Thousands of miles and many thousands of days… with a quince

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I spent many formative years in South Africa, including the time when I lived and worked in the Cape. During those years I was a frequent – also work-related – visitor to a restaurant that used to enchant me with the Cape Malay indulgence of its buffet tables, the Cape Dutch character of its rooms, the beauty of its Cape surroundings.

It also had an – unidentified – aroma all of its own, one that was lost to me after the wind blew my sails back to Europe.

I have not been back to South Africa for thirteen years but I now go back to that Cape restaurant for a couple of weeks every year. It was here, in Germany’s Franconia, that I discovered the quince and the golden, spiced aroma of quinces bubbling away in the pan is that aroma from way back then…

… it has me standing over the pan inhaling the scent of buffet tables laden with bobotie, breyanis and bredies, sambals and salads, frikkadels and Cape Dutch Chicken Pie, melktert, Malva Pudding and koeksisters… in cool, character-filled rooms set in rolling green sunny spaces…

Thousands of miles and many thousands of days… all it takes is a quince.

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