South Africa is hosting the World Cup – it is the first time this great event is hosted in the African continent – and the hosting country is striving to prove to the rest of the world that it is a contemporary country with excellent infrastructure, a thriving trading industry and a great place for tourists. Besides football and sightseeing though, visitors will “invade” among others, Cape Town and Johannesburg and will grab the chance to try the South African cuisine which is at the moment competing with other gastronomical countries such as Paris and New York.
Daniela Mponano, a chief executive of Absolut Travel agency with headquarters in New York, confirms just that. The finest restaurants of South Africa which have been serving exclusively French cuisine in the past with emphasis on meat, today they are experimenting. Their chefs have been trained abroad and their dishes have international touches with emphasis on traditional local products, she says. “Just as in New York, Vancouver and London the gastronomical part of Cape Town, is now a mosaic of the international cuisine, which basically reflects the cultures of the three million residents of the city”, she adds. Due to its geographical location seafood is greatly used, as well as local meat such as karoo sheep and a type of antilope meat called springbok which is the “national animal” of the country. One of the most famous things in the South African cuisine is peri-peri, a very hot red pepper which provides aroma to the dishes or escorts them as a sauce. The tourist season in South Africa is the “summer” – from November to March, though the best season to visit is either autumn or spring.