South Africa is a foodie and wine lovers’ dream!
For me, it all began in June of 2014 during the second half of my African honeymoon. At this point in my life, one of my travel rules was to not revisit cities, however out of the 35+ countries I’ve visited, South Africa was the exception to the rule!
In 2017, we returned with our two-year-old for a six-week stopover before moving back to the United States, and I fell in love with it all over again. I completed my WSET Level 3 certification in Constantia and then we spent the remaining 5 weeks based out of Franschhoek.
While there might be a good bit of negative press about safety and the stability of the country, for me, the positives totally outweigh the risk, plus the news over exaggerates all negative press.
Not only is the wine and food second to none, the unique multi-racial and multi-cultural society, diverse geography, and kid-friendly atmosphere makes it a top holiday destination in my book!
If you are a foodie like me, South Africa is your dream destination! The cuisine reflects its multi-cultural history, and global influences. Local delicacies include: Sosaties (skewered meat marinated in a spicy sauce), Cape Malay curries, Boerewors (farmers sausage), Biltong (dried meat), and Bredies (stews). They also offer farm-to-table, international cuisines, and many Michelin style restaurants with prices that will have you ordering the entire menu, with some of the best dishes you have ever experienced, and going home with your pants unbuttoned.
Some of our favorites:
- Cape Town: The Test Kitchen, rated as one of the best restaurants in the World
- Franschhoek: Chefs Warehouse at Maison, global tapas
- Stellenbosch: Indochine, an Asian-inspired fine-dining restaurant headed by a Michelin-trained Chef
- Paarl: Babel at Babylonstoren, farm-to-fork restaurant on the stunning Babylonstoren Farm
The Cape Winelands district is best known for growing areas including Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Constantia, and Paarl. The range of climates, diversity in ecosystems, and incredibly talented winemakers results in a range of unique wines. The wines are exceptionally crafted with incredible value in quality. Unfortunately, the rest of the world has not yet noticed.
When we flew back to the U.S. from South Africa, we brought five uniquely South African wines for a Music & Wine pairing that I hosted for friends in Los Angeles. We have many more favorites, but here is the list of wines we brought back for this tasting:
- Springfield Estate – Life from Stone, Sauvignon Blanc 2017
- Ataraxia (Hemel-en-Aarde) – Chardonnay 2016 and Pinot Noir 2015
- Black Elephant Vintners & Co. – The Fox & the Flamingo
- Môreson (Franschhoek) – MKM (Moraka.Klaas.Maffa) 2012, Pinotage
- Lynx Estate (Franschhoek) – The Lynx, Cabernet Sauvignon
With a two-year-old in tow during our last visit, we split our time between exploring nature visiting animal rescue/reserves and experiencing the outstanding wine and food of the region.
Here are a few of the places we enjoyed:
- Cheetah Outreach
- Farm Sanctuary SA, home to the famous Pigcasso
- Villiera Wines, game drives and wildlife sanctuary
- Penguin Colony at Boulders Beach
- Cape of Good Hope
Help Save South African Wine
After five months of COVID-19 restrictions, over 90% of South African wineries are now in trouble. The South African Wine Industry needs your help! If you haven’t already read my last article, please read about how you can help save the South African wine industry here.
Photos courtesy Stephanie Roberts
Stephanie Roberts, WSET® Certified, is passionate about educating people about wine and all its complexities. She believes that through education comes enlightenment and approachability – elevating the wine and food experience. Stephanie offers unique and tailored wine experiences.
Wine education and topic-driven tastings are now available virtually and in-person for private groups. Choose to attend a scheduled class such as the 4-part Wine Education Series or customize a session to your specific interests. Corporate happy hours (virtual for now) are also available. Contact Stephanie directly through FB, IG or email (email@example.com) or reserve your spot at a public event through FB (@Corks&Boards) or Eventbrite.