Nuggets of joy sweeten the pot in Cape Town
Andre Burgener has been immersed in all things food since she took over the making of the family's lunch box sandwiches aged eight (her mom could make a mean creme brulee and a staggering souffle, but could never butter the bread all the way to the edges.
Cape Town may have a reputation for the best eating places, but on the sweet side they fare no better than any other local city.
There are, as in every location, from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein, many indifferent cheesecakes, overbaked creme brulees, irritating red velvet cupcakes, and only a meagre scattering of truly sublime confectionery. If I lived there, I wouldn't even bother with anything else for a sweet-tooth binge or elaborate dinner party than the perfect macaroons at Cassis Patisserie. Vanilla, coffee and lemon are the best of these flourless little nuggets, with berry and lemon second in line.
A technically perfect macaroon is a magnificent thing (and if you've ever blocked off three days in your diary to make them, you'll understand my grovelling respect).
These are as good as the best in Paris.
As I write, I am eating them, far faster and more greedily than I suspect I should. But they are my undoing.
And I'm trying furiously, jealously, to work out how I can make ones even half as good. Cassis: Gardens Centre 021-671-1305 / Constantia 021-794-1285 / Newlands 021-671-1305
It's not that I aim to complain, that I like being a whiner but when things are criminally bad, the matter has to be addressed.
The fad for pizzas with groovy toppings is, as we've all learnt the hard way, a horror in the wrong hands. I'm not saying it's a no-go area, but it is an area filled with land mines, and you need to tread carefully.
Here's what plundering in like a Panzer tank gets you: there is a fairly new, going-as-trendy place near me which serves a pizza with a topping of, among other things chicken and - wait for it - poppadoms. Poppadoms? Have we all lost our minds? You know what happens, right? The poor poppadom, born crispy and no doubt proud of it, comes into contact with cheese and steam and immediately wilts into a chewy weird thing.
We must stand up and say no to this sort of foolishness, before we're handed a pizza topped with toothpaste, doughnuts and two-minute noodles.
COOKING THE BOOKS
Like everyone who reads it, I stay smitten with award-winning blog Smitten Kitchen, so how delighted I am to discover - rather late in the day - that I can order New Yorker Deb Perelman's first cookbook, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook, online. All new recipes too, so it's not as if you're just spending money on what you could hunt and gather online. If you don't know the charming lass or her perfect blog already, check out www.smittenkitchen.com