Dear French Market Shoppers,
As we move happily into Spring, I am starting to welcome back to the shop some of our “swallows” as they return to our warmer weather. In France autumn is setting in and the first secateurs were at work in the Champagne producing vineyards of the Marne as the “Vendange” harvesting of the grapes, started this week. 100,000 temporary workers help in the vineyards as all the grapes are handpicked. The date when the Vendange commences in each region is strictly controlled and documented. Interestingly and of concern as well, this documentation clearly shows the impact of global warming which has advanced the start of harvesting by up to 1 month over the last 50 years.
At La Cremerie I stock the legendary Pol Roger Brut Reserve champagne. After the announcement of the next royal baby, I imagine plenty of Pol Roger was drunk at the Palace as it has the Royal Warrant to supply Great Grandmother QEll. I also stock the Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Reserve and Brut Rose Champagne. Nicolas Feuillate is the most consumed champagne in France so it has got to be good too J. The full wine list can be seen on my website click here.
I have a good supply of cheese in this week, some are beautifully pungent but for my clients who prefer the gentle flavoured ones, for example I have Delice triple cream, a completely addictive cheese with a firmish texture and slight tartness on the palate. I have a gentle and smooth pasteurised Brie which arrived with Russian labels. (The cheese had been prepared for the Russian market but due to the sanctions it was exported elsewhere instead) Luckily one does not need to read it to be able to enjoy the taste. There is still some delicious Tomme de Savoie left, this cheese is from the Alps where the cows graze on the high pastures which are filled with little flowers and herbs that give a special flavour to the milk.
In the pate range I have plenty of the smooth Duck liver mousse which is wonderful spread on toast as a quick starter or to accompany cocktails. Another fresh terrine is the traditional Terrine de Campagne, a delicious coarse country terrine made with pork and herbs and the coarse Duck and Greenpeppercorn terrine which has a nice bite to it. The full cheese and pate list can be seen here.
In traditional French cuisine each part of the animal is used with no wastage therefore there are a lot of interesting recipes for “Les Abats” Offal dishes. I am rather conservative in my tastes and am happy eating liver and kidneys as they are full of nutrients but I draw the line at some of the other dishes. I prefer veal or lambs’ kidneys as they have a more delicate flavour than pig or beef. In this week’s recipe, kidneys with a parsley and lemon butter sauce, the longest part of the preparation is the cleaning of the skin and cords/veins inside the kidneys. Once those are removed the rest takes just a couple of minutes. The fresh lemon juice, from my lemon tree, adds a delicious tang to the hot butter sauce.
As a starter I served this recipe with toasted bread croutons, for a main course I would serve this recipe with mashed potato to mop up the delicious butter sauce. Wine pairing was difficult as you have the distinctive flavour of the kidneys, plus the tartness of lemon and the butter sauce. I decided that the beautiful Meursault from Domaine Michel Lafarge was the best pairing as this delicious chardonnay wine has the complexity of flavour to complement this dish. To find the recipe click here.
Now that we have all started to entertain more with the warmer weather, do remember that I am happy to give you advice and prepare platters for you for picnics and parties.
I still have a few places left for my Burgundy wine tasting and cheese pairing on 1st October so let me know if you would like to book.
I wish you a great weekend and look forward to seeing you again soon.