Below is a list of some interesting facts about South Africa
1. South Africa is home to the world’s smallest succulent plants (less than 10 mm) and the largest (the baobab).
2. There are only 12 countries in the world that supply tap water that is fit to drink, and South Africa is one of them. Our tap water quality is third best overall in the world.
3. The Tugela Falls is the second highest waterfall in the world, where the water tumbles down 850 metres. First place goes to the Angel Falls in Venezuela at 979 metres.
4. There are 18 000 indigenous vascular plant species in South Africa of which 80% are uniquely South African.
5. Blyde River Canyon is the third largest canyon in the world – and the largest green one. The Grand Canyon in the US is the biggest, and the Fish River Canyon in Namibia the second, but both are dry as bones.
6. South African grasslands have 30 species per square kilometre, greater than the biodiversity of rainforests.
7. According to recent studies, the star-watching town of Sutherland in the Northern Cape is one of the most geologically stable places on Earth, yet it has a 66-million year old volcano, not yet officially extinct.
8. The only street in the world to house two Nobel Peace prize winners is in Soweto. Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu both have houses in Vilakazi Street in Soweto.
9. Walt Disney serves South African wine exclusively at its 73-acre Animal Kingdom Lodge in the United States.
10. South Africa has the longest wine route in the world, the R62 wine route
11. South Africa is the world’s largest producer of macadamia nuts and the nuts and oils are exported to countries across the world.
12. South Africa is the only country in the world where you can order something called monkey gland steak at a restaurant without the risk of a real internal organ being placed before you. It was invented many decades ago by overseas chefs as a pointed insult, aimed at the brash inhabitants of Johannesburg who poured Worcestershire and tomato sauce over everything.
13. No other country eats as much kingklip as South Africans do (also known as Congrio, Ling and Rockling in other parts of the southern hemisphere).
14. The world’s first heart transplant was done in South Africa in 1967 by South African Dr Chris Barnard.
15. South Africa also has the world’s most progressive and admired water legislation, and it is making a real difference on the ground. Since 1998 when the so-called “Blue Revolution” began, four million more poor people have access to clean water.
16. South Africa is ranked number one in the world for its floral kingdom
17. South Africa’s Coastal Management policy is one of the best in the world with the country being the first outside Europe to gain Blue Flag status for its coastal management.
18. South Africa is the sole producer of the Mercedes Benz, C Class, right hand drive vehicles
19. General Motors South Africa will be the only manufacturing site outside of the United States to build the Hummer H3 vehicle.
20. South Africans are natural inventors, giving the world those breakwater dolosse and the automatic pool cleaner.
21. The Population is 45 million.
22. Gauteng has the most advanced infrastructure in Africa.
23. South Africa has the third highest level of biodiversity in the world.
24. South Africa is the second largest exporter of fruit in the world.
25. South Africa is five times the size of Japan and three times the size of Texas.
Why not make it a memorable one by bringing a bottle that reflects the taste of the host, as well as the style of the party. Make it a bottle that the guests will enjoy, and you’ve got a winner.
Before going to the store and staring blankly at the rows of wine before you, which is not recommended, try to get an idea of the menu that will be offered at the party beforehand. If a full menu cannot be disclosed, an assumption based on time of the party, mood, number of people, and occasion may assist you in at least selecting a type of wine before hitting the store.
There are two simple rules to remember when pairing wine with food. Keep light bodied wines paired with lighter foods, such as small appetizers. This way, neither the wine nor the crudités will overpower the other. Reserve the red, more fuller bodied wines for heavier dishes, such as Filet Mignon. So if the dinner party you are attending is going to be a party of various appetizers or small dishes, a white wine, perhaps a sweeter wine like a Riesling, is a sure bet.
Should you be unable to procure a menu from the host, there are other viable alternatives to selecting an appropriate wine. Price is mitigating factor in these considerations. How well you know the host, how much you have to spend, and the type of wine you desire to purchase will all play a role here.
The Welmoed Pinotage is a great and versatile wine to bring to a dinner where you know red meat will be served.
To warm up on a weekday dinner, try this lovely casserole. It’s ideal for a family supper or with some friends.
Heat half the oil in a large frying pan or shallow casserole with a lid. Brown the chicken until golden, then set aside. Heat the remaining oil, then cook the onions for 5 mins until softened.
Nestle the thighs back amongst the onions and add the parnips. Mix the stock with the mustard and honey, then pour in. Scatter over the thyme, then bring to a simmer. Cover, then cook for 30 mins (or longer, see tip) until the chicken is tender, then season. Serve with steamed greens.
Recommended wine: The Welmoed Sauvignon Blanc will pair excellent with this dish.
One of the great pities of the wine world is that somehow, some way, sparkling wines have gotten the reputation of being associated only with celebrations. Stuff and nonsense! The most probable reason is that in the past, sparkling wines were expensive and presenting them at an important event indicated the extreme in luxury.
That was then, this is now and there are many sparkling wines on the market that are of excellent quality and are extremely affordable. Sparkling wines are the perfect accompaniment to almost any meal, from filet mignon to meat loaf. Where wine can add elegance to a meal, sparkling wines will add opulence.
South African and Australian wine producers have perfected the manufacture of sparkling wines and are now producing them at very reasonable prices, making them readily available to one and all. These are wines that should be considered in place of “the usual suspects” to grace your table on all occasions.
The Welmoed Charmat Brut is a perfectly manufactured sparkling wine. It has elegant, zesty tropical fruit flavours with fresh bubbles and a clean, crisp finish. Serve well chilled as an aperitif or on its own regardless of the occasion.
Next time you’re hosting a relaxed dinner party, try serving this easy and different meal. With interesting flavours and a lovely presentation, this will surely make for a wonderful event.
Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Squeeze all the limes into a bowl and pop the lime halves into the chicken cavity with the whole garlic, half the chilli, half the ginger and the coriander stalks. Place the chicken in a roasting tin and roast for 1 hr.
While the chicken is roasting, make a sticky glaze. Add the remaining garlic, chilli, ginger, brown sugar and fish sauce to the lime juice and use a hand blender or small blender to blitz until smooth. Transfer to a small pan and reduce until thick enough to coat the chicken.
When the chicken has been cooking for 1 hr, tip some water into the bottom of the tin. Pour half the glaze over the chicken and continue to roast for 45 mins more, covering with foil if it starts to brown too quickly. When cooked, leave to the side to rest.
Pour the juices from the roasting tray, discarding the fat, into the rest of the glaze and pour into a small pan. Simmer over a low heat and taste, adding more sugar or fish sauce if it needs it. Serve the chicken with the cucumber, spring onions and coriander around it and the gravy on the side.
Recommended wine: The Welmoed Viognier will pair excellent with this dish.
The other day at a dinner party one of my guests insisted that he only drinks Sauvignon Blanc and none of the other white wine varietals. This rigidness is typical of many South African wine consumers – and many simply opt for a crisp Sauvignon Bland when in doubt.
But South Africa has another very versatile cultivar, namely Chenin Blanc.
According to the John Platter Wine guide, this white cultivar accounts for 19% of SA vineyard area.
American wine columnist, Edward Deitch, wrote: “Chenin Blanc is to South Africa what Chardonnay is to California”. He added that “there is no better source for good, inexpensive Chenin Blanc than South Africa.”
So the Americans perceive SA to make great (value for money) Chenin Blancs, yet South African wine consumers are still stuck in their rigid white wine preferences. Also, with tough times ahead economically, consumers will probably tend to be more conservative and stick with what they know.
My simple suggestion to South African consumers is to try something new every once in a while. There is an abundance of great Chenin Blancs, Rosé wine and other unusual blends on the market, so why not give it a try.
The famous quote goes “Life is too short for bad wine”. I would like to amend it slightly: Life is too short to only drink one kind of wine.
Welmoed has a wide range of wines which will suit every wine lover’s palate. To view this amazing range visit our website
Here’s a tasty treat to try for a lovely weeknight dinner. Gratin originated as a French cuisine, but here’s a nice spin on the old dish.
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the bacon for 5 mins until just starting to crisp. Add the onion and sizzle for 12 mins until soft and golden.
Meanwhile, tip the potatoes into a large pan of water, making sure they are well covered. Bring to a gentle boil, then add the cauliflower and cook everything for 6-7 mins until both are tender. Tip into a colander and drain thoroughly.
In a gratin dish, layer the potato and cauliflower, then scatter with bacon, onion and a small handful of cheese. Drizzle each layer with a little cream and season. Continue until all the layers are finished, pour over the remaining cream and scatter with the last of the cheese. Bake for 30 mins until bubbling. Remove from the oven and set aside for 1 min to rest. Serve straight from the dish with a crisp green salad.
Recommended wine: The Welmoed Sauvignon Blanc will be the fantastic pair.