Hein Kaiser
3 minute read
29 Aug 2021
3:02 pm

Reinventing milk tart, one flavour at a time

Hein Kaiser

Milk Tart is a South African tradition. Flight in Rosebank want to popularise it with delicious new flavours every week.

Divan Botha of Flight at Soko District in Rosebank. Picture Hein Kaiser

Who in their wildest imagination could ever have thought that Ouma’s milk tart could end up being one of the most irresistibly yummy and creative anytime desserts, ever? Imagine Amarula infused milk tart, cardamom, caramel and chocolate.

These are but a few of the variants created in coffee shop Flight’s kitchen. Of course, no range would be complete without the traditional, cinnamon sprinkled original milk tart either. Milk tart has its roots in the Cape, where Dutch settlers introduced the milky custard-like filling with Malay residents adding the cinnamon.

“What’s not to love about milk tart,” says Flight’s Divan Botha who recently opened the brand’s third outlet in Rosebank at the Soko District.

Other stores include the ABSA Towers in central Joburg and at FNB’s Bank City down the drag.

“Milk tart is not too sweet, and it always reminds you of home, it’s just really South African,” said Botha who is on a mission to make the sweet pie as popular as croissants and pastries.

“There is a lot of effort that goes into making it, too,” he says, before adding, “with each batch of bite-sized tarts taking an average of eight hours to craft.”

Flight plans to launch a new milk tart flavour every two weeks to keep things exciting.

Watch Flight owner Divan Botha wax lyrical about Milk Tart

But it’s not just exciting, it is delicious. The bite-size versions of Botha’s milk tarts are just enough to savour the taste, but not enough to satisfy your craving.

Pair it with a cup of brew, and it’s a winning recipe that will probably see customers return time and again not just to sit down and chinwag, but to box a bunch and take a ton of these teeny yummies home. Full-sized milk tarts can also be ordered, so if you’re really in the mood for an indulgence, do it. But do it soon.

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Flight has been around for fifteen years, growing at an organic pace and focusing on quality, says Botha. This includes the baristas, a particular passion of his. “We only employ championship level professionals,” he says.

And they are assessed on their prowess.

“They are able to step into a championship at any stage. It is this level of attention to detail and dedication to craft that we are all about.”

After all, says Botha, “a coffee shop is a coffee shop, and the only differentiator really is the quality of your coffee and the brilliance and consistency of the baristas who create it.” TripAdvisor users rate flight highly, with a 4.5 out of 5 average.

Irresistible bites and bobs at Flight in Rosebank. Picture Hein Kaiser

Opening the store at Soko District has also allowed Botha to partner with other entrepreneurs. The mugs and ceramics that Flight’s coffee and eats are served on/in are made by fellow tenant Rialheim, right next door, and behind the counter handmade chocolates are on display too.

“We have all come together and cross-merchandised wherever possible to afford one another as many opportunities as possible,” says Botha.

His cup overflows with passion when he speaks about everything from milk tart through to coffee and his neighbours. There seems to be no end to his enthusiasm for what he does.

“Collaboration is what life is all about these days,” he says.

“For smaller entrepreneurs to stand together and try as many avenues as possible toward success, together. Times are very difficult, but we can all achieve as a collective, when we stand together.”