We all have our own family traditions during the festive season. Whether you decorate a tree, put up lights, stuff stockings and kiss under the mistletoe, or you build gingerbread houses, deliver meals to the homeless or fly back to your hometown for a family gathering, there is one common thread and that is food. Food that is cooked with love and shared in abundance.
Across the globe, people join together for a festive, jovial and plentiful feast that is savoured with much gratitude as the year draws to a close and a new chapter is set to begin.
The wine flows, the eggnog is generously spiked with rum and the delightful popping of champagne corks is continuous. As for dessert, well that’s in a class of its own. Whether you tuck into the customary mince pies, buttery shortbread or traditional plum pudding that is drowned in a rum-infused sauce, or you prefer a chunky slice of old-fashioned apple pie topped with homemade ice cream, freshly baked gingerbread men decorated with colourful sweets or a rich chocolatey Yule log, ’tis most definitely the season to eat and be merry.
So, as families, friends and sometimes even strangers prepare to gather for their end-of-year feast, we thought we’d share a few of our most-loved foodie traditions with you. We hope you enjoy them and, as always, I’ll leave you with one of my most favourite festive quotes:
“May all your joys be pure joys, and all your pain champagne.”
Amarula Coffee Banner Image © Matt Yardley.
1. &Beyond Mocha Rocka Choca Vula Vala
A bit of a tongue-twister, but this is a bona fide tastebud-pleaser. And although it may not be traditionally associated with the festive season, it’s a sure-fire way for you and your loved ones to reminisce about your &Beyond safari over the holidays.
Coined by our rangers in South Africa, the Mocha Rocka Choca Vula Vala (or beloved bush coffee with a twist) is a breakfast treat that warms up the hands (and soul) during those often crisp morning game drives.
It is a recipe that has been perfected over the years and shared through every generation of &Beyond guide. We may be biased, but they definitely taste the best in our &Beyond stainless steel safari mugs.
- Hot chocolate powder
- Filter coffee prepared in a French press
- Add 3 heaping spoons of hot chocolate powder to each mug
- Add a splash of milk so that you can stir the powder into a chocolatey paste
- Pour hot filter coffee over the paste and stir
- Continue stirring and add a (generous) splash of Amarula
Voilà … now let the safari memories come flooding back!
2. &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Amarula White Chocolate truffles
Elegantly over-the-top and surprisingly luxurious, &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge sits dramatically perched right on the misty edge of the enormous world-famous crater itself. With commanding views that’ll stop you dead in your tracks and velvety long-stemmed roses everywhere you turn, this place is fit for a king and queen.
And don’t even get me started on the desserts. The lodge’s irresistible ‘tam-tam’ trolley is filled to the brim with the most decadent treats, from rose-scented Turkish delights and sultana-rum truffles to homemade nougat, dark chocolate mousse, espresso shortbread and Amarula white chocolate truffles. All of them pleading to be devoured. Pretty much impossible to resist… don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Add these sweet truffles to your traditional feast this festive season, compliments of the &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge chefs.
- 1 kg White chocolate, chopped
- 1 cup Amarula
- ½ cup Unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp Lime or lemon zest
- Extra icing sugar, to roll
- Place the chocolate, butter, Amarula and lime zest together into a medium-sized metal bowl and place over a double boiler
- Slowly melt the chocolate
- Remove from the heat and whisk everything together to combine well
- Allow to thicken slightly and cool before whisking again to lighten the mixture
- Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight until set
- When set, roll into small balls (about 2 tsp each)
- Return to the fridge to harden
- When ready to serve dust with sifted icing sugar
- Store in the fridge in a sealed container until needed
Makes 75 truffles.
3. &Beyond Klein’s Camp Cheese & Herb pull-apart bread
For something savoury, this pull-apart bread from &Beyond Klein’s Camp is always a big hit with guests. Carb-lovers can’t get enough of this fresh homemade bread that is filled with just the right amount of melted cheese and fresh herbs. Believe me, it’s a moment in carb heaven. Your hips may not thank us, but I think you will. Enjoy!
- 10 x Mini rounds of plain bread
- 1 cup Chopped red onion
- ¼ cup Chopped parsley
- ¼ cup Chopped thyme or oregano
- 2 cups Sliced cheddar cheese
- ¼ cup Poppy seeds
- 1 cup Melted margarine
- Salt, to sprinkle on top
- Preheat the oven to 180°C
- Bake the mini breads and once cooked, allow to cool
- Fry the onion in a little bit of oil until soft
- Melt the margarine and add the onion, parsley, thyme and poppy seeds; mix well
- Cut the bread across (not all the way to the bottom) as per the picture
- Place cheese slices into the bread and pour the melted mixture into the slices
- Sprinkle with salt
- Just before serving, place the breads into the oven to melt the cheese
- Serve with parsley dip