Dear French Market Shoppers,
So much is happening this summer’s weekend in Europe – Wimbledon semis are looking seriously exciting with Roger versus Andy; the Tour de France is in full swing and there is cricket, rugby and golf too; so I expect you will settle down in front of your tv and invite all your friends around to enjoy these activities with you. There is nothing better than watching the cyclists race through the beautiful French countryside whilst you munch on crusty baguettes, French cheeses and drink French wine, it brings a real French atmosphere into your home. You can imagine yourself sitting on the roadside in some tiny French country village whilst you cheer on the cyclists as they race past you. For those of you watching Wimbledon then bring out the strawberries and cream and enjoy them with a bottle of French champagne.
Did you hear that UNESCO has recognised both Champagne and Burgundy in their Heritage lists this week. The Champagne site was recognised as a clear testimony to the development of a very specialised artisan activity that has become an agro-industrial enterprise and the Burgundy site was recognised as an outstanding example of grape cultivation and wine production developed since the High Middle Ages. This is a wonderful start to the celebrations this week to mark the French National Day, Bastille Day, on the 14th July. To recognise these incredible distinctions we are offering a 10% discount on any purchase of two 750ml bottles or more, of Burgundy wine or Champagne in our shop at the Gardens centre in Cape Town. This special offer will run until the end of the month of July and is subject to availability. You can also order by email from me and I will book stock for you.
If you are not watching the sport I suggest you throw a Bastille party this weekend and get your friends to wear berets and dress up in the French national colours blue, white and red, serve them delicious French food and wines and party the night away. I shall be in Pretoria on the 14th for the official National Day celebration at the French Embassy as the French Market has again been honoured to supply French cheese for this event.
If you are living in Johannesburg, do come through to Patisserie de Paris to celebrate their 2nd birthday and listen to some live Jazz on this Saturday morning between 10 and 12. To celebrate Patisserie de Paris is offering a Special of 2 baguettes for the price of 1 on Saturday and Sunday. Their baguettes were rated the best in Johannesburg by food 24.com – Africa’s largest food website. I shall be at the Johannesburg shop this weekend and am available to advise you on putting together cheese platters or just to have a good chat about our products.
This weekend we have replenished all our cheese stocks and stocks of traditional Rillettes du Mans– (shredded pork meat) if you have not tasted it, then you must come in and try some, served on crusty bread, there is nothing to beat the taste. We have also stocked up again on saucisson sec, I have never seen them move so fast as they did the last 2 weeks. Raclette is another big winner – as soon as the temperature drops clients organise Raclette parties and come in for huge chunks to melt over a fire.
I still have a small stock left of Burrata with white truffle sauce, this is the fresh mozzarella balls filled with truffle flavoured cream.
I have been advised that we will have access in the next couple of weeks, to the new crop of fresh black summer truffles, Tuber aestivum, from Umbria. The pungent flavour of the black truffle is far more subdued than the winter variety but the summer variety has sweetness that some have described as “chocolaty”. The price is R525 per 100g. each truffle weighs about 40g. Truffles have to be ordered in advance. For clients in Johannesburg there will be an additional R75 charge per order to cover transport costs from Cape Town.
With the celebration of the French National Day “Bastille Day” around the corner, I reflected on some of the traditional French food products, apart from cheese, which have evolved over centuries. One of them that I am often asked to explain to my South African clients is Crème de Marron. The Marronier (chestnut tree) has flourished in France for centuries and the chestnut provides highly nutritious food in the form of flour for bread, sweetened pastes (Crème) for deserts and unsweetened purees for a variety of dishes. The nut has a unique subtle flavour. In a typical French winter street scene you will often see passers-by eating hot chestnuts that have been toasted over braziers. In this week’s recipe I have made an easy vanilla ice cream with Crème de Marron which gives a marble effect to the ice cream. I recommend serving this ice cream with a glass of brut sparkling Chenin wine from Vouvray in the Loire region. Click here to view the Recipe on my recipe pages.
I wish you Bonne Fete de la Bastille,