In our previous 14 Stories blog post we discovered the remarkable suburb of the Bo Kaap. In a way we are still paying homage to it, but now through the culinary history of the Mother City. After all, like the vibrant Bo-Kaap itself, Cape cuisine is equally unique.
Centuries of sensory delight
Snoek on the braai with apricot and sweet potatoes. Tomato bredie. Bobotie and curry potjie. The flavourful scent of aromatic spices and herbs floating in the air. These are just a few of our favourite things when it comes to the Cape’s incredibly diverse and delicious cuisine.
For centuries, food purveyors have pushed the boundaries of culinary excellence by introducing local ingredients and flavours many wouldn’t dream of, and why not? The Cape has played a historical part in the establishment of the spice route.
Not only are the aromatic spices integral to many Cape dishes, but many modern recipes are still influenced by the very landscape and vegetation of the region. Today you will find fynbos- and rooibos-infused into some of the finest meals and drinks imaginable…
Unique to the world
Did you know that Fynbos makes up 80% of the Cape Floral Kingdom, and is found nowhere else in the world? You’ll find a belt of this shrubland vegetation in the Western and Eastern Cape provinces. But you’re also likely to find some form of it in your food or drink… You’ll definitely enjoy its flavour dancing on your palate as you sip your fynbos-infused gin. (Sidebar: Craft gin is all the rage and South Africa has some amazing ones to choose from. Check out our gin post for some inspiration).
Then there’s rooibos, which has been a local beverage for centuries. Today it’s an industry on its own. Part of the fynbos, this plant has outdone itself as a collaborator in teas, gin and even liqueur.
Whether it’s a centuries-old recipe or a modern spin on traditional cuisine, there is no denying that Cape Town is the food capital of the country – and a tantalising morsel on the world’s culinary map.
The story today
Cape Town is well-known for its cultural scene and wide variety of restaurants – all of which are celebrated with First Thursdays. The first Thursday of April is here (5 April). Before you head out to explore the streets of the CBD, why not stop by 14 Stories Rooftop Bar for a sundowner? Try out one of their cocktails that use some of the ingredients mentioned above. And, if we’ve made you keen for some traditional Cape cuisine, you can tuck into some pickled fish, lamb bobotie or some other traditional favourites at Vigour & Verve on the ground floor of the SunSquare Cape Town City Bowl hotel.