Return of the ‘Winelands Cook-Off’

Tuesday, 24 September, 2013
Muratie Wine Estate
Muratie and Du Toitskloof showcase their respective interpretations of a Cape Malay lamb curry
Along with the Cape Winelands, a region of great beauty with sweeping vineyards and scenic mountain ranges, Cape Malay cuisine is as quintessentially Cape Town as Table Mountain itself. A delicious fusion food, born in Africa, of Asian, European and African food genres, Cape Malay cooking is seasoned with history, infused with culture and full of fine flavours and aromas.

Its origins can be found in the cooking pots of 17th and 18th century exiled dissidents and slaves from the Dutch East Indies, who brought with them, to the Cape, their unique culture, traditions, recipes and spices. Ever since their arrival at the Cape, Malay cooks have been masters of the art of seasoning using aromatic spices and herbs including garlic, ginger, turmeric, chilli, cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, saffron, fennel, paprika, mustard seeds, nutmeg, bay leaves, star anise, tamarind and more. With this legacy, it is hardly surprising that food has always been pivotal to the Cape Malay community, and every festival, family gathering or religious celebration calls for a feast of flavours.

Hailing from opposite sides of the Boland mountains, two wineries, Muratie Estate in Stellenbosch and Du Toitskloof Wines in the Breedekloof, celebrated this culinary heritage at a ‘cook-off’ at Muratie Estate. Here they presented their respective interpretations of a traditional Cape Malay lamb curry, served with specific wine pairings, to a group of guests who participated in judging the best dish of the day.

Celebrity guests included Benny Masekwameng, highly-acclaimed chef and MasterChef SA judge; Arnold Tanzer, chef extraordinaire and Culinary Producer of MasterChef SA; and Cass Abrahams, well-loved foodie and specialist in Cape Malay cuisine.

The wine best served with a Cape Malay Curry is an aromatic fruity wine that complements and balances the spiciness of this flavourful cuisine, that is, a wine with a lively acidity, good mouth-feel, a touch of spice and a long finish, with a slight sweetness or careful wooding to add a little creaminess.

Du Toitskloof paired their Cape Malay curry with their 2013 Beaukett, an aromatic blend of muscat de frontignan, chenin blanc and gewürztraminer. This muscat-scented semi-sweet wine holds a combination of tropical fruit flavours with hints of honeysuckle and rose petals. Crisp and invigorating, this vibrant wine ends with a lovely refreshing finish. The 2013 Du Toitskloof Beaukett is also well suited to pairing with piquant cuisine and retails for about R30.

Muratie chose their flagship Laurens Campher 2012, named after the first owner of the farm, to pair with their Cape Malay curry. This aromatic off-dry wine is a seamless blend of four varietals, displaying lively fresh lemon and lime notes from the chenin and sauvignon blanc and fragrant floral hints from the verdelho and viognier. Elegant and complex, its flavours range from honeysuckle, lime marmalade and pineapple to fresh almonds, all wrapped in creamy oak. Zippy acidity runs through the wine until the eminently satisfying, lengthy finish. The fine balance of sugar and acidity makes for a gratifying fresh style. This wine lends itself favourably to spicy cuisine and retails for about R95.

Chefs Elrine Thomson of Du Toitskloof and Kim Melck of Muratie both displayed their culinary expertise, presenting deliciously spiced curries, after which the guests were called upon to cast their votes for the best dish of the day. Muratie was named the ‘2013 winelands cook-off champion’ having taken the vote by a narrow margin. The 2013 Muratie Du Toitskloof ‘winelands cook-off’ was a follow-on from their inaugural 2012 waterblommetjie bredie ‘cook-off’ hosted at Du Toitskloof where the home team took the honours with a one-vote lead.