Summer Parties – South African Style

There’s nothing better than getting friends and family together for a summer party in the garden. We’ve all spent long, warm afternoons out in the garden happily chatting, eating food and drinking the odd glass of wine or three. Many of us like to have a theme to our party, and in recent summers it’s all been about celebrating the traditionally British tea party, with bunting, table accessories in red, white and blue, and dainty little sandwiches. How about trying something completely different this summer and throw a South African style party?

Braai

The warm, Mediterranean climate enjoyed by most of South Africa means that for many, outside living and entertaining is just as important as it is in Australia or New Zealand. Aussies have their barbies and South Africans have their braai. Braai is an Afrikaans term meaning grill or barbecue, and it is used as a catch all term to describe both the method of cooking and the get together which follows. Wood was traditionally used to fuel the braai, but now charcoal is becoming more popular and you can cook everything on the braai that you would on a barbecue. Most South African homes have a purpose built braai in their gardens but if you don’t have that luxury a small disposable barbecue will work just as well.

Meat, Meat and More Meat

If you’re a dedicated vegetarian, then a braai probably isn’t the best choice as nearly everything served at a traditional braai is a meat product. Sausages are as popular in South Africa as they are over here, and in addition many families cook lamb chops, kebabs, spicy marinated chicken or steaks. Make more of a meal of the braai by providing salad, plenty of crisps and dips, biltong, fresh fruit and baked potatoes. In South Africa it is common practice to bring a dish along when you are invited over to a friend’s for a braai, so adopt this custom and delegate one person to buy the sausages, another to bring the biltong, and a third to buy the charcoal.

Drink

South African wine is high quality and readily available, and you can’t go wrong with a crisp, dry white wine or a fruity red to wash down your sausages and biltong. Provide lots of fruit juices or water for your younger guests or those who are driving too. Not many people would turn up at a braai or a barbecue without a bottle or few cans of beer, so bear this in mind when shopping as you might be left with lots of unopened bottles. Remember to buy ice to use for keeping drinks cool and clear space in the fridge for all of the beer and white wine.

Decoration

Get into the African theme by dressing up your garden and home. A good source of jungle and safari themed accessories is the party shops, where you can buy inflatable giraffes or brightly colored bunting to hang around the garden. Borrow animal print cloth or South African flags to drape over tables and chairs, and ask your guests to get into the spirit of things by dressing in bright clothing, or in safari style khaki. Although they will drive you mad by the end of the afternoon, get a couple of vuvuzelas for the children to play with and make lots of noise. If you are expecting many young guests, it can be worth setting up games like treasure hunts or allowing them to play football in the corner of the garden so that the adults can relax and enjoy their beer and food in peace.

Want to try a new type of healthy snack . check this out over here – biltong and Japanese rice crackers.

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