Glorious winter food and drink


What’s my favourite winter colour? It’s brown. Not white, as in the snow I see on the mountain tops in the Winelands or as in the hail which covered the ground last weekend – but brown in all its shades and all its glory.

I always thing of brown food when it comes to winter because it is such a comforting, earthy and warming colour – think of the kinds of food that are brown and you’ll get what I’m on about. Rich brown casseroles and stewslamb shanks, bredies, potjies and pot-roasts - packed to the brim with hearty warmth and goodness.

Shiny, crispy, golden-brown pie crusts, cracking open to reveal steamy chunks of chicken or mouthwatering shreds of springbok. And is there anything – anything! – to beat the best winter soup in the world – a bowl of sweet French Onion Soup with a tangy-sweet Gruyere cheese crouton? No, I didn’t think so.

So that’s brown food – how about brown drinks?

I’ve fallen in love with brandy recently (I had a cold and it was a good excuse) – favourites have included Blaauwklippen, Klipdrift Gold, Van Ryn’s 20 Year Old and Laborie (Incidentally, if you wanted to learn more about spirits, I’ve got courses running all this winter – click here for details).

But if you want something a bit softer and sweeter, now is the time for one of the greatest categories of South African wines and one which we ignore at our peril – the fortified wine.

We make some of the finest fortified wines in the world and somewhere in the last 20 years, this has been forgotten and ignored. The ultimate brown winter drink is a Tawny Port, now labelled as a Cape Tawny, such as the sublime Boplaas version or the dreamy KWV one.

If you’d rather have a tinge of red with your brown this winter, then the 2011 Jerepigo from Badsberg will warm you from the inside out, and even sherry is improving – try the Monis Pale Dry with your soup and see how great it goes. Nutty, toffee, caramel flavours which make you snuggle up and call out for more.

And finally – of course – the ultimate brown food. Chocolate!

The best thing I know about winter is hiding my bulges under big sweaters so bring on the choccie desserts – fondants, puddings, fondues and cake, all washed down with a big glass of a golden-brown dessert wine.

Dark brown, golden brown, tawny brown – whatever shade you go for, brown is the ‘in colour’ for food and drink this season dahlings.

Don’t you agree?? 

Read more on: cathy marston  |  chocolate

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