The Cape Town Fynbos Experience is the perfect introduction to Cape Town, providing indigenous context for the region's most scenic attraction. The Cape Floral Region was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2004 and Table Mountain is at the centre of one of the world's great areas of terrestrial biodiversity. Fynbos is the major vegetation, encompassing some 7000 protected species. The Cape Town Fynbos Experience distils the best of the edible and medicinal varieties in Fynbos Tastings, Apothecary Workshops and a distinctive South African Fynbos product range showcasing the Cape's botanical heritage. Our Fynbos Hotel, in collaboration with COCO-MAT SA, re-opens following renovations on 1 November 2020 - Buitengracht Street, central Cape Town.
How did the Cape Town Fynbos Experience come about?
"It stems from a quest to answer the question asked by every visitor wanting to experience the essence of our country", says Cape Town Fynbos creator Giselle Courtney: ‘What is uniquely South African?’"
"The answer lies in our magnificent Fynbos vegetation and particularly the edible species. They are incredibly aromatic and offer a new culinary dimension to our 21st century lifestyles. The added benefit is that they are health-boosting. The challenge has been to make the flavours accessible and to share traditional knowledge in a contemporary form. The experiences also had to be befitting the regal status of Fynbos and in line with Cape Town’s global reputation for creativity and innovation."
Most Wednesdays and Thursdays you'll find us presenting Fynbos Tastings in the Company's Garden in central Cape Town. The venue is very special as it's where South Africa's first recorded history began. Jan van Riebeeck's diary contains a day by day account of how the Dutch East India Company's Garden was developed on this site more than 360 years ago. Interaction with people of the Cape at that time yielded the traditional knowledge of Fynbos, which became part of every household apothecary. We explore these flavours and uses in a two hour tasting of infusions.
The experience is much more than a tasting, according to visitors. "It's sophisticated, detailed, multi-layered and preceded by intensive preparation", says Giselle. "While presenting, I am also supremely conscious of verbally intertwining the flow of information with the tactile experience and capturing the ethereal nature of Fynbos."
We also present Apothecary Workshops on request, where we experiment with the essence of Fynbos in the form of small batch essential oils distilled in the furthest reaches of the country. These scents are unique in the world of essential oils and their healing properties have been utilised for centuries. We create a Home Apothecary for you to take home.
Take the Experience Home
Our culinary and homeware range is available online, but we love it when you support our stockists. The Heritage Shop in the Company's Garden always has the full range and if you don't have time for a Tasting, there's an Edible Fynbos Exhibit where you can nibble on the Fynbos shortbread, taste the cordials and sample the five flavours of Fynbos seasoning salts.
Tea for Two in the historic Company's Garden
And then there's a Tea-for-Two special on the verandah of the Garden Director's former home. Choose from a range of uplifting Fynbos tea infusions and pair with one of our three melt-in the-mouth flavours of shortbread.
About Giselle Courtney
Giselle spent the greater part of her childhood in Camps Bay exploring the slopes of Table Mountain. While a student at the University of Cape Town, she was a part-time tour guide and Table Mountain was one of her regular tours. Later in her career she incorporated the metaphor of Fynbos in corporate diversity training.
"We share so much diversity as South Africans, yet are rooted in the same magnificent landscape seeded with opportunity. Proteas are named after the Greek god Proteus, a symbol of potential, as he could change his shape at will. South Africa's national flower, the King Protea, is therefore a constant reminder of the ever present potential to create the country we want to live in."