This week is one of the highlights of the St Helena Calendar as we are celebrating the discovery of this pinprick of an island in the South Atlantic Ocean in 1502.
The Portuguese navigator Joao da Nova is reported to be the one who discovered and named St Helena.
Following years saw no settlement forming although the island became a destination for replenishing supplies and water.
It was Oliver Cromwell who granted the East India Company a charter to govern St Helena in 1657 and therefore claim the island as a British Colony.
The island celebrates with a public holiday for all and a variety of events across the island. We offered a traditional afternoon tea at 2onMain
Sandra keeping check on the orders as they come in
Our trainees created the following menu which included the following:
Pickled Pork and Mango Chutney Sandwiches
Smoked Tuna and Cucumber Sandwiches
Egg and Cress Mayonnaise Sandwiches
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Scones with Jam and Cream
Outside the front door the party was just starting with a parade through the town.
The pictures below are the view from the restaurant!
Later on in the evening there are parties and fireworks and probably many a sore head the following day!
My journey onward to St Helena was marked by the arrival of the Queen Mary 2 who docked in Cape Town just as the RMS St Helena was leaving.
In comparison to the RMS this ship is just huge. As she was entering the docking areas she dwarfed many of the other vessels around.
The fact that the pilot could get the ship turned toward its berth in the space available was incredible and fascinating to watch.
One interesting thing to me was the people on the Queen Mary were looking at the people on the RMS St Helena and vice versa. What each thought of the other goodness only knows. My other thought which went through my mind was how long would it take for all those passengers to get through immigration!
Cape Town has a plethora of interesting places to amble through whilst engaging the senses.
There are the ubiquitous Cape Town views, shops, art galleries, local musicians performing on street corners and of course there is the food.
The food scene here is incredibly varied and vibrant, much more so than in most of the UK, possibly because the laws on trading, hygiene and sales tax are more favourable (no sales tax on restaurant meals). Dining out is an event that is within the means of most locals with all budgets catered for one way or another.
Sundays are particularly popular across the city for the phenomena which is “the food market.”
Many districts and malls have their own little “pop up” area where a variety of food purveyors come together to offer food and drink to imbibe there and then or to take away. On my last visit to Cape Town I saw local olives, honey, cheese, sausages and hams being sold alongside dim sum, sushi, Belgian Waffles, Korean barbecue and steak sandwiches with homemade relishes. Fixtures and fittings are usually simple with the effort being put into quality of food rather than ambiance. One place which intrigued me was offering cappuccinos and teas to customers seated on hessian sacks. It has certainly given me some ideas for the way forward for St Helena’s gastronomic future as it proves what quality can be achieved with so little cost