What’s cooking today: Boozy spanspek fruit boats

What’s cooking today: Boozy spanspek fruit boats
Tony Jackman’s boozy fruit boats. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

Spanspek, strawberries and raspberries dance a merry festive dance in these melon ‘boats’ laced with the honeyed liquor from Constantia known as Vin de Constance, once famed throughout the world.

Nothing is sweeter than a summer spanspek, known as a cantaloupe in much of the world but known by this term of affection in South Africa ever since Lady Juana Smith, the Spanish wife of Sir Harry Smith (after whom the town Harrismith is named) took to requesting it for breakfast. The household servants, the story goes, started referring to it as “Spaanse spek” (Spanish bacon), and even if the story may be apocryphal, it’s too sweet to ignore.


1 whole spanspek, halved, seeds scooped out

250 g fresh strawberries (or use other summer fruit, chopped)

125 g fresh raspberries (ditto)

½ cup Noble Late Harvest such as Vin de Constance, or liqueur of your choice


Halve the spanspek and scoop out the seeds from each half. Using a small sharp knife, and without cutting through the outer shell, cut wedges just through to the skin, stopping before the shell is punctured. This is for ease of serving the wedge portions.

Halve or quarter the strawberries but leave the raspberries whole.

In a bowl, steep the strawberries and raspberries in two thirds of the wine for half an hour.

Spoon the fruit into each “boat”, and pour the remaining wine over. DM/TGIFood


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