buttery rich silky flavour. I don’t think either Simon or I had ever had tuna like it in out lives.
Me being me I sourced 24 tins of it when I got back and shoved it under the Chef’s noses. (Sometimes you’ve just got to co-erce them into new things). It hasn’t reached the blackboard yet but Sarah and I have had it three times in the Angel and I’m sure if you ask for it you’ll be delighted, expect to pay somewhere in the region of £10ish pounds, a perfect sharing starter that comes with capers, lemons and Mark Taft’s very own fennel coleslaw.