Honestly speaking there isn’t a great deal that South Africa can teach France when it comes to gastronomy. The French are known for their flavour and finesse when it comes to their food. Simple food prepared with quiet elegance and impressive skill.
In South Africa, things are a little bit different. Since it’s forming, SA has been a hodgepodge of different cultures. African, Asian and European. This left its mark on South African cuisine. We have a lot of fusion food. It packs a lot of flavour and generally a lot of spice.
Because of the glaring differences, I can understand a lot of South African foods wouldn’t be all that well received in France. In fact, when I am asked by my French friends to share with them some South African food there is only one thing that I can be certain they will enjoy. That’s biltong. Consider it the South African cousin of French saucisson. The low fat, gently spiced, dry cured cousin.l!t.
This is something I have thought about a lot. In general here in France, the butchers trim the meat very cleanly. Minimal fat is left on even the cheap cuts of meat, much more so than in SA or even Australia. But, at the same time, everyone is happy to enjoy saucisson, which is jam-packed with pockets of fat.
Yes, admittedly not all saucisson is created equal but a great deal of saucisson leaves you feeling a little bit oily. Proof can be felt on your fingers and around your lips. With biltong, you avoid this because of its lower fat percentage thus you can snack away guilt free. Biltong is the best. It’s not only delicious but also highly nutritious.
Biltong is packed full of protein, one of the building blocks of our bodies. It is crucial to muscle growth and enables muscular repair. Protein also plays a pivotal role in hormone regulation, particularly those that are linked to motivation and cognition. Due to the high percentage of protein in biltong, it leaves you feeling full and satisfied, which helps you control your appetite. Hello, weight-loss too!
Unsurprisingly, biltong is a wonderful source of iron. Iron is an indispensable component of haemoglobin, essentially, the substance in red blood cells that carries the oxygen in your blood. Without plenty of iron in your diet, your body can’t produce enough healthy blood cells and your body doesn’t get enough oxygen. This can lead to fatigue, a weakened immune system and a general sense of fuzziness. Iron is also a key player in muscle growth and recovery.
Biltong also happens to be rich in zinc and vitamin B 12. Zinc is wonderful because it aids your immune system in both fighting and recovering from illness. Zinc also has antioxidant properties and aids in hormone balance. B12 is similar to iron in that helps with muscle maintenance. It’s also is fundamental in maintaining a healthy nervous system.
A significant amount of Taurine is also found in biltong. Taurine is essential for healthy cardiovascular function, the retina development and function of skeletal muscle, as well as the central nervous system.
Last on the list is creatine! I am sure most of you have heard of this particular compound because of its immense popularity with the gym crowd (in its powdered form). Creatine allows the body to basically produce more energy, faster. This means that when you partake in strenuous exercise, you will be able to train harder and get results faster. That’s right, biltong will make you buff.
All of this combined with its low-carb and low-fat content makes biltong the perfect sports snack for athletes. The delicious, rich flavour also makes it a seamless inclusion to any cheese board or aperitif snack. So what is it that you’re waiting for? Make the switch! Get yourself some biltong!
This post was written by Sian Hobbs of Hobbs & Co. She is a South African food blogger living in Paris. Hobbs & Co. features original recipes for international food and drinks. Check out the blog here! http://www.hobbsand.co/