Every few weeks, at a lovely old farmhouse in the heart of the Stellenbosch winelands, a family clears out their living room, and starts preparing an enormous feast in their kitchen.
Seven years ago, Annelie van Zyl and her daughter Nerina decided to open their home to people who want to enjoy home cooking with a difference. Inspired by their regular globe-trotting adventures, they wanted to share their love of the fabulous foods they encounter.
Each evening is unique and specially themed to feature their favourite dishes from different destinations. Past events have included Spanish, Turkish, Greek and Zanzibari themed meals. Alongside the international flavours, they all include the key ingredients of any home-cooked meal in South Africa : warm hospitality, excellent food, and plenty of it.
When I visited Tafelstories last week, the night’s theme was ‘Africa meets Australia’. Traditional African dawa cocktails were served on the stoep, followed by African masala soup shots in typical South African tin mugs. Then we moved into the large living room, transformed for the evening into a cosy candelit restaurant with a crackling fire.
Annelie’s husband Neil introduced the appetiser of Australian Wagyu beef with almost as much passion as we consumed the tasty morsels. But it was fortunate we didn’t overindulge too much to enjoy the plentiful buffet with Kenyan tika kuku, Aussie pumpkin pie and sima with sheba among others. Naturally, it wouldn’t be a proper country meal without loads of desserts. Despite being unable to resist seconds of the beef brisket (to die for, darling) I still found myself nibbling on nut pie, banana split, meringues and liquorice ice-cream.
I’m afraid that Annelie’s farm-style cooking will never make a good weight-loss plan. I rolled out of there feeling as though I’d consumed most of Australia, and a sizeable chunk of Africa. But who would have thought the two continents could taste so good together?
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