French Market News 28Sep23-Storms-Camembert-Pont L’Eveque-White asparagus-Broad beans-Paris Brest-French Market recipe 2023 34 Asperges blanches comte

Published on: 2 October 2023

Dear French Market friends,

Last weekend in the Western Cape, we experienced some of the worst weather in years, with gale force winds and over 2 months worth of rain falling over the weekend. Even on the slopes of Table Mountain where the water was cascading down to the sea, as I drove to work on Monday morning, I had to negotiate my way around mud slides and rock falls all along Kloof Nek road, past uprooted trees and branches scattered across the roads, sadly some of the oldest trees in Dewaal Park were uprooted. Luckily most people were safely at home due to the public holiday. I was amazed and grateful, that the City had teams of people out so quickly to try and clear the worst of the damage. Kloof road down towards Clifton is still closed, so the damage must have been worse there. Despite all the stormy weather, our shop was safe and dry inside the Gardens Shopping Centre and we had several clients braving the weather to get their special treats.

We have just received new stock of raw milk Camemberts from Normandie and Pont L’Eveque. These traditional square shaped cheeses have a soft centre and a washed rind which gives them a tangy flavour. We also received washed rind Munster from Haxaire, cheesemakers for over 100 years in Alsace, this has a more pungent aroma than Pont l’Eveque and is often served with cumin seeds. We have a new stock of Buche de chevre and sliced raclette which is most popular in this cold weather, especially when it is melted over potatoes. We received more Reblochon from Savoie which is another favourite, melted over potatoes baked in cream. There is always plenty of cheese available and it is fun to try something new.

In our meat range we have a creamy duck liver parfait made with brandy, and a coarse textured pork terrine. We have saucisson sec plain pork and flavoured with truffle aroma. We have a wide variety of terrines and pates in jars from France.

This week we had our first stock of white asparagusThe season starts in September and lasts for about three weeks. I managed to get some in over the weekend, which sold out straight away. I have ordered more for tomorrow and hopefully will receive the stock.

We received our first stock of broad beans that have also just come into season, their season lasts longer than the white asparagus so hopefully we will have stock for a few weeks. Our violet artichoke season is continuing, and we are selling kilos every week.

In our biscuit range we have started stocking Palmiers, also known as Pigs ears, these are small golden circles made of caramelised puff pastry. We also have some Tuiles, these are very thin biscuits baked with toasted almonds. A perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee. We have some large (10cm) meringues which you can serve with some cream or alongside a dessert. There are plain meringues, or meringues topped with crunchy pieces of Valrhona chocolate, or topped with almonds.

Our French patisserie rangemade by French master chef Cedric, is being greeted with great enthusiasm, everyone who has tried some of our cakes is coming back for more and saying they are excellent. It is so good to get such feedback. One client took a selection for a birthday, and shared the pic with me, she said they looked and tasted divine. The Paris Brest cake is the one in the centre. One of the iconic French pastries, this pastry was apparently invented in 1910 by chef Louis Durand, to promote the idea of a cycle race between Paris and the naval port of Brest. This is a ring of puff (choux) pastry (representing a cycle wheel) which is split in half and filled with a hazelnut mousseline, piped in with a ridged nozzle (possibly to resemble tyre ridges). The top is decorated with toasted almonds, and it is really delicious. Please remember to pre-order as we have a limited stock, and it takes a couple of days to prepare the cakes.

For my recipe this week I chose a creamy, fondue style sauce made with some Comte and a dash of Kirsch (Eau de Vie from black cherries) to serve over the white asparagus, serve this with chunks of fresh baguette and a glass of De la Doucette Pouilly Fume, as the unique flinty flavour in this sauvignon blanc wine pairs well with the earthy flavour of the asparagus.

I hope you have a great weekend and that the weather continues to warm up a bit.
Suzanne and The French Market Team

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