French Market News15Feb2024-MyFrenchFilmFestival-Brie de Meaux-Walnut cheese-French Blinis-Bourbon Vanilla-FrenchMarket recipe 2024 07 Parfait Marrons

Published on: 19 February 2024

Bonjour Dear French Market Friends,
This week is the final week to enjoy the online 2024. This global French Film Festival features 26 long and short films, showcasing the diversity of French speaking cinema. The films are judged by a wide panel and also by the audience. Participation is through the online site and, if I am not mistaken, there is prize of 2 Air France Air tickets for audience members, who participate by voting for the films. If you want to watch one of the films on the big screen, the Alliance Francaise du Cap is screening one of the films on the 27th Feb. My favourite film so far is the Atomic chicken, which lasts all of 5 minutes.

I hope you all enjoyed your Valentine’s Day this week, we had an amazing response to the heart shaped Valentine’s cakes that we had specially made for the shop by talented French Patissier Cedric. They sold out the same day, so we had to get some extra ones made and decorated with little hearts for the 14th. I loved the way people responded to the cakes as they were real pieces of art.

This week in the shop, amongst all our beautiful cheeses, we have received new stock of Brie de Meaux. This “king” of the French cheese is made with raw milk which gives a great depth of flavour. For many centuries, unpasteurised Brie was created in the town of Meaux, in the region of Brie to the Northeast of Paris. The production is carefully managed to ensure that the Brie de Meaux remains authentic in flavour and texture. It is matured on straw mats which gives it a distinctive straw patterned surface.

A completely different style of French cheese is the modern St Julien aux noix, a soft cream cheese made with layers of walnut cream. The texture is smooth, and the walnut taste is distinctive.

In our goat’s cheese range, we have received the Picandou, little Crottins de chevre from Perigord. These small circles of fresh goat’s cheese are soft with a velvety texture in the mouth. They can be eaten as part of a cheese board, paired with some fresh figs, or baked on some bread and drizzled with some honey.

In our Sheep’s milk range, we have the sheep’s milk Brie which is creamy and delicately flavoured. We have the Ossau Iraty which is a firm textured sheep’s milk with a dry crust from the Basque region and we have Roquefort, the strong flavoured raw sheep’s milk cheese from the town of the same name. Tasting these three cheeses, one after the other, allows one to explore the wide range of flavours that you can have with sheep’s milk.

We have received a new stock of cocktail sized Blinis from France. These come in packs of 20. They are ideal for serving smoked salmon or caviar on top of some cream cheese.

We have received a new stock of vanilla pods and vanilla paste from Madagascar. This vanilla is known as Bourbon vanilla, named after the original name, given to Madagascar and surrounding islands, Iles de Bourbon. 80% of the world’s vanilla grows mainly in the humid Northeast corner of Madagascar. The pods are very sensitive, therefore the cultivation and harvesting of vanilla is labour intensive, as it is all done by hand. This Bourbon vanilla is the most popular in the world due to the rich dark flavour which brings a depth of taste to the dishes where it is included.  The vanilla paste is vanilla seeds in a sweet thick mixture that can be added to various dishes.

This week’s recipe is an ice cream chestnut parfait, a combination of vanilla caviar (seeds from vanilla pods) chunky bits of chestnuts, lots of cream, eggs, and sugar plus a dose of Cognac. For wine pairing you could try sweet wines with the desert, such as a Sauternes from Bordeaux or a Cognac will also pair well.

I hope you enjoy the welcome rain and cooler weather this weekend.

Suzanne and The French Market Team

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