Chef Jackie Cameron rounds up her five favourite local beverages.
Rooibos: While I don’t drink rooibos tea, I know many do enjoy this flavour and when travelling overseas I often gift hosting chefs and hotels with a box. After many aromatic cups of the ‘red bush’ here in South Africa, good Swiss friends of mine only drink rooibos now. I remember marinating quail in rooibos many years back – long before it became fashionable. Some people enjoy its fragrance and flavour – others don’t. That we are all so different is something a chef must always remember.
Amarula: We make a delicious, super-creamy Amarula ice cream with a drizzle of Amarula liqueur, although Amarula on crushed ice seems to be the most popular way to enjoy this local beverage. The tree is one of Africa’s botanical treasures and I have promised myself that one day I shall embark on a road trip to see the formation of a marula tree in the wild. It’s history goes back thousands of years and archaeological evidence shows the marula tree was a source of nutrition as long ago as 10,000 years BC. I remember being hugely disappointed that a local airport didn’t have stock when I was flying out to Spain as I wanted to gift the number one chef in the world, Ferran Adrià, with a bottle.
Van Der Hum: Brandy and wine distillate, flavoured with tangerine peel, herbs and spices and sweetened in a sugar syrup makes the deep-golden amber liqueur we all know. One of the first crème brulee’s I made included Van Der Hum with hand-tempered, citrus-flavoured chocolate truffles. Some flavours just work together…
Zulu beer: This featured as a tasting on my last Christmas menu. It has an acquired flavour, but I enjoy the process of making it because the Zulu chefs in our kitchen team brought so much enthusiasm to the activity. Heritage plays an enormous role in the ‘love’ we blend into the dishes we creates.
Dom Pedro: This South African drink, made by mixing ice cream with whisky, has evolved over the years. I’ve made it with Kahlua, which is my preference, but it can also be made with Bailey’s liqueur. It’s quite strong but tastes delicious – like an adult’s milkshake. On the other hand Dom Pedro makes a delicious dessert. To vanilla-bean ice cream add a tot or two of Kahlua and a drop of cream or milk. Voila… you have the adult equivalent of ice cream and chocolate sauce!