French Market News 03Aug23-Supermoon-Cheese and wine pairing-Caviar-Tete de Moine-French Market recipe 2023 27 Concombre au caviar

Published on: 8 August 2023

Hello French Market friends,

On Tuesday night we had a Supermoon which I managed photo as it was setting at 7am yesterday morning, with an incredible reflection in the sea. Since then our weather in Cape Town has changed overnight from chilly winter temperature yesterday morning of 9C degrees to a hot summer’s day of 29C degrees. Spring never even got a look in. The mountain side is carpeted with daisies, it is so beautiful.

This last week has been hectic – we did a cheese and wine tasting event for a corporate client with 70 attendees (which is why I never managed to send out a mail last week plus I moved home on the weekend and I am surrounded by boxes andcan’t even fine a wine glass). With this number of guests, it required a considerable amount of planning and preparation, we were even asked to do a mini pop-up shop which was fun.

I selected my favourite cheeses and decided which wines to pair with them, I thought you would like to hear about the pairings in case you want to try the same thing yourselves, (Alternatively we can come and organise a private tasting for you and your guests):

The first cheese was a buche de chevre (white goat’s cheese log) which has to be paired with a Sauvignon blanc, no other wine really works with the tanginess of the goat’s cheese). I selected our favourite Comte Lafond Sancerre 2021 produced by Baron Patrick de la Doucette. You can tell that it works well together when you taste the wine, then taste the cheese and taste the wine again. I also told the guests about the reason why there is such a large goat cheese production specifically in the same area of the Loire valley. It is because the invading army of Saracens (Moors) who came up through Spain, were stopped in 732 by the Frankish Emperor near Tours. The warriors travelled with their families and flocks of goats when they went to war, many settled in the area after the defeat, and taught the local farmers how to make goat’s cheese.

I followed this with Epoisses de Chalancey, an incredibly pungent creamy cheese that is washed with Marc de Bourgogne (brandy from Burgundy). I paired it with one of my favourite white Burgundies, as I needed a wine with lots of flavour that could match the intensity of the Epoisses, this was the Louis Latour Pernand Vergelesses Blanc “en Caradeux” 1er Cru 2020 produced in Cote-de-Beaune. This wine has intense aroma and flavours and balanced well with the Epoisses.

Next was Brie de Meaux, one of the great classic French cheeses. I paired this with the Louis Jadot, Santenay 1ier Cru “Maladiere” 2018. This pinot noir comes from the southern end of the Cote-d’Or. Santenay is home to some of the finest vineyards in Burgundy. This wine balances really well with the taste of the brie de Meaux. One of the facts I mentioned to the guests is that a cheese cannot be labelled Brie de Meaux unless it is prepared in the traditional manner from raw milk and hand ladled into the cheese moulds, after it has been salted, the cheese is matured on straw mats.

Then I served a raw milk Camembert from Normandie which tastes completely different to other copycat cheeses called Camembert. A genuine Camembert is made with raw milk from the Normande cows, a breed from Normandy. The taste of the Camembert is reminiscent of algae or broccoli, which is quite different from the Brie de Meaux which has more of a white mushroom flavour. I paired this beautiful cheese with Les Tours de la Roc Grand Cru 2018 produced by Jean-Pierre Mouiex from St Emilion in the Bordeaux region. This blend of Merlot 96% and Cabernet franc 4% pairs well with the Camembert and many other cheeses.

Next, I took Morbier from the France-Comte, this unique raw-milk mountain cheese has a distinctive layer of ash running through the centre, and a medium firm texture. It has a full flavour and I paired this with a beautiful Chateau Neuf du Pape made from grapes grown on 100-year-old vines. This wine is called Centenaire 2019 produced by Domaine Andre Mathieu. This is the oldest vines on the property and the combination of the 13 permitted cultivars gives this wine an aromatic and smooth texture. It can be stored for up to 20 years. The pairing worked really well, the cheese and the wine were equally balanced in tastes.

Finally, I took one of my favourite cheeses, Roquefort this intensely flavoured and salty, sheep’s milk cheese is best paired with a sweeter wine. I chose to pair it with the Chateau Jany Sauternes from Bordeaux made with semillon grapes, which has an intense flavour and worked as a perfect counterpoint to the strength and saltiness of the Roquefort.

All of these wines were tasted in crystal wines glasses made by Riedel. Each glass shape is matched to a specific wine and are designed to bring out the maximum in aroma and taste.
I hope you enjoyed this little excursion into French cheese and wines, we stock all of them in the shop. We also supply the Riedel crystal glasses which need pre-ordering.

In the shop this week we received new stock of Tete de Moine and Baerii caviar from Madagascar.

For my recipe this week I made a very simple dish, little cups made from cucumber filled with some creamed avo and topped with a little teaspoon of caviar. See recipe below. Pair this with a Whispering Angel Rose from Provence to celebrate the start of Summer in Cape Town.

Hope you have a great summer weekend.
Suzanne and The French Market Team

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