The Spekko France Trip
Dreams Do Come True (DAY 1)
Air France’s Flight 995 departing van OR Tambo International on Sunday night, was packed with Kokkedore, Spekko Rice/ kykNET winners, food enthusiasts and a television crew from Kwela. The destination – La Creuzette, a charming 15th century chateu in the village of Boussac in rural France.
La Boussac is no ordinary village: Chopin composed some of his best work while living in the village; Pierre Leroux 1797–1871), philosopher, and friend of women’s rights campaigner George Sand, was mayor in 1848. George Sand who lived here, wrote her romance Jeanne, here in 1836. Then of course, South African artist Louis Janse van Vuuren owns La Creuzette along with former banker Hardy Olivier.
La Creuzette is renowned for the exclusive and rare cooking and painting holidays.
Stepping into this fairy tale of food were the winners in the competition, Elize Seyffert from Vanderbijlpark and Elize Verwey from Polokwane. Kokkedoor 2, episode 12 winners Marius Uys and Chrismont Greeff – who also each won a trip to France courtesy of Spekko Rice – could not wait to try their hand at cooking classes with French chefs from Michelin starred restaurants, visiting village markets and dining experiences that would leave them breathless.
Other guests included Hetta van Deventer Terblanche, Kokkedoor judge and co-winner of Kokkedoor 3, Johnny Hamman.
Arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport on the outskirts of Paris – before dawn on Monday – the weary and travel worn group were picked up by host Hardy Olivier from La Creuzette.
First stop on the three hour journey from Paris to Boussac, included 2 coffee stops and a hearty lunch at the Le’Escale truckstop. This famous eating place serves typical French fare, and caters for the healthy appetites of long-distance truck drivers. The guests tried French mussels served with chips – “frites”; deboned calf’s head, cooked with the tongue and served the traditional way with broth and a side of boiled potatoes; fried calf’s liver; quiche Lorraine; country ham – “jambon”; a slow-simmered dish of beef shins served off the bone with rice and beans; steak hacette or as we know it – a minced meat patty – served with peppercorn sauce and frites; smoked duck breasts served on a salad with duck gizzards, steak tartare and a French style lasagne. Wine from the area complimented the meal.
Stepping from the car at La Creuzette, the guests enjoyed a welcome cup of tea served with delicacies from the Boussac village patissier. The miniature patissires included eclairs, Opera cakes, cream puffs filled with caramel cream and traditional French fruit tarts.
Champagne with appetisers from the chef’s kitchen preceded the formal dinner in the La Creuzette summer kitchen. These included tiny French-style meringues filled with locally made whole grain honey mustard, and soft cheeses with assorted flavourings
Dinner cooked by artist Louis Janse van Vuuren, were served with local wines.
This is what the menu looked like:
Salmon tartare with avocado and beet sprout salad served on a bed of chopped olives.
This course was served with a Antoine Chatelet Bourgogne Blanc Chardonnay 2010.
Confit of duck with fresh plums and gooseberries served with local asparagus was served with a Rasteu * Valee du Thone * 2012 red. Confit is duck legs preserved in duck fat for a minimum of 10 months.
Louise’s masterpiece, “Caprice des dieux” were served with figs three ways. This “folley of the gods” consisted of ovals of local soft cheese sandwiched with apistachio nut flavoured filling.
Chevalier D’Or Premiere Grance Cuvee 2013 was served with the cheese.
The final course of “cannalet” cakes – syrup drenched cheese cakes, were served with lemon verbena flavoured red fruit salad. These petite cakes were baked in traditional copper cake pans by the patissier in Boussac.
Each of the Spekko guests also received a menu with a personalised drawing from Louise.
What an experience! Watch the Spekko website from tomorrow for the recipes and more photographs.