Dear French market Shoppers
It is La Rentrée, the end of the long summer holidays in France, when all the families return to their cities because the schools, businesses and factories reopen. In fact it is almost impossible to get anything done in France during this long holiday period as the whole nation goes on annual holiday. The French Schools in Johannesburg and Cape Town reopen on the 31st of August. Today I was laughing with one of my clients, a mother of young and very active children, who said thank goodness it is La Rentree as she will be able to return her beloved offspring to the tender care of their school and get a bit of peace and quiet at home.
I have always enjoyed sharing special moments in Cape Town with my clients, whom I often bump into at these events. Last night I listened to the finest violin music that I have experienced, when Joshua Bell, a world famous American violinist, played in concert at the City Hall. He coaxed from his Stradivarius violin a sweeping range of sound from deep, rich tones to exceptional fine, high pitched notes. When he played his whole body wrapped around his exquisite violin and his bow work was so intense I felt that his violin would break because of this pressure. We were all transfixed throughout his performance and Joshua received the longest standing ovation that I have ever encountered. He then delighted us for his Encore with a light hearted rendition of Yankee Doodle. I hope he returns to our city again soon. He is playing in Johannesburg next week so if you can, try and hear him perform.
Also around our city, nature lovers in the Southern Peninsular are keeping their eyes open for endangered Cape Leopard toads as it is their breeding season and they have to cross roads and highways to reach their traditional breeding grounds. So please take care when you are driving at night.
News at the Gardens shopping centre is The Craft Beer festival is underway until Saturday. We have a stand in the centre of the new concourse area where we are enjoying chatting to clients and introducing them to lovely cheeses.
This week we have brought in some new savoury sauces. In addition to our Agrior French Mayonnaise, we have a new Solior mayonnaise sauce range which includes Sauce Bearnaise, a mayonnaise with a hint of lemon, onion, tarragon and chilly pepper, a good accompaniment for shellfish. Sauce Tartare, a traditional mayonnaise mixed with gherkins and Dijon mustard for grilled or cold fish. Sauce Bourguignonne is a tomato based mayonnaise which goes well with red meat.
Apart from our wide selection of cheeses, we have received new stock of the delicious Rillettes du Mans. Ideally this is served on lightly grilled toast as it is quite fatty but has an amazing flavour. We have also received the new stock of Clement Faugier range of chestnuts, from various sizes of Crème de Marron, (chestnut paste made with pureed chestnuts, sugar and vanilla) and Marron Puree, the natural, cooked ground chestnut without any additives. This puree can be used instead of flour to make dense textured cakes.
Our joint venture Patisserie de Paris in Johannesburg has had a great success with their tasting cheese platters. Do remember that we can also offer you platters in Cape Town for entertaining at home or outdoors now that the spring weather is starting to give us warmer days for picnics.
This week we made a delicate asparagus dish with a delicious Fondata sauce. This sauce is made my beating cheese, eggs and crème fraiche over a double boiler until it melts into a thick cheese sauce. We used Comte Vert and Emmental as both cheeses melt easily and have a delicious flavour. After cooking the asparagus, we poached eggs then poured the sauce over the eggs and asparagus. I recommend pairing this dish with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc to match the flavour of the asparagus. Find this recipe here.
I wish you a great weekend and hope to see you again soon.