Dear French Market Shoppers,
Now that Autumn is underway in France, the first of the Black Burgundy Autumn truffles are coming on to the market. Their season runs from October for a few weeks. This truffle has got a far more distinctive aroma than the summer truffles. The simplest way of eating these truffles is on any dish which has a delicate flavour as the truffles have a distinctive and strong taste. It is served thinly sliced in dishes such as pastas and eggs but can also be served on some home made bread, lightly toasted and spread with French butter. I have received my first stock in Cape Town today and they smell amazing. The truffles weigh roughly 20 – 30 g each. The price is R158 per 10g. Please let me know if you want to have some put aside for you.
I have also received a good stock of fresh mushrooms from Europe, the golden chanterelles, Trompette du Mort and the Pied de Mouton. Each type has its own distinctive flavour and aroma, if you have not already tried them then I can highly recommend them to you. The easiest way to cook them is in a pan in melted butter with a little fresh cut herbs. Their prices range from R89 to 105 per 100g. Do let me know if you wish to pre-order some.
I unwrapped our new Cantalet – the small 10 kg wheel of Cantal Entre Deux, when I cut into the cheese the aroma of the cheese rose up and promised an amazing flavour. It is in perfect condition, the centre has a golden buttercup colour and crumbly texture of the cheese has a dense, slightly tart flavour. Try it with some of our home made onion confit.
I have managed to find some very good locally made, saucisson sec style sausages. They are nice and fat and weigh about 200g each. The traditional one has a good taste of garlic. I also have some local saucisson sec made from Wild Boar which has a stronger flavour. These wild boar come from Paarl, they were brought into the country to protect the vines from the moth larvae that attack the roots. Since then the wild boars have been roaming and breeding around the Welligton, Picketberg and Paarl area. These saucisson sec go well with the crisp French gherkins.
One of the important elements that I find in simple country recipes is the taste of the core ingredients. When these ingredients are plants that are well suited to a particular soil type or environment they will thrive and have a great taste. Most country dishes taste great because the local ingredients grow in abundance so their produce makes great tasting meals. One such simple dish is Pasta with a homemade Pesto sauce. A fresh basil pesto is one of the easiest sauces to produce if you have the right ingredients. Basil thrives in this area and the flavour is excellent. Another key ingredient is the French Market’s 18 month matured Parmigiano Reggiano which adds a beautiful depth of flavour and the third is pine nuts which add a delicious tang.If you cannot find pine nuts then use almonds. Mixing this sauce with a simple plate of pasta creates a dish full of flavour. I suggest serving this dish with a glass of rose from Provence such as Triennes rose. See the recipe below.
I hope that you have a good weekend and look forward to seeing you again soon