French Market News 9Jun23-Comrades Marathon-Burgundy 2020 tasting at l’Aubergine-Personalised wine and cheese tasting-Delice triple Cream-Epoisses-French Market recipe 2023 21 Boeuf Bourguignon

Published on: 9 June 2023

Hello French Market friends,

This weekend sees the world-famous Comrades Marathon taking place in KZN on Sunday. With 20,000 participants flying in from over 84 countries, from as far afield as Canada and Australia, this is going to be a great event. The race is going down to Durban this year and is known as the toughest marathon in the world. If you are running, then I suggest you stock up on some crème de marron (sweetened chestnut puree). Chestnut puree is rich in manganese and releases energy slowly into the body. They are a favourite energy booster for the French long-distance cyclists.

This week I had the great pleasure to attend an intimate Burgundy 2020 vintage, wine and food pairing at l’Aubergine. The owner Harald Bresselschmidt, is one of our great classic chefs in South Africa. His reputation for consistent excellence in the food that he creates, has been well deserved over many years. I have memories of the traumatic time during the Pandemic when all our restaurants were locked down and Harald coming to my shop and telling me how he was supporting all his staff during that period. The emotional and financial hardships we all endured during that period remains etched in my memory. Harald’s actions proves that great restaurants ride out the good and the bad times, not only through the creativity of their owner/chefs but through their personal commitment in caring for their staff. I am personally so glad that l’Aubergine survived as I love eating there.

The food and wine pairing I experienced at l’Aubergine was created around the exceptional 2020Burgundian vintage. This vintage was the result of a very hot, dry summer which led to one of the earliest harvests on record in Burgundy. We had a very personalised presentation by Michael Fridjohn, who walked us, figuratively speaking, through a very small and highly sought after region of Burgundy, intertwining his personal experiences and sharing his great love and knowledge of Burgundian wines with us. I think this will stay in my memory, not only as one of the most informative tastings, but also one of the most pleasurable in the sensory combination of great wines and food pairings created by Harald. Also, it was fun, as I sat down at the table, to find that there were at least five French Market clients at the table with me.

Personally, and I am no expert, I found that the white burgundies we tasted were stunning, the effect of the hot dry climate on the chardonnay grapes has led to a vintage of exceptional freshness, full of rich aromas.They can be drunk now but will also age well. Each wine had a completely different character.
The most intense white wine was the Louis Latour Pernand Vergelesses Blanc 1er Cru from vineyards around the village of the same name. These vineyards are located on the slopes of a relatively small hillside (Michael described it as a koppie), in the Cote d’Or region of the Cote du Beaune. The chardonnay grapes are hand picked, then pressed and aged upto 10 months in French oak barrels. The aging in the oak barrels gives these Louis Latour wines their unique taste. The barrels are made inhouse by Louis Latour’s cooperage, from oak trees that are over 150 years. The wood is then aged outdoors for 2 years before being crafted into barrels. I have watched barrels being made and the method where they are toasted. This involves building a fire inside the partially structured barrel and toasting according to the wine master’s specifications for each wine, from a delicate toasting to more robust flavours.

In my glass the colour was a beautiful gold. As I inhaled the intense aroma of toast and almond dominated. On tasting I also picked up vanilla. The taste of the wine lingered for a long time in my mouth. Harald paired this white Burgundy with a starter made from veal tongue with an avocado lime vinaigrette, tarragon aroma and fennel lavache.

The availability of the 2020 vintage is limited, and I recommend that you pre-order if you would like to get some. We will have a limited stock in the shop next week. I will tell you more about the red Burgundies in next week’s newsletter.

We are hoping to put together some wine tastings for our French Market clients. Please contact me for further details and I will give you more information on the events that we are planning. Do note that we are also able to organise private tastings paired with some of our amazing cheese in your personal home or office, where you invite your friends or corporate clients (that you wish to impress) to join you in a private tasting.

The cheeses from Burgundy that we have in stock in the French Market shop right now, are theaddictive Delice triple cream, this cheese is made with extra cream thereby making it incredibly rich and dense, with a slightly tart delicate flavour. On the other end of the taste scale from Burgundy, is the famous Epoisses de Bourgogne. This cheese is finely sprayed with the Marc de Bourgogne (Burgundy brandy) until the rind develops a distinctive orange crust and gooey centre. It has an incredibly pungent nose and delicious flavour. It is rumoured that this cheese is banned on public transport in France.

For my recipe this week, I decided that a Boeuf Bourguignon would be the appropriate warming dish to serve on a cold winter’s evening. The origin of this dish goes way back to the Charolais region in Burgundy where the local breed of white coloured Charolais cattle were first recorded before the Middle Ages. The Charolais beef is of excellent quality and has a great flavour and is distinguished by the “Lable Rouge”. The dish was made famous by the great French chef Escoffier, combining the Charolais beef, local Burgundian red wine, herbs, and various other ingredients. Its reputation spread to the USA through Julia Childs famous French cooking classes. See the recipe below. I recommend pairing with a Pinot Noir from the Burgundy region available at the French Market shop.

We wish all of you participating in the Comrades Marathon this weekend a great and successful run,

Suzanne and The French Market Team

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