Caking SA’s Culinary History - Part One
Château Gâteaux may not have been in South Africa hundreds of years ago, but you can be sure we’re caking history now. Our proudly home-grown cake brand is honoured to be able to bring you a little bite of South Africa’s culinary history this week!
We have an interesting and hugely diverse range of culinary traditions and flavours in our beautiful South Africa. Let us begin at the very beginning with the original indigenous peoples who inhabited the southern tip of the African continent. The Khoi and San people were hunter gatherers, as you probably know, and roamed the Namib and Kalahari Deserts. We ask ourselves what culinary secrets they could possibly have harboured, coming from this seemingly bleak environment? A surprising variety of edible roots, leaves, plants, berries and nuts were gathered. As well as ostrich eggs. Of course, they hunted for meat and the Strandlopers, who favoured living close to the coast, were spoilt for choice, dining on abalone, mussels, crayfish, wild plants, fruits and seaweed. What a menu. If you were to sit down to a seafood feast today, what dessert would you choose to finish off your meal? Something fresh and zingy, perhaps, like our Passionate Lemon Cheesecake – which comes as a luxuriously large twelve slice cake to share generously with your clan, or you might prefer to select a few small ovals for an intimate lunch party. Delish …
Migrating Bantu people settled themselves in South Africa about a thousand years ago, bringing with them the practice of cultivating vegetables and grains such as maize, sorghum and millet. Our wonderful three-legged potjie pot, used over an open fire, comes from these early settlers Their domesticated cattle were used for milk and they hunted for game as a protein supplement. Mopani worms and other insects were collected and prepared in various ways and are still considered a delicacy today by traditional communities. Château Gâteaux has not yet got into the line of producing blast frozen Mopani worms – so sorry, but we have plenty of cake on offer!!
Early Dutch settlers got a real headstart when they arrived in Table Bay – they learned all about what wild herbs and plants were edible from the San people and made good use of this info when making potjiekos or their slow cooked sticky jams which teamed up perfectly with roasted venison (over an open fire, of course). Absolutely yum. Salads were a favourite of the Dutch which they grew in their vegetable gardens, especially established to supply fresh veg and fruit to passing ships. If you visit Cape Town, or are lucky enough to live there, you must visit the Company’s Garden (Kompanjiestuin). Near the Adderley Street entrance is St George’s Cathedral, where Bishop Desmond Tutu started his 1989 30,000-strong peaceful demonstration against apartheid, and where he famously coined the phrase ‘rainbow people’ to describe the diversity of South Africa’s population (and therefore the diversity of our culinary heritage). What a rich history we have – as rich as our Walnut Truffle! We will let you into a little secret dear reader – as one of our most sophisticated eats, this is a favourite of ours. We would highly recommend it for your next CakeAway!
Another local discovery at this time were waterblommetjies (water lilies), found growing in abundance in the quiet waterways inland from Cape Town. In season the small creamy-white flowers made it into cooking pots in the form of a delicious bredie, a simple but hugely tasty stew. Also simple, creamy-white and hugely tasty is our Vanilla Dream which you can enjoy as a large or medium cake, a duo pack or a two or four-cake variety pack. Talk about spoilt for choice …
Join us next week to continue our South African food travels. Remember that Château Gâteaux is just around the corner, literally or virtually, to keep your heart warm this week with a delicious treat from our cake collection.