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Familiar Flavours and French Traditions

Familiar Flavours and French Traditions

Many of our favourite South African recipes have their origin in France. They made their way to the Cape with the French Huguenots when they arrived here in the late 1600's and were adapted to the local ingredients and way of life over the years. 

In celebration of our French heritage in the Franschhoek Valley, here are a few recipes that have been inspired by each other in one way or another:

Braai Broodjies the French way: Croque Monsieur & Croque Madame

The braai broodjie is as South African as you can get and even though the ultimate recipe can make for heated fire-side conversations, in essence, all braai broodjies need quality bread, plenty of butter and oozing cheese. What French favourite does this remind you of? Of course! The delicious Croque Monsieur!

Because no one can teach anyone anything about the braai broodjie anymore, Chef Christiaan shares his recipe for the delicious French cheesy-melt, the Croque Monsieur as well as its sister, the Croque Madame. Slices of bread are fried in butter, covered in Béchamel, Gruyere and Dijon mustard and topped with Gypsy ham and in the case of the Madame, also an egg. Irresistible! Not only are these delights on the Leopard's Leap Breakfast menu this winter, but you can click on the recipes to try them at home. Remember that Sparkling wine is delicious for breakfast and another reminder of our French heritage, so do pop a bottle!

Entrecôte à la Bordelaise the SA way: Steak and Monkey Gland Sauce

The combination of steak and sauce is not really unique to a specific culture, but we know that most classic recipes originate from France. The Bordelaise sauce is one such classic recipe combining bone barrow, red wine and shallots. In South Africa, we have an interesting twist on this recipe, one with a catchy name: the Monkey Gland Sauce! This unique recipe leaves out the red wine (!) and adds a variety of other sauces from bottles - from Worcester sauce to Chutney. While it might scare the traditional French cook, it has that sweet/sour/savoury combination that South African palates enjoy. Get Chef Christiaan's Monkey Gland recipe here

Chicken Potjie the French way: Poule-au-Pot

Although we love red meat, there is no denying South African's enjoyment of chicken! From casseroles to take-aways, chicken is a favourite ingredient and frequent most of our dinner tables. One way in which we like to cook chicken is in a black pot over the open coals with a few basic vegetables. The hoenderpotjie or chicken pot has its origin in a very traditional French recipe, Poule-au-Pot. Try Chef Christiaan's recipe for this pretty, poached chicken, click here.

Crêpes the SA way: Pancakes 

A crêpe is a very thin pancake that originates from Brittany, a region in western France. Crêpes have become popular all over the world - as a sweet, dessert style treat or a savoury light meal option, called a galette. In South Africa, we call them pancakes and while traditionally served with cinnamon sugar and a squeeze of lemon, they can also be filled with a variety of sweet and savoury fillings. Culinary Manager for Leopard's Leap, Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche, shares her mom's fool-proof pancake recipe. Click here.

Cognac Cocktails the SA way: Cape Brandy Sour

Other than a love for wine, there is another tradition South Africans share with the French. Their enjoyment of brandy! (or cognac if you're in France). French cognac producer, Hennessy, shares some lovely cognac-inspired cocktail recipes on its website - click here. Not to be left behind, SA Brandy has their own alternatives and no, it's not just Brandy and Coke! Try one of their delightful brandy cocktail recipes or try our own version, a very sassy Cape Brandy Sour

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