The build up to the Africa Club of Queensland's potjiekos competition was intense for weeks ahead of the event. This was my first and I must say that the anticipation kept me up for days before the showdown. We even had comments on our Facebook page that saw some of the competitors sizing each other up to gain some psychological advantage before the cook off.
On the first day, myself and Morne Barnes, the president of the Club, were welcomed by the lovely South African owners of Tanglewood Gardens. This was a magnificent setting and the battleground for the competition ahead. Immediately I felt at home and on the first night we shared our stories over some homemade biltong with plenty homebrew beer to compliment it. After the keg ran dry we decided a dip in the hydrotherapy spa was a good idea.
Saturday morning was bit rough, but excitement prevailed as the guests started to arrive. As the morning wore through and everyone settled in, it was time to get down to business. We lit the fires at around 2 o'clock that afternoon and the all important preparation began soon after
We had everything ranging from an Australian “Uluru” pot with kangaroo meat, to a Northern style Thai pork curry pot named “Zulu confusion”. We even had an Aussie enter a pot called the “Tassie devil”. There was incredible attention to detail and preparation. There were nine pots in total and as I walked around trying to see what everybody was making and sneaking a taste here and there, an incredible sense of unity filled the air. The fact that the Springboks were playing that evening added to the vibrant atmosphere. Ultimately the end result of the Bokke was a bit of a disappointment, but remained a positive addition to the weekend.
As the Saturday evening crept in, it was time to eat, followed by the judging of the pots and the awards ceremony. I could tell by the reactions of the judges, that every single entrant had made a potjie worthy of Masterchef. I am glad I wasn't a judge because I would have found it too hard to pick a winner.
At the end of the weekend, a truly wonderful experience was had by all. All South Africans both old and new to this wonderful country had united for a weekend of pure enjoyment.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dawid, Ann and Angelique Vlok, our wonderful hosts and owners of Tanglewood Gardens, as well as The Africa Club of Queensland for organising this wonderful event.