Dear French Market shoppers,
Tomorrow will be the 1st anniversary of my permanent shop, La Crèmerie, at the Garden’s Centre. The time has raced by and the shop has developed as I had hoped. My concept was to create the atmosphere of a real French shop where one can buy good quality cheeses which typify each regional taste and I believe that I have succeeded. The addition of my French wines and spirits last month has added a whole new dimension to the French shopping experience. I have had a wonderful response from the many people who have visited my shop and have made many new friends who share my passion for good food and wine. It seems that I am still the only shop in Cape Town that focuses solely on French gourmet products. My weekly newsletter has well over 2000 subscribers so I must be doing something right. I hope that you have enjoyed my shop as much as I do.
My cheese stock this week is plentiful with lots of “Lait Cru” (raw milk) cheeses. This means that the flavours of the cheese are more intense and full of character. I still have some of the deliciously pungent Brie de Meaux, I was surprised by how many people really love that intense flavour. You are always welcome to taste the cheeses to see which you prefer. I also have some delicious fresh French pates and saucisson sec in stock.
I have been adding to my wine stock, apart from the Burgundian Chardonnay that I mention below in my recipe, I have added an interesting little Bordeaux Blanc from the Chateau Cheval Noir, one of the oldest chateaux in Bordeaux. The wine is a subtle blend of Sauvignon Blanc 80%, Semillon 10% and Muscadelle 10% with notes of flowers and fruits. This light wine’s alcohol content is only 12.5% which makes it ideal for lunchtime. Please click on the link for the full details of the wine cheval noir blanc
This week I managed to catch a wonderful French film at the Labia, in English its title is “Haute Cuisine”. It is based on the true story of a farmer/chef from Perigord who is invited to cook for President Mitterrand’s private meals at the Élysées Palace because the President wanted meals such as his grandmother used to cook. It highlights the chef’s passion for creating excellent meals by using the best regional products which is quintessential for good French food. The film is funny and poignant, sometimes I almost cried. The images of the food are so good my mouth watered. My favourite line in the film was when the chef is giving instructions to her young assistant and rattles off 4 ingredients for a recipe as in “a quarter of this”, “a quarter of that” and finishes with an additional “fifth quarter” the puzzled young chef comments that this is more than 4 quarters, to which she replies “we are chefs not accountants”. This film has inspired me to keep seeking to cook simple, traditional recipes which have a good flavour because of the quality of the ingredients but are not necessarily very complicated to make.
In my garden, right now, there are lots of bright yellow, lemons hanging off my solitary lemon tree. This has tempted me to make recipes which include their delicious flavour. I have recently brought in a Burgundian Chardonnay “La Vignée” from Bouchard Pere et Fils. The wine has been matured in the cellars of the Bastions of the ancient Chateau de Beaune for over 7 months, 20% in barrels and 80% in vats therefore it is lightly wooded and silky with a lovely fruitiness. For this week’s recipe I have combined these 2 ingredients to make a delicate flavoured and quite delicious chicken dish: Poulet braise au vin blanc de Bourgogne. It is ideal if you are looking for a simple to prepare dish that can simmer on the hob while you manage a million other tasks. You can add some baby potatoes to the chicken if you need a more substantial meal or you can just serve it with a light side-salad, dressed with olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Click here to see the recipe on my website. Click here for more details on the wine bourgogne blanc la vignée
I hope that you enjoy your weekend and I look forward to seeing you again soon.