Sundries and French products
At first glance it may seem that The French Market only stocks cheese and pâté, but no French Kitchen should be without truffles, chestnuts and a good vinegar. Suzanne has painstakingly chosen the best French products to accompany your cheese and pâté in a collection of Sundries that will wet your taste buds.
Chestnuts – Marrons
Chestnut forests were planted in the Ardeche region by a wise French king to provide highly nutritious food at a time when the population was starving as the chestnut could be cooked and then ground into flour for bread making. Nowadays, chestnut products come in a range of flavours and are versatile in their use. At La Crèmerie, we have a range of Chestnut products made by Clement Faugier and other producers.
The most well-known is the traditional Crème de Marron (chestnut spread). The chestnuts are cooked and then ground, while sugar and vanilla is added to the flavouring to make a thick sweet paste. Crème de Marron is absolutely delightful as a filling for a pancake and is also great over ice cream. Cyclists in France often keep this chestnut spread in their back packs to get a quick energy boost. There is also the Puree de Marron which is the unsweetened puree of cooked ground chestnuts. These can be used in savoury sauces or used to make cakes such as Gateau d’Ardeche. I often enjoy some organic Crème de marron flavoured with honey, speculoos and nougat.
Vinegars and oils
Vinegars create wonderful flavours in salad dressings and many other sauces and the French are renowned for their fruit and herb flavoured vinegars. At La Crèmerie we stock a wide range of flavoured vinegars from Edmond Fallot, Vilux and Capirete producers. Our flavours include a red wine vinegar that has been matured in oak for 12 months; a 20 year old and 4 year old Jerez ( Sherry) vinegar, French merlot, White Burgundy wine, Herbes de provence, Tarragon, Shallotts, Walnut, Blackcurrant, and black truffle vinegars.
The French flavoured oils made by Vilux and Mayor are essential for a good salad dressing. We stock walnut and hazelnut oils plus a range of black and white truffle oils from Peybere and Gemignani. In addition we stock Argan oil known in South Africa as Moroccan oil. Apart from being used in cosmetics, this rare almond oil is also used in many French recipes. The Argan almonds are handpicked, roasted and ground while the oil is frequently used cold in dressings, and surprisingly adds a unique flavour to grilled sea food.
No kitchen can be complete without some delicious truffle products. This unique and rare fungus which grows at the roots of oak and hazelnut trees in France and Italy, produces a highly prized aroma. It can be used in any bland food such as pasta or potatoes and makes the most wonderful sauces. We stock a range of black summer truffles and truffle carpaccio which can be thinly sliced and added to omelettes. White truffle butter is notorious for being scrumptious on steaks or in a cream sauce. Truffle paste on the other hand, can be added to a sauce; while truffle salt is ideal for sprinkling over pasta. Also in the shop are black and white truffle oils, a few drops are sufficient to create an aromatic mist of flavour when sprinkled over a warm mushroom soup.