On a cold winter evening a number of invited guests was kept hot and spicy at Shimmy Beach Club, with a chili-themed evening of eating foods containing chili, drinking Bloemendal wines and Sir Thomas beers, tasting tequila, and having an Eat Out ‘MeetOut’, a novel event concept, the first of four ‘MeetOut’ events planned for the next few months.
At the entrance to the venue, a table had displays with various types of chili, as well as foods containing chili, such as chili herb butters and olive tapenades. These were accompanied with various breads, a chocolate one being delicious. Shimmy had made a range of chili-infused oils, for us to try too. An information flyer shared various degrees of spiciness on the Scoville Scale, starting with zero for the bell pepper, increasing to 100 – 500 for pimento, 2500 – 5000 for Tabasco sauce, 30000 – 50000 for Cayene pepper, 664000 – 882000 for Dorset Naga, 801000 for Bhut Jolokia, and 1176182 for infinity chili from Grantham.
I must declare upfront that I am not a Chili fan at all, but found it to be such an interesting concept for the evening, that I decided to accept the invitation, and am glad that I did, having a lovely time with health and fitness writer Amy Hopper (left) and MasterChef Season 3 finalist Claire Allen (right) and her friend Claire. A Mexican music trio entertained throughout the evening.
Bloemendal Winery is part of the Shimmy Luxury Collection, and had set up a tasting table for their Waterlily Shiraz 2014 and Malbec 2015. I enjoyed the Shiraz. Sir Thomas Lighthouse craft beers were also available, paired with the different canapés which we were served throughout the course of the evening.
The dining room area had been set up into cozy seating nooks, with information leaflets, and the menu, and we eagerly photographed each new dish arrival. The first course dishes were spicy lamb kofta with tomato fondue; chili corn dogs with sweet mustard; and Cajun-roasted sweet potato soup, a beautiful presentation with the potato crisp. The first course canapés were paired with Sir Thomas Lighthouse Weiss and Bloemendal MC.
A group of us was invited to an Olmeca Altos tequila tasting in a separate venue, which was led by Pernod Ricard’s Christian Meissner. He reminded us that tequila may only be called by its name if it is made in Mexico and from 100% Agave. The country has 143 distilleries. Terroir influences the taste of tequila, in that it impacts on the sweetness of the agave plant, a cactus from which the thorns and roots are removed. It takes ten years from planting an agave to it being at maturity. The fruit is cooked, and yeast is added to transform it into alcohol. Then it is double distilled in a copper pot still, to take the harsh flavours away, and for it to be called ‘tequila’. The result is a 54% alcohol products which has to be reduced to 43% in line with our country’s legislation. We tasted the Olmeca Altos Plata (left), which is used mainly to make cocktails, and Reposado, which is used for tequila shots. Christian told us that drinking tequila ice cold with salt and lemon is not a Mexican style, they drinking it at room temperature, and neat.
We were called back to the dining room, to enjoy the second courses of chili con carne beef tacos with salsa and guacamole; chipotle pulled pork belly croquettes with aioli; and roasted Thai chili and smoked chicken with date jam. These canapés were paired with Sir Thomas Hangklip IPA and the Bloemendal Waterlily Merlot.
Even the three desserts were Chili-inspired: mango panna cotta and chili and ginger compote; salted caramel and chili fondant lollipops; and strawberries filled with blue cheese and candied jalapeño, paired with Sir Thomas Rooi Baard (a Rooibos infused craft beer) and Bloemendal Waterlily Malbec.
Chef Adrian Cook and his team at Shimmy Beach Club are to be commended for the great detail and effort they put into the fun Chili evening.
Shimmy Beach Club, South Arm Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 200-7778. www.shimmybeachclub.co.za Twitter @ShimmyBeach Instagram: @ShimmyBeach Monday – Sunday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein