Discover spectacular South Africa with magical blue waters, enchanting sunsets, glorious mountain ranges, alongside picturesque flora and fauna and home to the great braai tradition.
Welcome! Welkom! Wamkelekile! This is the greeting you’ll hear as you enter into a South African Braai. With a very long history of cooking over open fires the Braai tradition shares the camaraderie of sitting around a fire, sipping a glass or two of local wine and chatting as the food sizzles on the coals. Birthplace of the human species, South Africans are the spiritual keepers of the oldest surviving human tradition – the Braai.
In fact, the oldest archeological evidence of the Braai was discovered in the Sterkfontein Caves in the north part of the country and is about one million years old.
How do you make Braai?
Braai masters swear by adding grape vine stumps – known as wingerdstompies – as their preferred type of wood. No one building an original Braai could use gas and be taken seriously. South African’s Braai anywhere, anytime and in any weather. What is usually on the Braai? Meat and more meat. Tender chops, juicy steaks, and spicy Boerewors – the Afrikan word for farmer’s sausage.
Blessed with a Mediterranean climate, South Africa is a must visit place for any wine enthusiast, foodie and globe trotter. With the perfect blend of old and new world influence, and exquisite farm-to-table cuisine and wine tourism, it’s undeniably one of the world’s most memorable places to discover. This wine region is truly one of the most impressive, exotic and magical that I have ever visited.
The Winelands are located in the Cape Floral Kingdom, one of six such plant kingdoms in the world and a World Heritage Site. With both warm and cooler areas, winemakers can be artists and plant grapes that excel in each of these great grape-growing conditions. South Africa is made for everyone who appreciates finely crafted wines.
In the South African winelands, you’ll find some of the oldest viticultural soils in the world, traceable back to the first supercontinent some 1000 million years ago. Located at the very southern tip of the African continent South Africa may be considered a new world wine-growing region, but they’ve been making wine for over 360 years.
The Cape’s winegrowing regions are influenced by the Atlantic and Indian oceans which create beneficial maritime conditions like regular coastal fog and cooling sea breezes to balance the hot summer days making it a wine growing mecca.
South Africa is blooming with artistry, diversity and quality when it comes to winemaking and wine styles. The region maintains a focus on the natural environment and a commitment to fair trade policies and sustainability. Sustainable Wine South Africa (SWSA) and the new Wine and Spirit Board seal on bottles guarantees that the wines have been sustainably produced according to strict guidelines. You are able to verify this on-line by entering the unique seal numbers on each bottle.
If you’re not planning a trip around the world to visit this region in the near future, I highly advise planning a South African Braai! Ask everyone to bring a bottle of wine from South Africa and taste what the region has to offer. Braai all summer long and also into the fall – as National Braai Day takes place on September 24th each and every year.
Five Braai Basics:
Be ‘Tong Master’ Ready
Have prepared for your Braai, a flameproof apron, oven gloves, long matches, tongs, a table for utensils etc, a grid, and a fire extinguisher or bucket of sand (for if things go wrong). Always be sure to use a clean 100% stainless steel grid. Be sure to pick the perfect tongs for you and your Braai adventure.
Make the Fire
The secret is about controlling the heat and ensuring it’s evenly distributed. Use wood or charcoal, if you’re able to add in grapevines, that will really make the fire authentic.
Test the Heat
Cook at the proper heat temperature and height. Test the fire heat with your palm about 25cm away from the fire, if you need to pull your hand away after 2-4 seconds the heat is high, 5-7 seconds it is medium, 8-10 it is low.
Invite your Friends and Family
Tell the whole neighbourhood if you’re feeling friendly! Gather people together and enjoy food and wine together!
Add Food & Wine
Have fun with your favourite meats and seafood dishes, don’t forget to add in a few bottles of South African wine! In fact the word Drinkstompie is the term used to describe that moment when the Braai master puts a piece of wood on the fire to prolong the moment before braaing the food so as to drink more wine!
Try a Fish Braai on the beach! Place the fish flesh side down 3-4cm from the coals until it starts to brown, then turn it over and brown the skin to preserve the juices on a hinged grid on high heat. The fish is cooked when it’s opaque and not dry – Enjoy!
Wine Pairing: South African Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc
Do you love lamb? It’s delicious cooked over an open flame on the Braai! You’ll need one (1) leg of lamb, deboned and butterflied (you can ask your butcher for this). Marinade the lamb leg / shoulder/shank for 24 hours with: olive oil, lemon juice, rosemary, garlic, & pepper. Add salt during the Braaing process which should take about 45 minutes for medium-medium rare on the open fire and let the leg rest for 15 minutes and serve with the sauce of your choice.
● Wine Pairing: South African red wine like Shiraz, Cabernet or a red blend
Don’t forget to add side dishes like salads and potatoes!