Curry can keep you chirpy for longer!

Over thousands of years curry has been a staple flavour-enhancer in many countries around the world. Curry is a complex blend of spices that can be mixed and blended to suit all tastes or enhance an array of dishes – from vegetables to goat! Sometimes it may even serve as a handy tool to ‘mask’ a rather miffy meal? Curry makes it all good – including your health, it may seem! Those foods that pack a punch in flavour could improve our chances of living longer.

Consuming curry-flavoured dishes on a daily basis – or at least twice a week – could lower the chance of an early death. So it seems that adding a little spice to your life would be worth the hot sweats, numb tongue and adrenalin charges brought on by a choice chicken tikka masala!

Of course a quality curry is a special blend of spices and ingredients, which may include cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, garlic, curry leaves, paprika, cardamom or star anise (perhaps even a little apricot jam if you have any South African heritage in you.) But the most commonly used hot-as-hell spice remains the chilli. Whether fresh or dried, big or small, red or green, with or without the seeds, any cook worthy of his salt will know when a dish requires a bit of this magic ingredient to take the flavour up a notch.

Medical professionals continue with this interesting research, but seem to agree that the spice, capsaicin, contains a bioactive ingredient which has long had anti-obesity, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, amongst others.

Of course, this is fantastic news for us here at Tolbos, where the winters bring with them such chilly nights. Hence, we added a dose of good medicine in the Patensie Valley with a Currie Evening last week. By the time guests left after a long evening of chatting, ‘chilli’ing and chowing at the buffet, bellies were bulging, cheeks were rosy and grins were wide. Definitely a bill of clean health and some feel-good for all who attended!

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An overview of Patensie and surrounds.

Tolbos is situated in the agricultural town of Patensie, where the main activity revolves around the cultivation of citrus. To get to the Valley, you will have to travel approximately 75km’s west on the N2, from Port Elizabeth. Pass through Loerie (famous for the South African ‘Naartjie’) and then Hankey (home to the world’s largest sundial and final resting place of Sarah Bartmann – a Khoi-San woman descendant of South Africa’s first inhabitants, the Khoi and Mfengu people), before arriving in Patensie. This is the last place to top-up, snack-up, refuel and refresh before heading off to the World Heritage Site of the Baviaanskloof (‘Valley of Baboons’). At Tolbos, we love to ‘chat’ tourism and will give all the info you may need for enriching your visit to the Gamtoos Valley. Take the opportunity to enjoy a hearty breakfast or sun downer snack platter while drawing up your travel plans.

Do experience farm-life, beautiful scenery or outdoor splendour by staying over at one of the many guesthouses, B&B’s or campsites in the Valley. Explore one of the challenging 4×4 routes or walk and bike a country trail route in the safe, rural area. Adventure and endurance racing are popular past-times and the Kouga region is proud to host many of these events throughout the year. Fancy something more relaxing or traditional? Try a spot of fishing, bird-watching – or aim for a birdie on the beautifully maintained Hankey Golf Course!

Keep an eye on local media for dates of Citrus festivals, traditional and extremely popular ‘Boere’ bazaars (fairs), sporting events and shows featuring well-known South African celebrities at various venues around town.

Should you have some spare time, take a slight detour to visit the Kouga Dam, about 32km’s en-route to the east entrance of the Baviaanskloof. This is the first double-arched dam engineered in South Africa, built in 1967.

From here, it is magnificence all the way into the 192 000Ha Baviaanskloof Wilderness area, nestled between the Kouga and Baviaanskloof mountain ranges. Truly worth a visit!

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