As bizarre as it sounds, if you ever wondered what a hike up Table Mountain or any of the Western Cape’s fynbos trails would taste like, Giselle Courtney has the answer.
South Africa’s unique fauna is no longer just something that gets used in hotel lobby flower arrangements. Courtney is taking these fine-leaved shrubs and creating a holistic taste experience around them that will have even the most picky eater glugging down Buchu or Snow Bush tea while munching on sour fig and spekboom – helped on by the promise of alcohol of course. Not that any of this is new.
The medicinal uses of plants in the Cape were first recorded by Ludwig Pappe in 1847. Public consciousness, in terms of homeopathy and medicine, was elevated in the ’80s by Margaret Roberts in her book, Indigenous Healing Plants.
Now, people like Courtney help renew interest in plants, thanks to her Cape Town Fynbos Experience hosted at The Company Gardens Visitors’ Centre in Cape Town. It creates a unique tourist experience for South Africans, as well as the many foreign tourists prowling the city bowl streets.
Courtney hosts two distinct experiences. The first, a fynbos tasting, lasts only an hour but leaves a lifetime of knowledge. The workshop includes an introductory course on fynbos infused teas as well as edible plants, followed by a sneaky treat of Fynbos cordials you can pair with alcohol tinctures.