2015 MURATIE DU TOITSKLOOF COOK-OFF: The first tie in the history of this annual culinary competition!
Muratie Estate and Du Toitskloof Wines, two of South Africa’s well-known wineries hailing from opposite sides of the Boland mountains, who are also famous for their culinary skills, recently met up for the fourth time to contest the annual championship title.
This year the two teams, once again joining forces with Karoo Meat of Origin, met at Muratie Estate in Stellenbosch to present their respective interpretations of a ‘boerekos’- style sosatie and sheep-ribbetjie using certified Karoo lamb prepared on the braai. The Karoo Meat of Origin is South Africa’s first meat certification system guaranteeing that the lamb is genuinely from the demarcated Karoo region, thus displaying a distinct flavour as a result of the indigenous bushes and grass it grazes on.
The fires were lit early, with the two culinary teams hard at work, while the guests – who would later be judging the best dish of the day – kept an eye on the respective braais, soaking up the tantalising aromas and looking forward to the feast. After brief introductions by Rijk Melck of Muratie and Bernard Kotze of Du Toitskloof, Professor Johann Kirsten, Head of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development at the University of Pretoria, spoke about the meaning and importance of Karoo Lamb and the latest national and international developments in origin-based food. He also thanked Ryan of Ryan Boon Speciality Meats, who had supplied the Karoo lamb for the competition and attended the event, for his passionate commitment to sourcing responsibly-farmed, pasture-reared lamb directly traceable to its origin in the Karoo.
The Du Toitskloof team, headed up by winemaker Shawn Thomson, his wife Elrine and father-in-law Muller Coetzee, was the first to be put to the test, presenting their dish complemented by the Du Toitskloof Pinotage 2013. The Muratie team, Kim Melck and winemaker Hattingh de Villiers, were next up to showcase their creations paired with the estate’s flagship white blend, the Laurens Campher 2014. After a feast of note, the votes were cast and counted, and it was celebrity chef Pete Goffe-Wood who had the pleasure of announcing the 2015 champion and presenting the trophy – hand-made by Hattingh de Villiers. For the first time in the history of the Cook-Off, the votes were equal and the competition was a draw. A tongue-in-cheek suggestion from Pete that the competition proceed to a sudden death cook-off was met with great applause from the guests, but time had run out, and in fact everyone was delighted with the result. For an event conceived to celebrate the ‘Boland leefstyl’, which is all about good food, good wine and ‘samesyn’ (togetherness), a tie was the perfect end to a very happy day.
The inaugural Cook-Off in 2012 saw Du Toitskloof taking the championship title, followed by back-to-back victories for Muratie in 2013 and 2014. It is now back to the drawing-board for the two teams and the pressure is on for the 2016 Cook-Off which will be hosted at Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar on the Breedekloof Wine Route.
Shawn and Elrine Thomson of Du Toitskloof;
Hattingh de Villiers and Jean-Mari Strauss of Muratie with their lamb crowns on the braai;
Muller Coetzee and Elrine Thomson of Du Toitskloof;
Winemakers Shawn Thomson and Hattingh de Villiers having fun at the braai;
Du Toitskloof sosaties and ribs;
Muratie sosaties and ribs/chop tomahawk;
Team Muratie: Rorie Meiring, Hattingh de Villiers, Charla Kriel, Gretha Melck, Kim Melck, Jean-Mari Strauss, Marissa Groenewald, Anin Olivier, Rijk Melck and Catherine Melck;
Team Du Toitskloof: Emile Joubert, Bernard Kotze, Shawn Thomson, Muller Coetzee, Elrine Thomson and Francois Botha;
Pete Goffe-Wood (centre) presenting the trophy to Rijk Melck (left) and Bernard Kotze;
Hattingh de Villiers, Kim Melck, Pete Goffe-Wood, Shawn Thomson and Muller Coetzee.
MURATIE TRADITIONAL LAMB BRAAI RIBS
Rub with fresh lemon juice
Salt well with coarse salt
Sprinkle with white pepper
Fold the rib cage (ribs still attached to the chops) in a crown formation and use a sosatie stick to hold the ends together
Stand the crown of ribs upright, on the chop side, on the braai grid
Sear well on a slow fire until nicely browned
As the chops starts to cook, keep turning the crown so that it cooks evenly, still standing upright
Then remove the stick and flatten slightly so that the ribs can cook through – this will not take as long as the chops
Once they look cooked, slice through so that each two ribs have a chop forming a tomahawk which makes a nice size portion
If they still look a little pink inside, just let them lie on the grid until they are done to your liking!
Enjoy with a LARGE glass of Muratie Laurens Campher