Those who lead a hedonist life and like to travel will surely know all about this delicacy. When traveling to places such as South Africa, one can enjoy tons of snacks, that are rich in protein, healthy, and straight from nature. One such snack is biltong, which you’re most likely to see in every shop, fancy restaurant, but also at a gas station. Just like chips in Western countries.
Let’s take a closer look at what it is and what can it be made from…
Basically, it’s dried meat. Just like any other, it’s usually served sliced or chopped in pieces of different thickness, however, it does have some particularities. Unlike normal dry meat, biltong can be made of different animals.
Most often, it is made from beef and different game, however, chicken is also used for it, quite a lot. Game in South Africa is not the same thing as in the rest of the world, therefore, it refers to more exotic animals such as impalas, wild cattle, ostrich, and other beings of the bush.
So, it’s important not to confuse it with regular dried meat, since it is obviously very characteristic and has a lot to do with African culture.
A couple of words about its history…
Dried meat generally is a great way to conserve meat in tough circumstances, such as in African temperatures. It was only natural that people from tribes chose this method to conserve as much as they could and store meat stocks for a longer period of time. They used the same method for hundreds of years, and still do because people living in remote places cannot afford to keep a refrigerator or some other house appliance.
It was also a great way for hunters who travel far and don’t return home for days, to preserve what they have caught, plus having a good source of protein while they are on the move. Dry food is the ideal solution for a nomad life.
It is said that European settlers have also picked up this habit and technique for smoking meat from their colonies in Africa. With time, they added something on their own.
How it’s made…
The recipe hasn’t changed much with time. Normally, the finest meat is selected from the loot and cleared out of all the fat. When looking at biltong it is visible there no fatty parts, it’s only the purest possible meat. It is sliced in thin strips, moist with vinegar, and spiced up with sugar, salt, black pepper, and coriander. After this, dried in a special place.
Now that we’ve explained all there is to know about its origin and making, it is time to consider what might be the best way of consuming biltong. Ember Snacks have prepared tons of delicious recipes, explaining how you can enrich your everyday cuisine with it, but we’ll also give you a couple of ideas on how to enjoy this delicacy. So, what does go well with biltong?
The first two suggestions are related to alcohol, of course.
The goal of pairing wine and food is not only to emphasize the taste of food but to enrich the gastronomic sensation. It’s not science that different palates will offer a range of different opinions as well. Therefore, choosing a wine that will fit perfectly with your menu is not an easy thing. But, one type of food that will definitely not fail you is biltong.
Since it’s mostly made of red meat, a glass of red wine will go perfectly with it. Add a selection of cheese with it, and your guests will be confused about whether it’s wine tasting or biltong tasting. It’s a safe combination to go for.
There’s a saying that beer goes well with any kind of meat. And it’s true, especially for those snacks that have a bit more flavor than usual, the ones with dominant spices. That’s why this kind of meat will go fantastic with a bottle of your favorite beer. Salty, spicy slices of meat, plus a slightly bitter taste of the meat will support each other’s consumption. Before you know it, there will be no more snacks on the table or beer in your fridge.
So, beverages like beer and wine will surely deepen the taste. But some activities also support snack consumption. That’s why we suggest you try how biltong goes with the following two…
3. A good game of sports
What’s the first thing you reach out for when going to see a soccer match? It’s the snacks, of course. We’ve mentioned how South Africans tend to sell biltong on every corner, as a snack. So, treat yourself to an exotic snack while you’re in the stadium, or at home, watching your favorite game. One additional reason to do this is because this snack is far healthier than chips, or any other snack you’re used to. It will be a guilt-free date.
4. A camping trip
For those who like to go into nature for a couple of days, food preservation can be a challenge, even with all the modern gear and appliances today. The aim is to bring enough, but not too much. An addition to your food stock should contain biltong, because its nutrient, requires minimal space, it’s not heavy and it can endure a lot. It’s a portion of perfect camping food.
Biltong is a great addition to meals, as well. It can be an exotic substitute for so many foods we’re used to, like bacon. Add it to your morning sunny side up eggs meal, and you’ll enjoy it a lot more than usual.
Some like the combination of sweet and spicy, therefore we suggest you try how it goes with a piece of your favorite cheesecake. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Fresh fruit, also dried fruit will give a combination of sweet, sour, and spicy. If you love to mix regular dry or smoked meat with fruit, you won’t be disappointed with this combo.
Food is all about imagination and creativity, so let loose.