I was invited to attend the Hidden Valley Gourmet Braai & Wine Festival on Saturday the 31st of August. Knowing that Chef Bertus Basson would be in charge of the kitchen (and the fires), I couldn’t wait to see what he has prepared for us!
Chef Bertus Basson is one of SA’s culinary greats – famed for the phenominal success of Overture Restaurant at Hidden Valley where he is the chef and co-owner. Overture has been in the Top 10 of SA’s Eat Out Awards 5 times since it opened in 2007. Bertus has also been a judge in the recent tv show The Ultimate Braai Master, so the heat was on to show his true colours on the grid.
After being greeted at the door, I tasted the fabulous new Hidden Gem and Hidden Secret red wines, as well as a barrel selection that has not been bottled yet.
We were seated at a long table alongside other food industry friends, and the waiters started to bring out platter after platter of amazing starters, snacks, salads, meats, sides and dessert. Here is the full menu: (R350/person)
Roosterkoek with apricot and almond butter
Smoked Hidden Valley olives
Hidden Valley olive tapenade
Grilled squid with salsa verde, chilli, capers and fennel
Pickled fish with a coriander emulsion and a gem salad
Lamb wors with tomato and crisp waterblommetjie
Bourbon basted smoked pork loin with flour tortillas, sweet corn and avocado
Sugar cured jersey rump with bourguignonne sauce and crisp potato
slaw with dill and mustard cream
Maple roast sweet potato with pecan nuts
Ash roast beetroot with pumpkin and labneh
Tannie Hetta’s apple pie with custard cinnamon ice cream
CHEESE & COFFEE:
Smoked camembert with walnut & ginger
I was amazed by Bertus’s ability to turn simple ingredients into an amazing feast. Dishes like the roast beetroot and the maple roast sweet potato were my absolute favourites, although the braaied meats were also really delicious. I also loved the pickled fish – it reminder me of the wonderful curried mussel cracker that my Dad used to make us on December holidays at Keurboomstrand, but Bertus’s coriander emulsion just took it up a few notches.
After this tremendous feast, I am inspired to make roosterkoek again – one of the joys of a real South African braai. This festival was a true celebration of South African braai culture, and I can surely recommend you to join in for the next events. Unfortunately, the tickets are currently sold out, but you can place your name on a waiting list for a possible extra date! Otherwise, there’s always next year…