Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dispatches from the Frontline #2: Gaborone, Botswana

This just in from Clare Gupta, LME's Africa correspondent.  Thank you, Clare!

Southern Africa is not a region known for its good ice cream. For the most part, the ice cream you find at grocery stores or served in restaurants is made from vegetable, not milk fat, giving it a strange aerated mushy quality. That said, there are a handful of exceptions, and the homemade gelato served at Sanitas, a tea garden in Botswana’s capital city Gaborone, is one of them.

Sanitas is a lovely native plant nursery that I stumbled upon in the otherwise dusty, dreary town of Gaborone.  Their outdoor café is situated around a gorgeous old enormous fig tree, with tables nestled between palm trees and other interesting sorts of plants. In addition to serving a tasty lunch, they also serve HOMEMADE gelato! Given the dearth of ice cream options here, I was shocked to discover that not only did they serve gelato but that it was prepared in-house.

That'll do.
It comes either on a cone or in a pretty glass dish with various accompaniments such as black cherry sauce, vanilla-flavored home-baked cookies or fresh strawberries, straight from the nursery’s garden. I did what I always do, which is order a scoop of gelato on a sugar cone (ice cream is just not as satisfying when it's not licked from a cone) with toppings on the side—in this case, the fresh strawberries. I tried out the chocolate flavor and while it was not show-stopping, it was pretty up to snuff as gelato goes, with just the right balance of creaminess and iciness that good gelato should have.

What made it mentionable were the fresh strawberries—the mix of a crunchy sugar cone, sweet-tart strawberries and cool chocolate flavor absolutely hit the spot.

Next time if I can resist the strawberries I’m thinking I may go for the option of a scoop of vanilla bean topped with a splash of Amarula—South Africa’s deliciously-flavored liquor made from cream and berries from the native Amarula tree…yum.


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