Getting to spend an entire month in South Africa was an absolutely dream. If you’re ever planning on going, you need to spend at least three weeks there, partly because the travel time there from the States is so long (two 10 hour flights, plus one little one when we arrived) but mainly due to the abundance of sightseeing in this spectacular country.
While I was there, I was staying with my boyfriend’s wonderful family and I got to dive head first into South African culture. It was intoxicating. Their love for their country, and all the beauty in it was like nothing I had ever seen. Walking around farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and even my boyfriend’s parent’s home, I began to notice these strange looking flowers. They weren’t like flowers we have back. These strange looking flowers were proteas. The protea is South Africa’s national flower. The protea is an absolutely enchanting flower. It’s not like most flowers, with delicate petals flittering in the wind. This flower is, like the people of its nation, strong. Its petals are rigid and its stem is sturdy. The protea represents change and hope, and is adorned in all sorts of places throughout the country. From having them in a wedding bouquet to growing them in their backyard, it’s a symbol of national pride in its purist form.
Another South African favorite are rusks. Rusks are a magically delicious treat. They are a double baked biscuit and can range from simple buttermilk rusks to a healthy whole wheat and oat rusk. They are crunchy and perfect for soaking in some rooibos tea and coffee as a morning (or midnight) snack. The only drawback to these is how long they take to make, the initial process is pretty simple and you bake them for about an hour. After they cool in the pan, you cut them into small, thick chunks and bake them again for 6-8 hours on a low temperate to get them their crispiness. When it comes to a rusk, the deliciousness outweighs the number of hours in the oven. I was lucky enough to get my boyfriend’s Ouma’s recipe and I thought I would share it and you can test it out for yourself. Enjoy!