The Cape Winelands, from the Constantia Valley to Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl, Wellington, Worcester and Tulbagh, hold the combined history of many different nationalities who, over the centuries, travelled to this most southern part of Africa to start a new life. As they adapted the recipes of their homeland to new surroundings and ingredients and shared their culinary skills with one another, a new cuisine was born.
Cape Winelands Cuisine is the result of a culinary collaboration unique to this region.
La Motte Wine Estate in the Franschhoek Valley opened the Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant in September 2010 and based its cuisine offering on the recipes of the Cape Winelands region. Passionate about the history of food in South Africa, Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche, Culinary Head of Pierneef à La Motte has been researching and collecting recipes for many years. Hetta, together with Chef de Cuisine Michelle Theron and then Chef Chris Erasmus, have dedicated a lot of time and passion to the development and innovation of these traditional recipes. With the encouragement and support of Hein Koegelenberg, CEO of La Motte and his wife, and owner of the estate, Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg, these special recipes are also available in a hard cover cookbook with beautiful photography. Readers will find that despite the long and rich history, the recipes collected in the book are far from outdated, and makes out part of everyday life in the Winelands.
The first and oldest recipes were brought to the Cape by European settlers during the seventeenth century after Jan van Riebeeck, commander of the Dutch East India Company, settled in the Cape in 1652. Tasked with establishing a halfway station between Europe and the East to supply fresh victuals to ships passing the southern tip of Africa, fresh food was one of the most important reasons for the establishment of a community in the Cape. Europeans who joined Van Riebeeck, most of whom were Dutch, German-speaking, Flemish and French, brought the influences of their European cuisine as well as Middle and Far East herbs and spices. Many of the French Huguenots who came to the Cape, settled on farms such as La Motte in Olifantshoek (later renamed Franschhoek) and also introduced a wealth of recipes to Cape cooking. Chefs at the Cape had to improvise and adapt their recipes in accordance with available ingredients, which set the table for creativity in our local cuisine. Cape Winelands Cuisine unlocks the history of food in South Africa and serves as a valuable guide to a wealth of food knowledge that was almost lost by our generation.
Through the centuries, all the different cultures that make up the colourful South African nation, made a contribution, big or small, to the further shaping of Cape Winelands Cuisine. Originating from the Old-Cape chefs’ “lost” recipes and “forgotten” knowledge, from collections of favourite and family recipes, from all the crazes, cultures, flavours and fancies from which the enjoyment of food emanated at the southern tip of Africa, a wealth of ideas has been gathered, all of which represent extraordinary ingredients of the regional cooking depicted as Cape Winelands Cuisine.