There’s a new kid on the (salt) block. Bloemfontein is welcoming a first-of-its-kind butchery and Deli in the heart of the city. We’ve been waiting for you, Salt Block!
The Salt Block is everything and a whole lot more than you would expect of a ground breaking, future-orientated, refreshing and funky butchery and deli. Once you step into the beautifully decorated shop in Pres Reitz Street in Westdene, a surprise awaits you around every corner – literally. There are home-made marmalades, interesting condiments and beautifully packaged meats and spices. Dry-aged beef hangs in a spectacular drying cage right in the middle of the space, and the most alluring cheeses and jams (including bacon jam – yes!) are on display.
The owners and management of The Salt Block have had a strong need, if we may call it that, to offer Bloemfontein a one-stop-shop where literally every sold item is carefully picked, ethically sourced and is 100% natural and organic. “It’s about time we go back to our roots and cut out all unnaturally processed or manipulated food and meats. Here at The Salt Block, all our meats are dry aged and sourced from farms where the animals are ethically treated. We’re bringing that peace of mind to our customers,” says manager, Sandy McMillan.
One of the shining stars at The Salt Block, is its magnificently dry-aged steak. Dry-aged means going back to the traditional way of aging meat: by letting it hang in clean, dry air, whilst maturing to a state of delicious tenderness in a natural environment. “We don’t believe in vacuuming our meat. The aging process cannot take place naturally whilst vacuumed. Plus, we try to stay away from plastic at The Salt Block as far as we can. We sell our meat and other items in brown paper bags.”
The selection of cheeses, including the oh-so-delicious string cheese, is to die for. Noah’s Cheese (made in Clarens) features significantly at The Salt Block and is worth a taste. The mouth-watering Salaté Cheese (a type of cheese used in salads) also shouts sophistication – perfect for that gourmet salad you intend to take along to the next braai you’re invited to. And don’t get us started on the Mozerella balls, Jalapeno cheese, and popular Vredenham cheese… delicious!
The Delikaat range sold at the butchery is another aspect that gets us excited. The range was created by a group of women from drought-stricken farms in the Bultfontein district, in an attempt to keep their income up. But listen, these deli products are not your average apricot jam made by gran as we know it. The combination of fresh ingredients are mouth-watering and of the best quality. You’ll be seeing marmalades, salad dressings, bacon jams, sauces and condiments that will take your meal to the ultimate level. Its packaging is enticing, and the origin of the range is heart-warming. Who would want to purchase an item or two (or six) from the Delikaat range? Come have a look!
True to its name, The Salt Block sells salt blocks which are used to sear and cook meat on for a delicious, evenly distributed salty taste. And let’s face it – it’s super impressive to use! These salt blocks come in various sizes and the team at the butchery is available to explain the step-by-step process on the usage of these blocks.
Which brings us to the absolute star of the show at The Salt Block – the range of Wagyu steaks available for purchase there. If you haven’t heard about Wagyu before, in a nutshell: Wagyu cattle have been bred for hundreds of years and are regarded as a national treasure in Japan. In fact, for many years only the emperor, his family and his Samurai could eat Wagyu beef.
The secret lies in the animal’s marbling – every chef’s holy grail. Marbling refers to the small flecks of fat that can be found in-between the muscle tissue. And it’s not just any fat. This fat has a low melting point, which means that the fat literally melts into the meat, producing a buttery flavour that’s rich and juicy while having a silky tender texture. And it’s this sensation – of the meat melting in your mouth, which really makes Wagyu beef a magical and moreish eating experience.
Yes, it’s pricy. But it’s also a bucket list type of pricy. If you’re a true meat lover, you simply cannot live without at least trying a proper cut of Wagyu steak once in your life. And of course, some Wagyu biltong. Mouth-watering doesn’t exactly cut it.
So, for a brand new, eye-opening experience of the new salty kid on the block, make your way to The Salt Block as soon as you get the chance. You won’t be disappointed. As consumers, it’s our duty to support local businesses who go through the trouble of supporting other local suppliers – especially the ones who make it their core business to go about an ethical way of manufacturing and supplying good food.
The Salt Block is at 99 Pres Reitz Avenue, Bloemfontein. Call them on 076-426-1735 or visit their Facebook page: The Salt Block.