Going green so easy at The Shop Cafe@Amanzi
CATTLE have always been a sign of prestige and status in Zimbabwe, but environmental protection agencies are concerned that the methane emissions from cows are contributing to the greenhouse effect and accelerating global warming.
As an average-sized cow chomps its way through the daily forage it needs, it will burp 400 litres of methane into the air, having a greater effect on the atmosphere than cars, factories, or industrial processes.
For this reason, eco-warriors and activists are urging us to either stop eating meat and become vegetarian, or at least to reduce our intake of beef and to consume more fruit and vegetables. Whether you decide to stop eating meat out of concern for the planet, for health reasons, or out of respect for animal rights, you’ll find going green so easy after having lunch The Shop Cafe@Amanzi.
Kerry Wallace first opened The Shop Cafe twenty years ago at Doon Estate in Msasa. His culinary skills and imaginative vegetarian menus were an immediate success, and lovers of good food thought nothing of driving several kilometres out on the Mutare Road to Msasa for lunch. At that time Doon Estate was a thriving hub, and a great place to buy local arts and crafts. Circumstances changed, and a few years ago Kerry moved The Shop Cafe to upmarket Amanzi Restaurant, a converted farmhouse surrounded by four acres of tropical gardens and waterfalls in Chisipite. Here he was joined by his son Leeroy, assisted by Taffy, an up-and-coming cook.
Lunch time buffets at Shop Cafe are something to write home about, even for the affirmed carnivore, and it’s wise to make a reservation in advance. Tables are set on the verandah and in the garden; while you wait to be called to the buffet waiters will bring you hummus with crispy tacos, and slices of watermelon (depending on the season) sprinkled with herbs, nuts and spices. Go easy on these, as the best is yet to come
A typical buffet will have numerous freshly made salads, in addition to at least two hot dishes, often cauliflower cheese or a sweet potato gratin. Star of the salads is a tower of aubergine, tomato and feta cheese, topped with creme fraiche and a balsamic glaze. Fragrant Puy lentils simmered with herbs are garnished with quartered hard boiled organic eggs and finely chopped parsley, while bright orange butternut squash is roasted to a melting tenderness and coated with coconut.
Finely sliced cucumber in yoghurt offsets a brilliant green salad composition of French beans and peas, flavoured with mustard seeds, Nigella seeds, and tarragon, with a hint of garlic, lemon zest and sea salt. There are crunchy rissoles for contrasting texture, possibly made from garbanzo beans; when combined with Kerry’s finely cut homemade mango pickle, these disappear very quickly.
Leeroy and Taffy are busy in the kitchen throughout lunch, replenishing dishes and occasionally having to make extra. For those who really can’t do without protein, there are beautifully fried Tilapia fillets, or slices of honey roast Gammon, served as side dishes.
If you have room for dessert, the carrot cake is luscious, the lemon tart good and the coffees very worthwhile.
Take your environmental awareness a notch further, and attend a one and a half hour Saturday morning yoga session at Amanzi, hosted by well-known yoga guru, JP, aka Jean-Paul. Not only will your body and mind benefit, but you’ll feel empowered to behave in ways to benefit both the community and the environment.
Classes are from 0800 to 0930 hours, and can be followed by a Shop Cafe health breakfast of scones, muffins, fruit juices, organic salads, herbal teas and pure coffees. If the morning is chilly, classes take place inside, in front of a fire.
While scientific journals are awash with ways to combat global warming and to come to terms with climate change, a foray into the delicious possibilities of vegetarian cuisine is a sure way to benefit the environment. – A Matter of Taste with Charlotte Malakoff
The Shop Cafe @ Amanzi
158 Enterprise Road
Closed Monday and Sunday
Tuesday to Saturday: 12.30 – 14.30 pm
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