Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Biltong story

The history of biltong as told by the hosts of De Oude Huize Yard 

The word "biltong" is from the Dutch "bil" (rump) and "tong" (strip or tongue). So it's just that - a strip of meat.
The Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa in the 17th century brought recipes for dried meat from Europe. The need for preservation in the new colony was pressing. Building up herds of livestock took a long time. There was native game about but it could take hunters days to track and kill a large animal such as an eland and they were then faced with the problem of preserving a large mass of meat in a short time in a hot climate during a period of history before iceboxes had been invented. Desiccation solved the problem. Biltong as we understand it today evolved from the dried meat carried by the wagon-travelling Voortrekkers, who needed stocks of durable food as they migrated from the Cape Colony (Cape Town) north-eastward (away from British rule) into the interior of Southern Africa during the Great Trek. The raw meat was preserved from decay and insects within a day or two, and within a fortnight, would be black and rock-hard after it had fully cured.
An old Alexander cutting wheel is in use for the slicing of the biltong.  

The basic spicing is a dramatic blend of vinegar, salt, sugar, coriander and other spices. These were in abundance in the then Cape Colony, as the French Huguenots produced wine and vinegar from their grape crops supporting seafarers from Europe who made the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Town) their halfway stop on the spice route to the Far East and the colony was the halfway stop for seafarers plying the spice routes of the East.

A model also use to cut biltong and it is called a "biltongkerwer" 
BILTONG as we know this delicacy today, is a rich inheritance from pioneering South African forefathers who sun dried meat during their trek across the African Subcontinent.

Today BILTONG and DROE WORS (dried South African sausage) is the most sought after delicacies in Southern Africa. 

Thank you for all the wonderful friends whom are sharing this story!!!

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