I have long been a fan of South African wines, from Chenin Blanc to Pinotage. But my experience with South African food has been very limited. But I have recently tasted a couple sweet treats from South Africa which delighted my palate and which will be sure to please my readers as well.
The Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose is now carrying several different food products from South Africa. I stopped by recently to buy some of these new items, including two treats produced by Walters Handmade Honey Nougat, a family-based company in South Africa.
In 1999, the Walters family moved to a new home, which they called Wedgewood, making it a venue for classical music concerts. Gilly Walters would prepare home-made food for the audiences and one of the most popular items was her Nougat. It was so popular that she began selling it at farmers' markets, and then eventually retail stores. The growth has continued and now it is a significant business, with additional products.
There are some limitations though. As their nougat is made by hand, the amount they can produce is limited to some degree. So, they have chosen to concentrate on making the highest quality product that they can. They select quality natural ingredients and do not use gelatine, preservatives, or artificial colors. They also aim to be environmentally and socially responsibe, and work towards creating a sustainable business.
The nougat currently comes in several different sizes and flavors, including: Macadamia, Almond, Pecan Nut, Black Cherry & Almond, and Cranberry & Almond. Too many of the nougats I have tasted in the past have been hard and overly sweet. So I was a bit leery about Walters nougat but Rebecca at Beacon Hill Wine then gave it her recommendation. So I gave the Macadamia Nougat a try and was extremely glad that I did.
The nougat is very soft, almost like a thick marshmallow in consistency. It has a distinctive honey flavor, but the sweetness is restrained and pleasing rather than cloying and overwhelming. There were plenty of pieces of Macadamia nuts in the nougats adding an interesting crunchy texture to the soft nougat, as well as adding a nutty flavor. It is simply one of the best nougats I have ever tasted and it gets my highest recommendation.
Besides the nougat, they also produce Angels Nougat Biscuits. These are shortbread biscuits, made with real butter, and containing crisp nougat chunks and nuts. The small cookies are big on flavor, with a strong buttery flavor. The nougat adds an intriguing taste to the cookie, though you get more of a crunch than you do with the nougat bars. It seems easy to eat cookie after cookie until the box is gone. These also get my recommendation.
If you enjoy sweets, then stop by the Beacon Hill Wine & Gourmet in Melrose and get some of Walters Handmade Honey Nougat and Angels Nougat Biscuits. Maybe you will see me there stopping up.