A WARM WELCOME TO A SELF-GUIDED FYNBOS TASTING
I am Giselle Courtney, creator of the The South African Fynbos® range of herbs and seasonings and the Cape Town Fynbos Experience®. I'm going to lead you through a sensory immersion in the unique Fynbos flavours found only at the southern tip of Africa.
Copyright Giselle Courtney 2022
You are on this page because you have purchased a home-tasting kit Fynbos Foodie Kitchen & Tasting Kit - 23 items – South African Fynbos or because you're at one of our partner venues.
The information is for educational purposes only and is provided in the interest of showcasing South Africa's botanical flavours. It is not intended as medicinal advice in any way or form.
In total, there are approximately 7000 species of plants in the Fynbos family. It's this diversity that makes the Fynbos biome so fascinating and is the reason that the Cape Floristic Region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Iconic Table Mountain is at the centre of this biodiversity hotspot, which follows South Africa's coastline from north of Clanwilliam in the west to Gqeberha/Port Elizabeth in the east. It covers an area of more than 1 094741 hectares (www.capenature.co.za/world-heritage-sites).
Clanwilliam and the Cederberg are the main Rooibos growing areas, South Africa's second most well-known Fynbos species, the first being our national flower, the King Protea.
We use the leaves and twigs as seasoning to impart a truly South African taste of terroir. Our in-house Fynbos Flavour Wheel is our guide to the flavour profiles of eleven edible Fynbos species and their fascinating chemistry.
FYNBOS TEA MIXOLOGY
For your tea infusion tasting, add Fynbos leaves and twigs to 300ml of freshly boiled water and leave to steep for seven minutes. There are seven 'teas' in total. When tasting, take at least three sips and spread the liquor around the mouth. These are unique flavours and the brain and the palate will take time to sync. See all the tasting notes below for each tea infusion. Once you have tasted them all, create a tea mixology by combining flavours to make a personalised brew.
FYNBOS HERB & SALT TASTING
Line up all eight herb bottles and all eight salt grinders in a clockwise order starting with Honeybush and corresponding with the Fynbos Flavour Wheel below. Taste with local olive oil and crusty farm-style bread. Add a selection of cheeses to complete the experience.
HONEYBUSH - Cyclopia species
SWEET - notes of honey blossom
Honeybush has been consumed as a tea infusion for generations. The anti-oxidant activity is owing to Mangiferin and the presence of phytoestrogens contribute to the relief of menopausal symptoms. When used as a seasoning it adds a delicate honey-blossom flavour to sticky marinades, onion soup, casseroles, butternut and sweet-potato wedges, sago pudding, milk-tart and cup-cake icing. Toast lightly and sprinkle over oven-roasted veggies. Sprinkle doughnuts with Honeybush herb for a sweet and delish local finish.
ROOIBOS - Aspalathus linearis
FRUITY - notes of caramel & rosehip
Rooibos contains Aspalathis and Nothofagin, powerful anti-oxidants that are associated with combatting lifestyle diseases, making it South Africa's number one indigenous 'tea'. It is anti-spasmodic and is used as a milk substitute for infants prone to colic. It has anti-ageing effects and is used in cosmetics and creams. As a seasoning it has a rounding effect on flavours, drawing them all together. Pair with caramelised onions as a base for traditional tomato-bredie/stew and chicken soup with a South African flair. Add Rooibos tea to the chicken stock instead of water. A cherry tomato sauce comes alive with Rooibos seasoning, as does sweet potato mash, roasted butternut, gruyere omelettes, breakfast eggs and crispy roast chicken. For a really unusual dessert, splash vanilla ice-cream with local olive oil and top with Rooibos Salt. The textures and flavours combine to provide a surprising and more-ish end to a meal.
BUCHU - Agathosma betulina
PUNGENT - strong notes of mint and blackcurrant
Buchu is the most sensational of all the Fynbos herbs, transforming everyday flavours into mouth-watering experiences. Season seared picanha, braaied line-fish, tray-baked chicken, lamb shank, flambéed chicken livers, salmon sushi and tomato salsa. Infuse a few sprigs in vinegar to make a delicious base for a vinaigrette. As a tea it is refreshing with a minty flavour and a black-currant aftertaste. Buchu oil is used as a flavour enhance in the food industry and in perfumes. Infuse a few sprigs in brandy to make a medicinal 'cure-all'. It is a diuretic and is traditionally used to clear urinary tract infections. Buchu infused brandy is a traditional remedy of the Cape.
RHINO BUSH - Dicerothamnus rhinocerotis
PINEY - notes of resin
Rhinobush is piney adding a delicate resinous flavour to grilled rib-eye, Karoo lamb, picanha and pork kebabs. Add to wok-seared chilli-garlic cabbage, grilled mushrooms, arancini, risotto, bitterballen and croque monsieurs. The delicate piney resin melts into seared food. As a tea, it is used for stomach complaints including indigestion. Rhinocerotinoic acid identified in Rhino bush has significant anti-inflammatory properties. According to oral tradition, Rhino bush was used to ease the symptoms of the influenza epidemic at the Cape in 1918. In the diary of a Dutch governor at the Cape, Simon van der Stel, he recorded this indigenous bush in the presence of rhino and the species retained the name. Infuse a few sprigs in vinegar to make a delicious base for a vinaigrette. Infuse a few sprigs in gin to make the base for a truly South African gin and tonic, a taste of the veld.
SNOW BUSH - Eriocephalus africanus
WOODY - wild rosemary with hints of pepper
Snow bush adds incredible depth of flavour to Mediterranean style dishes as well as creamy mushroom sauce, Karoo lamb meatballs, tzatziki, confit garlic potatoes, puy lentil salad, yoghurt carrot salad, beef carpaccio, prawn orzo and feta focaccia. Snow bush contains Eudesmanediol, an anti-spasmodic. In in the form of a tea infusion it soothes the stomach. Infuse a few sprigs in vinegar to make a delicious base for a vinaigrette. Infuse a few sprigs in vodka for a soothing after-dinner digestif.
CANCER BUSH - Lessertia frutescens
BITTER - notes of fresh pea
Cancer bush is a powerful immune booster, containing Canavanine and Pinitol. It is used as a bitter tonic that aids digestion and improves appetite. The seeds in the large pods are heart-shaped, truly a plant that spreads love and healing. When tasting the tea infusion, look past the bitterness and see if you can pick up the hint of stevia-like sweetness at the end and the distinct notes of pea. The herb is ideal for adding depth to vegetable dishes like grilled baby marrow, Rösti and smoky bacon-green-bean salad. Use sparingly as it is really bitter, but it's great for experimental cooking and making sourdough bread. It is not available as a salt at this time, please pair with Mint pelargonium Salt.
MINT PELLARGONIUM - Pelargonium tomentosum
COOLING - intense mint
Mint pelargonium is available as a tea infusion and as a salt in a grinder. The crushed leaves are too fluffy to fit into the 50ml herb bottle. If you are doing a home-tasting with the Fynbos Foodie Kitchen & Tasting Kit - 22 items – South African Fynbos, please use the Mint pelargonium leaves from the Tea Infusion packaging as herbs. Alternatively, the Cancer bush herb can be paired with the Mint pelargonium Salt. Use very little Cancer bush as it is very bitter.
Mint pelargonium is supremely refreshing as a tea infusion or infused water. It makes a delicious vinaigrette and summer cordial. It is naturally astringent, use the cooled water as a body mister at the beach. Use the herbs and salts to season zucchini fritters, lentil-feta salad, cucumber ribbons, summer fruit salad, pear & walnut salad, cream cheese brioche, cocktail beef rissoles, goat's cheese couscous and a hearty bulgur mushroom salad.
NUTMEG PELARGONIUM - Pelargonium fragrans
SPICY - notes of sweet geranium
Nutmeg pelargonium is deliciously fragrant adding layers of exotic flavour to a shitake mushroom tart, lamb moussaka, fried Spaezle, potato gratin, cheese fondue, spinach ravioli and bechamel sauce.
CAPE MOUNTAIN SAGE - Salvia chamelaeagnea
HERBACEOUS - strong notes of sage
As a seasoning it pairs well with lemon-butter kingklip, creamy walnut tagliatelle, grilled haloumi burger, butternut lasagne, onion lentil loaf, brandy infused chicken liver pâté, ground pork stuffing and blue cheese gnocchi. It has antibacterial properties and contains Carnosol and Ursolic acid. The tea infusion is very pleasant with strong notes of sage.
Please note that there may be some variations in the Tasting options in the Fynbos Foodie Kitchen & Tasting Kit - 22 items – South African Fynbos and the experiences at our partner tasting venues.
For the complete experience, join us for an in-person Cape Town Fynbos Experience® at our Fynbos farm in the Cape Winelands. By appointment every Thursday. Booking deadline is 12h00 on Monday of the same week. R1250 per person. Private groups minimum 6 persons, max 17.
FYNBOS MENU IDEAS
HOW TO BAKE WITH FYNBOS