It was a good week to be a glutton. A smiling, happy carbohydrate consuming glutton as opposed to the dour folk who so religiously follow the gospel according to Professor Tim Noakes, he of the constipation-induced grin and dial-a-quote sound-bite. The only thing Noakes likes more than a super high protein egg-yolk omelette with extra fatty bacon is feasting on the reams of newsprint that has followed him and his announcing the evils of all things carbohydrate and pleasurable whilst prophesizing the apparent health-giving properties of a diet comprising mostly of fatty, meaty, cheesy and nutty edibles.
Best note that his publicity is limited to local South African publications as well as a cookbook. Last week a major American study found that said high-protein diet is as dangerous as smoking 20 cigarettes a day. With people following such a diet being four times more likely to be struck down by the dreaded Big C, cancer. Oh, and this research was published in the likes of American Scientist and National Geographic, not known for their triviality.
Despite this, Noakes predictably went into defensive mode calling the research “a disaster” as well as “scandalous” before wandering off for a cashew nut and biltong milk-shake and to contemplate the possibility of a decent bowel movement within the foreseeable future.
But the horse had bolted, casting doubt on Noakes and his disciples. Grown men stumbled around in a daze contemplating whether a toned waist and a leaner chin were worth pursuing if you’re likely to be struck down by cancer. A six pack and sashimi-knife sharp cheek-bones ain’t going to impress the nurse in the oncology unit, Big Guy.
To celebrate the demise of Noakes’s nonsense I injected a rush of life-affirming carbohydrates into my veins, namely a crispy, puffy white roll made from refined flower stuffed with the largest, greasy chips that my personal health-store Dias Tavern could throw at me.
The joyous rush of main-lined carbs, washed down with an ice-cold Castle Draught, instantly turns the world into a far better place than the one the protein-peckers are living in. Try it sometime.
My sentiments were echoed a few days later at a wineland party where the host, a medical doctor, looked at a few guests staring into their plates with irritated looks as they tried to remove a possible speck of carbohydrate from their plates piled with meat and chicken.
“You can spot one of these Noakes followers miles away,” the Doc said. “Thin, pale and grumpy. And with halitosis that could stop a menstruating buffalo cow at ten yards.”
Yes, what the Noakes crowd fail to mention is that besides cancer, high protein eating also causes one’s breath to smell like a caveman’s arm-pit after a week of mammoth-hunting. So not only are you going to get cancer, but you are also unlikely to get laid whilst awaiting the next bout of chemo.
Suddenly a bit of paunch and a sagging chin does not begin to look too bad now, does it?
Not having to contemplate the effects of protein or carbs, I celebrated the end of the week at the Taj Classic Wine Trophy, arguably my favourite wine competition outside the Quinta Nova Port and Madeira Challenge in Oporto. The Classic Wine Trophy gig is judged by French-only winos ensuring a rigorously high standard by palates untainted by New World wine-styles or any local interests. Organiser and Main Monsieur Christophe Durand is by far the coolest wine competition organiser in South Africa and ensures that the Taj Classic Wine Trophy smoothly rides a line between vinous excellence, professionalism and a spirited air of laissez fair.
The winning wines were available for tasting during dinner and sampling these it must be said that the quality of South Africa’s Chardonnays once again came to the fore. Hamilton Russell, Chamonix, Whalehaven and Groot Constantia were the worthy winners in the white wine section which only saw one non-Chardonnay namely De Morgenzon Chenin Blanc Reserve 2013. (Also excellent, I must add.)
Of the Chardonnays, Hamilton Russell once again proved to be world class with both the 2012 and 2013 comparable to fine Burgundy, and Corton-Charlemagne to be specific. The wines are ridiculously Old World in style with refinement, clarity and verve whilst evoking natural elements of stone, soil, citrus and natural spring water. I did not need to drink anything else for the rest of the evening.
Groot Constantia’s Chardonnay 2013 still had a bit of bottle-shock, but no problem as French palates are able to taste through this. The wine shows a glossy fruit lineage compared to the Hamilton Russell, but the breadth and palate-weight are tremendously impressive as is the hit of spice on the back-palate, and then there is also that great floral nose.
On the red side it was The High Road Classique 2010 and Delaire Graff’s Botmaskop 2012 that did it for me, but then again – Cabernet is King in South Africa. Both wines packed with hedonistic black fruit, a punch of cedar and a sprig of fynbos. Lip-smackingly delicious with enough joy in those two wines to bring a smile to any grumpy protein prophet.