Yesterday the editor of Woolworths Taste magazine, Sumien Brink, gave me a wonderful pressie, one that any food lover would covet: a bottle of Tonka beans. It wasn’t only the glorious aroma that made me feel instantly happy, but also the gorgeous brown laboratory glass bottle and its gold label, signifying Hemelhuijs’s stamp of approval.
The beans are part of Hemelhuijs chef and owner Jacques Erasmus’s new range of food delights, which includes bouquets garnis and intense tomato powder made in a very long process of drying out the ripe fruit.
The wrinkly, brown tonka bean tastes similar to vanilla, but has a magical floral smell – you just want to spray it like a perfume. The bean is best applied microplaned finely over dishes. It imparts a unique flavour to milky desserts and I have even tasted tonka in a delicious creamy sauce with fish and prawns.
Right now though, the bottle is staying on my desk, close by, so I can have an intoxicating whiff every now and again.
Something I won’t be able to do again, however, is dine at La Colombe on Constantia Uitsig estate. On Friday night I ate my final delicious meal there; this week they closed their doors on the estate for the last time. It’s a sad time for the team and the patrons, but in September they will open up at their exciting new location.
La Colombe is one of the grand old dames of the industry, with three of its outstanding chefs taking the restaurant to the top 10 restaurants in South Africa (2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2005 and 2002). We salute the legends Franck Dangereux (now at The Foodbarn), Luke Dale-Roberts (now at The Test Kitchen) and the current head chef, Scot Kirton.
On Friday everyone was in high spirits and it was wonderful to see local diners supporting La Colombe at Uitsig one last time. Eat Out wishes the team all the best with their planning and preparation. We can’t wait to celebrate at the new premises!