A phrase we love to use in the English Language is “Save the best for last “We use it to describe things like a decadent dessert at the end of a fabulous meal or if your anything like my little brother you will use it to emphasize your statues as last born….but I think nothing would better explain the last night of the Food Film festival as this turn of phrase. Spanish in theme from food to film Emily Moon set a wonderful backdrop for this fiesta. Greeted at the door by a salty margarita, laughter and conversation filled the room as people mulled around. No matter how many times I have the pleasure of visiting this lovely restaurant and guest lodge I still find it break taking. The view of the sun setting over the lagoon, the rustic but sophisticated décor…it is in my humble opinion one of the most stunning restaurants of the Garden Route and the ever changing menu brings me back time and time again. I took the few minutes I had before the film started to explore and take a peek at what would be on offer for dinner. As a huge fan of movie and the book it is based on ( I own my own copy ) I was immensely excited for the meal and knowing the excellent standard of the food at Emily’s I just had a feeling that I would not forget what I was going to taste tonight!
The film of the evening was Like Water for Chocolate. A Spanish movie based on the book of the same name it just overflows with passion and forbidden love. The story of a young woman bound by tradition forbidden to marry the man she loves, the film is moving as it carries us with her on her journey as she suffers her greatest losses and incredible triumphs. To me the best part of the film as an amateur cook and baker was the food but not for the simple reason that it looked divine but rather for the huge part it played in Tita’s (the heroine of the film) story. You see Tita was rejected by her mother almost at birth and was left to be raised by a faithful kitchen maid. Spending almost her whole life in a kitchen Tita had a special connection with the food she made….so much to the extent that whatever Tita was feeling at the time was almost absorbed by her food giving the eater not only an amazing dining experience but also stirring up in them the same sorrows or passions Tita was experiencing at the time. She created a wedding cake that had her sisters entire wedding party weeping after one bite allowing them to experience her pain at seeing the man she loved marry her sister and a dinner of partridges with a rose sauce so infused with Tita’s own suppressed passion that after eating it Tita’s sister was so inflamed she set her washroom alight and ran off naked with a Spanish Revolutionary! It’s this part of the film that truly bought me the most enjoyment because it’s a part of cooking that I understand best. I know myself how my emotions can influence the food I make and the cakes I bake and I like to think that like Tita a little bit of me seeps into everything I offer up on a plate- as Tita puts it- the secret is to make it with love!
I was famished after the two hour film and couldn’t wait to head down for supper. The smells from dinner had already started seeping through into the theatre and we were all anxious to find the source of this delight. As we exited and made our way down to the dining area we were great by a wonderful surprise. A merengue band! With this gorgeous music filling the air and the soft glow of candle light I felt I had been transported to an evening in a Spanish Villa….Completely girly I know but I allowed myself the luxury of getting carried away in my fantasy…just for one night. We all rushed to queue up in front of a buffet fit for a king and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on something delectable. My first taste of this delicious meal was the soup! Oh that soup will remain in my taste memory for years to come….a thick and rich oxtail soup full of flavour it was incredible. If I had to put an emotion to this soup passion would be the first ting to come to mind! After this I rushed again to the buffet to retrieve my mains and oh it only got better. A fresh homemade tortilla had me making a delicious burrito full of creamy guacamole, spicy salsa, sour cream and divine chilli con carne…I was in love first bite in and ate eyes closed and senses open for the rest of my delicious meal. The fish was also cooked to perfection….tender with soft flavours…I was in food Heaven and was disappointed when my plate was empty and my stomach full! Emily Moon’s team out did themselves and Chef Alex definitely offered up a part of himself in every meal! It was incredible and my wonderful dessert just ended off my meal perfectly…..This truly has been the best three days and I have tasted and experienced so much…Bravo to Plett Tourism and organisers for doing such an incredible job of creating such amazing cultural event for our little town and showing her off in all her glory…..I can hardly wait for next year!
Written by Olivia Lederle and photos by Sharyn Hodges.