Last week I had a meeting with two farmers, a potato one and a meat one. (A perfect match: steak and chips!) I was introduced to the family-owned business of Woodview Farm from the Free State, which has been producing Wagyu beef for a while now. (Wagyu beef genes hail from Japan, where legend has it these cattle are lovingly cared for – even massaged – by their farmers.) Since last year, I have noticed quite a few restaurants supporting Woodview, which is good news indeed.
Brian Angus, the passionate owner of the farm, popped in to have a chat and give me a present of a few cuts of the most beautiful marbled steaks. At the weekend we chargrilled the prime rib steak and it was glorious, the best tasting piece of meat. The texture was soft with little pockets of marbled fat that gently burst with each mouthful. It needed nothing but a little salt to season.
In the pack was also a chuck steak that I thought might be nice in a pie, but after seeing the marbling I just couldn’t resist trying it out on the hot coals. It went on the braai for a minute each side and was as soft as the prime rib and just as tasty.
A few days later I went to see Andy Fenner’s new spot, Publik, in a side street off Bree (opposite the &Union beer garden), and was so inspired how his shop, Frankie Fenner, is brimming with super duper products: slabs of lard, good butter, charcuturie, pots of anchovy mayo (supplied by our 2013 Rising Star Vanessa Marx from Dear Me), and a glass coldroom packed with very good looking meat carcasses.
You can buy some of this prized possession Wagyu at Frankie Fenner or at Braeside Butchery in Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Yes, it’s a premium product that comes at a premium price, but for every now and again it’s a really special treat. Some restaurants like The Local Grill also have Woodview Wagyu on their menu, which won their Ultimate Beef Challenge in 2012 and 2013.
To celebrate other excellent local food producers, remember to send in your nominations for The 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards, whether it’s a steak, jar of your favourite dulce de leche or a wedge of creamy boerenkaas.