French Market News 21Jun2024-Rand firms-Munster-Riesling-Camembert-Vouvray-Local fresh truffles-French Market Recipe 2024 27Pasta marinara Los Angeles

Published on: 22 June 2024

Bonjour French Market Friends,
As France continues preparations for the Olympic Games in July, our S African sports competitors are being officially listed. Not surprisingly Wayde van Niekerk is preparing to retain his gold medal status and this time he will be accompanied by his sister Kayla Swarts who is named in the RSA National Hockey Team. Kayla was inspired by her brother’s achievements and her cousin, famous rugby player Cheslin Kolbe, to keep pushing her physical achievements. It will be exciting to watch her in Paris.

Back home in ZA, it was good to see that our Parliamentarians and President sworn in peacefully this last week, and the Rands has started to strengthen as a result. It will be very interesting to see the allocation of the different government departments to the new parliamentarians, hopefully we will get a more Business friendly attitude.

Here in Los Angeles, I’m still enjoying the hot summer weather as the temperature heads to 30C degrees. I am inspired by the local food stores and getting plenty of new ideas on products and display units, it will be fun implementing them when I get back. Apart from the local dairy produce there is a strong influence from Italy and France in the gourmet food range, although the raw milk, soft rind cheeses cannot be imported, older matured cheese such as Comte get the nod. The local cheese producers have a great assortment on offer particularly from areas such as Wisconsin.

In our shop this week, from the old town of Munster in the Vosge region of Alsace we have two types of Munster cheese this week. The Benedictine monks who founded their Abbey in the 7th century in the town of Munster, created this style of washed rind cheese and conserved it in the cellars of their Abbey. Made with creamy milk from cows that graze on the summer mountain pastures, this original raw milk 125g Petit Munster made by Fischer is soft in the centre with a distinctive moist orange rind. This is produced by washing the cheese and aging it over a period of at least 5 weeks. This cheese has a great depth of flavour and strong aroma. The more recent pasteurised 200gr Munster has a milder flavour and aroma. Munster is often served with cumin, well-cooked rye bread and a glass of the local Riesling wine.

We stock a good Riesling wine, Prince d’Abbes, produced by Domaines Schlumberger located in the Haut-Rhin region in southern Alsace. Named after the Prince Abbots (monks) from the local monastery who created and maintained the vineyards for over 1,000 years, this winemaker only works with grapes harvested from their vineyards. These vineyards are situated high up on the very steep slopes around the town of Guebwiller. These south facing slopes give the vines plenty of exposure to the sun thereby producing excellent quality grapes. This dry white wine has a golden colour and a fruity citrus aroma. It is smooth and fills the mouth with flavour. I can definitely recommend it. Apart from pairing with Munster I recommend pairing with cooked fish.

Apart from the Munster, there are plenty more cheeses for you to try this week. I recommend that you try the small raw milk Camemberts from Normandy. These cheeses are made in the traditional way, and you can taste the difference in the richness of the milk and the tangy flavour of the crust. We have in two sizes 250g and 150g which are perfect for a little snack. In addition, we have Camemberts prepared for baking with an accompanying dried herbs and garlic mix to sprinkle over your hot Camembert.

Pairing wine with a raw milk Camembert you need a wine with lots of flavour, my preference is the Marc Bredif Vouvray produced by the Baron de la Doucette from the local chenin grapes, grown in the Touraine region of the Loire valley. In this region were many troglodyte caves which were the source of the tufa stone that was mined to build the famous Chateaux of the Kings of France. Subsequently these vast caves were converted into wine cellars such as the ones of Marc Bredif. This beautiful chenin wine is dark gold in colour and has an intense flavour.

The fresh black winter truffle season has just started in South Africa. Often referred to as the Perigord truffle, the Tuber Melanosporum, has a dark brown to black colour, the flesh has white veins which darken to brown. This truffle has an intense aroma. These local truffles are grown on private farms under carefully controlled regulations. This locally grown truffle season is from June to August. Please let us know if you would like to try some of this amazing local produce and we will give you more details on sizes and prices. Pre-ordering is necessary, you can drop me an email or WhatsApp me and I will send you more information. In Europe we are in the summer truffle season which has a far milder aroma.

Staying with a great chef (my daughter Nicky) turns each meal into a feast, even the simplest dishes taste so good because of the combination of the spices and herbs that are added into the sauces. There are so many recipes that Nicky has made, just in this week, that I wish to share with you. Her concept has always been “farm to fork” using the freshest local ingredients to get the healthiest and tastiest meals. We had a seafood pasta dish that was easy to prepare and tasted amazing. A combination of fresh shellfish and white fish with baby tomatoes, onions and herbs cooked in lots of olive oil, tossed over fresh tagliatelle.

I hope you have a peaceful weekend and enjoy some great meals with your friends and family.

Suzanne and The French Market Team

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