Food and wine of South Africa
Updated: Dec 10, 2021
Exotic dishes to be found in Capetown and the surrounding winelands
We travelled to South Africa for our 20th wedding anniversary with the intent to explore Capetown and the coast as well as experience a first rate game safari. We were not disappointed in the least by either. While the game safari was supremely remarkable, the exploration of South African cuisine was also sublime.
Our experience outside of the game safari covered Capetown, the lower Cape and the winelands in the outskirts – Franschhoeck, Stellenbosch and Constantia. Capetown is alternately a modern and rugged port city. There are portions of the City that have evolved into gentrified residential canal and coastal communities, but there are still very industrial touches to the docks areas of the city. It is a bit anachronistic in this way as you want to believe that the city is contemporary and progressive, but is still dominated by an industrial seaport culture and an imperial legacy.
When we visit new destinations, we explore new ground, particularly as it relates to food and wine. Capetown is a classic crossroads of cuisine that features coastal and country influences. We sampled springbok (antelope) that was rich but not overly gamey, ostrich that was lean and flavorful (somewhere between beef and fowl in taste) and trout in many ways – smoked, grilled and sautéed. Lobster and prawns were ubiquitous and not much different in size.
Wines of South Africa
Every meal was an invitation to explore local wine. The varietals are a mix of traditional vinifera and exotics, but there is an emphasis on Chenin Blanc and Pinotage. The former is a steely and soft white, the latter a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault that has serious gumption. There is also a great emphasis on sparkling that leverages traditional methods focused on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes, called the Method Cap Classique.
What was intriguing for us was being introduced to a Sadie family wine called Sequillo (red variety) that accentuated a monumental meal at the Pot Luck Club in Cape Town. This wine is no longer produced and I am kicking myself for not buying a few bottles to lay down and drink later. But there are many other producers that you can find from the region that include Meerlust, Anura and Tokara.
Note: I am not being compensated for any mentions or representations of brands in this post. I am simply a happy customer.