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What Is It and Where Can I Get It? Biltong (Knife & Fork)

April 1st, 2016

A beloved South African treat made of cured, air-dried meat (typically beef, but sometimes ostrich or game), biltong belongs in the same family as jerky, biltong is dried in thick slabs that get sliced thinly against the grain and is frequently served with a mixture of salt, coriander seeds, and black pepper. Connoisseurs want their biltong fat-on or fat-off and sometimes like it seasoned sharply with hot chili pepper. Cape Food & Beverage (2080 Peachtree Industrial Court. 770-395-1255) moved from Sandy Springs to an odd location off Peachtree Industrial several years ago and, as the best South African store in the Atlanta area, offers all sorts of delicious biltongs as well as droewors (dried sausage) and chilli sticks for your snacking pleasure or entertaining needs. A huge selection of frozen savory hand pies, curry powders, hot sauces, cereals, and Brit-style candies is available as well. If you don’t know much about biltong and want a place where you can try it in the proper context, head to Biltong Bar (404-900-7900), an attractive new space in the central food hall of Ponce City Market that is part of the Cape Dutch, 10 Degrees South, and Yebo empire belonging to wine magnate Justin Anthony. The place is open all day, and you can stop by to purchase housemade biltong to go, priced by the ounce and looking a little bit like dog treats in a series of metal bins. You can cop some free samples of perfect fat-on, fat-off, chilli sticks, and droewors if you can get past the mob of people headed to the bar or the small sitting area. There is a popcorn machine behind the counter, and one of the fun things to order is the popcorn tossed with fresh herbs, butter, parmesan, and just enough biltong to satisfy your curiosity. Next time around, have an assortment of iltongs (our favorite is the delicious if odd-looking dried boerswors, a long sausage with a fair amount of sweet fat) paired with cocktails or glasses of well-chosen South African wines such as a Pieter Cruytoff Pinotage. The sausage rolls and savory handpies aren’t nearly as rewarding as biltong, and we, who are usually mad for that sort of thing, were sorely disappointed in Biltong Bar’s dry, tasteless versions of savory baking from blah vegetable curry pies to flat, dried-up sausage rolls.

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