C L Leipoldt is a complex and fascinating figure in South Africa’s culinary history. A brilliant scholar with a relentless mind, Christian Frederick Louis Leipoldt was a journalist, botanist, doctor, chef, author, poet, playwright and noted gourmand.
Born in 1880, of Rhenish missionary descent, Leipoldt’s first culinary education came about as a result of his austere and fractious mother who insisted her sons be home-schooled. Christie, as CL Leipoldt was known, received an eclectic education, and grew up speaking English, Dutch and German, and reading Latin and Greek.
Forced to spend time at home, time spent in the company of the family cook, Maria, proved a formative time for the culinary figure CL Leipoldt. She taught him the art of creating tasty, slow-cooked food, and revealed the medicinal properties of herbs to him.
Culinary icon CL Leipoldt’s love affair with food and wine continued throughout his life, and he produced several gastronomic volumes. Among his best-known food and wine publications is Kos vir die Kenner, and Leipoldt’s Cape Cookery. Three Hundred Years of Cape Wine covers the history of wine at the Cape up to Leipoldt’s time, while Polfyntjies vir die Proe is a collection of light-hearted essays covering all aspects of food.
The scope of CL Leipoldt’s food and wine books, like their author, is deliciously bold. His works are filled with exotic indigenous dishes, from supreme of flamingo to tortoise bredie. CL Leipoldt’s prose and recipes will titillate your culinary imagination.