Our sense of smell is closely linked to our memories, even more so than our other senses. Even just a whiff of a smell could evoke childhood memories, that envelope us with a sense of love and comfort as we remember precious times.
This summer, Cathedral Cellar, in partnership with Chef Mynhardt Joubert, challenged a bunch of foodies to unlock the scents of summer with a treasure chest of discoveries, carefully put together by Chef Mynhardt. We tasted, smelled and remembered as we worked our way through the box, keeping good company with bottles of Cathedral Cellar‘s Sauvignon Blanc and Triptych 2016.
Here’s a round-up of my favourite scents of summer.
Pineapple fridge tart
Summer weekends remind me of fruit and ice cream. As a child, my mom used to make the biggest bowls of fresh fruit salad, served with scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream straight from the tub as a treat after Sunday lunch. Or her famous pineapple fridge tart, with layers of coconutty tennis biscuits, enveloped in a pineapple blanket. I used to wait in front of the fridge for it to set.
Still, in summer, I tend to gravitate towards fruity smells, especially tropical mango, pineapple or coconut. I still hunger after that nostalgic taste of sweet vanilla ice cream, or that bowl of fruit salad that smells like the warm sun on a ripened peach. Summer weekends also remind me of the coconutty smell of that thick, white sunscreen of our childhood, which was liberally applied before or after ice cream.
Stepping it up a notch, I’ve created a pineapple and coconut sorbet, served with a fresh basil and caramelised chilli pineapple compote to pair with the summer feel-goods of Cathedral Cellar‘s Sauvignon Blanc. For me, it’s my mom’s pineapple fridge tart in a single scoop.
Fresh pineapple I Coconut milk I Honey I Chilli flakes I Basil oil I Brown sugar I Fresh basil I A fresh coconut for serving
Fish Hoek Beach’s benches
One of my fondest childhood memories of summer, is fish and chip parcels at the beach. Those steaming paper bundles of salty, vinegary, oily chips and a chunk of crispy, gooey battered fish. A little plastic tub of tartare sauce on the side if you’re lucky.
We’d sit, squeezed on a bench on the beachfront, listening to the seagulls screech and beg for food, with the rolling hum of the waves filling our ears. The sea breeze would blow my hair into my face, but that didn’t really matter, because I had the sun on my back and lunch on my lap. It would be companionably quiet in that moment, when all you can smell is the salt of the ocean.
I decided to recreate a deconstructed version of my favourite summer food to pair with Cathedral Cellar‘s Sauvignon Blanc. Now, as an adult, a fish parcel from our local fish shop and an icy glass of Sauvignon Blanc remains one of my favourite treats on a summer’s day. Served on oversized scallop shells, these morsels are deliciously more-ish.
Prime hake fillet I Potato rosti I Tartare sauce I Lime wedge I Salt and pepper spice I Pickled pearl onions I Dill oil breadcrumb I Dill to garnish
Pick a mix
A bit of a juxtaposition, but summer also reminds me of all the European interpretations of Christmas. Given, a South African Christmas is hardly snow and glühwein, but I love the romance of a cold Christmas.
Having lived in Europe for several years, my South African summer Christmases these days are always interspersed with the smells and tastes of a wintery one. I adore rich, boozy fruit cake and hearty red wines that warm your heart cockles from the inside. The smell of spices – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg – that infuses all the houses through candles and cooking. The smell of fresh pine needles drying on the Christmas tree, and chocolate. So much chocolate!
Purple boxes of our favourite chocolates under the tree, trays of dainty liqueur filled chocolates on the dinner table and bags of pick ‘n mix chocolates to hand out to the cousins when they come over.
For me, Cathedral Cellar‘s Triptych 2016 is the perfect after-Christmas-dinner bottle to settle down with in a comfy chair with a book, or outside next to the pool in the shade. I’ve paired it with my duo of chocolate truffles. One made with fruit cake and one without, as we all know the world is split in two because of it.
Fruit cake I Semi-sweet dark chocolate I Condense milk I Chocolate cake I Sprinkles I Dried fruit for garnish
For many South Africans, summer is synonymous with braai. For me, it’s synonymous with braai leftovers. There was no greater joy as a little girl to open the fridge door the next morning on tippy toes and find an enamel dish filled with leftover braaibroodjies, boerewors and steaks. Dished onto a paper plate, a few seconds in the microwave, a dollop of tomato sauce and I couldn’t have been happier. Breakfast was served, with reminders of the braai fire still on your fingers.
The smell of the black char on the breadies, the sharp punch of coriander seeds in the sausage, the deliciously fatty bits of steak and the melted cheese that has now set hard around the tomato and onion. Oh, be still, my hungry heart.
To pair with Cathedral Cellar‘s Triptych 2016, I’ve put together my ultimate scent of summer: a braai leftover steak and cheese sandwich, with my interpretation of my mom’s homemade beetroot salad braai side.
Ciabatta bread I Picanha steak I Edam cheese I Beetroot chutney I Parmesan I Garlic oil
I honestly had a lot of fun working with Cathedral Cellar and Chef Mynhardt Joubert to recreate my scents of summer. These two gorgeous wines provided the perfect backdrop for me to sketch out my fondest memories of happy holidays and growing up by the sea.
Thank you for a trip down memory lane, and also for inspiring me to create new memories and recipes as we head into summer!
Disclaimer: I was given this product(s) as part of a press drop in exchange for my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.
The Little Hedonist endorses responsible drinking.