Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa!
I’ve been visiting here for about a month as my husband has been teaching shamanic movement workshops. Here in Cape Town there is a small but thriving raw food community that has only recently become established.
Up until several years ago raw foods were virtually unheard of in South Africa. This is a culture with food traditions deeply rooted in meat and potatoes with fresh raw fruit and salads playing a very small part in the traditional cuisine.
All of this started to change several years ago when Peter and Beryn Daniel returned to Cape Town after living abroad where they started eating a raw food diet. They were stunned to realize that no one in South Africa had any real knowledge of a raw food diet so they started teaching raw food workshops. They now also operate a thriving superfood business.
Their workshops are very popular and due to demand from participants they have now released their first book of raw food recipes. My husband and I were fortunate to be invited to their home to share a raw food dinner with Peter and Beryn and it was one of the most delightful meals we have enjoyed.
Firstly we were taken of a tour of the gardens around where they live, which contains an abundance of local plants as well as a large veggie garden. One of the plant species of note is the Cape gooseberry (pictured above), which is also known as the Incan berry, and is highly regarded as an antioxidant rich superfood.
After this we returned to the house where we enjoyed a blue drink made from coconut water and anthocyanin, which is the blue component of spirulina. Apparently it is very expensive but extremely potent for boosting immunity but mostly it was just fun for the novelty factor because it looked so pretty.
Following this Beryn prepared the most delicious soup I have ever tasted in my life, raw or cooked. It consisted of a base of coconut cream with lemongrass, kaffir lime, onion and miso and she served it warm straight out of the Vitamix. So rich and nourishing yet very subtle in flavor. I think I might have to ask her if she is willing to share the recipe because it was absolutely fantastic.
We then all realized that the soup was quite filling yet we didn’t’ want to miss out on enjoying the main course so digestive enzymes were in order. After a short break we then enjoyed a butternut lasagna with marinated mushrooms, spinach and macadamia cheese. Beryn made the cheese with Irish moss, which made it delightfully light; very unusual for a nut-based cheese.
We were then feeling very satisfied yet there was still dessert! After a short break to digest a little more we then indulged in a key lime pie served with fresh figs, raspberries and a vanilla coconut crème. The crust was delightfully light and based on coconut while the filling was a classic creamy avocado but with the addition of anthocynanin to give a blue-green color.
Due to the sweetness of dessert, Peter then decided that some bitter raw chocolate would be the perfect counterbalance. He brought out some special raw chocolate called Pacari that is made from 100% cacao. Knowing that I am a little bit sensitive to cacao and can’t sleep if I have it in the evening, I just had the tiniest piece; the smallest nibble you can imagine.
Wow! This stuff is potent. With this smallest amount I felt an instant buzz, as if I had a couple of tablespoons of cacao nibs. I asked Peter why it is so potent and he said it is because they start with the highest quality cacao beans and then process it for three days to remove all the moisture. What is left is an extremely intense raw chocolate that would impress the most dedicated chocoholic and apparently this chocolate has won prizes for its very high quality.
My friend Kirsten explained to me that the stimulation would only last a moment since I had such a small amount and that what I was experiencing was more the feeling of the energy of the plant. I found this was to be true and after a few minutes I felt more grounded again.
As an antidote to the cacao we then ended the meal with a nice relaxing chamomile tea. What a beautiful meal. Great raw food and great company!
As we were leaving Peter generously gave me a copy of their raw recipe book, Rawlicious, which I hope to review for you as soon as I have had a chance to digest the contents and try a few of the recipes. On first glance it looks fantastic.
In a few days I am off to Costa Rica for some more raw adventures!