Where Will You Wine and Dine?

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By Surihe Gaomas ENJOYING a mouth-watering dish on Christmas Day and even over the New Year celebration period is a desire of almost everybody. While a thought should be going out to those who might not even have a slice of bread to eat, other people are making plans to prepare their Christmas meal with their families and loved ones. Cooking up a storm for the whole festive season can be a labour intensive job for those who spend countless hours in the kitchen. On the one hand, while most meat loving Namibians look forward to a simple braaivleis and beer, others opt to have a big family feast around the table, while some people choose to skip the whole cooking part of things and rather spoil themselves to a Christmas dish at restaurants and cafes of their choice. The latter specialty is normally offered at discount prices, especially when it’s a whole family unit eating out on that special day of the year. So, let’s wine and dine the festive season away. Our first stop takes us to Craft CafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚©, near the Warehouse Theatre in Windhoek, where Hobby Chef Roland LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶sch fills us in on their specialty dish over this festive season. “We’ll be looking at offering our customers a typical Christmas dish like Marzipan, which is a traditional X-mas Cake with raisins and all kinds of fruits with a cup of coffee and cake,” said chef LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶sch who’s been running the Craft CafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© for the past one and a half years now. However, since Marzipan is a typical German cake, suitable for the cold, snowy weather in that country, the challenge always remains for local chefs to make a dish that is suitable to the warm summer weather of Namibia. That’s why steps have been taken to look into a second option of making cold dishes for a hot Namibian season, especially during this time of the year. Chef LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶sch said that the public have the option to chose an Italian named “Gazpacho” menu, which is basically a cold soup dish mixed with different vegetables. However, the chef informed the New Era that the trick is to experiment with a variety of recipes, in order to find a dish that is suitable while at the same time attractive to Namibian people. This is what LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶sch terms as “experimental cooking”. With special fruit salads served with sparkling wine like a 75ml bottle of ‘Shiraz’, this is just one such experiment at the Craft CafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚©. So while at the same time creating these special discount summer dishes, the Craft CafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© is gearing itself up towards attracting as many customers as possible, which according to chef LÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚¶sch can be a bit difficult. “Trying to get people into the cafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© is hard because it normally gets very quiet these days in Windhoek as everyone is at the coast or out of town,” he explained further. No matter what the occasion, Namibians just love their meat and have a huge appetite for their beef. So, a dish of delicious tripe or afval/potjiekos as it’s known in Afrikaans will do just the trick for many people’s taste buds. And this is exactly what the Cauldron Restaurant, situated in the Gustav Voigts Centre just in front of Shoprite and Checkers will be offering on Christmas and New Year’s days. “Afval served in small three legged black pots is an exceptional favourite amongst Namibians and since we will be offering it on the outside area of the Gustav Voigts Centre, it is even more popular,” said owners Liz and Tony Head of Cauldron Restaurant. A variety of afval dishes will be served at affordable prices of N$39,90 each where it will be served with either oxtail soup, curry chicken, curry lamb or mutton, beef and vegetables and a special kind of “water flower”. “This is a edible flower from Cape Town that’s placed in the potjie or it is even very nice on mutton,” added co-owner Liz Head during a recent interview with New Era. It is normally these little niceties that make a Christmas dish so special for many of its customers. The Cauldron Restaurant is currently running with this special potjiekos dish up until the 31st of January 2006. Besides that for tourists and locals alike the popular menus of schnitzel, salad dishes, homemade cakes and burgers will also be served and can be washed down with a cold beer, cooldrink or juice of your choice. “This is something different and traditional for both the locals and tourists to try and taste a uniquely prepared dish of afval,” added Head. While some places like Craft CafÃÆ’Æ‘Æ‘ÃÆ”šÃ‚© and Cauldron Restaurant will be open for its customers throughout the festive season, a few others will be closed or may not even offer a festive season meal.

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