Dear French Market Shoppers,
There is a new movement afoot in the Paris food scene described as “Bistronomie” which is a combination of top chefs offering great food in simpler Bistro style restaurant. Some chefs are moving away from the frantic pressure of Michelin stars and are focussing on producing good food with high quality ingredients in a simpler, relaxed environment. Whilst this may be claimed to be Parisian, I like to think that this style of food is in fact already well known in the country regions of France. I know a little restaurant, down the road from my cottage in Charente, where the owner is also the chef. The décor is really old fashioned and simple but the food is out of this world and would easily rank in a 5 star category here in S Africa.
Many of my clients are returning from their summer holidays in France and come and share their wonderful food experiences with me. They recount stories of market stalls full of fresh vegetables, bunches of radishes, bright red tomatoes, dark purple aubergines, crisp green lettuces, yellow flowers of courgettes and many more delights. They describe the taste of these vegetables which have been grown by the local farmers and delivered straight to the markets without refrigeration. The quality of the produce is key to creating simple but flavoursome dishes. When you are travelling through France ask the locals for their recommendations for local bistros. It is surprisingly still affordable even in our currency.
The fresh black Italian Summer truffles are currently in season and we can get them in on a weekly basis over the next few weeks. These are far more delicate in flavour than the winter truffles but still make delicious dishes. Minimum order is 100g by Thursdays and we get them in the following week. I once had one from Perigord cooked by Thierry Verrat, the chef at La Ribaudiere, a Michelin starred restaurant near the town of Cognac. He took a small truffle, wrapped it in a type of thin ham, encased this with pastry and served it baked with a port jus. It was quite unforgettably stunning (fortunately I was not paying the bill).
At the French Market we try to bring you a reminder of summer in France and the French street markets with our range of cheeses and pates. Our Camembert de Normandie has a most distinctive taste and is lovely and creamy in the centre. You can eat it on some crusty French bread and wash it down with a glass of the local Normandie cidre that we have in our Cape Town shop. With the freezing gales this week many clients are also buying Raclette and Reblochon which can be toasted in front of the fire or cooked in the oven.
I am receiving a small stock of the fresh Burrata with white truffle cream tomorrow. Let me know if you wish me to order one for you.
This week I continued with my search for gluten free recipes that are full of flavour, light on the hips and easy to make. As a child I can remember my mother making beautiful layered rolls of different meat escalopes and cheese. Once these meat envelopes were cooked, we sliced into them and the gooey cheese would run out.
In my (daughter’s) recipe this week we have used the simplest ingredients of free range chicken, country ham and mixed this with the divine alpine Comte cheese from the Jura and some white truffle mustard. The different layers of flavours from the chicken, ham and Comte combine to make a delicious light mid-week meal or can be served cold as part of a weekend brunch. I recommend serving this lovely stuffed chicken escalope with the delicate Triennes Rosé wine from the Vars region in Provence
I hope that you enjoy your weekend and look forward to seeing you again soon at the French Market shop.