I love to travel. My “bucket list” has all the places/cities/countries I want to see before I kick it. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to check off much from our hit list this year, so when I was invited to attend “Celebrate the Distinctive Flavors of South Africa” at DeGustibus Cooking School I couldn’t be more excited for a taste of escape. If you’re like me, and are more familiar with South African wines than with the food, this event hosted by South Africa Tourism promised an opportunity to experience both!
DeGustibus is impressive. Photos plaster one wall with every influential chef you can imagine. I got goosebumps surrounded by all that greatness. Founded by Arlene Felman Sailhac, I feel a special connection to DeGustibus since her husband Alain, is Dean at my alma mater, French Culinary Institute. The only downside to this cooking school? Location, location, location. If you can get over it’s unfortunate location at Macy’s in Herald Square, it’s worth checking out a class or demo.
Chef Wamu prepared three traditional South African dishes. He’s cute as a button; a young, charming chef, who shared stories of growing up in Johannesburg.
I’ve been mostly vegetarian this year but tasted each dish for the experience. And am so glad I did!
We started with this delicious Chicken Bunny Stew, very similar to a thick chicken curry. A tasting portion was served over a chewy piece of bread. Wine Pairing: Raats Chenin Blanc 2009
Next came the Beef Bobotie… a layered shepherd pie style parfait, creamy and curried with a carmelized creme brulee-like surface with ground beef. Wine Pairing: Rudi Schultz Syrah 2007
And my favorite, the Cinnamon Koeksister in Citrus Syrup with Coconut Shavings, Candied Seasonal Fruit and Creme Anglaise. A donut meets turkish dessert, it’s gooey, chewy and sweet but balanced with the vanilla creme anglaise. Wine Pairing: Amarula Cream Liqueur
What a fun, informative way to learn about South African culture and cuisine! Plus, it got me jazzed to visit some day. South Africa Tourism has tons of resources if you are looking to plan a trip. But until then, here are some South African restaurants in NYC that are worth trying.
Madiba (Brooklyn) –