Julian Richfield reviews Taste the Little Karoo

Julian Richfield is Book Reviewer for The Cape Times. He is a wine writer and enthusiast.

It is not challenging to fall in love with the Karoo.

There are so many things that conjure up images of that region for me. One such is from playwright Athol Fugard in his play Sorrows and Rejoicings it is this:

“Appolis, Arries, April, Baartman, Baadjies, Bokbaard and Bruintjies, Carelse, Duimpies, Goliath and Grootboom….

Yes of course, names straight from a Karoo telephone directory. What’s wonderful about them? Take a couple and roll them around in your mouth and taste them

Jantjies….Jantjies..Jantjies…. and Bruintjies, Jantjies Bruintjies and Duimpies…

The taste of the Karoo…sweet water and dry dust…warm brown bread and thorn tree honey…”

_-YvRgfMJulian Richfield

Talking of the Karoo, a wonderful local food book has come my way, it is Beate Joubert’s Taste the Little Karoo. The book has just won the 2015 Gourmand World Cookbook Award in the Best Local Cuisine Book in South Africa category.

Beate is well known to television audiences as a contestant on the second season of the kykNet cookery show ‘Kokkedoor’.. She owns and manages the Alfresco Deli on her family farm Joubert-Tradauw near Barrydale in the Little Karoo, where she serves traditional Karoo dishes with a twist. Beate has worked in wine cellars in the Napa Valley in the United States, as well as in France and Switzerland. During her time as a student she also worked at various restaurants across South Africa.

In Taste the Little Karoo, Beate has managed to capture the essence of that region.             The book is filled with gorgeous recipes each with a special twist and beautiful food and Karoo photographs.

The photographs not only capture and her beautiful family, but Karoo images that add atmosphere and character to the book. In also loved Beate’s personal remarks that appear throughout.

Beate Joubert’s recipes cover a broad range of tapas, comfort foods, salads, celebratory platters, braai dishes, sweet treats and preserves. Many of them show respect for tradition, but she encourages the reader to both respect tradition and to experiment with new food ideas. There are also useful recommendations, where appropriate, of wines to go with the food.

Most all of the recipes seem infinitely doable and to the home cook, yes you may be a little challenged, but the stretch will result in seriously yummy food, food that should please most all palates.

Paging through the book, I gaze upwards, imagining stoep-sitting with Beate and her family and being led by the palate into the culinary tradition and wines of the Little Karoo and its characterful people.

My dish of choice for this stoep-sit would be her Tradouw leg of lamb on the fire. It has as its overnight marinade: anchovies, anchovy oil, olives, garlic thyme, rosemary and yoghurt and lemon juice.

For dessert, I’ve chosen the Alfresco Deli’s cranberry bread pudding.

I raise my glass of Joubert-Tradauw R62 in anticipation.

Ready when you are Beate!

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March 28th, 2016|Categories: Books|Tags: , , , |