Biltong – Discover Why It Is a Great Source of Energy



When the Russians blasted cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin off into space to orbit the earth making history as the first human to journey into outer space, they did their best to make sure he was well provisioned. Although the first manned space flight only consisted of a quick “once round the planet and home again”, Gagarin was provided with lunch. It consisted of a couple of tubes of specially prepared space-meat-paste and one of chocolate sauce which, in true legendary hero fashion, the poor man actually ate. Man’s preoccupation with exploration and discovery is nothing new, if there’s a space on a map that says “unknown” or “here be dragons”, we just can’t resist the temptation to go and have a look. Gagarin’s chocolaty meat paste surprise may have been the lowest technical part of the mission, but it addressed an age old problem for the explorers of all things unknown and distant: What to put in their pack-up?


We’ve come up with some innovative solutions over the years and one of these remains with us in the form of not only a high energy, efficient and easy to transport foodstuff, but it also makes a tasty snack. South African biltong is a well-known feature of the country’s cuisine which has travelled around the globe more times than Gagarin. It began life, almost certainly, in Europe. During the middle ages there was a distinct lack of refrigeration, which led to the tradition of curing and drying Buy Biltong  meat. This process proved ideal for those Europeans who decided to go and check out if the rumours about dragons were really true. Many settlers set off with ships provisioned with various forms of dried or salted meat, which was an ideal, easy to store, high energy and protein packed way to transport and preserve meat. On arrival in South Africa it turned out there was less in the way of dragons than had been expected, but there was plenty of fresh meat in the form of local beef and game. Biltong, as we more or less know it, was born.


Biltong is a perfect food for explorers, sailors, mountaineers or just about any sportsperson. It’s a source of protein which provides essential nutrition and energy. It’s also extremely lightweight which means you can carry plenty, wherever your exploration is taking you. Biltong is made from beef or game and is always made from the leanest meats, making it a low fat option. The air curing process removes the water, reducing weight by two thirds, leaving a tasty lightweight “meal to go”. The taste is perhaps the single biggest element that makes it so popular. The curing process involves the addition of spices and herbs, which give it its unique flavour. Despite its mediaeval origins, Biltong is still going strong and provides one of the most satisfying and healthy snacks for those of us who just can’t resist that search for dragons and/or space monsters.