Jan van Riebeeck planted the first melons at the Cape. In the Netherlands and later at the Cape, the fruit was served thinly sliced and eaten with salt and sometimes with pepper.
As an interesting aside, the first melons harvested at the Cape were quite small and, in 1659, Jan van Riebeeck declared that a melon could be sold for a quarter penny if it was ripe and weighed at least a pound (450 g).
With a hot spell in the Boland, we could all do with a recipe for something delicious and refreshing. This recipe from our Cape Winelands Cuisine cookbook (page 199) is an example of the sweet soups of the seventeenth century and is just the thing to serve on a hot summer’s evening.
And if you happen to have a bottle of La Motte MCC on ice, pour a glass for a delightful and festive combination.
Melon Soup Recipe
1 sweet melon
7 Tbsp (105 ml) sweet dessert wine or sherry
2 sprigs fresh mint
1 cup (250 ml) fresh cream
1 cup (250 ml) finely diced fresh seasonal fruit
chopped fresh mint, for garnishing
Peel the melon and purée the flesh in a blender with the wine until smooth.
Add the mint and refrigerate overnight.
The following day, remove the mint and add the cream.
Scoop each person some of the fresh diced fruit into a soup plate.
Pour the melon soup over and garnish with chopped mint.