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Potjie & Braai (BBQ) - the colourful way of life at the Cape

... fragrant smells of marinated meat and tangy spiced seafood are drifting around the house ...

South Africa in one pot

South Africa does not have a single, national dish. The Rainbow Nation is too colourful for that. But what most South Africans do have is a Potjie and they demonstrate their flair for cooking in a single pot, which can't be simpler or more delicious.

Potjie is an Afrikaans word and translated it literally means “small pot”. Potjiekos thus means food from a small pot. This form of cooking is celebrated by South Africans who love the various results. A good Potjie takes time so the whole process becomes more than just about food. The preparation of Potjiekos is a social event and brings friends and family together.

When preparing a Potjie, the cook can let his imagination run wild. With one condition, the meat should have some fat on it, so that the dish is juicy. One can make a Potjie using lamb, beef, pork, chicken, oxtail – in fact anything is possible. Lobster Potjies are decadent and delicious.

In 1652, the first European settlers brought little iron pots to the Cape of Good Hope. Soon, the local tribes were impressed with the Potjies and they preferred using them to the clay pots they hat previously used.

The Potjie is a magic cauldron because even though it may contain the same ingredients the food always will taste different. It is the magic of fire and iron which creates a true South African speciality and a delicious treat.

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Ludger Pooth

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