A SHORT HISTORY
In 1652 the first Europeans settled in Cape Town when Jan van Riebeeck created a settlement for the Dutch East India Company (VOC), as a half way station between the Netherlands and the East Indies, to provide fresh produce to the VOC’s fleets.
The slaves that the Dutch brought with them from Batavia had quite a big influence on the Cape food culture, although there are people that claim that this influence was a lot less significant than originally believed.
The Cape would later fall into the hands of The British, which brought in new influences, not all necessarily good.
In October 1685 Louis XIV issued the Edict of Fontainebleau, which revoked the freedom the French Protestants had under the Edict of Nantes to practice their religion without persecution from the state.
This lead to a large scale arrival of French Huguenots in the Cape, not only did it have an influence on the food culture of South Africa, but it had an ever bigger influence on creating a Beverage growing culture in South Africa.
About 4000 Germans, mainly men, settled in the Cape during the Dutch Period, bringing their own set of influences to the Cape. My own ancestors came from the Alsace region on the German / French border.
The original inhabitants of the Cape, the Khoisan provided the early Settlers with cattle and sheep, and taught them about the indigenous fruits and herbs of the Cape.
Only when the Settlers started to move inland did they meet the Black nations moving down south, this brought in a whole different set of influences.
During the British rule in South Africa, Indian slaves were brought to South Africa to work on the sugar plantations in Natal, until today there is a large Indian influence in Kwazulu Natal, and to a lesser extent in Cape Town.
Cape Town also has a large Portuguese and Italian community, as well as Chinese and Japanese, all of these influences have created a vibrant food scene, and some of the best restaurants in South Africa can be found in the Western Cape.