Braai is the common heritage of all South Africans. As such the history of braaing becomes part of our heritage and in that spirit we decided to visit both Grabouw and Gordonsbay on the second last day of the Braai4Heritage tour.
There are lots of different looking and tasting boerewors sold in supermarkets and butcheries all across the country carrying the name “Grabouw Boerewors” and these days it is second only to Kameelhout boerewors in terms of quantities of a specifically named boerewors sold in South Africa. Years ago Grabouw boerewors marked an important moment in the history of braai-meat sales as it became the first boerewors customers requested by name. We decided to visit the birthplace of Grabouw Boerewors, Grabouw Butchery (34 Main Road, Grabouw, 021 859 3004). The friendly owner tells a great story of how the recipe was developed in 1962 but later leaked out and copied by so many people that the name “Grabouw Boerewors” has effectively lost its meaning, as boerewors by that name could taste like anything, and there is no standard recipe for the stuff made all across South Africa. But the butchery in Grabouw still makes the original recipe, and you can only buy it there, so I did. And how did the wors taste when it came to braaing? Go there once and decide for yourself..
The second piece of braai heritage we tackled was the humble lamb chop, specifically the Merino lamb chop. We chose to celebrate this heritage in Gordon’s Bay, a fact that might make Karoo farmers reach for their pitchforks and organize a raging mob to hunt us down. The reason we chose Gordon’s Bay is quite simple. The first South African to own Merinos was Col. Jacob Gordon, the military commander at the Cape in the late 1780’s and the man after which Gordon’s Bay is named. The sheep were a present to Dutch government who received them from the King of Spain, the sole proprietor of Merinos during that time. They did not enjoy the rainy conditions in the Netherlands and were sent to Cape Town. Less than fifty years later Merino sheep were grazing all along the Western Cape and moved further north when the Voortrekkers took sheep with them on the Great Trek. Today there are around 14 million Merino sheep in South Africa delivering chops to our braais. Thus we braaied some at the Gordon’s Bay Yacht Club, in the town named after the patron saint of the chop.