Tour Through France
Culinary Tour Through France
10 Weeks. 10 Regions. 10 Exceptional Wines.
Launches after the Societi Bistro culinary Tour Through Italy on 27 July 2016.
Culinary Tour Through France Introduction
“France”– food immediately springs to mind at the mere mention – from ripe camembert, to Pot-au-feu, mouth-watering pâtissèrie and vintage champagne, to mention but a few. This cuisine is imbued with a mystique that is integral to the French way of life.
Paris has always been the culinary centre, but the “gastronomic map” of France reveals the breadth and variety of its kitchens, a journey through which becomes a voyage among tastes, trends and traditions. French food is a regionally based cuisine and many French dishes are named after their place of origin from salade Lyonnaise to quiche Lorraine. When travelling through France, regional differences become very apparent. This is largely as a result of a strong food tradition and the utmost respect for regional produce in the height of its season.
For the eighth year running Societi Bistro is bringing the best of Culinaire de France to Cape Town with its “Tour Through France”– a series of ten regionally inspired menus over ten weeks, in conjunction with ten exceptional local wines.
This “armchair” travel culinary tour starts immediately after the last week of Societi Bistro’s extensive Tour Through Italy.
The French menus has been thoughtfully composed around what is seasonal and available in the markets locally and adapted from the traditional recipes accordingly. Expect slow-cooked classics such as Cassoulet and Boeuf à la Bourguignon as well as lighter dishes as we move into Spring.
Each Wednesday, will see the launch of a new three-course menu, paired with an exceptional local wine. The journey starts in the centre of it all;
Îsle de France – Paris on Wednesday 27 July 2016.
With the oldest house on Orange Street being its home, Societi Bistro boasts three fireplaces, wooden floors, exposed brick walls and unobtrusive service.
Coupled to our Tour Through Italy and France, we promise to keep you warm this winter and beyond!
Bookings are essential on +27 21 42 42 100.
Region 1: Îsle de France - Paris - Wednesday 27 July to Tuesday 2 August 2016
We start our culinary Tour Through France in Paris, the gastronomic capital of the world. Our menu is inspired by three Parisian classics.
The feast begins with Gratinée des Halles, the famous Gruyère and brandy enriched French Onion Soup served at all Parisian markets as a delicious winter warmer.
As a main course, Pot-au-feu – “pot on the fire” epitomises French cuisine: all the ingredients simmering gently in a single pot to create a complete meal – a true classic.
Paris-Brest, the famous Choux pastry ring with a praline crème patisserie filling, was named after the Paris-Brest bicycle race. It was invented in 1891 by a canny Parisian pastry chef who owned a shop along the route and had the idea of producing a wheel shaped cake as a sure sell to the cyclists. It has been a Parisian speciality ever since and is the perfect dessert to end the first leg of our journey.
Gratinee des Halles R40
French Onion Soup, Bacon Lardons, Gruyere Croutes
Pot au Feu R121
Braised Pork Belly, Braising vegetables, Mustard Relish
Paris Brest R58
Crisp Choux pastry, Praline Crème Patisserie
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R40) or bottle (R200) of Fleur du Cap Unfiltered Chenin Blanc. The palate of this wine is rich and full-bodied with multiple layers herbaceous and tropical fruit flavours.
Region 2: Central France - Wednesday 3 to Tuesday 9 August 2016
Our culinary journey through France heads south this week to Central France. The cuisine of central France, a region with very cold winters, tends to be substantial, using the rich flavours of potatoes, cabbages and garlic that proliferate year-round.
Garlic soup is served throughout France and our version comes from the southern borders of the central region. We use traditional duck fat instead of oil, which gives an extraordinarily delicious and unforgettable experience.
Cassoulet takes its name from the traditional casserole dish, a “cassole” from the central region and is a member of the pot-au-feu culinary family. The meal itself is a composite of white (haricot) beans, duck, pork and sausage.
Central France is famed for it cherries, which inspired the dessert this week, cherry ice cream.
Tourain Blanchi à l’Ail R27
Traditional Garlic Soup
White beans, Pork Belly, Confit Duck, Pork Sausage
Cherry Ice Cream R21
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R62) or bottle (R310) of Delaire Graff Botmaskop. Powerful, yet elegant and polished. A red blend with classic aromas of dark berry fruit, spice and cassis. The softness of tannins and balance in structure complete this wine on the palate.
Region 3: Pays de la Loire - Wednesday 10 to Tuesday 16 August 2016
Our third destination in our culinary tour of France is the ‘Pays de la Loire’, known as ‘the garden of France.’
This “land of the Loire River” is a recently created region but encompasses some venerable and famous areas of France. Poitou-Charentes on the rugged Atlantic coast has some of the best oyster beds in France and is the inspiration behind our warm oyster starter with garden vegetables and a light velouté.
Our main course for this week is a typical dish of the orchard-rich Touraine region – pork with prunes, served with pommes Anna – and no, we will not enter into the controversial debate about who Anna is.
The city of Angers is world famous for producing the digestif Cointreau, in homage to this our dessert is an apple, vanilla and Cointreau ice cream.
Warm Oysters à la Poitou-Charentes R83
Vegetables, Light Velouté
Pork with Prunes R122
Pommes Anna, Green Beans
Apple Ice Cream R19
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R30) or bottle (R146) of Nitída Sauvignon Blanc. Heaps of cut grass with crispy green peppers and fresh orange blossom. Balancing this tautness into brilliance, is a fabulous fruity core, featuring apricots, litchis, granadilla and limes.
Region 4: Normandy - Wednesday 17 to Tuesday 23 August 2016
This week, our culinary tour of France heads north to Normandy, a region famous for its camembert, crème fraîche, butter and apples – four classic ingredients in French cuisine.
The region is also known for its mussels, oysters, cider and Calvados, which inspired the starter of mussels steamed with apple cider.
In the Southern part of Normandy is Brittany, traditionally a fishing and farming region with outstanding seafood and wonderful early fruits and vegetables. Our main course of Baked Fish with fennel, leeks and capers is typical of the region. We’ll use local – and sustainable – fish determined by what is available at the market.
Apple Tarte Tatin is a French classic, first invented when one of the Tatin sisters inadvertently dropped an apple tart which – in keeping with the law of toast – landed upside down. The quick-thinking sister simply left it presented upside down and carried on as if she had meant for it to happen. It is especially popular in Normandy, which is renowned for its wonderful apples.
Moules au Cidre R67
West Coast Mussels, Cider
Baked Fish STB
Fennel, Leek, Capers
Apple Tarte Tatin R35
Caramel, Vanilla Ice Cream
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R28) or bottle (R137) of Asara Chardonnay. White pear and citrus on the nose with hints, with white peach aromas and subtle toast. A fresh-fruit entry and full mid palate of cream and buttered toast. Peach and lime zest linger, classic and mouth-watering.
Region 5: Alsace - Lorraine - Wednesday 24 to Tuesday 30 August 2016
This week, Societi Bistro’s culinary journey through France goes North East to Alsace Lorraine. Its cuisine reflects the tangled history with Germany – the region swapped hands many times over the centuries.
The food is rustic making use of pickling, Charcuterie and smoked meats. This is apparent in quiche Lorraine, the classic bacon tart, served with a crisp French salad.
Alsace produces some of the world’s most noted rieslings, which inspires the region’s version of Coq au Vin – Coq au Riesling, a typical meal of the region and is a great example of the Germanic influence.
Alsace borders the black forest in Germany, and was classified as a German territory as recently as 1918. The Black forest has inspired a myriad of cherry based desserts which reflects in this week’s dessert, a black forest ice cream
Quiche Lorraine R51
Coq au Riesling R145
Chicken, Pork Belly, Mushroom, Wine, Cream, Fettuccine
Black Forest Ice Cream R24
Cherry, Cherry Liqueur, Chocolate
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R33) or bottle (R161) of Paul Cluver Close Encounter Riesling. Wonderfully fragrant – concentrated fruit and oral notes. Lots of mango, orange and frangipangi with sweet melon freshness presenting a lime and lemongrass nish.
Region 6: French Alps - Wednesday 31 August to Tuesday 6 September 2016
This week, our journey gains altitude as we head into the French Alps and visit one of France’s great gastronomic capitals, Lyon.
Salade Lyonnaise is a typical dish served in the Bouchons (traditional working-class cafés) of Lyon.
Some of France’s best poultry is raised in Bresse, which inspired the main course of Fricassée de Poulet à la Crème.
Around 1900, Lyon, which was already famous for its cuisine, established itself as the capital of Chocolatiers in France. Small, artisan chocolatiers such as ‘Miasson Weiss’ and ‘Miasson Bernachon’ to this day follow the process from the beginning. Selecting cacao beans from producers around the world. Most Bernachon chocolate is a blend but they do produce a single-origin chocolate, Chuao, from Venezuela. As a tribute, we are serving a luxuriously rich, warm, dark chocolate sauce over Chantilly cream filled Profiteroles.
Salade Lyonnaise R69
Curly Endive, Bacon Lardons, Poached Egg, Chicken Liver Vinaigrette
Fricassée de Poulet à la Crème R130
Free Range Chicken, Cream, Gratin Dauphinois
Warm Dark Chocolate sauce
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R59) or bottle (R290) of Anthonij Rupert Optima. Spicy fruitcake, cherry tobacco and cigar box aromas with juicy plum highlights tempt the nostrils. Complex and refined nose. There’s more elegance and genteel character in the mouth. Ripe and yielding plush black berry fruit, with abundant spice.
Region 7: Burgundy - Wednesday 7 to Tuesday 13 September 2016
Burgundy, this week’s destination in our culinary tour of France, is world famous for its wine.
Burgundian cuisine tends to be rich, full of flavour and the perfect match for the area’s wines. A true French classic served all over France, Pork Rillettes is our starter for this week’s menu.
Wine plays an important role in the region’s cooking, and à la Bourguignonne usually means “cooked in red wine”. This week’s main course Boeuf Bourguignon, along with Coq au Vin, and Jambon Persillé are all classics of Burgundy. We marinated Beef Brisket in red wine and then slowly braised it in the wine with bacon lardons, pearl onions and button mushrooms added into the rich, flavoursome sauce that forms after 4 hours of slow cooking. Served with buttered, mashed potato in the true French style.
As this region is so well known for its wine, with many dishes being cooked in or with wine – we celebrate this with a sorbet infused with pears poached in red wine and spices.
Pork Rillettes R60
Pickles, Crusty Baguette
Boeuf Bourguignon R135
Beef Brisket, Red Wine, Bacon Lardons, Mashed Potato
Pear Sorbet R19
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R48) or bottle (R24) of Lomond Pinot Noir. Good fruit expression, showing cherries and ripe strawberries, rose petals and a hint of cinnamon spice. Silky smooth tannins ensure a well-rounded finish.
Region 8: South West France - Wednesday 14 to Tuesday 20 September 2016
Dipping further South, Societi Bistro’s culinary Tour of France heads into the Pyrenees Mountains and into the South West region – world renowned for its produce including red wine from Bordeaux, prunes from Agen, Armagnac from Gascony and duck confit from Dordogne.
As a starter, we’re serving a Gascony-based Garbure, a rustic country soup which includes confit of duck.
For your main course, Boeuf a’ la Bordelaise – a typical Bordeaux dish with red wine and luxuriously rich, velvet-textured bone marrow.
Southern France is known for picturesque landscapes filled with beautiful lavender fields, reflected in this week’s dessert, a Honey and Lavender Ice Cream.
Rustic Country Soup – Confit Duck, Vegetable Broth
Boeuf a’ la Bordelaise R136
Braised Beef, Red Wine, Bone Marrow
Lavender Ice Cream R16
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R59) or bottle (R294) of Marianne Cabernet Sauvignon. A stunning deep red in color, this wine beautifully expresses fruit avours of plum and red cherry. Taste is wonderfully intense with flavours of well ripened dark fruits, blackberry and mint.
Region 9: Provençe - Wednesday 21 to Tuesday 27 September 2016
Volumes have been written about the beauty, food and culture of this week’s destination in Societi Bistro’s culinary tour of France: Provençe. The flavours of the region are those of the Mediterranean. Sun filled days, oceans of lavender fields and crumbling farmhouses are all conjured up with the mention of Provençe.
The most traditional salad which is this week’s starter is perfectly balanced with the crisp yet full-mouth feel of the Solms-Delta Lekkerwijn Rosé.
Bouillabaisse, the most famous fish soup in the world, is associated particularly with the port town of Marseille. This heavenly soup is accompanied with rouille and crôutes.
Red fruits and berries start making their appearance in spring. In Provençe they are often simply served with a gratinatéed sabayon over them, which enhances their fresh fruity flavour.
Salade Niçoise R73
Olives, Capers, Anchovies
Traditional Fish Soup
Gratin de Fruits Rouges R44
Spring Red Fruit Gratin
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R19) or bottle (R94) of Solms-Delta Lekkerwijn Rosé. Complex and full-bodied with intense fruit flavour and an elegant finish. Alluring deep salmon colour.
Region 10: Corsica - Wednesday 28 September to Tuesday 4 October 2016
We end our tour by sailing across the Ligurian Sea to Corsica, the land of the vendetta and the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. A favoured pastime on the sunny island is occupying café tables for hours, sampling wines and Charcuterie. We have sourced our Charcuterie locally and have paired it with the irresistible Kevin Arnold Shiraz
Being an island the obvious choice for our main course is Line Fish, garnished with a Squid and Citrus Salad.
Crème Caramel is as French as the Tricolour, and it is a firm favourite at every French family meal.
Richard Bosman’s Locally Sourced Selection
Local Line Fish STB
Squid, Citrus Salad
Crème Caramel R19
We highly recommend a 125ml glass (R67) or bottle (R332) of Kevin Arnold Shiraz. A personal expression of the spice and mocca characters this grape shows in the Helderberg – Stellenbosch vineyards. Beautifully soft and velvety tannins make for a great and memorable glass of wine.