A great addition to the Stellenbosch winelands is the opportunity for you to experience a traditional South African Braai at Middelvlei Wine Estate. Braaing (BBQing) is a national passtime in South Africa during summer. On any summer’s night this is our standard way of entertaining with friends. In South Africa the most standard Braai always includes red meat – in fact it can include steak, chops, Boerewors (Farmer sausage), chicken (often served as a sosatie – like a kebab), fish, Butternut wrapped in foil in the coals, potatoe done the same way. It all depends on what everyone brings – most braai’s are what we call “Bring and Braai” – so everyone brings some meat along and it is all combined. As such you usually end up with a mountain of meat and the host is left with enough left overs to last days! A couple of rules apply to the South African Braai – firstly red wine is usually consumed – and the first choice is our favourite varietal pinotage (this is a varietal that was developed in our territory, and is still largely only found in South Africa). Secondly – it is the men’s job to make the braai and to braai the meat. This is a bonding opportunity for the boys who catch up on sport stories, business etc and is usually done over a few beers – with the wine reserved for the meal! The women are generally in the kitchen preparing the salads to accompany the meat, as well as items such as garlic bread and whatever else is planned. It is a great opportunity for the girls to catch up too as a result!
As this is part of home entertainment, it is hard for foreigners to access our favourite passtime – and that is why I am so excited about the fact that Middelvlei are now offering a traditional braai every Saturday and Sunday lunch (regardless of the weather as the braai is covered and they have a lovely indoor seating area). You would think that this would have appealed mainly to those visiting the country – but obviously word has not spread among the foreigners yet. Instead they are getting the likes of me who lives in an apartment and feels chronically deprived by not being able to have my weekly “Braai” fix. In addition they are appealing to local families – the farm is the perfect spot to allow the kids to just run wild – which is great as the adults can relax and chat. The Mombergs have a troop of kids and as such the farm is set up for great fun for the kids – as well as endless space, they have an assortment of fun animals for the kids to watch – pot belly pigs, geese, huge tortoises, chickens and I believe they even have some Wallabies! In the late afternoon they bring a cart with a donkey and take the kids off on the trailer to explore the farm! I found it interesting that despite the fairly large number of kids that come along, there is very little noise as the kids disperse everywhere!
The location is simple and lovely – they have added tables outside their little wine tasting room – you are free to move your table or ask for a blanket to lie on the grass – the main thing is to just relax. Ben Momberg (The Momberg family own the estate) makes a charming host and you will find either him or his wife their to personally welcome you to the estate. Ben makes sure that you feel completely at home. Make sure you check out his wall of fame near the counter – here you will find Ben pictured with many former Ms South Africa’s and even a Ms Universe – it is worth asking him the story to find out how he managed to obtain such a large collection!
The meal served is a wonderful reflection of a traditional South African Braai. I loved my meals there both times that I went. Once a month they are now doing a Seafood BBQ – so check which one they have on when you book. Naturally a seafood BBQ is fairly common down in the Cape due to our location next to the ocean. The seafood BBQ even includes some lobster (called Crayfish in South Africa). Note that a Braai is not a quick experience – so plan to settle in here and relax for the afternoon. Middelvlei make a wonderful pinotage, as well as a delicious cabernet sauvignon. For white drinkers their is an unwooded chardonnay (note that this is predominantly a red wine region).
MIDDELVLEI BOEREBRAAI MENU (Every Saturday & Sunday)
Cost: R125 per person
Potbrood (pot bread) served with Smoked Snoek Pate and Homemade Fruit Preserve
Boerewors (traditional Afrikaans Farmer Sausage)
Lamb Loin Chop
Honey & Mustard Chicken Sosatie
Braaibroodjie (BBQed Bread)
Pampoenkoekies (traditional Pumpkin Fritters)
Corn on the Cob
Dessert – Malva pudding & Ice cream (Additional R20)
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