I first sampled a smudge of cranberry pecan drizzle and cream cheese on a cracker at my cousin’s house.

It was one of those flavour-experiences that leave an indelible stamp across sensory memory.

When I had to prepare items to take along to a workshop and high tea I was presenting at, I knew it would be a perfect savoury side to a table set for sugar-shock.

However, I was not able to get to the stores in time to purchase the brand I’d first tried (I think it was called The Cook Sister) .

Well, necessity is the mother of Improv, guided by that midwife, Google.

My browsing found that orange was a common pairing with cranberry in chutneys.

With walnuts and dried cranberries on hand, the addition of orange marmalade sounded like just the right element to bring in the desired piquant stickiness.

A quick stop at a Woolworths Food yielded serendipitous finds in the form of Fair Trade Original Citrus Pepper and Verlaque’s Fruit-Infused Balsamic Reduction made with preserved cranberries.

I had all the makings of a show-stopper savoury accompaniment that could take its place on both a festive and casual tablescape.

  • 200g dried cranberries
  • 200g chopped walnuts
  • 2 TBSP cranberry flavoured balsamic reduction (you could also use any balsamic vinegar with true fruity notes)
  • 5 TBSP orange marmalade (choose a brand with a good amount of rind)
  • 1 TBSP maple/pancake syrup (I like Woolworth’s Pancake Syrup, it’s very flavourful)
  • A few grinds of citrus pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients and leave overnight for the flavours to meld.

When ready to serve, unmould a block of good quality cream cheese and spoon over the cranberry and walnut topping.

Accompany with a selection of crackers and crusty breads.