Deb Rynhoud is a South African living abroad. Read how she remedied her yearning for home when she discovered a local gem in the heart of Seattle!
Cederberg in Seattle
For anyone far from home, there is nothing that transports you back in time as quickly, and places you gently back in your old footprints, as the taste and smell of the traditional food you grew up with. For any South African desperately home-sick, the Cederberg Tea House offers the perfect panacea that is so authentic you may find yourself curled up on a comfy chair surrounded by animal print cushions, using a warm cup of rooibos tea to remove the lump in your throat.
But, if you take a group of friends with you, as I did with my cooking club, The Cook Sisters, and delight in introducing them to the culinary pleasures of all those wonderful sweet and savory memories, you will have a tea party like none other.
The beautiful tables are set with pretty tea cups, individual tea pots in knitted tea-cozies, and 3-tiered serving platters. The atmosphere will grab your childhood hand and pull you back with every intoxicating bite of freshly baked scones with cream and jam, delicate cucumber sandwiches, sausage rolls and pasties, melktert and hetzoggies (or as my defiant Ouma used to call them, “smutsies”), sweet mulva pudding, and the biggest surprise – homemade romany creams and lemon creams that are out of this world!
Afrikaaners will tell you that the way to drink rooibos, is to brew a pot of loose leaf tea on the fire (or stove) all day, then serve it strong with milk and sugar. I remember my Tannie Jeanie in Namaqualand adding Carnation condensed milk to hers. It is that rare flavor that The Cederberg Tea House manages to wring out of a fast espresso-style, finely-ground tea to make their Rooibos Latté that will knock your socks off, especially if you dunk a rusk in it!
Cederberg Tea House is tucked away in a quiet corner of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. With the South African flag at the door, you will find this gem, and the iconic view of the Seattle Space Needle behind you. Mixing the sights, smells and tastes of two places half a world apart, brought together perfectly in a little reminder of home. Surprisingly easy to get to, it is a must visit. And when you do, order the Rooibos Latté to experience a real Seattle-South Africa fusion, without the caffeine!
Eet smaaklik, and visit often.