You should not pass up the possibility of experiencing a genuine South African ‘braai’ – preferably in someone’s home. Try to resist the sensational smells of sizzling foods over hot coals under a starlit night while the ‘chef’ tells how to do the braai ‘properly’ the local way and each of the other men present gives you their own version of the ‘truth’! I’ve seldom been disappointed – no matter what the braai technique of the evening is!
There’s the option of a farm tractor ride that takes you to the ‘top of the world’ where you’ll be left breathless with the beauty of the surrounding countryside. This is followed by the traditional black pot ‘potjie’ over the hot coals where you’ll need an abundance of patience as you experience the aromas which seem to open up your senses and whet your appetite to a point of complete distraction!
You might prefer to go on a tour of the local fresh food markets, where you can meet the producers and hear them talk passionately and proudly about what they’ve created. Chat to the fishermen who’ve just caught the ‘catch of the day’, and learn about the local styles of cooking. Why not go on a special trip to a nursery where you can learn about the indigenous (and medicinal) culinary plants that are the envy of the world and then collect those that are on the menu for the meal so that you can later taste the fruits of your outing? You may be joined by your chef and host on these hunts for ingredients – all part of savouring the feast that follows.
There are a multitude of foodie experiences from hands-on cooking classes to demonstrations by top chefs. If the weather is right, then you can’t do better than experience a gourmet picnic on one of the Cape Winelands’ fine estates, or, if you have the time to travel, how about an opulent open-air seafood feast at one of the West Coast authentic beach restaurants – as the sun set to the sound of the crashing surf. Food and wine parings have become the rage and range from incredibly educational and guided parings with wonderful food courses to more simple food and wine experiments where the aim is for you to discover what turns your own particular taste buds on!
Why not find out what goes on behind the scenes in the South African home? If this grabs you then spend an evening in the warmth and hospitality of local hosts who will indulge you with a wonderful home-cooked dinner and wine evening filled with their stories of life in South Africa.
There are also an abundance of food and wine festivals that can be woven into your itinerary – be it a cheese festival; an olive festival; a ‘soep and soetes’ festival (local for ‘soup and sweet desert wine’); a crayfish festival or one of the many other annual festivals.
Just let me know what takes your fancy and I’ll make sure you enter into a paradise of taste sensation.