We experienced our first power outage (a.k.a. load shedding) in the Gardens Centre last week, whilst there is a central generator so all the central areas and lifts work, the inside of the shops are unlit except Woollies and Pick’nPay who have their own generators. I checked the city website and Eskom which assured me there was no black out at the present – strange, thought I, as I fumbled around looking for candles and matches… the long and short of this is that the French Market shop will carry on trading regardless, as it is light enough to see and rather Christmassy with the candle light J so please don’t stop shopping if the electricity goes off in our area.
I drove out to Darling last Sunday to hand over a cheque from my Rotary Club to my favourite satirist, Pieter-Dirk Uys, for the Darling Trust that he created and generously supports. Our funds were for the building of cupboards at their ECD school, Evita’s Darlings. Pieter, who has just come back from a month in Jo’burg and described that city to me as comparable to “Hollywood living on a volcano” told me that the school now has over 60 Grade R learners. He is passionate about upliftment of the children through education, particularly in the poorer rural areas. Although the school receives basic funding from the WCED, the Trust supports all the extras. If you wish to find out more, you can visit their site www.darling trust.org. The area surrounding Darling has a huge feeling of space with undulating fields topped with baked, stony kopjies under a relentlessly hot sun. The bright green leaves of vines now spreading across the area make a startling cool and beautiful contrast. If you have not been there yet I can highly recommend a visit and you should take in one of Pieter’s fabulous Evita Bezuidenhout shows. The programme can be found at www.evita.co.za.
It is Thanksgiving day in the USA today, my daughter described the scene last year at her restaurant in Hollywood where they had ordered 64 turkeys for their guests, each turkey was given an individual name as they arrived at the kitchen door, these American chefs are quite crazy! I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like in a kitchen to turn out that much cooked turkey in one day. I hope all my USA clients are enjoying their Thanksgiving special meal.
I am expecting a major stock of cheese (200kg) in this weekend in preparation for all the Christmas parties. I have ordered several 1 kg Bries and lots of 250g camemberts as these are ideal for cheese boards for office or home parties. I am also expecting Mont d’Or Vacherin, Pouligny St Pierre, Tete de Moine and all my regulars. I already have several orders for special cheeses such as Vacherin and Tete de Moine, if you wish to pre-book please contact me.
I have plenty of pates in stock particularly the Duck liver mousse which is great for a starter or a picnic plus I have received a new stock of the Doriano crackers which are great to accompany pates and cheese as they are light and not too salty.
The pannettones are all selling well I think because they make pretty gifts when invited out to friends for a meal. You can find all the details of the stock on the price list page
With all the parties coming up its fun to take along something slightly different. I have received a couple of new wines this week which are ideal if you are looking for something under R200: a Belleruche Cote-de-Rhone Blanc 2013 from Maison Chapoutier, this is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc. A Loire Valley Vouvray Brut from Vincent Careme, this is a sparkling wine made purely from Chenin grapes and comes from near Amboise where Leonardo da Vinci lived when he worked closely with King Francois 1st at the Chateau of Chenonceau. I also have a Prosecco from the Veneto region which is light and frothy and ideal for a picnic or light cocktail sitting watching the sunset.
I also have a range of French champagnes in half and full sized bottles which make a great gift for the festive season.
I finally have some Sauternes 2012 in stock from Petit Guiraud, this is the 2nd label of Chateau Guiraud, a highly respected Grand Cru Sauternes in the Gironde region of Bordeaux. I have both the 375ml size and the 750ml size bottles. This beautiful golden coloured, sweet wine is ideal served chilled, to accompany a Roquefort or a desert.
I am expecting the arrival of the Delamain Cognacs in the 2nd week of December . Theses aged Cognacs make wonderful Christmas presents. I tend to keep a limited stock in the shop so I recommend that you let me know if you wish to order some to ensure that you get what you want. The Wines and spirits price list can be seen on the wines page
With the start of the “Entertaining season” I wanted to find something light and delicate to serve as snacks at cocktail parties. Éclairs (flash of lightning) originated in France in the 1800s and were named as such because they were eaten as quickly as a flash of lightning. They are made with choux pastry and can have a variety of fillings. I came across a recipe for small cheese éclairs in my much beloved Good French Cooking Book by Vicomtesse Mapie Toulouse Lautrec. I followed her recipe exactly and used Comte du Jura for the cheese sauce filling. I just need to be able to improve my conversion of inches into centimetres to get the lengths right, as my eclairs turned out as miniscule eclairs so were a bit difficult to fill, but all in all they worked well and tasted delicious. I recommend pairing them with a deliciously chilled Pol Roger Champagne, check the recipe page for all the details.
Do communicate with me if you are looking for ideas for corporate gifts and platters for parties and I will do my best to help you.
I look forward to seeing you soon,