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Tastes From Around the World – Cape Town

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Cape Town is a cosmopolitan city and is home to a wide diversity of tastes from every corner of the globe. The extensive variety of unique and authentic cuisine available in Cape Town has won it many awards and has made it not only a travel destination but also a taste destination for food lovers.

Indian Cuisine

Jewel of India – Green Point

For a true Indian experience, Jewel of India in Sea Point serves authentic Indian food prepared with delicate brilliance. The friendly staff, simple decor, comprehensive menu and the perfect balance of spices makes this charming restaurant is an sheer treat for all spicy food lovers. The Kheer, a traditional Indian dessert of rise and cream, is a must for all diners to sample.

Japanese Cuisine

Nobu Restaurant – V&A Waterfront

The worlds most recognised Japanese restaurant, with its innovative cuisine and celebrity following, has a prime location at V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. The view and location is enough to make this restaurant a firm favourite and its world-class cuisine has made this restaurant famous. Master chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa has built this empire by offering mesmerising dishes and fresh indulgences such as Sake Roast Whitefish, Chocolate Bento Box and Sake and Shochu based cocktails.

Chinese Cuisine

Make Restaurant – Sea Point

This restaurant is highly recommended with its delightful sushi and Chinese food. The authentic food, irresistible flavours, friendly Chinese chef and good value for money has made this charming establishment a favourite amongst both locals and travellers.

Mexico Cuisine

San Julian – Green Point

For the best Mexican food in Cape Town, San Julian Taco & Tequila Restaurant in Green Point is well known for its authentic Mexican food, ambience, friendly staff and its wide variety of tequilas on offer. This establishment is run by the San Julian family who immigrated from Mexico in 2009. Their reputation and unsurpassed flavours makes the food as genuine and as authentic as you can get in South Africa.

Italian Cuisine

A Tavola – Claremont

For a homely and wholesome traditional Italian meal, A Tavola in Claremont specialises in fresh, home-style Italian fare and make use of seasonal ingredients. What makes A Tavola special is that they only use organic products sourced from local growers, free range livestock nurtured by farmers who care and fish sourced in sustainable manner. The handmade pasta and food sourced and prepared with love and care is one of the reasons why this charming restaurant has been voted as Cape Town’s best Italian restaurant.

French Cuisine

Pastis Brasserie – Constantia

If you’re a French food lover, this cosy bistro is a firm favourite with locals due to its French Flair and Cape Country style ambience and top quality food. Pastis is situated alongside the vineyards of the world-renowned Groot Constantia, the oldest homestead in South Africa and a leading tourist destination. The menu offers an impressive range; quintessentially French with a South African flavour and include items such as bouillabaise, seafood linguine, beef espetada and niçoise salad.

Greek Cuisine

Maria’s Greek Cafe & Restaurant – Gardens

This cosy cafe is an absolute delight with its perfect, colourful, delicious food. The Greek country style food is all made from fresh ingredients and is a treat for your taste buds. The distinctive Mediterranean atmosphere provides the perfect backdrops to try out some of their specialities like their mezze and baklava.

Local Cuisine

A visit to Cape Town would not be complete if you don’t sample some of the unique and distinct South African flavours. As we say in South Africa, local is lekker.

Cape Malay Cuisine

Bo Kaap Kombuis – Bo Kaap

South African’s love curry and have mastered local dishes that are unique and traditional and are steeped in culture and history. Bo Kaap Kombuis features panoramic views of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head and serve traditional and authentic Cape Malay cuisine A visit to this establishment not only offers world class, tasty food but also offers a cultural experience.

Xhosa and African Cuisine

Marco’s African Place – Bo Kaap

In this vibrant orange building, you’ll not only encounter authentic décor, but live music and dancing too. The menu specialises in game such as, springbok, kudu and ostrich accompanied by pap and other staples. The menu includes popular Xhosa dishes such as ulwimi (steamed ox tongue in a mustard sauce) and umleqwa (free range chicken and onion stew) and is home to a marimba (Afro-Jazz) band that plays nightly.

Inside the Abbey Where Monks Make Trappist Beer

Thursday, September 14th, 2017

Trappist beer is made by or under the supervision of monks within the walls of a Benedictine abbey. Their beer is outstanding and their history of brewing beer goes back to the Middle Ages.

It is believed that beer was being brewed in monasteries as early as the 6th century. In its earliest history, beer was preferred over the available drinking water which was often unsanitary and carried a whole lot of diseases. Beer was considered to have important nutrients that nourished the monks during their fasting periods. It was also shared with the community, in a perspective of self-sufficiency.

Purpose of Trappist Beer

The term Trappist comes from the abbey of La Trappe in Normandy, where the movement was formed. Trappists more formally known as the Cistercians of the Strict Observance are a religious order of the Roman Catholic Church.

The important criteria of being a Trappist monk is that, to fund the monastery and its charitable endeavors, the monks must do manual labor rather than any other kind. As a result, most monasteries are located out in the countryside, surrounded by fields with livestock and crops. Besides beer, Trappist abbeys are known for producing cheese, bread, clothing and other such products.

The International Trappist Association

In order to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from using the Trappist name, eight Trappist abbeys got together and formed the ‘International Trappist Association’ (ITA) in 1997. To become a member of the lTA, prospective abbeys must go through a rigorous application and evaluation period.

The following is the strict criteria, ITA-recognized breweries must follow:

  • The beer must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery, either by monks themselves or under their supervision.
  • The brewery must be of secondary importance within the monastery and its business practices be conducted in accordance with monastic life.
  • The brewery is not intended to be a profit- making venture. The income covers the living expenses of the monks and the maintenance of the monastery. Whatever remains is donated to charity and to help persons in need.
  • The quality of the beers are subject to quality monitoring.

There are around 170 Trappist monasteries in the world, but just 11 produce beer; six in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, one in Austria, one in America, and the newest one in Italy.

Trappist vs. Abbey

Currently, very few working monasteries brew beer within the order, but many have licensed the production of beers bearing their abbey name to large commercial brewers. These are called ‘Abbey ales’.

Breweries, that are not lTA-members cannot claim their beers as Trappist products, so it is very common for ‘Abbey’ to be used instead. This still denotes the beers are similar in style and presentation to monastic beers, without making false claims that the brewing process is overseen by actual Trappist monks.

You can identify ITA-recognized Trappist breweries by looking for the ‘Authentic Trappist Product’ logo on the packaging.

Types of Trappist Beer

Trappist beers are all top fermented ales, including La Trappe Bockbier. Trappist breweries use various systems of nomenclature for the different beers produced which relate to their relative strength.

The best known is the system where different beers are called Enkel/Single, Dubbel/Double and Trípel/Triple. These terms roughly describe both the amount of malt and the original gravity (alcohol percentage). In order to distinguish the different styles, the Trappist breweries have used different packaging methods such as Chimay’s label coloring system, Rochetort’s numbers printed on the label, and Westvleteren’s colored bottle caps.

Here is a list of the most well-known Trappist breweries:

  • Achel
  • Chimay
  • La Trappe
  • Orval
  • Rochefort
  • St. Joseph’s Abbey ( Massachusetts USA)
  • Westmalle
  • Westvleteren