(of food, drink, or flavour) both bitter and sweet to the taste; sweet with a bitter aftertaste: bittersweet chocolate.
- both pleasant and painful; arousing pleasure tinged with sadness or pain: the room, with all its bittersweet memories.
“You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place.”
My first ever foodie blog started with chocolate, a rags to riches story of sweet white and milk chocolate mixed with the humble peanut. I didn’t like dark chocolate back then. Over time, like me, those tastes changed and developed and grew and bloomed, and so, for this last foodie blog, it is only fitting that it ends again with chocolate. Bittersweet this time.
“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes
It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that Walter and I are moving from Tanzania.
We have come to love Beho Beho, really love it and truly appreciate it for what it is. And for what it has meant to so many people whose lives are intertwined with it – guests that visit it and a team that has grown into family over the almost 5 years we’ve spent here.
Walking down from our little stone cottage in the early morning fresh air, the golden hour lights the valleys and hills and the lake in the distance, and every single morning I still think how blessed I am to call this home. I take so many happy memories with me. The nuances in the breeze and what it foretells; subtle rains or thunderstorms, drought or life. Changing of the leaves and seedpods of the iconic baobab on the plains in front of camp. The low grumble of an elephant’s belly, the soaring cry of the fish eagle at dawn along with the chorus of a myriad different, unseen birds, lions taking up their spirited, reverberating roar at dusk and the eerie whooping call of the hyena in the dark of night. Countless balmy evenings filled with mirth shared around the candle lit dinner table beneath starry African skies. Sunsets and moonrises, early morning coffees on the front step of the office with Fred coming by for company, a quiet swim in the heat of day up at the Bailey’s Banda.
Mr. Simba as he peers over his reading glasses at the bar, eyes alight, Saningo’s unmistakable laughter drifting in from the snooker table, Godfrey taking the mickey out of me when feigning disaster in the kitchen at service time. The whole collection of faces scattered around the laundry area, looking back at me as I announce the day’s happenings at our daily morning meeting. Spending anniversaries and birthdays in the Treehouse, little Blue Waxbills splashing around in their bird bath right outside the kitchen entrance and squirrels leaping and bounding around in the undergrowth. Walking down the aisle to my beloved waiting under the fig tree and dancing beneath the stars.
Innumerable snapshots that make up the intricately woven life we have had here. And I shall carry that with me for the remainder of my days with a grateful heart overflowing in appreciation for the opportunity to spend just one slice of time in this incredible wilderness.
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” ~ Winnie the Pooh
I am, on the other side of the coin, super excited for the unknown adventure that awaits. We are moving to South Africa’s Western Cape Winelands where the company has bought a property named Les Hauts De Montagu (www.leshautsdemontagu.co.za) situated in the Robertson Wine Valley on Route 62 in the Klein Karoo.
It will be a whole new quest, new foods, great wines, fresh produce markets to explore, hearing my mother tongue spoken freely, setting up house and settling down. Hopefully we’ll start our own little family in the next few years, close to my mom, dad and our sisters when that happens.
And Walter will still be able to get his nature fix too – not of the typical safari kind with big animals – but a whole kingdom of Fynbos to investigate and all the birds, bugs and beetles that go with it, walks into the sublime Langeberg mountains that open up into a conservancy at the top of our farm, wine tasting outings, river cruises, producing our own olive oil and of course, the spectacular scenery. There are even rumours of the elusive Cape Leopard up in the hills, and a few antelope like klipspringers and duikers are often seen, dassies and several different mongoose abound and I’m sure there will be a few butterflies, damselflies and dragonflies to keep him fully occupied.
So loads of excitement and pleasure (and hard work, I’m sure) to look forward to. It is time.
On with the foodie bit – there is still chocolate to be talked about!
So for the dark chocolate recipe, I’ve chosen it to be a bit of a grown up version of my first chocolate-peanut square, more refined in flavour yet with the same amount of satisfaction to be gained.
I learnt the base of this Malakoff recipe when I was in chef school, and adapted it to make the Beho Beho after dinner chocolates. It has roasted almond flakes and pistachio nuts in to offer some texture and delicate character, as well as a hazelnut or pistachio paste (that’s been carried across borders to make its way into the heart of the Selous) to give it a velvety richness, along with the dark chocolate for bitter, and just a little bit of milk chocolate for the sweet.
And even though I think chocolate is absolutely perfect on its own, this gives just the right amount of interest to make it worth the effort – the whole is definitely greater than the sum of it’s parts. As is life.
Beho Beho After Dinner Chocolates
265g dark chocolate, highest possible cocoa content, the more bitter the better
100g milk chocolate
180g hazelnut or pistachio paste, unsweetened
20g cocoa butter
70g roasted flaked almonds
100g dark chocolate, 70% (for spreading on top)
- Prepare a small square tray with wax paper on the bottom as well as the sides.
- Melt down the first two chocolates, nut paste and cocoa butter together.
- Fold in nuts and pour into lined tray, make sure to bang it on the table a few times to get any air bubbles out and let the nuts sink in a bit to ensure a smooth top and allow to set.
- Melt the second batch of dark chocolate and spread over evenly.
- Before it has set completely, cut diagonally into diamond shaped pieces and store somewhere cold.
- Serve after dinner, or whenever really. It is delicious.
Now, I bid you farewell – may you experience just a taste of the warmth, joy and fulfillment that Beho Beho has to offer – and I leave behind a bit of my heart. I certainly consider myself amongst the fortunate few that has been afforded, in this lifetime, a piece of paradise.