South African Cuisine: A Short History

South Africans are proud of many things – our rich heritage, breath-taking landscape, strong sports teams and so much more. We are also a nation of foodies, with some of the best restaurants in the world and some of the most interesting flavour combinations! South African cuisine is a unique blend of various cultural influences, including indigenous, Dutch, French, Malaysian, and Indian. Tant’ Sannie se Melktert liqueur is a cream liqueur is based on South African heritage, and one of these unique flavour combinations.

South African Cuisine: Where it all started

The indigenous people of South Africa, known as the Khoisan, have been living in the region for thousands of years and their traditional diet consisted mainly of wild game, fruits, and vegetables. They also used a variety of cooking methods, such as roasting, boiling, and fermenting.

During the 17th century, the Dutch established the Cape Colony in South Africa and brought with them their own culinary traditions, including the use of herbs and spices, as well as dishes like boerewors (farmer’s sausage) and potjiekos (a stew cooked in a cast-iron pot).

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the British and French also established colonies in South Africa, introducing new food items and cooking techniques, such as baking and grilling.

With the arrival of Indian and Malaysian workers in the 19th century, South African cuisine was further influenced by the flavours and spices of the East. Dishes like curry, samosas, and bunny chow became popular. This is also when cinnamon arrived, which is a key flavour in South African cuisine, especially milktart!

Today, South African cuisine is a melting pot of various cultural influences, and continues to evolve and adapt with new ingredients and techniques. It’s so exciting, and we want to be part of it all!

Bake it, before you fake it!

The smell of freshly baked goods is something no South African, or anyone for that matter, can resist. South African cuisine, especially baking, has a unique blend of various cultural influences, including Dutch, British, and Malay. Some of the characteristics that make South African baking truly special include:

1. Use of local ingredients: South African baking often incorporates locally sourced ingredients, such as rooibos tea, honey, and dried fruit.

2. Malay influence: South African baking is heavily influenced by the Malay community, who brought with them traditional sweet treats such as koeksisters (deep-fried plaited doughnuts) and melktert (milk tart).

3. Dutch influence: The Dutch settlers in South Africa introduced traditional Dutch treats such as stroopwafels, a waffle-like cookie made with caramel filling, and koekjes, a type of shortbread cookie.

4. British influence: The British influence on South African baking can be seen in the popularity of traditional British desserts such as scones and Victoria sponge cake.

5. Rusks: A traditional South African baking staple, rusks are double-baked bread that is dried and can be enjoyed with tea or coffee.

6. Bredie: A stew traditionally made with mutton and vegetables, which is slow-cooked for several hours.

7. Bobotie: A traditional Cape Malay dish made from curried minced meat and egg custard on top.

8. Milk Tart: A sweet pastry crust filled with a creamy custard made from milk, flour, sugar and eggs.

Mmmmilktart: The Milk Tart is a simple yet irresistible dessert that is perfect to be enjoyed with a cup of tea or coffee. It is a staple in many South African households, and can be found in most bakeries and coffee shops across the country. It is a favourite among locals and visitors alike, making it one of the most popular traditional South African desserts.

Overall, South African cuisine and baking is known for its combination of sweet and savoury flavours, as well as its fusion of traditional and contemporary techniques. Tant’ Sannie se Melktert liqueur is a classic, in an instant – the perfect start, middle or end to a meal or get-together.