Avondale’s 2014 Rainbow Nation Culinary Series was a three-city quest to experience the diversity of South African food – traditional and contemporary.  We wanted guests to also experience Avondale’s wines approved by Mother Nature in a uniquely South African culinary context, hoping that this would be both delicious and inspiring.  South Africa has always boasted some outstanding, unique foods; but it is clear that our increasingly expert and innovative chefs are cooking nowadays in the realm of ‘cuisine’.

We began the Rainbow Nation Culinary Series in Durban with a ‘pop-up’ luncheon concept prepared by Chef Clive Aaron at a private residence.  Twenty-four guests gathered to experience a traditional Durban-Indian 4-course meal accompanied by the intricate, haunting tunes played by the Indian sitar and tabla players.  We experienced amazing food and wine pairings, and we were delighted at how beautifully Avondale’s MCC, Armilla paired with the spicy yoghurt soup.  Cyclus highlighted the almonds in a spectacular Northern Indian lamb curry.  When it came to the traditional Tandoori Chicken, we experimented with both Avondale’s Anima and Samsara.  It was fascinating to taste how the white and the red wines showed off completely different facets of the food.

On Heritage Day, a group of forty of us found ourselves in Gauteng at the Roots Restaurant at the Cradle of Humankind, where skilful Chef Adriaan Maree served up an African feast that harmoniously blended the foods of different South African ‘tribes”.  The stand-out pairing for me was the main course – a dish of ‘skilpaadjies’ and venison paired with Avondale’s La Luna.  The evocative setting was just fantastic, and the atmosphere was made perfect by the brilliant African drummers.  Our last leg of the series brought us to the Mother City.  We gathered at Mondial at the V&A Waterfront with expansive views of the iconic Table Mountain.  Chef Peter Templeton artfully prepared a 3-course dinner that was a contemporary fusion of classic Cape cooking, while we were wonderfully entertained by the unique sounds of the Cape Jazz musicians.  It was a memorable occasion, and the tuna served with smoked snoek and crispy fried ‘dune spinach’ that had been handpicked that morning was a stand-out fine dining experience.

Our thanks to the esteemed chefs and our wonderful guests who made the 2014 Avondale Rainbow Nation Culinary Series such a success.  We look forward to further adventures in pairing Avondale’s wines approved by Mother Nature with both classic and innovative South African dishes.