It’s not every day you get to do a cooking class at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek.
This was the first restaurant to put South African cuisine on the international map.
Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to spend the morning being guided by their culinary concierge, Annemarie Steenkamp, through a cooking class called ‘South African flavours’.
I wasn’t really sure what we would be cooking, so I got a bit of a shock on finding out that the class was going to be about Biltong. Shocked, because Biltong is a new food item for me and this is where I have to be honest, I don’t like it.
All South Africans reading this, can now look away for a few seconds while I outline what the hell biltong is. It’s like a cured meat. My notes said’ a typical South African snack which was introduced by the early Dutch Settlers’.
The word Biltong is actually translated from the Dutch word ‘bil’ meaning rump and ‘tong’ meaning strip.
Originally the preserving method involved curing strips of meat with salt, pepper, coriander, vinegar and then air dried. Ok, well, that was all new to me and I might add South Africans love the stuff.
So there we are, two Americans, a Mexican and me, all women, standing in a deluxe kitchen with our aprons on, ready to go and make biltong
A slab of Kudu meat is slapped on the counter and Annmarie explains how it takes a number of days to cure this meat. So in the best possible tradition in cooking demonstrations, Annemarie produces an already cured piece of Kudu, one she had made days previously.
Next we have to slice this piece of meat very thinly because we were going to be making biltong chips. I’m going to cut to the chase. After they came out of the oven we got to taste the chips.
I popped one in my mouth and took a sip of Moreson bubbly. The taste was utterly, amazingly delicious. Biltong chips rock.
The class was very enjoyable, loads of tips and lots of laughs. It was very relaxed and we also got to make Buchu Gnocchi. Just as we were rolling out the gnocchi across the counter, Chef Margot Janse popped her head into the class to say hello. It was a real thrill to chat with this multi award winning chef. She is so down to earth and modest. I’m happy to report that my gnocchi was rolled to perfection by Margot because, quite frankly, I was incapable of getting it right myself.
When we finished in the kitchen it was off for some wine tasting at Haut Espoir with Rob Armstrong followed by a picnic lunch. To spend a day like this was a real treat.
The day starts at 10am and finishes off at 3pm, the cost is R900 per person and the next classes are on 5th Sept, 11th Nov, and 7th Dec. Go on treat yourself or someone you love.
To book Tel: 021-876 2151 www.lequartier.co.za
SPECIAL OFFER UNTIL THE END OF SEPTEMBER.
Le Quartier Francais have introduced a special offer on the normal pricing of their courses as outlined above.
1. Book for two people and get a 25% discount.
2. Book for one and your partner/spouse can join you for a free complimentary lunch at the cooking class. (Which you get anyway as part of your course price)