Windhoek-The Eat Wild Namibia festival, a first for the country which is now in full swing since yesterday, is proving a feast of the tastiest game dishes imaginable.
Locals and tourists started pouring in through the doors of The Village in the capital yesterday to get a glimpse of this unique festival lasting until this Saturday. It aims to promote venison and game products.
Various chosen restaurants, 17 in total in Windhoek, have since yesterday been ready to serve venison, and later this week chefs will have to prove their mettle during a venison recipe competition.
Game meat is big business in Namibia, where sustainable farming has managed to increase rather than decrease the number of oryx, kudu, eland, springbok and other animals in the country. By giving game value, it encourages farmers to protect them rather than simply run them off their land. Oryx and eland are not seen as competition for their cattle or sheep, but as another piece of livestock.
While the oryx is endangered in some countries, its numbers in Namibia are healthy despite the animal appearing on the dinner plate. Dishes like cured kudu, cream cheese and sundried tomato panini are on the menu. Cooked medium and served up with a sizable baked potato, it is just about one of the finest things you will ever taste. Not to mention a sampler skewer with springbok, oryx, kudu, ostrich, zebra, and crocodile in one decadent carnivore treat.
A kudu schnitzel tastes remarkably like venison. Especially with breading and pepper sauce, the chefs assure. The maestros say springbok stroganoff could easily be mistaken for pork when dished up with a thick, creamy sauce. Impala, sometimes known as the McDonalds of the Savannah, tastes great with a pepper sauce and some baked veggies.
The eland as the largest member of the antelope family is also a good eat when accompanied by roast vegetables and a hefty serving of melted butter.
The main element of the festival is the Restaurant Game Menu Week, where a selection of restaurants create special menus or a selected dish highlighting game meat during the week of the festival. Restaurants are offering special prices, pairings or other incentives (free dessert/glass of wine, etc.) to encourage guests to order this special meal. Marketing initiatives are set in place to promote the restaurants involved and their chosen dish.