Mariana Esterhuizen meets with our executive chef Jaco Grové of the Tasting Room at Creation Wines in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge. He settles the age-old debate on charcoal versus wood and tells us what he’ll be adding to the grill this summer.
1. Do you use wood or charcoal when you braai?
Always wood. It gives the food a very distinctive flavour and it gives atmosphere to any braai.
2. Which wine will you be drinking this summer?
Creation Chardonnay and Creation Rosè. It is the type of wine that makes any hot day bearable.
You also might like: Best Rosé Wines for this Summer
3. What music do you listen to while you cook?
Anything that’s playing. I don’t have a preference, but lately I like listening to Black Coffee.
4. What food fad of the past year would you really like to see the end of?
I don’t believe food fads last long enough to pay attention to, but I would say that chefs using complex flavours that end up confusing their customers. You have to enhance the product, so keep it simple, get good quality produce and let the product speak for itself.
5. Which cut of lamb or mutton do you think is the most underrated?
The neck and the tail. There is so much flavour, and of course the cheeks, I love lamb cheeks.
6. Which dish is your summer favourite to turn to when friends turn up unexpectedly?
Homemade pizza and a big bowl of salad. I always have pizza dough left over in my freezer.
Fresh fish and mussels – you can’t go wrong with that. Mussels done in n potjie (that smoky taste) with white wine, leeks and cream served with fresh home baked white bread. And a fish braai, slow and low, with garlic thyme and lots of lemon.
You also might like: Recipe: West Coast Mussels with White Wine, Leeks, Lemon and Cream
8. Which are your three favourite herbs?
Thyme. It can be used in anything you can think of and still gives it a beautiful flavour. Sage gives food the most beautiful deep robust flavour, while verbena’s lemon flavour can uplift any meat, fish or poultry dish.
9. What is the most memorable street food that you’ve eaten?
I think there are a few, but Thailand offers street food on another level for me.
10. It is your wedding anniversary and you can take your wife to dinner anywhere in the world. Where would you go?
Hm… that’s difficult, but with lots of arguments later, Momofuku, a David Chang restaurant. He’s a Korean/American chef and I just love his simple approach to cooking, which comes with big flavours.
Braai tips from Jaco Grové
Get the most out of your braai with Jaco’s top tips.
Words Mariana Esterhuizen
Photography Daniela Zondagh
A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.