South African cuisine is a diverse and flavorful mix of influences from indigenous tribes, Dutch settlers, and Asian and Indian immigrants. With such a rich culinary heritage, it’s important to choose the right wine to complement and enhance the flavors of South African dishes. In this guide, we’ll explore the best wine pairings for popular South African dishes, allowing you to create a harmonious and delicious dining experience.
Pairing Wine with Braai (Barbecue)
Braai, a traditional South African barbecue, is a beloved culinary tradition in the country. The smoky flavors and robust spices of grilled meats and sausages call for wines with enough intensity to stand up to the bold flavors. For red meat braais, opt for a full-bodied red wine such as a Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinotage. For chicken or seafood braais, a refreshing white wine like a Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc will complement the lighter flavors.
Related Article: How to pair European wines with food
When it comes to pairing South African cuisine with wine, it’s helpful to draw inspiration from the pairing principles used for European wines. European wines are known for their versatility and ability to complement a wide range of dishes. By following some basic guidelines, you can create harmonious flavor combinations and enhance the dining experience. Learn more about pairing European wines with food here.
Pairing Wine with Bobotie
Bobotie is a traditional South African dish made with curried ground meat covered with an egg-based topping and baked until golden brown. The fragrant spices and savory flavors of bobotie pair well with aromatic white wines like Gewürztraminer or Riesling. The slight sweetness and complex flavors of these wines complement the spices in the dish while providing a refreshing contrast.
Pairing Wine with Bunny Chow
Bunny Chow is a popular street food in South Africa consisting of a hollowed-out loaf of bread filled with curry. The spiciness and bold flavors of the curry call for wines with a hint of sweetness and low tannins to balance the heat. A fruity red wine like a Shiraz or a semi-dry Rosé would be an excellent choice to enhance the flavors of Bunny Chow.
Pairing Wine with Potjiekos
Potjiekos is a delicious slow-cooked stew made with a variety of meats, vegetables, and spices. The rich and hearty flavors of this dish pair well with full-bodied red wines like a Merlot or a Shiraz. The robust tannins and rich fruit flavors of these wines will complement the meaty and savory characteristics of Potjiekos.
Pairing Wine with Malva Pudding
No South African meal is complete without a sweet treat, and Malva Pudding is a quintessential dessert in the country. This warm and moist sponge cake drenched in a sweet and sticky sauce calls for a wine that can cut through the richness and provide a refreshing finish. A fortified dessert wine like a Muscadel or a late harvest Chenin Blanc is the perfect accompaniment to the indulgent flavors of Malva Pudding.
Pairing the right wine with South African cuisine can elevate your dining experience and enhance the flavors of the dishes. Whether you’re enjoying a braai, bobotie, bunny chow, potjiekos, or indulging in a sweet treat like Malva Pudding, there is a perfect wine pairing waiting to be discovered. Explore the diverse and delicious wines of South Africa and let your taste buds embark on a flavorful journey.