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Published March 16th 2016
African paradise of biltong, it is here
Drying biltong, African jewellery, spices, tarts, clothes, stew pots, Namibiese charcoal ... and a couch! To rest or maybe to ponder over the type of biltong you will take along. Located on the busy Condamine street, Balgowlah side, African Vibes opened its doors six months ago.
"I wanted it to be more than just a simple butchery. I want it to be an experience. I want people to walk in and feel like we are in Africa. It is an African paradise in the Australian paradise," specify Hugh, the South African owner.
Hugh wanted to keep up with a family tradition. He decided to export the Biltong family recipes from Perth to Sydney. "My family has been running a shop in Perth for years", explains Hugh who flew over Western Australia in order to master the mix and offer the meaty treats to the Sydneysiders. A butcher license and an empty store to lease and the story began.
Back in Balgowlah, he started the adventure with his wife and by hiring staff. "I tried to get people who need work. I know it can be hard for the seniors", he justifies. Five senior part-time employees help out at the back. Ordering the "best" cuts of premium Australian beef from wholesale companies, blending spices - where that particular and "unique taste" comes from - seasoning the cuts, hanging it up. Every week, a fresh jerky is made. From fatty to lean, from wet to dry, hot or not. Variety should please every meat lover. Still hesitating? Just ask to give it a try.
There are also different ways you can savour Hugh's biltong. As a snack after working out, in the lunchboxes, as nibbles or in a whole meal. "It is the new superfood of the Northern beaches. Biltong is lean, high in protein and iron, also gluten free. People with diabetes come here. We also have MSG-free pieces of meat". Little by little, Hugh and his team are increasing their production. They are not yet present on the markets but the butcher assures "you will see us soon in the restaurants and butcheries around".
Hugh is working with African communities who make jewelry and chlothes.