My trousers were too tight, buttons kept popping open and it was only day two of my trip to Cape Town!
The trouble had started in my granny’s kitchen with an oversized bowl of Pickled Fish flaunting itself on the table.
Now most South Africans will without a doubt know the taste and smell of this dish, for the sake of those who don’t – it is a scrumptious, savoury sense explosion of spices, onions, vinegar and fish which is left to pickle for a few days and then served with crusty bread or Hot Cross buns at Easter time.
I am salivating in memory as I write this…
I had returned to Cape Town for the first time in a decade to celebrate two very special birthdays: my mother’s sixtieth and my grandmother’s husbands eightieth. Birthdays, holidays and celebrations all equal FOOD in our family and South African produce is fresh, full and flavoursome. I was filled with a wild desire to taste everything that I could imagine or remember from my past years and try I did!
A giant green skinned avocado sprinkled with salt and pepper and zingy lemon for breakfast,
Kingklip fish, grilled prawns and chips in a sizzling iron pan at the Ocean Basket for lunch,
Salty bits of ostrich biltong rinsed down with a fine wine as in-betweens and mouth watering home smoked Snoek by uncle Trevor whenever…
This was no joke, I was a woman obsessed!
My food fest continued as we celebrated with family and friends and this got me wondering, why is South African food so delicious?
Well, it is often referred to as ‘rainbow cuisine’ because of its varied and colourful history and I think that this is a definite element to it’s attraction. Dutch, German, British, Cape Malay, Indonesian and Indigenous flavours can all be found stewing on the stove.
Sunshine is a key factor! Food grown outside under the natural sun just tastes so much better and arguably the most important reason is love; South Africans love their food and you can taste it.
Home cooking and the ‘braai’ are still extremely popular but there are also a growing number of sensational restaurants and wine farms to experience in Cape Town. I had the pleasure of trying out many and below are two special mentions:
This restaurant and wine tasting venue is set in among the vineyards at the foot of the Steenberg Mountains. It was highly recommended by my Aunty Bettina who lives nearby and now I know why! It is absolutely gorgeous both inside and outside with its rolling hills and mountain views. We started with champagne and oysters and rolled out several hours later totally and utterly satiated. I suspect Bettina hangs out here quite often!
The Zorgvliet Wine Estate is situated five kilometers outside Stellenbosch in the Banghoek Valley. This is an area of exceptional beauty and as we drove toward the Manor House in the dazzling sunshine, it all seemed slightly surreal.
Our hosts brought us back to reality with a generous spread of posh crackers and cheese which we washed down with a delicious selection of award winning wines. This was the epitome of a wine tasting experience (except for the part where my 5 year old cousin fell off the wall into a bush below; he thankfully was unhurt and found our shocked faces quite amusing).
As with all good things, my visit to glorious Cape Town came to an end and I returned home with a tan, a smile and few extra kilo’s.
P.S. I am now on a diet