Lajollacooks4u Explores South African Food and Wine Scene

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From vineyards to cafes in South Africa, Chef Jodi has returned from foodie adventure abroad.

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South Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Its cuisine is so unique...valleys of South Africa. All wine connoisseurs and traveling foodies should put Heme-en-Aarde and Cape Town on their bucket list for traveling.

From the horn of Africa, Chef Jodi has returned to Lajollacooks4u’s kitchen with new knowledge and dishes to share. Chef Jodi set out for a two-week adventure to explore the lush vineyards and culinary scene of Cape Town, Hermanus, and the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, South Africa.

While staying in scenic Hermanus, Chef Jodi was naturally drawn to Hemel-en-Aarde “Heaven on Earth” Valley, home to some of the oldest vineyards in the area. Chef Jodi toured five wineries, exploring the many rich flavors and tastes of South African wines, while also exploring each wineries’ specialty.

The winery that won over Chef Jodi was Eikendal, who makes beautiful Cabernets and red blends. Although Chef Jodi fell in love with the beautiful vineyard, the faire at The Restaurant at Newton Johnson winery stole her heart. Distinct from the vineyards of Napa, California, the wineries of Heme-en-Aarde, South Africa boast gourmet restaurants that offer exquisite meals and specialize in wine pairings.

Head Chef of The Restaurant at Newton Johnson Winery, Eric Bulpitt, became Chef Jodi’s friend and teacher, as he showed Chef Jodi the finer aspects of wine pairing, a skill Chef Jodi is always eager to expand upon and share with her cooking classes. Chef Bulpitt also introduced Chef Jodi to authentic South African dishes that possessed as much beauty in presentation as flavor.

After exploring the appellation of Hemel-en-Aarde, Chef Jodi decided to delve further into the South African food scene, by visiting the hub city of Cape Town. While touring the waterside location, Chef Jodi was introduced to many authentic South African dishes. In Cape Town, Chef Jodi could not get enough calamari—a local specialty made in various styles, from traditionally deep-fried, to grilled, or served with Peri-Peri sauce. Chef Jodi also enjoyed or classic sweet cake and custard dessert, Malva Pudding.

When considering her cooking classes at Lajollacooks4u, Chef Jodi was inspired by South Africa’s beautiful blend of European and African flavors and cuisines, and the ability of each dish to be satisfying to any palate.

Upon her return, Chef Jodi said, “South Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Its cuisine is so unique, and its wines are so different than any of those I’ve tasted in Italy, France and Napa Valley. There’s something special about the ingredients produced in the valleys of South Africa. All wine connoisseurs and traveling foodies should put Heme-en-Aarde and Cape Town on their bucket list for traveling.”

For those who can not yet make it to the tip of Africa, Chef Jodi has saved several special South African recipes for her cooking classes and team building events at Lajollacooks4u. Chef Jodi specially customizes each menu to meet the preferences and palates of each private group. For more information on cooking class packages and team building events, visit Lajollacooks4u’s website at

About Lajollacooks4u

Lajollacooks4u, founded in 2008, provides a unique and intimate activity for couples, corporate team building, and any foodie looking for a unique cooking and culinary experience in an ideal setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Based in La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego, CA, Lajollacooks4u has enjoyed record growth since its inception and is ranked as a top attraction in La Jolla on the world’s largest travel review site, Trip Advisor. As always, Lajollacooks4u customizes its private cooking classes to meet the needs and interests of each group. For more information or to make reservations, contact Jodi Abel at jodi(AT) or by phone at 1-858-752-4980. Visit Lajollacooks4u’s website at

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Jodi Abel
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