10 drinks to try out when you visit South Africa

A large part of travelling certainly revolves around eating and drinking, and travelling to South Africa is no exception. And rightly so – South Africa has so many tasty things to offer, so try them out!

Here we’re taking a closer look at some of the drinks…

Wine
This one is a given. You can drink wine every day without getting to excperience a small part of all the wonderful wines available in South Africa.

Two local specialties that you should definitely try is Jerepigo or Cape Ruby, sweet wines that go well with dessert, and Pinotage, which is a blend of the grape varieties Cinsaut and Pinot Noir.

Du-Toitskloof-Hanepoot-Jerepigo

Beer
Everyone drinks beer, regardless of social status and it’s somewhat of South Africa’s unofficial national drink – especially during summer and sports season. The most popular beer, Castle Lager, is produced by South African Breweries, but they also produce brands such as Carling Black Label and Grolsch. Windhoek Lager from Namibia is also popular.

Cider
These are much less sweet and less fruity than the ciders sold in Sweden (I’m not sure about the rest of the world). They have a more adult taste and with hints of wine.

Try Hunter’s, Redds or Savannah – with or without lemon.

Amarula
I’m sure many of you have already tried this sweet and creamy liqueur. Add it to your coffee or ice cream – yummy! –  or as is with ice. Amarula is made from the fruit of the Marula tree, a fruit that’s also a favourite among monkeys and elephants.

Van Der Hum liqueur
This citrus liqueur from The Cape combine spices, herbs, sugar, tangerines, brandy and diluted wine. It’s named after its original creator, and is a favourite among South Africans.

Witblits
Witblits is Afrikaans for “white lightning”, and is a home-made brandy that packs a punch. It’s mostly produced and consumed in the Western Cape, so keep an eye out for it at the farmstalls dotted along the roads there. Witblits is also the name of my car. Vroom vroom! 🙂

Mampoer
Mampoer is a fruitier alternative to witblits, made from peach, apricot, litchi and other fruits. Also, a drink that packs a punch… Mampoer is most common in the northern parts of South Africa.

Springbok (Springbokkies)
A springbok is a popular shooter named after the antelope and it also has the same name as the South African rugby team, wearing gold and green. The drink reflects these colours (or of a springbok and green grass) by layering creamy Amarula with green peppermint liqueur. It’s served in bars around the country and is very popular and insanely nice!

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky
South Africa is widely known as a country that produces a lot of wonderful wines. Most people know that. But there’s also an award-winning whisky produced here.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is distilled and matured at The James Sedgwick Distillery in the beautiful Bainskloof Pass in the Western Cape. Bain’s was named “The World’s Best Grain Whisky” at the annual World Whisky Awards in London in 2013.

Rooibos
I’m sure most of you have tried rooibos tea. Right? Rooibos is unique because it’s only grown in two specific valleys in South Africa, in the Western and Northern Cape. This slightly reddish tea is full of antioxidants and is often added to other teas to improve the taste, such as Honeybush, Hoodia and Buchu.

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Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013

Groot_Constantia_ChardonnayJust a few weeks after the devastating fire around Cape Town, Groot Constantia won the prestigious Chardonnay du Monde 2015. Their Groot Constantia Chardonnay 2013 beat no less than 825 other wines and took first prize.

This wine has won 16 gold medals during the past 10 years, so it was maybe a little expected.

Congratulation!

Tempel Wines

Between Paarl and Wellington in the South African winelands, about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, lies the small vineyard Temple Wines. The farm is run by Swedish Alf & Marie Ljungqvist, a couple that is impossible not to like. A visit here was a ‘must during our time in Cape Town, we hadn’t been there for several years and it’s always so nice.

Temple Wines specialises in the grape Pinotage, which is a South African specialty created in 1924, when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was at the time called Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage.

We had the pleasure to try five lovely wines when we were there. Difference and Evidence, of which Evidence was our favorite as it’s a wonderful full bodied Pinotage, 3D, which is a South African version of a Bordeaux wine and Opus 5, Temple Wine’s fifth Pinotage which will certainly be really really good within a few years old (we have a bottle in our wine rack, waiting for the year 2020!).

The coolest wine Temple Wines produces though must be Innocence, which is something as rare as a white Pinotage. Temple Wines is one of only four producers in South Africa that do this. And it’s a very good wine that messes up the communication between eyes and taste buds…

Temple Wines is not only a winery but they also have five lovely rooms where you can stay while exploring the winelands. Affordable and personal, here you will definitely have a lovely time! You have the opportunity to have a braai (bbq) and they also offer a delightful delicacy platter with wine if you don’t want to go into town for the restaurants.

Last, but not least, a stay here also includes wine tasting and a cellar tour with Alf, which is a real experience.

Temple Wines is a wonderful place run by wonderful people!

 

Fish on the Rocks

When you visit Cape Town please go to Hout Bay and the restaurant Fish on the Rocks. The restaurant is located at the very far end of the harbour, in a rather unassuming venue. It’s not something you just happen to drive past, one must know that it’s there. It’s no fine dining, but they sure know how to cook.
This is probably the best fast food I’ve ever eaten. Large portions and wonderfully cooked fresh seafood. All three of us chose Fish & Chips and Calamari and that’s a hearty lunch. So increadibly good! 🙂 If there are any leftovers there are plenty of seagulls that literally hang in the air and that are happy to receive some food. For bird photographers (amateurs!) such as Lina and I, this was an incredibly fun experience.

Right next to the restaurant is Bay Harbour Market, a really lovely market open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They offer something different than the usual tourist markets, I saw a lot of things I wouldn’t mind buying. There are also lots of yummy food, if you haven’t still feel hungry after your visit at Fish on the Rocks that is…

Adjacent to the market are also a few shops and art galleries. Freddy and I left with a large candle holder made of a piece of an old wine barrel.

End  your visit in Hout Bay with a walk on the beach and stroll around the marina with all the colourful boats and children that plunge into the water, without an ounce of fear.

Christmas came and went

So it’s been in Christmas. Again … We hope you all had a really lovely one, with all that comes with that loved ones, far too much good food and drinks and hopefully temperatures below zero and a white blanket of snow on the ground.

Preparing for Christmas

Preparing for Christmas

To celebrate Christmas in the middle of the summer, which is the case if you are in South Africa, is still a bit strange. It’s hard to find that real Christmas spirit when the sun is shining and its approaching 30 degrees Celsius. However, it becomes less and less weird for every year that passes.

Presents under the Christmas tree

Presents under the Christmas tree

One advantage is of course also that you get two Christmases! A Swedish one on Christmas Eve and a South African one on Christmas Day 🙂 This year we had to move the Swedish Christmas a little, because Lina flew to Sweden on 20 December. So we bunched Christmas Eve together with St Lucy’s Day and celebrated Christmas on 13 December. Cheating!, as my very tradition-bound sister Sofia said, but sometimes you have to improvise.

South African Swedish Christmas Dinner table

South African Swedish Christmas Dinner table

In fact, there are a lot of Swedish food to buy here so you can have a pretty good Swedish Christmas – you can get Abbas herring here, for example. However, we have developed this, so every time Lina goes to Sweden she brings tinned herring (no spiced added) so that we can make our own herring. And if I may say so myself, we make the world’s best herring!

Home made herring and creamy beetroot salad

Home made herring and creamy beetroot salad

We also make our own beetroot salad, Jansson’s Temptation (Lina must once again help out and import the Swedish anchovies), ham, meatballs, fudge and a whole lot of other goodies. And mulled wine, or Glögg as it’s called, of course (we use ready made spice packages in a good South African wine. And this is actually best served cold here in the heat …

Egg and kaviar bake and meatballs

Egg and kaviar bake and meatballs

While Lina celebrated a wonderfully genuine Swedish Christmas with the whole family, Freddy and I chose to keep it very simple and we packed a picnic basket and went to Walter Sisulu Botanical Garden. Here we had a wonderful time until the clouds looked a little too threatening.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky

South Africa is widely known as a country that produces a lot of wonderful wines. Most people know that. But there’s also an award-winning whisky produced here.

Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky is distilled and matured at The James Sedgwick Distillery in the beautiful Bainskloof Pass in the Western Cape. Bain’s was named “The World’s Best Grain Whisky” at the annual World Whisky Awards in London in 2013.

Personally, I am no whisky lover, I tend to sip a little and then gladly return the glass to its owner. But Bain’s I like! It is, for being a whisky, light and smooth. A hint of vanilla and toffee. No tones of ashtray here (I see all the knowers of whisky raise their eyebrows now, but some whisky really do taste like ashtray)!

If you can get Bain’s in your country, congratulations! If not, and you’re visiting South Africa, I absolutely think you should try a glass of Bain’s. And please leave comments so we know what you think!