The Africa Marketplace returns Lagoon-side on the walkway in between the Refreshment Cool Post/China and the Germany Pavilion.
The Tenderloin Tips return from last year and the Cheese Pocket is back after a brief hiatus. It’s a new Chenin Blanc as well.
Berbere-style Beef Tenderloin Tips with Onions, Jalapeños, Tomato and Pap – $5.25
The heat from the peppers has been toned down from a couple of years ago, which makes it easier to enjoy the flavor of the beef without the blinding spice of the pepper. The creamy pap underneath also helps cut some of the fire, in addition to being a sponge for all of the juice from the meat. The beef isn’t the highest quality, but the portion is larger than some of the other steak dishes so there’s some give and take here. Overall, the flavor profile is mostly a generic jalapeno spiciness.
Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with Vegan Yogurt and Quinoa – $4.50
This was a winner and another of the very good vegetarian dishes that you want to consider even if your life isn’t strictly about lentils and quinoa. The yogurt adds a cool creaminess to the berbere spice, which is backed up with garlic, cilantro, and onions and there’s a lot to chew with the amount of lentils and quinoa involved. It’s a really flavorful stew that will only taste better as the temperature decreases heading into October and November.
Spinach and Paneer Cheese Pocket with Mint Raita – $4
Another great vegetarian dish, the crispy crust holds a delicious mixture of creamy spinach and cheese that’s cooled down by the herb-y mint sauce. Very shareable now that it’s served in two enclosed halves.
Ernie Els “Big Easy” Chenin Blanc, Western Cape – $5.50
Store Price: 59 cents/ounce
Festival Price: $2.75/ounce
This is an easy-drinking, juicy tropical wine with bright notes of mango and melon with a clean finish. Pairs nicely with the spicier dishes in the area.
Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz, Western Cape – $5.00
Store Price: 40 cents/ounce
Festival Price: $2.25/ounce
Value: Below average
At $9.99 bottle, “jam jar sweet shiraz” is…as you might be able to guess…on the sweet side with dark berry flavors giving way to some chocolate on the back end. It’s more refreshing than your typical wine and would probably make a better sangria than it would a glass to go with your filet mignon. In this environment, I think it works though and it’s a good choice if you’re in the mood for something red but don’t like the lingering acidity of your typical cabernet or pinot noir. Very fruity and light. It’s still way overpriced.