Not to mention the spectacular weather, long lazy afternoons in 90 F heat and sunsets at 9-00PM. Time for a glass or two of Môreson Mercator Chardonnay outside in the evenings as it cools off. Noise around. The smell of the fire burning as we get ready for a South African ritual – the Braaivleis – or barbeque as it is known elsewhere.
Braaivleis in Afrikaans literally means “cook meat” and meat is the name of the game, along with wine and of course beer for the less educated. In South African the Braai as it is more commonly known, is almost always done on a wood or charcoal fire and not over propane flames.
Making the fire is the key to a successful braai and many people have special suppliers of wood. On Môreson we like to use old vine stocks as these make great coals. Very hot and then spread out evenly before cooking. I like to start with the grate well away from the coals and my lamb chops first. Those of you in Dallas who joined us for our Braai in November last year will know how delicious these are when they are slow cooked all the way through. No British pink inside for me. Perfect with Môreson Pinotage, which is always close by.
Then I do my Boerewors. This is a farmer’s sausage made out of beef, lamb and a bit of pork, as it needs the fat for moisture. Not good for my kosher friends, so when they are coming we have a pork free version. It is around the boerewors that the first family disagreement starts. I like my wors well done, wife and eldest daughter dearest, like it less well done. So I do it both ways.
Finally I drop the grid to right next to the coals, which are still very hot. Here I cook the steak and sosaties. Sosaties are pieces of lamb, chicken or beef, cut small and put on wood skewers with bits of peppers and onions in between.
Then everything goes inside where the accompaniments wait. Heaps of fresh salads, wines and great company. In the bad old days we always used to have baked potatoes and mielie pap and sauce. Once again those of you who joined us in Highland Village would have discovered the joys of “pap”. Mielie is Afrikaans for Corn and Mielie Pap is a rough polenta like cake made of corn meal. Delicious is an understatement but in the new diet regime of no carbs and gluten products “The Boss” or “Iron Fist” as she is affectionately known, has banned it from our house.
Now we are into the Môreson Mata Mata and Magia although I stay with the Mercator as this is my “poison”. It never gives me a headache in the morning and the finesse and balance on my palate is irresistible. This is as close to addictive as it gets.
Finally the evening winds down. Newly wed son and daughter in law are in a hurry to get to bed. Grand children have been there for ages. The last evening ritual plays out. This is “Biscuits” for the most spoilt dogs on the planet. Someone once said that “in their next life they would like to come back as one of our dogs”. So if you lead a good and pure life, drink lots of Môreson Magia and have good karma, you stand a good chance.
Our dogs get taken outside where in a semblance of discipline they sit. Dachshunds cannot sit and even if they did you would not know the difference as they are so low. Maude is so round that everything almost touches the ground all of the time. The others make an attempt. Lucy the ridgeback slobbers in anticipation and Molly feigns indifference. They each get a Beano dog biscuit. Then we walk them around the garden to do their doings before everyone comes in for the evening. They get a second Beano biscuit “just because” when they come in. No wonder Maude is so round because relative to her body mass this is the equivalent of a slice of cheese cake each time.
Then if I have behaved I also get a biscuit. Fresh farm air, great wine, food and family companionship always make for a great sleep. Generally I am up very early as I like to walk, it used to be run, with my dogs on the Mattoppie mountain behind Môreson. My running partner arrives promptly at 6-00 AM and we set off amid a cacophony of happy dog barking and massive excitement.
Then into my small gym and a swim and another day on the wine estate unfolds.