Perfect food pairings for South African wines

South Africa's cuisine is as varied and wonderful as the wines and the people of this diverse country. Notably influenced by the French, Italians and Portuguese, the flavours from the Cape fuse African classics with European techniques. Probably the most potent influence of all on Cape cooking was that of the Indonesians, who were wonderful cooks and introduced aromatically spiced dishes to the menu.

Food and wine are a way of life in the Cape and matching dishes to different styles of wine is a great way to explore the flavours of South Africa. Find some exciting food pairings here, matched to red, white, rosé and sweet wines.

Select your wines

Fancy a glass of Shiraz, a decadent dessert wine or a crisp Sauvignon? Whatever your preference, there's a perfect recipe to accompany it. Select your choice of wine below to find that perfect recipe now.

Red wine

Enjoy a South African Pinotage with red meat dishes like marinated springbok with black pepper brioche or go for a ripe juicy Shiraz with a hearty bobotie.

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White wine

Try a versatile Chenin Blanc as a gorgeous accompaniment to pienang curry or a zingy Sauvignon Blanc with smoked salmon.

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Rosé wine

The perfect accompaniment to light, summer fare and slightly spicy dishes like pink prawns with green mango atjar and fresh figs filled with spicy chickpeas.

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Sweet wine

A glass of something opulent and sticky is the ultimate indulgence with dessert. Try a sweet wine with desserts including traditional milk tart or koeksisters.

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From Jamie Goode

Jamie Goode

The interesting thing about wine is that you only get one chance a year to make it. So for the average winemaker, retiring at a normal age, you might get to make 40 or so vintages in your lifetime, unless of course you switch hemispheres in your winter and go to work somewhere else.   Wine is an expression of place; it's also an expression of a particular year. For the winegrower who also tends their own vines, there's a special significance to vintage time. From the time the vine buds, to the point where the flowering occurs, to the point where grapes begin developing, to the point of veraison when the skins soften and red grapes chance colour, to the point of deciding when to pick, the winegrower tracks the progress of vintage. That year is then something they try to capture in the wine, as the grapes enter the cellar. It's only after several months that they will really know the personality of the vintage they have just lived through, when the baby wines begin to show what they are about. Along the way, there are many things that can go wrong: frost, disease, pests, microbial disasters in the wine. It's a complicated business, but when it does well, it’s worth all the anxiety and toil.

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In Jo's glass

I was recently in South Africa for Cape Wine and managed to taste several vintages of the delicious Vin de Constance from Klein Constantia. I usually opt for a sweet wine at the end of a meal instead of a pudding and The Vin de Constance is a perfect way to end a meal. It's rich and opulent with stone fruits, vanilla and a hint of spice yet it is also fresh, balanced and has a long, moreish finish. Master of Wine, Tim Atkin, highly rated both the 2011 and 2012 in his most recent report on South Africa which is available to download for £15 on timatkin.com.  

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