Dear French Market shoppers,
In one week it will be Christmas day and the time has flown by in the race to get all the stocks into the shop in time for the Christmas meals and parties happening all over Cape Town. As most of my stock is perishable I find that the main shopping is done by my clients on the 23 and 24th. I would therefore recommend that you try and come in on the 22nd for your cheese to avoid that last minute rush and to ensure you get your favourites. Please note we will close at 5pm on the 24th, we are closed on 25th, 26th and 1st of Jan otherwise we are open every day throughout the year.
The first white truffles from Albi arrived this week (on order) and when I opened the container I was blown away by the incredible aroma that they give off, it is so much more pungent than any truffle oil that I have come across. I hope to make a truffle pasta one day with a tiny truffle just so that I can experience the ultimate foodie heaven. The truffles will be coming in nearly every week but you need to order in advance. The current price for White Albi truffles is now R3,900 a 100g and I can take orders from 50g upwards.
I have endeavoured to have sufficient stock of food and beverages in the shop to cover up to New Year so have brought in about 250kgs of cheese, umpteen bottles of wines and vintage Pol Roger champagnes and some incredible cognacs. The finest one arrived today, aptly named Le Paradis (Paradise) this cognac is made from the premier cru Grande Champagne grapes of a single vineyard belonging to Ragnaud-Sabarin. This cognac is aged for 60 years in oak and is a blend of their cognacs from 1910, 1911 and 1912 plus a minimum of 10% of the cognac was made before 1870. This cognac was rated as the finest cognac in France in a tasting by the Amphore magazine and is the ultimate gift that one can give to a real connoisseur of cognac. There is a very limited stock so let me know if you would like more details. I do have several other beautifully aged cognacs from Delamain and Hine back in stock, plus 15 year old Armagnacs and Calvados at more accessible prices.
Many of you ask me for advice for a cheese platter to round off your meals. I think it is good to have a mix of pasteurised and unpasteurised cheeses as this allows a range of delicate to stronger flavours so all your guests can enjoy some of the cheeses. I suggest some Brie or Camembert, one of which is unpasteurised, a more pungent cheese such as Epoisses or Munster, some tangy goat’s cheese, some blue either a soft and creamy Bleu d’Auvergne or a strong and salty Roquefort, then at least 1 or 2 harder cheeses such as Cantal (which is a bit crumbly like cheddar) and a Comte from the Jura. This selection will give you a variety of styles and flavours which can appeal to everyone. Depending on your preference I suggest the wines to serve would be Chardonnays or Champagne with Brie and Camemberts, Sauvignon Blanc with goat’s cheese, Bordeaux blends with Cantal and Comte and sweet wines such as Sauternes with Roquefort. The stronger Epoisses could be served with a vintage Champagne. In the end it is all very personal and the best thing is to drink and eat what you like best. Please don’t hesitate to ask my advice that is what I am there for.
I am expecting the last of my stock to arrive by Saturday, I have managed to get some fresh Rillettes de Pork and a few saucisson sec, some little chocolate truffles and more stock of rich duck liver. I also have lots of delicious terrines and pates in stock, the Sanglier, wild boar has been most appreciated by clients who prefer gamey, stronger flavoured terrines.
I have hung up my Christmas decorations and so far Bella, my naughty cat, has only chased a few of them, hopefully they will survive to Christmas Eve. One of my favourite recipes for my Christmas dinner is my English/Scottish grandmother’s Christmas pudding which comes from the 1700s. I was exchanging emails with my sisters in England and Singapore for this recipe – apart from a glass of cognac the pudding also includes carrots and potatoes and has to be steamed for hours, I asked about microwaving but was told there is a danger of it exploding – so I decided I did not need to be cleaning pudding off the ceiling and made it the traditional way in a muslin cloth tied up in a ball. Please see my recipe on the site.
I look forward to seeing you in the shop soon, for those of you who are travelling I wish you a safe journey and hope all of you spend a peaceful and happy Festive time with your families and close friends.
Happy Christmas- Joyeuse Noel