On Sunday night I had the pleasure of attending a wine dinner at Sojourn on East 79th Street. Stellekaya wines were paired with some South African delicacies which were new to me. Among the delicious dishes were this oxtail, biltong with Peri Peri, brochettes with Piccalli sauce and the best prawns I have ever eaten from Mozambique. We also had a sort of maize meal with sausages (Pap and Boere Wors) and a great Malva pudding for dessert.
Piccalli is a sweet, spicy pickle relish that typically includes tomatoes, sweet peppers, onions, cucumber or other garden vegetables, according to the website Gourmet Sleuth, while Peri Peri is a blend of spices.
The eastern coast of South African was on the trade route circuit and many spices were brought there. The main spice in Peri Peri is African Bird’s Eye but there are others such as tumeric as well. Biltong is a kind of air dried and dehydrated meat from South Africa. It’s sort of like a beef prosciutto.
All of this delicious fare was accompanied by four wines that I love made by Ntsiki Biyela, Cape Cross, Hercules, Cabernet Sauvignon and my favorite, the Orion.
Stanton, the owner of Sojourn is an extremely gregarious and informative restaurateur. I was very impressed both with the food and the preparation. Stanton also knows a lot about and loves food and wine so it made the evening even more fun. Sojourn is one of just a handful of New York restaurants that serve South African cuisine along with Braai and its wine bar Xai Xai on West 51 Street as well as Madiba in Brooklyn and Bunnychow on the Lower East Side. Xai Xai is great for a drink, Bunnychow for lunch but Sojourn is my favorite of the ones that I have tried.
The experience and the cuisine were very different from what I am used to and it’s always fun to discover new places and foods in the Big Apple. I will certainly be going back.
I had taken get pictures of the food but I can’t access them at the moment. Will post later. In the meantime, read this article by Marisa D’Vari about her experience at the wine dinner.