Dear French Market shoppers,
With all the hype over the Rugby World Cup, I raced back from the shop on Saturday and sat enthralled with good friends, whilst tucking into a platter of French pates and cheese and watched with bated breath as ZA stormed in to take on the Japanese. As with all the rest of South Africa I watched incredulously the Boks defeat. Japan certainly deserved to win and I can only hope that the Boks play better this weekend. Luckily I also support France and my enthusiasm in the Rugby World Cup was renewed as the “Bleus” played well and gained a bonus point. I am sure we will all be hoping the Boks wake up for their next match on Saturday.
Today is Heritage day and I wish to share with you how my particular heritage has placed me on the path that led to the creation of the French Market and exactly what it means to me. My family originate in the French Swiss part of the Jura around the 1400s, in the 1700s some of our line moved across to France and later on down to Cuba where several generations were born. My French grandmother was raised in Haiti. With the collapse of the sugar market my father and grandparents decided to return to Europe and settled in Devonshire. I was sent to school near Brussels to improve my French and also spent a lot of time with our French family. As a result I inherited a taste for the wonderful food that is produced in France, not just the amazing cheeses but also products from the different regions such as Provence, the Ardeche, the Jura, each one has such specific flavours. It is not surprising that the French are so proud of their wonderful food as each ingredient has been nurtured to bring out its full flavour.
After moving to Cape Town I was not able to source the cheeses and foods I was used to. Therefore I decided 9 years ago to source these products and sell them at a market just like as one does in France because I reckoned that I was not the only one looking for these specialities. As most of you know the French Market business has developed from there with the opening of our shop in the Gardens shopping centre over 2 years ago and now with our French Market shop in Johannesburg at Patisserie de Paris which is owned by Paul Zwick who comes from German heritage.
By coincidence in the same year that my grandparents migrated back north, Paul’s grandfather was migrating south from Forst (Lausitz) in Brandenberg on the German / Polish border to come and work in the Cape for KWV as a winemaker. I think Paul inherited his grandfather’s skills with fermentation to create his amazing sour dough baguettes.
Down to more serious foodie news…Our fresh terrine and pate range is growing. This week we have received a new stock of Wild Boar and Cognac terrine. This terrine has a rich, gamey taste and lovely meaty texture. It really appeals to the guys, as it reminds them of Asterix and Obelix chasing boars and fighting the Romans. We also received a Pork and walnut terrine, this medium coarse pork terrine has chunky bits of walnuts mixed into it and tastes wonderful spread on some baguette.
Now that everyone is coming in for picnic ingredients or gifts to take to dinner parties we find that our small sized Camembert de Normandie is most popular, the 150g size comes in its own decorated wooden box. It can handle being taken on a mountain hike and also can be given to a dinner party hostess as a thank you gift. To accompany the camembert is brut cidre from Normandie. Do remember that I still have the special offer of 3 bottles for the price of 2.
To celebrate Heritage day Nicky (my daughter) and I decided to try a recipe which appeals to our very mixed heritage. Some of my favourite food stems from the fusion of the Mediterranean cuisine around the south of France, particularly Nice, where the abundance of anchovies from the Med, garlic, ripe tomatoes, black olives, capers mixed with pasta from Italy make a wonderful meal. I have recently started stocking anchovies in the Cape Town shop and also have capers and black olives from France. Penne aux Anchois is so simple to make all you have to do is cook all the ingredients together, boil the pasta and combine everything and Voila! You have a dish that is redolent of all the great Mediterranean flavours.
I recommend pairing this with a Triennes Rose, a dry Rose from Provence made from Cinsaut grapes grown 30km inland of the Mediterranean sea. This estate is owned by the same family that owns the famous Romanee-Conti estates in Burgundy therefore the quality of the wine is of a high standing. Click here to view the recipe
I wish you a great weekend and Bokke please pull your socks up!