Taste of Durban Experience

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I can’t believe I have to wait a whole year for the next Taste of Durban! As soon as the gates opened it was “ready, set, TASTE” time! At first I was rather overwhelmed; only four hours were given for each session, and Shane and I had to try fit in as much as we possibly could. With the Taste of Durban map in hand and scoins in our pockets, we had a quick walk through to plot our food journey and then began our fun tastings of food and drink.

 

Just getting started
Knowing this was going to be thirsty work, our first stop was at the Original Cocktails stall for their funky bright colour plastic tube-like cups and slush puppy ‘oh-so-yummy’ cocktails. Next on the to-do list was the eKasi experience. I was a bit nervous to taste this food, mostly because I didn’t know what to expect; but when I arrived at their tent, the atmosphere put me at ease and the food I saw come out looked rather pleasant. The eKasi Experience, which featured Max’s Lifestyle from Umlazi offered a choice of three tasters; Tripe with a cabbage and carrot hotpot with dumplings, Max’s Homemade Boerewors with herb and maize meal mash and chakalaka, or Grilled lamb chops served with pap and salsa. We ordered the lamb chops and must say this dish was probably one of the simplest but the tastiest! The lamb was tender, the pap sticky and the salsa had a subtle bite.
Wasting no time, we went to the Milk Stout tent where we were welcomed with smiling faces and a glass of a freshly cracked and much smoother Milk Stout. I’ve never had Milk Stout and was even more delighted to see a new Chocolate infused Milk Stout. We were seated and offered a sweet and savoury dish to pair the Milk Stout with. The piece of steak was absolutely TENDER!

Chef’s in action

Soon after the Milk Stout yummy experience, we headed to the Chef’s Theatre where we were welcomed with cranberry and champagne drinks. We attended the beer and food pairing session where Chef Patron Marcelle Roberts and Brewmaster Paul Ten Horn from Café 1999 and Unity headed the demonstration. Chef Marcelle certainly made the recipes look easy but more importantly she made stunning mussels in a beer broth and beer ice-cream. These tasters were probably another of our Taste highlights! It was truly amazing; these recipes will definitely be tried at home!

Robertsons and Spice teamed up with the Big Green Egg and demonstrated how to make an interesting meaty meal. On the demonstration table, executive chef Craig Elliot seasoned a Wagyu Rib-eye steak with salt, pepper and paprika. A marrow, pomegranate and coconut salad was made with pomegranates, shavings of marrows and coconut seasoned with olive oil, a balsamic cranberry reduction, dried mint, veg seasoning, salt and pepper. A vegetable skewer was also seasoned with vegetable seasoning and cumin. This was all enough to get our taste buds wanting more!

The Food Feasting… with a few drinks in between

Shane and I visited three food stalls; our next food tasting stop was the Greedy Buddha, which might I add is a fantastic name for a restaurant! We ordered the Prawn Tom Yum which was a light prawn-infused broth with mushroom, tomatoes, coriander, onions and gave you a subtle heat at the back of your throat.
Vigour & Verve was next on our list; this one was a tough place to just order one taster… but we eventually settled on the Smoked salmon-studded fishcakes, and pickled ginger Asian noodle salad. In my opinion, although the noodles were meant to be served cold, I think they would have been better served warmer. The fish cakes didn’t disappoint, they were enjoyable and also easy to eat.         
 
I was looking forward to the pulled roasted chicken taco with hummus, avo and sour cream topped with pine-apple-chilli salsa and fresh coriander from The Freedom Café. I was let down when I was told there were none left! They obviously were as good as I had thought; I should have got there sooner. However, all was not lost as I was hoping to also tuck into their sticky short ribs with a dollop of sour cream. Although messy to eat, they were pretty good, but again they could have been a bit warmer…

Getting hands on

Our Taste of Durban journey ended at the Canape and Wine Pairing workshop. It was such a relaxed and fun environment, and in my opinion the perfect end to the day! Each person had a work station, with a Pick ‘n Pay apron, ingredients set out and three taste of Durban wine glasses topped with three different wines. We made a salmon and cream cheese canapé, a chicken taco canapé and a mini strawberry eton mess. Each canapé was paired with each wine. It was a rather tasty experience and an education!
Shane’s neatly made dish
My not ‘so neat’ dish
I must say a huge THANK YOU to the Taste of Durban Organisers for inviting me to attend this one! Shane and I walked out not really wanting to leave; if anything I hope you make the sessions longer!