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South African Wine Food Pairing

Exploring the Flavors of South Africa: A Guide to Pairing Delicious Wines with Savory Foods

South African Wine Food Pairing

Overview of South African cuisine and its cultural influences

Like its population, South Africa’s food is diverse. Due to colonisation and apartheid, the nation has become a unique melting pot of ethnicities, each with unique culinary traditions. The indigenous population, the Dutch, the Malays, the Indians, and the Afrikaners, are the main cultural influences on South African cuisine and don’t forget the French, responsible for the origination of the South African Wine industry. The San and Khoikhoi, two of South Africa’s original inhabitants, were hunters and gatherers who prepared their meals over open fires. They prepared their food using basic methods like roasting and boiling. In the 1600s, the Dutch were the first Europeans to settle in South Africa. They brought food like bread, cheese, and ham with them. Additionally, they developed new cooking techniques, including baking and frying.

In the 1700s, the Dutch sent the Malay people to South Africa as enslaved people. Ingredients including coconut milk, spices, and tamarind were brought with them. Curry dishes were also introduced to South African cuisine by them. In the 1800s, Indians were brought to South Africa as indentured servants. They brought wheat flour, rice, lentils, and spices. They also influenced South African cooking by introducing vegetarianism. The Dutch settlers who came to South Africa in the 1600s left the Afrikaners as their descendants behind. They have a unique cooking technique that draws from Malay and Dutch cuisines and frequently provide hearty, nourishing foods like stews and curries.

The importance of pairing wine with food

There are no hard and fast rules regarding wine and food combinations. However, some general principles might assist you in preparing a good dinner. First, you should always take the weight of the food into account. While lighter dishes go well with lighter-bodied wines, heavier dishes go best with full-bodied wines. The flavours of the food are another essential consideration. Rich dishes mix well with wines with high acidity, while spicy foods combine well with wines with a slight sweetness. After giving the size and flavours of the dish some thought, you may focus on specific wines.

South African Wine Food Pairing

Pairing Light-bodied wines with light dishes

White wine glass and fish on a table
Pairing white wine with fish

Light-bodied wines often have a pleasant acidity and are simple to drink. They can be combined with lighter meals or savoured on their own. The light-bodied wines we enjoy the most are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Pinot Grigio. These grape varieties complement lighter fare like salads, fish, and chicken. Try a Chenin Blanc wine from the Western Cape if you’re searching for a refreshing summer beverage. Or, if you’re looking for something a little different, give an Elgin Valley Pinot Grigio a try; you won’t be sorry!

Pairing Medium-bodied wines with medium dishes

White wine glasses with a chicken dish
White wine with a chicken dish

There are no strict guidelines when it comes to wine and food combinations. The choice ultimately comes down to taste. Nevertheless, specific fundamental rules can assist you in selecting the ideal wine for your meal. You ought to serve a medium-bodied wine to go with medium-bodied food. Wines with a medium body often have a lighter hue and less alcohol than those with a full body. They can be either dry or sweet, but most are in the middle. Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, and Riesling are a few popular examples of medium-bodied wines.

Consider grilled chicken, salmon, spaghetti with a simple sauce, and roasted veggies when it comes to meals. The best course of action is to err on the side of caution when combining wine and food. If the match seems too delicate, you can always take another sip of wine, but if the flavours clash, there is little you can do about it. In light of that, the following advice will assist you in getting started: – Start by balancing the wine’s weight with that of the food. A heartier wine is required to complement a more robust cuisine, whereas a heavier wine will overpower a lighter dish. So, take into account the wines and the dish’s flavours. If they are similar, they are likely to pair well together.

Pairing Full-bodied wines with full-flavoured dishes

Red wine glass with a plate of steak on a table
Red wine with steak

Full-bodied wines can have a variety of flavours, from fruity to earthy, and are often strong in alcohol and tannins. It’s crucial to keep the following in mind when combining these wines with food: Heartier, protein-rich foods like steak, lamb, or game combine best with full-bodied red wines. Choose a rich white wine with more acidity to cut through lighter cuisine like chicken or fish. If in doubt, choose a tried-and-true combination, such as Cabernet Sauvignon and grilled steak or Chardonnay and roasted chicken. Here are a few of our faves if you’re looking for specific recommendations: Grilled lamb chops go incredibly well with a large, robust Shiraz. Roasted chicken goes best with a creamy Chardonnay. – Grilled steak pairs well with a fruity Merlot.

Popular South African Wine Food Pairing

Sauvignon Blanc with Seafood

A range of seafood meals goes nicely with Sauvignon Blanc, a versatile white wine. While the wine’s herbal, grassy undertones enhance the flavours of seafood dishes with herbs and spices, its crisp acidity enhances the freshness of the seafood. The following are some of our top food dishes to pair with sauvignon blanc: Seared scallops in a lemon-herb sauce. Salmon pan-roasted with a fennel and herb salad. Grilled shrimp with garlic and chili.
Sauvignon Blanc is a terrific wine to combine with seafood, whether cooking a light summer supper or a warming winter dish.

Chenin Blanc with chicken or pork

The flexible white wine chenin blanc pairs well with a wide range of foods. There are a few considerations when serving Chenin Blanc with chicken or pig. First off, since Chenin Blanc is a dry wine, leaner meats like chicken breast or pork loin go best with it. Pair Chenin Blanc with chicken or pork that has been cooked in a sauce or stew for a heartier meal. Second, as Chenin Blanc is a relatively neutral wine, overpowering flavours can quickly overpower it. Choose dishes with light seasonings to serve with when serving them with chicken or pig. Here are some suggestions for matching Chenin Blanc with chicken or pork:
Grilled chicken breast served with a simple salad with Chenin Blanc. Grilled pork loin with steamed veggies and Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc and chicken thighs with shallots and mushrooms in a sauté

Pinotage with red meat or hearty stews

South Africa is the original home of the red wine grape known as pinotage. The grape was developed in 1925 based on a hybrid between Pinot Noir and Cinsault. Most pinotage wines have a medium body, strong acidity, and tannins. Blackberry, plum, spice, and smoke characteristics can all be found in the wines. Pinotage goes well with heavy stews or red meat dishes. In contrast, the wine’s acidity cuts through the dish’s richness. The tannins in the wine help to soften the fat in the meat. The smoky undertones enhance the stew’s taste in the wine.

Try out these popular South African Pinotage wines.

6 Rules to Follow When Pairing Wine with Food

We found a great video which features a host named Rachel May, discussing the topic of wine pairings. She begins by mentioning that there are some aspects of wine, such as sugar, acid, fruit, tannins, and alcohol, and that there are also flavour components of food, such as fat, acid, salt, sweet, bitter, and texture. She states that when pairing wine with food, it’s essential to consider how these flavour elements will work together. Rachel then goes on to discuss some basic rules of wine pairings.

Rule 1

hors d’oeuvres need a dry nose, as it combines the light crispness of a white wine with the fruitiness of a red wine, and it can accommodate the many different flavours and textures on a table of hors d’oeuvres.

Rule 2

Acid needs acid, and foods with a high acidic level, such as those that you would squeeze a lemon on, pair well with a light, citrusy sour white wine.

Rule 3

Tannins need fat, and foods with higher fat content, such as marbled ribeye steak, braised duck, or grilled sausages, pair well with a bold red wine with tannins to balance the fat elements.

Rule 4

Heat needs to be sweet, and dishes with a little kick or spice pair well with a lighter, slightly sweet wine, such as a Riesling or a White Zinfandel.

Rule 5

Salty needs bubbles, and salty or fried foods can be challenging to pair with wine, but that sparkling wine’s carbonation can add a different texture and bring a new flavour to the dish.

Rule 6

Earthy needs earthy, and that earthier foods like mushrooms, lentils, or gamy meats pair well with an earthy wine, such as a Syrah or a Pinot Noir.
Rachel concludes by stating that when pairing wine with food, it’s essential to think about the dominant flavours in the dish.

She hopes the video gives viewers a better idea of how to pair wines with their food.

Get Started with South African Wine Food Pairing

There are no hard and fast rules regarding food and wine pairings. Everything depends on personal preference. There are, however, a few broad principles that can aid in your initial steps. When you first begin experimenting with wine and food pairing, try various foods and wines. Next, examine many combinations to determine your favourite. There is no right or wrong answer, so follow your palate. After some trial and error, you can form unique tastes for pairings. For example, you might choose a specific wine with various cuisines. You can also discover that you enjoy particular flavour combinations. Remember that there are no rules when experimenting with different wine and food pairings. Follow your interests and what tastes good to you. You can find the ideal combinations for your preferences with a little trial and error.

Finding good South African Wines in the UK can be challenging so make sure you check out our online wine shop for some of the most popular South African wines to try with your next meal.

South African Wine Food Pairing

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