South Africa: Food and Drink

No, this isn’t my post on lions or any other predators of Shamwari, which I promise will be coming soon. Rather, this is a post on all of the delicious things that there are to eat and drink in South Africa.  The warthog upon which the lions are feasting is only one example of South Africa deliciousness.  Although, for them, a raw warthog is much more appetizing than it would be for me.

What were my favorite culinary delights?  Judging by the amount of weight I gained during the trip, you could easily argue that all of the food was my favorite. I think thanks to the generous portions at Shamwari, and their every other night, braai (South African barbeque) buffet feast   I probably gained on average three pounds a day at Shamwari.  But how could I say no to trying all of the deliciousness from springbok, to eland, to my personal favorite, impala.  Not to mention, the sides were pretty spectacular too.  I could have filled up on all of the delicious salads and fruit options, but what would have been the adventure in that?

The sides, cooked in large pots, are half of what makes the braai so great.  I was a particular fan of eating Chakalaka with Pap on the side. David’s favorite side was the Bredie (Lamb Stew). But who am I kidding, really for me, everything else was just a prelude to the Melktert, my favorite South African dessert that I could have eaten every single night. I did not take any pictures of the melktert, but since I have been back in the US, I have downloaded at least a half dozen recipies and will be trying out variations soon to try to emulate my favorite melktart that I had in South Africa, which was the one at Shamwari. I will document my results.

I struck up a good rapport with one of the cooks at Shamwari and told her that she should write a Shamwari cookbook that we could buy and take home as souvenirs.  She said that if she had a cookbook and people could make the food at home, then no one would come to Shamwari. David and I laughed about that, because as great as the food is, even if people could make it at home, I think there may be just a few other draws to Shamwari that people couldn’t get at their home (and for that, I refer you back to the top picture of the lions eating the warthog).

Food in Cape Town

While we were in Cape Town, it was all about the seafood. When you are visiting a place that is in an entirely different continent and hemisphere than what you are used to, probably many of the names of fish will be completely unfamiliar to you. Sure, there are the identifiable prawns and calamari, but as for fish species, it helps to do a little research. South Africa has a wonderful Sustainable Seafoods Initiative, and participating restaurants only serve seafood that is sustainably harvested.  Check the list of fish that you shouldn’t be buying. I had kingklip twice (which is on the orange list, so I probably should have only had it once, but I think the ones I ate were on the line caught list at the restaurant, so the list may not apply), but it was my favorite. The dorado (on the green list) is pretty fantastic too.

This bacon wrapped fish that I ate at the Black Marlin Restaurant  (it was called the Marlin’s Speciality), located right outside of Simon’s Town, was probably one of my favorite things:

I think that it was served on a skewer in such a menacing way only added to its deliciousness.

We ate at some pretty great restaurants at the V&A Waterfront. Two of our favorites were Baia and Belthazar. Here we are eating out a Baia, the only time in South Africa that I put on any makeup at all:

Beverages

South Africa is home to my three favorite drinks – Stoney Ginger Beer, Coca Cola Light (much better than Diet Coke), and Rooibos Tea.  The Stoney in South Africa is sweeter and not as dry as the Stoney in East Africa, but it was welcomed nonetheless.  Here are pictures of me with two of my top three drinks:

 

Finally, I know for many people the point of South Africa beverages is South African wine. David and I don’t drink wine, but I have nothing against those who do. We even went to a winery, but we went to one of the oldest in South Africa, Groot Constantia, for historical purposes. Yes, I do believe that wineries have a historical purpose in South Africa, the same way cotton plantations do in the South. After all, they both became wealthy institutions initially because of their reliance on enslaved people. Today, thankfully they have moved beyond the days of slave labor, and they are still set in some of the most beautiful locations in South Africa. So, if you visit South Africa, you probably should visit a winery, but please don’t make that all that you do. 

When we visited Groot Constantia, we toured the old manor house, admired the fall-hued landscape, and took silly pictures of ourselves in a beautiful setting.

 

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