Aug 15 2012
The spate of Cold Fronts lashing the Western Cape over the past few weeks were only the precursor to the real storm set to take place this Friday when wineries Muratie Estate and DuToitskloof Winery square off in the first Boland Waterblommetjie Championship Cook-off. The ubiquitous waterblommetjie, a classic local ingredient used in preparing a traditional hearty stew, takes centre stage when a panel of esteemed judges line-up to decide who is the BolandΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s Waterblommetjie Champion.
Muratie and Du Toitskloof have each been tasked with preparing a waterblommetjie-bredie (stew) showcasing the stewΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s reputation as a prized dish with a cult culinary status. Judges can expect an exciting display of uniquely regional cooking depicting the diversity in terroir between the cooking displayed on both sides of the DuToits mountains.
According to Bernard Kotze, manager of the Du Toitskloof Dynamos, the Breedekloof region where DuToitskloof Winery is situated is the traditional heartland of the waterblommetjie.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Anyone venturing onto our turf is going to have his or her work cut-out,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Kotze. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Not only do our waterblommetjies display a unique flavour and texture due to our site-specific terroir, but history is on our side. We have been cooking waterblommetjies for longer than any other region. As a result, our cooks know a few secret ingredients and tricks in preparation that, said in all modesty, gives us the inside edge.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Kotze is not giving anything away, but hints at some spectacular potatoes involved in the DynamosΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ waterblommetjie stew, with the unique dorsland-wine simmering technique also expected to make an appearance.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║We have been training really hard in the off-season, even when waterblommetjies Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ a winter plant Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ were nay impossible to come by,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ he says. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Our team is quietly confident, especially seeing as we will have home ground advantage with this competition taking place on our turf, namely DuToitskloof Winery headquarters. The local support always gives the team that extra push and is a real motivator. This really counts during the final exhausting stages just before the white pepper is added.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Managed by Emile Joubert, the Muratie Mavericks are aware they are the underdogs due to DuToitskloofΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s home-ground status. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║We are trying our best just to focus on the job at hand and are not allowing any distractions to enter the camp,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ says Joubert. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║To avoid the effects of the altitude, the team is only travelling to Du Toitskloof on the morning of the competition, so you can see we are not leaving anything to chance.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Like Kotze, Joubert is pleased with the MavericksΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ preparations. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║We had the odd injury to deal with, including a gruesome neck muscle injury when a heavy pot had to be moved to the secondary stove, but we are fit and healthy.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ
Joubert would not be drawn into the MavericksΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗ potential strong points. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║Everyone knows that we have years of experience to count on Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ you donΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗t become the oldest wine farm in Stellenbosch without cooking a few waterblommetjie stews,Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ he says. Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║MuratieΓò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£├╗s ability to source premium Karoo lamb from a family farm is expected to give us the edge, or so I hear. However, on the day anything can happen. It all depends on skill at the stove, concentration, seasoning and Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ most of all Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö£Γöñ competitiveness.
Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├║The team that wants to win the most, will.Γò¼├┤Γö£├ºΓö¼├æ