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The Avo as The Hero

The Avo as The Hero
Avocado Nosh Board. All photos courtesy of the South African Avocado Growers’ Association.

Avocados are at their peak and the South African Avocado Growers’ Association is giving them a big push right now.

At one stage avocados suffered the same fate as those groovy avocado coloured tiles and appliances did once the Sixties and Seventies were over. They simply fell out of flavour.

Sales of the avocado went into a decline thanks to the myth that, because they are high in fat, they would make the people who ate them corpulent. Fast-forward a decade or two and the little green fruit has made a huge comeback.

Avo toast broke the barriers of Instagrammable foods a few years ago when more than 100,000 #avotoast posts pushed it to the forefront of foodie trends. Eating avo and avo toast became the millennial thing to do. The only downside to the avo, it seems, is its cost in supermarkets – particularly when out of season.

The world’s first all-avocado concept restaurant – The Avocado Show – opened in De Pijp in Amsterdam in 2017 and has been doing a roaring trade ever since, with queues every day to enter this temple to the humble avo. It gained global notoriety thanks to its “avocado burger” – a beef patty with bacon, salad and melted cheese, placed between two halves of an avocado. The Avocado Show became the place to visit and to take pictures to post to Instagram.

The Avocado Show avo burger.

If you are in Amsterdam it is worth a visit. Prices are slightly higher than general Amsterdam prices for similar foods but then it is trendy. However, the food is both healthy and packed with flavour – from The Benny Boy (their take on Eggs Benedict) to the Panko breaded avo fries served with a choice of truffle, mango or wasabi mayo.

A pop-up of The Avocado Show is a big hit in the UK and is running in London’s King’s Road until Sunday. There’s also a branch in Brussels with plans to grow into an international chain.

The South African Avocado Growers’ Association recently hosted a lunch to discuss international and local avo trends.

Their message? It’s not only in the kitchen that avos are shining on the trend forecasts; they’re also turning heads on the wellness A-list. The popularity of keto, paleo, grain-free and “pegan” (paleo + vegan) diets, as well as “neurotrition”, which suggests a strong connection between gut health and cognitive function, have put “good fats” back on the menu. This is also supported by the current move towards embracing healthy fats for healthy ageing (which is fast replacing the old “anti-ageing” idea).

Avo toast may have broken Instagram records in the past but the avo has now migrated from the toaster to the freezer, with frozen avo treats being among the hottest food trends predicted for 2019, says the South African Avocado Growers’ Association. It’s time for bananas to split because the frozen avo lolly is the new sheriff in town. Grab some hummus, tahini, coconut water or even wasabi, add an avo (or two), whizz it all up, freeze it and you’ve got yourself this year’s go-to popsicle.

The Avocado Show’s co-founder Ron Simpson doesn’t believe the photogenic avo is going anywhere soon as every sports and fitness programme now includes avocado in the diet.

He told hortinext.com: “Sushi, tacos, pancakes: the variations are endless. In addition, I’ve already eaten more than 100 avocado hamburgers, and I still enjoy them.”

Showstopper Avocado Mousse

Serves: 4 – 6

An old classic with a modern twist, perfect for a meatless meal. Recipe courtesy of the South African Avocados Growers’ Association.

  • 2 avocados, peeled and chopped

  • 200g plain cream cheese

  • 50g plain low-fat yoghurt

  • 30g coriander, washed and chopped

  • 2 spring onions, finely chopped

  • 1 chilli, finely chopped

  • 1 lime, juice and zest

  • Big pinch of sea salt

  • Grinding of black pepper

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 packet gelatin (substitute 2 tablespoons agar-agar for vegetarian)

  1. Place the avocado, coriander, cream cheese, spring onions, onions, salt, pepper, lime juice and chilli in a blender and puree until smooth.

  2. Pour ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and let it sit for a few minutes. Place the remaining ¾ cup water in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Pour the boiling water over the softened gelatin and whisk until the gelatin has dissolved. Set aside to cool slightly.

  3. Add the gelatin to the mixture in the blender, pulsing until pureed and thoroughly blended.

  4. Pour the mixture into prepared ramekins or a loaf tin lined with plastic wrap. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm (about 2 hours). To unmould, fill a large container with very hot water, dip the loaf tin or the ramekins into the water for 1 minute. Run a small, sharp knife tip around the edge of each mousse. Invert onto a platter.

  5. Serve with Melba toast, avocado shavings and grated radish.

Avocado Garden

This “recipe” does not require master cooking skills nor a green thumb. Simply cut your ripe and ready avocado in half, remove the pip, squeeze over half a lemon and start filling to create a beautiful (and edible) delight.

Recipes courtesy of the South African Avocados Growers’ Association

Vegetarian avo garden

  • A spoonful of labneh (soft fresh cheese made from yogurt or cream cheese) sprinkled with za’atar (ground dried thyme, oregano and marjoram mixed with toasted sesame seeds and salt), grated beetroot, kale chips, mangetout peas, toasted walnuts, fresh herbs such as thyme, basil and Italian parsley, alfalfa sprouts, fresh flowers and micro herbs to garnish.

Vegan Avo Garden

  • A spoonful of roasted red pepper pesto, topped with avocado slices, sesame seeds, pistachios, microgreens and sprouts to garnish.

Avocado Nosh Board

(Main image)

Nosh boards and sharing platters are all the rage. Avocados alone are a complete meal, and need only a few accompaniments to complete the board.

Recipe courtesy of the South African Avocados Growers’ Association

Try a selection of mini vegetables such as carrots, radishes and cucumber wedges along with bread sticks or cheese straws and add some edamame beans, vegetable crisps, olives and fried capers.

Avo Toast

Instagram’s favourite food pic. Avo toast never goes out of fashion.

Ideas courtesy of the South African Avocados Growers’ Association

  • Sourdough toast, topped with avocado slices, cherry tomatoes, crispy seaweed, and a sprinkling of pumpkin seed dukka and smoked sea salt.

  • A toasted bagel or English muffin, topped with pesto, smashed avocado, savoury granola, fennel and rocket salad, drizzled with avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, crushed pistachio nuts and a poached egg (optional).

  • Toasted low GI bread, topped with smashed avocado, cannellini beans, shaved radishes, thyme, parmesan cheese shavings, and avocado balls. Serve with a sprinkling of chilli flakes and a wedge of lemon. DM

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