French Market News 13Jun2024-Election Fever-Gnus-Crottin de Chavignol-Smoked salmon-French Market Recipe 2024 26 Les Madeleines au zest de citron

Published on: 16 June 2024

Bonjour French Market Friends,
This has been a very turbulent week for politics, in Europe with the European Parliament’s Election ending with a strongly increased support for the far-right wing at the cost of the Liberals and “greens”. Immediately President Macron called a snap election in France at the end of June, instead of waiting another two years, with the hope of holding his centrist party support together. Possibly vying for attention from the Brits, who had announced their decision to hold a snap election in early July.

For us at the tip of Africa, a couple of weeks in South African politics can seem like an eternity, as we wait on the edge of our chairs to find out if we end up in a morass at the bottom of the global economic pit or actually live up to our name as a vibrant and maturing democracy. Most of us (who voted) have had our eyes and ears firmly glued to our screens since our General Election on the 29thwatching the fall out of past political friends and exploratory kiss and cuddle with new friends by our local politicians. We are learning that a GNU is not, as we thought, a South African large antelope with sharp horns but a previously unheard-of alignment of the two main South African political parties plus a few smaller parties. Tomorrow is important for us as the new Parliamentarians are sworn in and vote for our next President. I wish them lots of success and good common sense. As a local entrepreneur that has built my business from zero to a small but stable entity, creating employment for others, like so many other entrepreneurs here in this beautiful country, all we want is stability and the opportunity to grow our businesses.

Currently I’m sitting a few thousand miles away on the West Coast of the US in a flower-scented garden, in the Hollywood area of LA, watching events unfold. This is supposed to be a holiday for me, but like most entrepreneurs we never really can take a break. At 5 pm on Tuesday, when I was trying to wrap up and leave for the airport, we were getting in orders from clients around ZA which we did service and deliver the next day. This is partly due to the Pandemic, which forced me to set up online global systems for my business. This has really paid off now and with my great support team, we can keep our service going while I enjoy some summer sun.

I feel at home here in the Laurel Canyon area, just up from Sunset Boulevard, it reminds me of Cape Town with blue skies, lots of greenery, palm tree lined roads and the ocean. Latest fashion on the street seems to be extremely short shorts and white tackies, accompanied by a small fluffy pet on a lead. The main difference between these two regions is the massive purchasing power of the locals, the mansions are huge, their residents are famous, the cars are the top of the range, and the local Viper Room night club is owned by Johnny Depp.

I checked out Bristol Farms the “local” supermarket and found shelves packed with beautiful organic fresh produce from the Californian farmers alongside some of “my” French cheeses such as Delice triple cream. There is a wide selection of regional wines alongside a stunning range of French wines and champagnes. You can literally buy anything you want here.

So, you may ask, what do we have to offer in Cape Town? We have our beautiful mountain, our unique culture and our French Market gourmet food shop which brings the treats of France to your door. Our wide French cheese selection offers an appealing range of tastes and textures from soft and gooey to firm and crunchy, from delicate to pungent aromas. One thing I know is that there is no right or wrong taste, it is unique and personal. We want you to enjoy your selection. When you come to our shop, I do encourage you to taste the cheese, in order that you can compare what suits your palate best.

This week we have received a new stock of cheese including unique goats’ cheese from the Loire region. The Crottins de Chavignol AOP s is a small, firm textured ball of cheese made from raw goat’s milk with a great depth of flavour from the town of Chavignol. The Saint Maure is a smooth goat’s milk cheese dusted with ash. We also received some St Marcellin, the soft textured small cow’s milk cheese that comes in its own little dish from the town of the same name. We have a new stock of St Nectaire, this is a medium firm textured cheese that has a washed rind. The crust is moist and pungent with an orange colour which darkens to grey as it ages.

To pair with our cheese, our French wine range includes a selection from the great wine regions of France, plus fortified spirits including Cognac and Calvados, Crème de Cassis, and Vermouth.

In our seafood range we have received some wild caught smoked salmon from the northern Pacific, packed and imported via France. We have white anchovy fillets from the Mediterranean that are preserved in vinegar and oil. We have some Ortiz white tuna and Oscietra caviar from Italy and Baerii caviar from Madagascar.

Our French patisseries are made for us by master pâtissier Cedric, each cake is a work of art and tastes amazing, because Cedric uses imported chocolate. The cakes include chocolate hazelnut, Megeve with white meringue, Praline, Raspberry, Mille feuilles, Paris Brest, Opera and Eclairs plus little macarons. I find it is very hard to resist the temptation of eating cakes every day.

We also have a stock of freshly baked madeleines made with a hint of lemon zest. For this week’s recipe I decided to share my recipe for Madeleines, these are traditional small, sponge cakes which are baked in pans with a distinctive shell-shaped base. They originated in Lorraine and are very popular in France. I love them and enjoy having them in the kitchen when I feel like a little sweet snack at the end of the day. They are not difficult to make if you have the madeleine-shaped baking pan, if not substitute a small muffin pan, it won’t look quite the same but at least they will taste good. There are many different variations of this traditional cake, I used an old French recipe with rum and added lemon zest which gives a delicious flavour. I suggest pairing with a glass of Louis Latour Macon Lugny Chardonnay as this wine has a hint of citrus.

I wish you an enjoyable and peaceful weekend.


Suzanne and The French Market Team

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