Warm Saturday mornings in Pretoria are gifts from God because you can dress in the most comfortable attire available to you. My choice for the day was a white Fool-Stop top by skillxnflow.com (yay us!), a blue jean and Nike Air Force 1s. I mention the ensemble because comfort was the order of the day. #TrofíWithDani is an intimate experience with no more than 14 people gathering to have their tastebuds taken on a journey guided by Chef Dani himself.
The location, the Agog Gallery in Johannesburg, was pristine. Upon arrival, I felt like a wide-eyed young boy staring at the astonishing art on the walls of adjacent buildings to the venue. Two steps into the locale and my mind was blown. A dedicated wine tasting room was my first eye-catcher. Inside it, hangs a painting of a brown-skinned woman with a beautiful baby in her arms. So many questions kept ricocheting around my mind but before I could say any words of inquiry, I noticed a barrel in the venue itself filled with corks and topped off by glass. This formed a table. We immediately proclaimed this would be our table.
At first, it felt odd that Dani was the only person I knew well at the event. He would obviously be in the kitchen the whole day so this meant I needed to top up my social bundles. Subsequent to dialing star-something-something-hash, I approached a fellow writer, Pablo, and we spoke at length about education, family, and hobbies.
Laughter and soothing local music set a calming atmosphere for us all. I could not stop looking around to see how lovely everyone looked. People were dressed to the nines - which made me feel slightly bad for my before mentioned shirt-and-jean combo but we live and learn.
In a way, I guess I am leaving the best, and probably the most important, for last - the food. Cabbage rolls stuffed with basil and thyme mash started us off. I had never had that combination before so straight after tasting it, I made a note to go DIY on it when I had time at home. Wild mushroom and spinach risotto was the main course and it really brought back my feelings for fish dishes. Finally, we had a chocolatey dessert topped with blueberries. The dessert was so tasty, everyone who attended the event kept speaking about it long after it was over.
Dani delivered an experience different from any other I had seen before. On our way back to Pretoria with Tefo (who shared a table with us) and other new friends, we told each other stories and jokes that had me laughing like I was the loud kid at the back of the classroom. I felt nearly despondent knowing that the day was over. Thinking back, I now realise that I gained much more than I first expected from the event. New friendships, appreciation for food, and an amazing addition to my playlists. This song really encapsulated the mood for the whole day. When you get the chance, please give a listen to “Abba” by Lira while purchasing tickets for the next #TrofíWithDani!
See below for more pictures taken on the day.