A South African Favourite: What is the History of Biltong?

A South African Favourite: What is the History of Biltong?

You just can’t beat the delicious taste of flavoursome biltong, spiced to perfection! 

It’s the ultimate snack, ingredient for various recipes, and a great source of protein. In fact, biltong is actually healthier than most chips, dips, and a handful of other nibbles! 

With all of these perks, it’s no wonder that biltong is a staple for millions of South Africans, and holds strong cultural ties for proud Saffers.

But for those who are unfamiliar...

What is Biltong?

Biltong is a form of dried, cured meat that, if cut, is sliced into strips by either following the grain of the muscle or sliced into flat pieces across the grain. 

It’s a high protein snack that’s generously spiced, and can be enjoyed in bigger cuts, thinner cuts, or even long, thin snap sticks.

Various spices can be used on different products, so you can devour the same delicious textures you’ve come to love, tailored to your preferred taste. Some biltong can be spicy, others more flavoursome with seasoning like coriander. 

Today, the most popular kind of biltong is made from beef, but there is such a thing as ostrich (high in protein, lean in fat), chicken, venison, kudo, or fish biltong. 

Where Did the Name ‘Biltong’ Come From?

Biltong gets its name from the Dutch words ‘bil’ meaning ‘rump’ and ‘tong’ meaning ‘strip’. This is because we essentially have the Dutch to thank for the wonderful creation of biltong!

What is the History of Biltong?

Sure, meat preservation has been around for centuries, but with the help of Dutch travelers who arrived in South Africa in the early 17th century, the game changed completely...

17th Century: Biltong and The Arrival of Dutch Settlers

When the Dutch settlers, aka the Voortrekkers, arrived in Southern Africa in the early 17th century, they introduced a new kind of curing technique. This included the use of vinegar and various spices such as pepper, coriander, and cloves to flavour their cured meat.

And because there was an abundance of game livestock, settlers began curing meat in large masses, which was a source of fuel for the traveling Voortrekkers. This was the perfect method at the time, pre-refrigerators.

Today, the method has been adapted and improved upon with a few South African tips and tricks over the years! In fact, you can walk into just about any store in South Africa and grab your favourite high protein tasty snack. We love it so much that we’re bringing this delicious Dutch-inspired snack back to the Netherlands!

Buy Biltong in the Netherlands

For those in the Netherlands, we’ve got you covered with a selection of biltong and other South African treats perfect for a little taste of home.

We’re able to ship within the Netherlands as well as throughout Europe (depending on EU laws and restrictions), and focus on wholesome, healthy products made with no added sugar or artificial flavouring. 

Our products are made with 100 percent premium Dutch beef generously coated in aromatic spices, made with our well-sought-after South African recipe and lots of love! 

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