I recently bought some fantastic hamburger patties. I let them rest until they reached room temperature and fried them to perfection before serving them with cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh salad leaves, and a soft poached egg in between a freshly baked bun lathered in salted butter. It was supposed to be heavenly, but tasted so ridiculously bland. What a horrible disappointment! I saw the butcher about two weeks later and told him that those famous patties really aren’t that great and taste a bit bland. His response? It’s not spiced! They deliver these unspiced patties to restaurants who then spice it according to their preferences. Grateful to understand what was wrong with these poor patties, I made them again, but added some salt, black pepper, and a few green spices. The result? Perfection.
What would our lives be without spices? Who can eat a boiled egg without some salt? What is a Mexican dish without coriander and chilli? And what would your mojito be without some crushed mint? Spices play a huge role in our lives and we use them so often without appreciating that they MAKE or BREAK a dish!
A New World of Spices
Robertsons decided to bring back the limelight to this deserving food-flavouring, magic ingredient with the launch of their New World of Spices. In celebration of their new no-MSG added, non-irradiated (very important to not loose the health benefits of the spices) and GMO-free spices, we were taken back to where it all starts: the farm. The setting for our sensorial Robertsons spice discovery was the wine farm Avondale, where we could follow the journey of our spices from being sowed to ending up in our kitchens.
Welcome to Avondale
Avondale is an eco wine farm that produces wine in harmony with nature. No pesticides are used on their grapes. Instead, a few hundred ducks fulfil the role of removing all snails and little pests without damaging the vineyards. At the end of a hard day’s work, they all go back into their duck mobile for a safe night’s sleep before doing it all over again the next day.
Free range and organic eggs? Of course. Just follow the egg mobile that travels around the farm. The very happy chickens fertilise and loosen the soil for planting and pay for their boarding with some beautiful all-natural eggs. All this can be seen when you join the Eco Wine Safari on the farm. A tractor linked up to some makeshift wooden carriages takes you on a tour of the farm – all while you get to enjoy a glass of their champagne. Just make sure that you have most of it before the trip starts; the road is a little bumpy!
The Eco Safari is concluded with a tasting of Avondale’s magnificent collection of classic hand-crafted wines. If you are a wine lover, then your should put this one on your bucket list. With names like La Luna, Anima, Cyclus, Camissa, and Samsara, and the cheapest bottle going at R195, you expect exquisite tasting wines – and you aren’t disappointed. The tasting experience takes place in their cellar amongst hundreds of wooden wine vats and lots of atmosphere. You will also see their state-of-the-art gravity flow cellar. Nothing here is done without mother nature’s approval and personal, hands-on attention can be seen in every detail on the farm.
Getting Our Hands Dirty
Upon our arrival on the farm, we were treated to some refreshments and a 360 degree view of the farm before trooping off to a little vegetable garden and green house. We then got our hands dirty and planted some spinach, tomato, carrot, and pumpkin before being treated to our safari on the farm. This was followed by a mind-altering dinner at FABER restaurant. What makes FABER so special is that the restaurant is sustainability driven, focusing on supporting, organic, free range and low-carbon producers. And you can taste it in the food. It is absolutely sensational.
The food was created around our theme of A New World Of Spices and invigorating the senses. Every Robertsons spice and flavour that could be used was on display:
- For our breadboard, we were served sourdough, Dukkah lavash, whipped butter with fynbos-infused honey, and wholegrain mustard cream cheese. The Dukkah consisted of a mix of herbs, nuts and spices (coriander and cumin). Also thrown in was my favourite – some pumpkin fritters covered in cinnamon sugar.
- The starter was a fennel and star anise, salt and sugar cured Saldanha bay trout with a cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla pod citrus, served with salted and fresh fennel. An absolute winner in my books; I could have eaten this all day. Give me a plate of fresh, seasonal foods like this and I am in absolute foodie heaven!
- This was followed by a cumin and coriander spice-rubbed, 12-hour sous vide Karoo Lamb shoulder served with garlic salt, wilted spinach, crushed broad bean and fresh mint. I thought I was in heaven when I had the trout and then I tasted this meal. I remained in heaven. It shall be my last meal if I were to be put on death row. But first I want another five plates of the trout please.
Once More, But Spiceless
So now I want you to read all of the above again, but remove all the spices (yes, salt and pepper too!) and tell me if it would have been as good:
- For our breadboard we were served sourdough bread with whipped butter with honey and cream cheese. Also thrown in was my favourite – some pumpkin fritters. But without cinnamon! I mean, who eats pumpkin fritters without cinnamon!?!
- The starter was a sugar-cured Saldanha bay trout with citrus. It needed something; it tasted slightly bland.
- I thought the main meal would be better, but the sous vide Karoo Lamb shoulder served with wilted spinach and crushed broad bean just lacked flavour man!
Not so appetising now, is it? Thank goodness we have Robertsons to put the spice back in our life. Keep an eye out for their pretty new packaging celebrating their new healthy take on spices – you can now have a Robertsons with every meal with absolutely no guilt whatsoever!
Visit Avondale / Get Robertson Spices
I probably don’t need to tell you where to find your next pack of Robertson Spices. They’re available in literally every supermarket, large and small. But you can get more info on Robertson Spices by visiting their official website here.
Article Date: October 2018
All information correct at time of publication. We do not accept any liability caused by errors, including, but not limited to, changes in price, menu, opening times, address, or other contact details.