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It’s official – Cake Boss Buddy Valastro, famous for his cake creations which feature regularly on various DStv channels, can’t get enough of our milk tart.
“It’s delicious,” he said when Weekend Argus introduced him to some local specialities, continuing to nibble on it throughout the interview.
Valastro is a headlining food guru at the annual Cape Town edition of The Good Food and Wine Show at the CTICC, where he has already performed sell-out demonstrations at the Chefs in Action Theatre to roars of applause.
The milk tart, from Zorina’s Cafe, and the koeksisters, from Mountain View Takeaways, were presented to him after his arrival in the city on Thursday.
First he tried the milk tart, commenting that it reminded him of a custard tart, and something he’d seen in Portuguese bakeries.
After eating a little, he said: “The filling reminds me of a filling we make for our coconut custard pie. This is delicious. The base is good, but this is more about the milk.”
Next, he ate a koeksister.
“It’s good. I can taste a lot of flavours like cinnamon, cloves and allspice. It’s hearty, like a pumpkin pie. It has a really strong flavour.”
He admitted he had heard about SA’s milk tart before his arrival, and had wanted to try it. “I am also familiar with South African wines, but not too much with the cuisine.”
While here, Valastro judged a competition at the TLC stand, where four local bakeries (Eat Cake Party, Vanilla House, La Petite Patisserie and Hunt House Kitchen) competed for the title of Cape Boss.
While the confectioners worked away, he told Weekend Argus he would be looking at decoration, the feel of the cake, but ultimately the taste.
He said SA was a particularly adventurous trip for him.
“I mostly travel in the US. (But) we have had an overwhelming response from South Africans, there are a lot of fans here. It is only fair I came, it’s been worth it.”
Valastro said many people recognised him when he arrived at OR Tambo Airport.
His next stop is Asia, where he’s heard Cake Boss is also popular.
Besides Valastro, expo visitors will also be treated to a range of other celebrity chefs, among them Whitney Miller, who won season one of US MasterChef.
The 24-year-old from Mississippi said she would showcase creations like her not your grandma’s lemon meringue pie (an interpretation of her grandmother’s recipe), barbecued prawns, upside-down chicken pot pie, and white chocolate bread pudding.
She described the style as cajun blended with southern American. See her at the Chefs in Action and BBC Lifestyle stages.
Flamboyant as ever, Reza Mohammad is a Good Food and Wine Show stalwart, having attended for six years.
The British TV chef will shoot a yet-to-be-titled series in July that will look at Indian cuisine in SA, Tanzania and Zambia.
“My theory is that due to a lack of available ingredients, much has been lost in translation in South African Indian food. When in Durban, the taste is very complex.
Indian food should have subtle nuances.”
Catch him at the BBC Lifestyle Theatre and the Spekko Rice stand, where you can see him make rice dishes from Thailand, India and Uruguay.
Ariana Bundy is an Iranian-US wonder who is keen to show the ancient roots of her culture’s cuisine. As she promotes her new book Pomegranates and Roses: My Persian Family Recipes, you can expect to see recipes like her cold cucumber and walnut soup.
“Iran has many sweet and sour flavours which come from fruits and nuts, orange peels, rose petals and rose water.
The country is a fertile place, so everything is very fresh and food is not masked with spices.”
See her at the same theatres.
* The Good Food and Wine Show is on Saturday from 10am to 9pm, and on Sunday from 10am to 6pm.