My heritage dessert is tied up with memories of growing up in suburban South Africa rather than with my historical positioning and relevance on the continent of my birth. I have no fewer than five favourite childhood desserts. Three of these, karringmelkpoeding, melkkos and malvapoeding, have some culinary and cultural significance, but Peppermint Crisp fridge tart and ice cream with chocolate-fudge sauce are purely commercial constructs of synthetic sweetness that lie close to my heart. My sloppy, very South African, Peppermint Crisp tart is, if I dare say so myself, the stuff of legend. I doubt if my mother ever made a Peppermint Crisp tart in her life – it remains my cheeky culinary pleasure. But Marie’s shop bought vanilla ice cream and homemade chocolate-fudge sauce was the stuff of many happy memories in the late 70s and early 80s.
And then she stopped making it for some reason, and the sauce eventually became a vague recollection of flavours (reminiscent of a popular fudgy chocolate bar) and memories that I associated with birthday supper treats and braai desserts. I thought of it occasionally, no big deal. Until, one day it hit me that those flavours are forever lost to me, like my mother is lost to me. My dad asked if I knew how to make Marie’s sauce because it was his favourite, so I tried to recreate it. But after too many trials and too many errors and never getting the taste just right, I sadly gave up on the idea.
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