I remember the first time my flu-ridden boyfriend (now husband) was confined to my care. I took him home, confiscated his shoes so he couldn’t escape into the streets, handed over the remote control, and settled him in. Within a couple of hours the phone calls started. He was, he said, going to report me to the United Nations Commission for Human Rights for keeping him trapped in a house where there were only tea bags, and no loose-leaf tea.
It’s a decade later, and he’s still a tea snob (he’s refined it, actually: he spent an afternoon with the Dilmah people when they came to South Africa so now we’re only allowed Dilmah loose-leaf). I’ve come round to it: real tea brewed in a pot is a million times more tea-like than a bag wafted through a mug. He was right, after all.
So I want to celebrate snobbery.
Here’s my list of what I think every self-respecting palate should hold out for:
• Excellent coffee, black and sugar-free. If you drink the instant stuff, you need milk and sugar to make it palatable;
• The best chocolate. Look, there’s a lot of fat and sugar in chocolate, so you might as well make all those calories count. Von Geusau chocolate – especially the rock salt chocolate – is worth lying and stealing for;
• Home-made salad dressing. The supermarket stuff tastes like boarding school.
• On the subject of which: good olive oil (our biggest award-winner is Morgenster) and balsamic. They’re not all made equal. And pepper that you grind as you need it; and Maldon or other flaked or rock salt.
• Decent wine, expensive whisky... basically, all alcohol needs to be fabulous. The hangover is reduced. It’s true.
• Jam that comes from a home industry shop or farm stall, and in which you can see and taste the fruit, in all its tart sweetness. The other stuff is evil.
What little things mean a lot to you? And what’s the worst case of food snobbery you’ve come across?
Heather Parker is the editor of Health24 and Bride magazine. She is one of SA's most respected journalists, and a serious foodie to boot.