Taste the Cape – try a gourmet traditional South African Meal paired with Spice Route Wines in the Cape Winelands

Strangely enough in South Africa it is really hard to taste our local cuisine.   As such I challenge you as foodies to go searching for it………and believe me it won’t be easy!   Most of the cuisine is buried in peoples homes – and making friends with locals can take time!  Most people will leave our shores having experienced the most amazing fine dining restaurants and will leave pretty clueless about our cuisine and its influences.

One of our top Chefs in the country – Bertus Basson – realized that there is a gap in the market for those who wish to taste our local cuisine – and for those locals who are nostalgic to taste some of the flavours from their childhood.   As such at his restaurant on Spice Route Estate in Paarl he is now offering a three course South African flavours journey paired with the estates wines.


The local flavours are paired with iconic South African wines – chenin blanc, pinotage, Chakalaka (a term used for the spicy relish used in African cuisine and a great name for a spicy wine!) and a viognier which represents to me the entrepreneurial side of the owner of Spice Route who has been a pioneer in the wine industry.

In order to get a better understanding of the influences of on our cuisine – check out the background article I wrote on South African Traditional Cuisine……………..while this does not give an exhaustive list it explains the influences into our cuisine …….from Indonesian, Indian, Dutch, indigenous people and English!

The tasting journey at Bertus Basson at Spice Route offers is a small feast that leads you through some of our most traditional flavours and influences.   Curry plays a big part in our cuisine – as does the influence of sweet and sour flavours.


Starters at Bertus Basson’s Food & Wine Pairing Experience

Starters are an assortment of dishes including:

  • Vetkoek – literally meaning fat cake – it is a batter deep fried.   While this originally came from the Cape Malay community and was often served plain or filled with curry – it has become one of our most typical street foods across all cultures.   Here they serve them with apricot and almond butter…..a delicious gourmet version!
  • Pickled Fish – a traditional dish served at Easter in the Cape.   The fish is done with a  slightly sweet mild Cape Malay curry sauce and served cold.
  • A delicious salad with heirloom veg.

A feast of local flavours!  The hard life of a tour guide! 

I enjoyed the way they did the wine pairing.   The visit starts with a wine tasting of all four wines.   You are then advised to make your own mind up as to what will pair best with each item.   So as you taste a dish, you can then sample as to which wine works best with that dish……….and only your opinion matters!

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This picture shows the pickled fish in the top left hand corner.   I love pickled fish and never make it for myself!  What a treat to sample one of the nicest pickled fish dishes I have ever tried! 


The Cape Fusion Tours team all sampling the wines and doing the food and wine pairing! 

Main Course – braised lamb babotie, with geel rys, pumpkin fritters, tomato sambal and chutney.   Lets help you deconstruct what that means!

Babotie is made from lamb.   In the old days when there was not refrigeration the farmer would kill a sheep on a Wednesday and then let it hang.   The insides were traditionally given to the slaves to eat and today tripe dishes are still part of the cuisine of the Cape Malay community (the decedents of the slaves).   On the weekend the farmer would have a nice leg of lamb, but by Monday the meat was starting to get a little ripe……….it was then minced and layers of spices added to cover the smell, it was combined with dried apricots and almonds and baked in the oven.   This was the birth of the dish babotie!  Never fear – we have come a long way since then – and we even have fridges now in Africa!  Today you will try a gourmet version.   This one uses slow cooked pulled lamb and it is beyond delicious!  This dish is traditionally served with “geel rys” meaning yellow rice.   The colour comes from adding turmeric and we often add raisins to the rice (back to sweet & sour!).   Another accompaniment is sambal – this is a simple mix of tomato and onion mixed with vinegar and sugar (more sweet & sour).    Babotie was developed in the kitchens of the Dutch by the Cape Malay community – as such it is passed down from generation to generation in both the Cape Malay and white Afrikaans community.   And then there is chutney to add to the flavour – South Africans LOVE chutney – this is usually made from apricots – however it can be made from any fruit!


Babotie served in gorgeous small Le Creuset Pots (Did you know that Le Creuset is owned by a South African??)   with the yellow rice on the side and the pampoenkoekies (pumpkin fritters with cinnamon) 


My idea of heaven – all the dishes of my childhood.   My Mom always made us pumpkin fritters in the winter! 


Dessert – Cremora Tart with poached pear, vanilla crumble and vanilla ice cream.   Cremora is a coffee creamer used in South Africa and is a famous brand that most households kept in case you ran out of milk! 

Thank you Spice Route for hosting the Cape Fusion Tours team.   We were lucky enough to be treated to lunch at Spice Route for a couple of reasons – firstly we think that Bertus Basson is one of the most talented chefs in the country,  we love his fine dining restaurant Overture…….and as such take people there all the time………and lastly we are huge champions of promoting local cuisine.    As such we started the first foodie walking tour of the city of Cape Town………..that focuses on the local and artisanal cuisine of the Cape.

Note that Bertus Basson at Spice Route will be changing the menu every couple of months – however – this blog aims to give you a taste of the types of dishes and experience you can expect when you visit!

Be sure to book before you go – book for the South African food and wine experience.


Currently a really reasonable R350 (excluding gratuity) for three courses paired with 4 wines!

To book:

Monday – Sunday : 08:30-16:00
Lunch: 11h30-16h00
Tel: 021 863 5222
E-mail: reservations@bertusbasson.com


Spice Route Estate is an artisan playground of fun.   So do not plan to rush off after lunch.   Make sure you do the Bean to Bar chocolate tasting at DV Chocolates, the charcuterie tasting at Richard Bosman Meats and the Craft Beer Tasting at CBC.


About capefusiontours

Cape Fusion Tours runs private tours of the Western Cape region of South Africa and focuses on wine, cooking and gourmet experiences!
This entry was posted in Cape Restaurants, Cape Town 4 Foodies and Wino's, Cape Winelands and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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