French Market News 2July23-Visit of French Foreign Minister Colonna-Camemberts-Munsters-Vanilla pods-Hot Paprika-Fresh oysters-French Market recipe 2023 23 Baked potato stuffed with Munster

Published on: 5 July 2023

Hello French Market friends,
This week’s letter got off to a slow start but is finally on its way. With all the activities swirling around South Africa and our international “friends” and relations, the big news during this last week was the visit of France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna to South Africa. Minister Colonna is only the second female to hold this senior position in France. During the visit, Minister Colonna highlighted the importance of the strategic relationship between the two countries and the close co-operation in many areas of concern. The Minister also confirmed the wish of France to attend the BRICS summit in August, which was first indicated by President Macron. I am sure that our Cyril will not be giving the same message to President Macron as he did to Putin recently. With Putin’s in-house blip last Saturday, let’s hope he won’t be visiting anywhere for a while, and hopefully our Cyril will roll out the red carpet to Emmanuel. I wonder if Minister Pandor told Minister Colonna how much she enjoys Epoisses, which I remember her telling me, when I supplied the cheeses for an event hosted by the French Ambassador a few years ago.

The most important action during Minster Colonna’s visit, which was welcomed by Minister Lamola, was the signing of a Protocol agreement between our two countries for co-operation on Cyber Forensic investigations. Training has been organised in France for SIU specialists and France is opening an Academy specialising in training in this field in South Africa. This will be of immense value to the SIU’s anti-corruption efforts.

In addition, France U-20 are top of the current U-20 Rugby World Championships happening right now in the W.Cape. This Tuesday all the teams are playing at the Athlone stadium so we can go along and support them, as it is right on our doorstep. (Image thanks to Steve Haag/Icon SPort)

Also arrived from France this week was a new stock of beautiful cheese including baby Munster, raw milk Camemberts and wheels of Brie de Meaux. I am not sure if they travelled on the same plane as Minister Colonna, but they arrived in very good condition. These Camemberts from Normandie and Bries from Meaux are all traditionally made with raw milk and therefore full of flavour. As they ripen the aroma gets stronger and their centres soften into a lovely creamy texture. The brie has a slightly more buttery flavour and the Camembert has more of a tangy flavour. The Camemberts come in 250g wheels and are ideal for cheese platters, picnics, and gifts. The Brie comes in a 3kg wheel and ideal for a really large party. Usually, we serve this in slices. I suggest you try some of each one to really taste the difference between these two great two classic French cheeses.

In our French meat range, we have jars of French terrine which are ideal to serve with snacks for a cocktail spread on slices of French baguette. We also have freshly sliced country pork terrines and creamy pure duck liver mousse.

All our French frozen pastries are back in stock this week, we have the butter croissants, pain au chocolats, chocolat hazelnut croissants and almond filled croissants. In addition, we have Danish pastries, frozen Italian pastas, and readymade tartlet cases.

In our dry goods range, we received a new stock of Bourbon vanilla pods from Madagascar. The vanilla seeds give a beautiful aroma to so many desserts. We also have a new stock of saffron filaments and mild and hot paprika from Spain. Use these when creating a traditional paella.

In our seafood range we received a new stock of Italian Cru Ascetra Baerii caviar roeand we delivered a plate of fresh shucked large oysters from the West coast to a client this week, they were just too beautiful (remember these have to be pre-ordered). Another client ordered 2 kg of Jerusalem artichokes as he could not find any in his area (Pretoria) this was no problem for us, and we had them delivered to him in Pretoria within 48 hours.

Munster is one of those smelly, orange rind cheeses. It originates in Alsace where it was created by monks in the Abbey of Munster in the 17th century. The cheese is created in the morning with the fresh milk to which is added some of the milk from the previous evening. The curds are placed in a mould, then turned and salted for several days. The cheese is then matured for 3 weeks during which time it is washed by hand twice a day. This gives the cheese the orange rind and the strong pungent aroma. It is often served with potatoes, bacon and cumin seeds. This week’s recipe is potatoes filled with Munster, wrapped in bacon and baked. It is a filling and warming dish, ideal for these cold winter days.

Wishing you a great week ahead and “Allez Les Bleuets” to the young Frenchmen playing rugby this weekend.

Suzanne and The French Market Team

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