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Bars in Montréal are Using Food Scraps to Create Dessert Cocktails

A group of bars in Montreal have figured out new ways to avoid food wastage and cut back on production cost by using one fruit in about four to five different ways before finally throwing it out.

“We zest the grapefruit, juice it, boil the carcass for a cordial, then we dehydrate it and make a garnish with it, and we can blitz it in a blender to make a grapefruit-infused salt.” Said David Schmidt, co-owner of some of the bars involved, quoted in the report on Montreal Eater.

Many bars would just juice the fruits as is standard practice and zest it if need be, and have it thrown out to the trash but not these bars. The bars in question are Chinatown bar Le Mal Nécessaire, St-Laurent beer bar Pamplemousse, swimming pool-themed bar Pelicano, and Peruvian-Japanese restaurant Tiradito.

In these bars, it goes beyond just the reusing of grapefruit — every single fruit that’s being used in the bar has to undergo this process. Limes, for instance, are first juiced to make lime juice, then they are boiled to make what Schmidt calls "lime stock" or lime cordial, and coffee grounds are sourced from nearby café La Finca to create an orgeat-like syrup. For mangoes, after the flesh is cut off, the mango pits are boiled to make a syrup with coriander. Most of the products gotten this way are then used by the restaurants to create new drinks.

Four or five products would usually come out of one type of fruit. At Le Mal Nécessaire, this practice was just used for monthly specials, but now they say there is enough product for the bar use the extra syrups and cordials in more items. Needless to say, this reduces waste considerably.

“It’s a question of looking at what you just used and deciding if there’s still flavour in there. That half-juiced lime is still a beautiful thing,” explains Schmidt.

Not all four bars in question share the same ownership, but there is definitely a close relationship between them.  Tiki bar, Le Mal Nécessaire for instance, makes use of a lot of pineapples, and Pamplemousse picks up the pulp from that to make a dessert best-selling cake.

Schmidt notes that while all this extra squeezing of fruit requires more labour, the staff are happy to do it. Mal Nécessaire staff, he says, even devised the initiative themselves, to cut back on food waste.

He appeals to customers not to see this new process as a decline in quality.

“There’s the idea that we’re selling stuff that wasn’t good anymore, which is absolutely not the case — the case is that we’re going a little more in-depth in processing," He said “We don’t want people to think it’s dumpster diving. It’s not.”

To Schmidt, this idea reduces the cost of production for the restaurant, and consequently, the cost of drinks would fall for the customers too. He is considering introducing the concept to other bars.

“I want to see what they can do with a little labour to avoid throwing stuff away,” he said


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