Firstly congratulations to the 5 readers who won the double tickets to Taste of Durban that I gave away – I trust you all had a great time and enjoyed the yummy offerings. Secondly a big thank you to Taste of Durban and to Joanne for inviting me to attend the event – I walked around in foodie heaven. I was able to bring a plus one so I invited along my friend Kerri who has recently come back from living on the mission field in Albania.
I was given a ‘badge’ along with my glass and ‘map’ when entering the event, on the badge were a choice of four restaurants, a Lindt chocolate Experience and several beverage options. I decided to choose the mix of restaurants that I wouldn’t have normally chosen. I was looking forward to Havana, Greedy Buddah and Beluga so I chose a ‘badge’ with Palki, Beluga and Cafe 1999, Included in this was the Durban Kasei experience as well.
Even though the ‘doors’ had only just opened it was incredibly busy, very full and it seemed like people had been eating for ages. We bought R100 worth of Scoins first and decided to see where that would get us. We started off with the Kasie Experience, Max’s Lifestyle is a ‘famous “Shisa nyama” restaurant in Umlazi. We had three options on the menu; Tripe with vegetable hotpot and dumplings, Homemade wors with pap ad chakalaka, and Lamb chops with pap and salsa. Being ‘brave’ I stuck to the lamb chops with pap ad salsa, it was delicious – the lamb chop was perfectly seasoned and braai’d just to my liking, the pap included some veggies and must have been made with stock because it was tasty and the salsa was a perfect mix of fresh, hot and spicy. All in all a great meal from Max’s.
From there we went next door to the Lindt Chocolate Studio, I am a huge fan of Lindt, I find the chocolate quality superior and if there was a competition for who could put the most Lindt balls in their mouth in one sitting, I would probably win – those balls are like pieces of heaven. I was first attracted to the Balls which were on display for purchase because there were a few new flavors that I didn’t recognize; Coconut, Caramel, Cappuccino and Almond. I being a lover of Coconut and almond made sure to buy one of each immediately – I wish I had bought 50! They are delicious, the almond tastes slightly like marzipan and I love marzipan, the coconut even looks similar to a coconut with a milk chocolate shell and a white inside. We were able to try the almond and coconut pralines that were being decorate by the Lindt Chocolatiers as well as the fresh Lindt balls that were being filled as we speak… Needless to say there was always a crowd of people in the Lindt tent, and on the Sunday the new flavors of Lindt had solds out – much to my despair!! It would have been nice to have a ‘show special’ on the products you could buy e.g. buy 10 balls get 2 free – but this didn’t bother the people who I saw with massive bags of Lindt balls.
Thereafter we did a quick walk around tasting a few drinks and seeing what else was on offer, Thai massages and cooking demo’s, cooking demo’s in the PnP Chefs theater, the Robertson’s Area was pumping and people were having a great time.
We headed over to Beluga and had some great sushi and chicken and lamb dim sum balls. The sushi was beautiful, the peeps at Beluga sure know how to make me happy, that’s by not being stingy with the salmon, the dim sum was fresh and tasty, the lamb was similar to a meatball and a little squishy but the chicken was tasty although it had ‘tuna’ texture – which is the biggest put off to my brother when he had them. While we were over there we saw the ribs from Greedy Buddha these looked sublime and I knew I needed to try them, unfortunately I was so full by the time I tried everything that I couldn’t fit them in – I was going to try them on the Sunday when I went back but unfortunately they weren’t ready!
After the sushi we went back up to Palki and to Freedom Cafe, I choose the Mutton Vindaloo from Palki, It was divine, full flavored, meaty, and extra tasty with just the right amount of heat that left your lips tingling. The naan was great, fresh and perfectly mopped up the sauce. we quickly ate this while in the very long queue at Freedom Cafe, friends of mine had advised us to try the chicken taco, and Kerri wanted to try the Prawn Summer Rolls. Unfortunately neither of us were very impressed with our food from Freedom Cafe, there was not much prawn in the summer rolls and the chicken taco was rather bland, this is upsetting as I have heard very good things about the restaurant – this could just have been a problem with supply and demand because there was a lot of people in the queue who they were trying to serve quickly.
From there we went to the Rekorderlig Cider tent, this tent was uber popular and all over the event people were carrying their glasses of cider filler with fruits and berries. We went through the tasting of each of the ciders, mixed berry, pear and strawberry and lime, and each was as good as the next. This is definitely a product to look out for when it launches soon!
We then went to Havana and Cafe 1999, I had heard such good things about the Wagu ‘Angus’ Beef burger with Kimchi and Ginger and I was so excited to try it, and it lived up to the hype! The beef was delicious and even in the small slider portion it was perfectly cooked with a crust – just how I like it. The ginger, wasabi and Kim-chi were the most beautiful combination of fresh, hot, spicy and crunchy – if I know how Umami was meant to taste, I’m sure it was meant to be like this. The pork belly from Cafe 1999 was tender and delicious, it even came with crackling! Kerri did find this to be rather rich, I did not, I did however find that the aubergine pure with peanuts offset the natural flavor of the pork belly.
The last stand we visited was the Castle Milk Stout tent, we went through a creative tasting display as we had the link between the stout and chocolate shown to us. We also bought the very intriguing Milk Stout with chocolate – I plan on putting this to good use and making Nigella’s Guiness Chocolate Cake with it – it will go perfectly with this chocolate infused drink.
All in all Kerri and I had a superb time at Taste of Durban, we ate till our hearts content, we walked till our feet were sore, we had yummy chocolates and we got to catch up. I was slightly disappointing that I wasn’t able to take part in the PnP Chef’s theatre Canape class – as it was fully booked by the time we found it – hopefully next year they will allow online bookings for this.
We were very impressed at the speed of each establishment and the quality of food that came out, even the establishments that were slightly crowded moved quickly and easily, and you were never queuing for more than a minute. I do wish that some of the starter portions were either slightly bigger in size or more reasonably priced – for instance we paid 8 scoins (R40) for the Wagu beef burger and at a restaurant the week before I had 4 sliders and chips for R69. It can work out to be an expensive day out if you are wanting to try options from each establishment as well ass buying some of the products that are available – but if you set yourself a budget and you’re good at sticking to them you shouldn’t have a problem.