The DStv Delicious Food and Music Festival is now in its fourth year, and promises to be a treat for foodies and musos alike (and who says you can’t be both?). With a music line-up that includes Macy Grey, De La Sol, Mi Casa, Hugh Masakela and Lira, and chefs and cooks like Reuben Riffel, Callie-Anne Gavazzi, Sarah Graham and J’Something (who is also the Mi Casa frontman), this is where everyone in Joburg really should be on the weekend of 8 October.
As part of the hype-building, I was invited to a pre-tasting event by sponsor Castle Milk Stout at Vicky Crease’s food studio in Rosebank – on the street that has recently been rechristened as the Keyes Art Mile and is now terribly funky. Vicky Crease – my husband and photographer tells me – is one of the leading names in celebrity catering in South Africa.
A tasting extravaganza
For the Delicious Festival, Vicky has been tasked with creating a tasting menu with milk stout as the taste theme. We entered the studio, which is elevated off the street and has large sliding windows opening on to the roadside trees, and were seated at a long table elegantly set with large glass plates and decorated with decanters and containers in brightly coloured glass and metals.
A crisp white card detailed the menu we would be sampling, with tasting portions of a variety of dishes including Persian chicken phyllo cigars with milk stout yoghurt tahini, Greek lamb with cauli mash and milk stout jus and vanilla bean panacotta with milk stout berry coulis.
Really, it seems that any food that can be made, can be made with milk stout.
The dishes were placed in elegant cardboard bowls – to get the tasters in the festival mood. But although the portions were small, four starters, four mains and four desserts will really fill a person up, and we quickly realised that we couldn’t devour entire portions – a good lesson for the day of the festival itself.
Refining the menu
The ostensible purpose of the tasting session was to eliminate one item from each course, to finalise the menu for the festival. This proved to be a strategic decision as much as one of personal preference, because it was necessary to ensure that, for instance, there weren’t too many red meat options – so we had to choose the beef or the lamb, but not both. The milk stout also had to shine through for a dish to make the cut.
One menu item that I particularly liked – the conchiglioni pasta with milk stout curry cream, caviar and parmesan snow was rejigged to eliminate the caviar so that it could be a purely vegetarian option – which I thought was tragic because the caviar was the element that made the dish (but I guess vegetarians wouldn’t think so).
When we’d cleaned our plates and cast our votes on all three courses, Vicki brought out another range of platters – there was a second tasting menu that we hadn’t anticipated! Groaning, we managed to find the space to sample a couple of the new dishes, and cast our votes all over again.
The finalised menu for the Castle Milk Stout tent (public access, not VIP) is:
· Farfalle pasta with roasted tomato, moist biltong and milk stout cream reduction
· Milk-stout-basted beef fillet medallion, wholegrain mustard jus, petit hasselback potato and baby spinach, or
· Conchiglioni pasta with milk stout madras curry cream
· ‘Stoutelicious’ milktart, with milk stout poached pear slivers
The menu concluded, the only question that remains is whether I’ll be sampling the dishes I already know and love, or trying something completely new at the festival next week.
For more information on DStv Delicious Festival, see our event listing here.