French Market News 21Sep23-Wine lake-Comte-Vacherousse-Duck Fat-Opera cakes-French Market recipe 2023 33 Blanc de Poulet a la sauce d artichaux

Published on: 22 September 2023
Dear French Market friends,
France is recognised as the leading producer of top quality wines in Europe. One of the craziest things I heard recently, concerning the French and European wine industry, is a massive stock pile of wine due to over production, as a result of changing tastes towards other drinks, such as craft beers plus the economic fallout from the pandemic, which has reduced incomes and spending power. This lake of wine is an extreme situation and is leading to a huge loss for the wine makers, who would need to sell below the cost of production to shift the stock. Therefore, the French government plus assistance from the central EU government, is going to support the wine industry with a E200 million package, to buy the excess stock. The wine will be turned into other alcohol based products. Producers will also be encouraged to look at cultivating other crops such as olives
Imagine trying to get that sort of support for the wine industry in many other countries, the producers would probably be told to make their prices more competitive and work with the market dynamics. Despite this, I hope that France will continue to support their wine industry as it has taken centuries of hard work and knowledge, since the Chateau de Goulaine in the Loire, first started trading in wines in the year 1000,  to develop the French wines to their current position as leaders in the global wine industry.

Here in our little shop we stock a range of French wines which are priced according to their quality. When I taste a Pernand Vergelesses Blanc from Burgundy, or a Sancerre from the Loire, or a Sauternes from Bordeaux, I love the depth of flavour and complexity of these beautiful wines, whilst these are not the top of the range they are good quality French wines. Do come in and have a look at what we have to offer.

In our cheese range this week we have the beautiful Comte from the Jura. This cheese has been aged for 16 months and has a great depth of flavour and slight crystallisation. I like to serve it with fresh apples and walnuts. Also from the Jura we have a new stock of VacherousseThe name means a russet coloured cow, after the beautiful Montbeliarde cows which produce the rich milk for the Comte cheese. Vacherousse is very soft and creamy inside and has a light orange coloured crust, which has a tangy taste.

In our patisserie range this week we have some beautiful individual Opera cakes. These cakes were created by the great French pastry chef Cyriaque Gavillon, who ran Dalloyau, a famous Parisian food company which has been supplying Parisians and the Palace of Versailes since 1682. Cyriaque was a master at creating pastries and sugar decorations. On creating the Opera cake he wanted to create a cake that one would experience all the layers of flavours and textures with one bite. These cakes are made with layers of almond sponge, almond syrup, layered with ganache and a coffee flavoured buttercream. The cake is topped with a thin layer of chocolate. It is said that he called the creation the “Opera” cake because it reminded his wife of the inside of the Paris Opera house, Palais Garnier, with its decorated layers of Opera boxes. Please remember we only stock a few of each cake in our shop, at a time. If you wish to be sure of getting some, please pre-order as our French baker needs several days to prepare the cakes.

Heritage dayis on Monday and we will be open from 9am to 2pm. With our multicultural heritage here in Cape Town you will be sure to find something to please your palate in our shop.

After a long gap in production due to shortages in France, we have received a new stock of Duck Fat from St Orens. This producer is based in the Landes in the South West of France. They raise their ducks on their own farm, the Ferme Jean Sarthe. The ducks roam free and are fed on corn grown on the farm. Duck fat is the best type of fat in which to roast potatoes because it can be heated to a higher degree than other fats. This gives a beautiful crisp, golden brown coating to roast potatoes and has a great flavour.

My recipe this week is very simple and has subtle flavours. We have fresh artichokes in stock. I combined the artichoke hearts with fresh cream and lemon juice to make a delicious sauce for chicken breast. It is so easy to make and the taste is very delicate. This dish goes beautifully with roast potatoes. See recipe below. I recommend pairing this dish with a La Combe Pilates organic Viognier wine from the Rhone region,

Remember this evening you can watch France play Namibia on the big screen at the Alliance Francaise on Loop Street and on Saturday evening the Boks are playing Ireland will be screened at the Alliance. Come in any time from 8pm, drink some French wine and imagine you are in France supporting your team.
Allez les Bleus!

Suzanne and The French Market Team

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