Biltong is a marinated and dried meat snack whose origins come from South Africa. ‘Bil’ meaning ‘rump’ and ‘tong’ meaning ‘strip’ or ‘tongue’ in Dutch/Afrikaans. So as you can imagine, our product comes from the rear end of a cow. Many other types of meat can be used to make biltong, but Trois Frères currently sticks with beef (pun intended).
For my American compatriots, biltong is very similar to jerky. There are a few differences, but if you love one, you’ll love the other.
The idea of biltong stems from a marriage of cultures and peoples, as most great ideas do. The natives of South Africa already had a process of drying meat for conservation, when the Dutch, French, and Germans arrived with their own spices and combined them with the Khoikhoi’s drying process. This technique of preserving meat helped the Voortrekkers escape British rule and perform the Great Trek to the inland of South Africa.
Biltong is originally a snack meant to be eaten as is, but as time has gone by you can see biltong being used for everything from salads and stews to muffins. And because of the drying process, biltong keeps almost no fat and guards the rich protein, making it one of the healthiest snacks today.
PS. It also works well for babies when teething.
Like biltong, Les Trois Frères are a mix of cultures coming together in one place. Originally, les trois frères were three like-minded anglophones hailing from America, Ireland, and South Africa. Like many origins, our great story didn’t start with a salad. It started at a bar, talking over a pint.
Fans that we are of France and it’s saucisson, we couldn’t help but notice something was missing. Besides the occasional care package or overly priced imported biltong and jerky we ordered, biltong just could not be found in France. So we decided to remedy the situation and bring biltong to France.
We started simply by importing biltong already made from Spain and giving it out at of a few participating anglophone pubs in the Marseille area. It was a hit. Seeing the opportunity, we decided to get serious and do everything proper - the creation and the distribution. We became businessmen with the idea of introducing a foreign product into a culinary rich culture. Sully and I (Warren) started the long, arduous process of creating a biltong enterprise in France and have only the highest ambitions of bringing it to its full potential. Dried meat is a part of our family and cultural identity, and we are now happy to bring it to uncharted waters here in France.
Gerard ‘Sully’ Smith:
Sully is your true Irishman, the accent, gift of the gab, and red-hair to boot coming from the northwestern part of the island, Donegal (Ireland). Sully grew up with biltong as his father learned to make it from a South African doctor that lived nearby. Sully went to school in Ireland as an engineer while also serving the reserves. After two years, he came to France and joined the French Foreign Legion as a parachutist, where he met his associate and co-owner of Trois Frères Biltong, Warren.
Warren was born and bred in small town Arkansas (USA). He grew up as many Arkansas boys do; hunting, fishing, and running around barefoot. Unaware of biltong himself, he grew up eating jerky of all kinds, usually deer after the season had ended. After high school, Warren joined the Air Force where he served five years and later joined the French Foreign Legion as a parachutist, where he met his associate and the co-owner of Trois Frères Biltong, Sully.
Out of the kindness of their heart:
We would like to give a special Thank You to some of our biggest fans and supporters. We have worked hard towards this French biltong project, and it would not be what it is today without a bit of help from our friends:
Our French side of the website would be quite empty without the help of some incredible ladies to correct our French or just directly translate it from English. Their efforts more than deserve a mention here:
To Mlle Sonia Gaubert, my personal life-supporter, anybody that has one of those knows how important a role they play, and fortunately or unfortunately, I shall not share personal sonnets and odes to her with the public. Her work speaks for itself, and bless her for going over it with me on tired evenings after regular business hours and on weekends. Here is what she's done:
To Mlle Christine Turcan, a customer whose story you can read under ‘Our Fans’ page who became one of our greatest supporters. Not only did she do a large part of translations, but she helped me finalize the special ‘packs’ idea that have been our biggest sellers. She has been my go-to girl for the following work and various other corrections for my creative work (i.e. bags, stickers, etc.):
- Biltong Infographic (Origin story)
And to Mlle Elisabeth Besombes, the newest addition to the team, a professional lady met through one of our many soirées, not only helping with translation, but giving her experienced opinion on marketing and public relations. Elisabeth has jumped into the work with:
- Nos Fans
To all of these ladies, Sully and I are most grateful and glad to have their continued support.
Madame Magali Madec for taking the time to look over and advise us on everything from our logo and site to our strengths and weaknesses as a startup company in France. She is also a professional with her own site: http://www.midimoinsdix.com/
For the hardware:
We would like to say thank you for the honest work of Guy Burbeck and his associates of Atelier GTG for overseeing the 'dirty work' of the construction: concrete, floors, painting and tiling. To give him a bit more work, feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or
09 81 77 45 69
Working with meat requires many standards and regulations in place for cleanliness and temperature control. So we called the cold room expert here in the south, Arthur Froid, who oversaw the placement and construction exactly as we desired; for the walls, cooling units, plumbing and electricity. Giving us a functional, and more importantly, government-regulation-proof environment to ensure everything that gets to you is as safe and clean as it is tasty and nutritional.
Mr. Lo Krijger from Biltong Makers was also a great help in his overall biltong experience advice as well as the supplier of our drying machines and various other pieces of equipment that help us get the biltong to you. Thank you, Lo, for all the friendly and helpful emails along the way.
This would also have not been possible without the help of Marseille Initiative, who has been instrumental in inserting us into the local community; with finding startup money and arranging after-works for classes on understanding the French bureaucracy to beach clean-ups.
Notable mentions in this photo (the ones with the TFB t-shirts) for helping us in our Market Study:
Mr. Gerard 'Sully' Smith himself - current President and one of the original founders of Trois Frères Biltong, next to him,
Mlle Amelie Morello - Sully's better half and with us since the beginning. Thank you, Amelie, for the moral support along the way.
Jameson Zakoura to the right of Amelie, and
Marlène Descaillot just in front of Jameson.
A few crazed anglophone friends, and then myself,
Warren Stribling - current Directeur General (CE0) and one of the original founders of Trois Frères Biltong.