If you travel by road about forty-five minutes outside of Livingstone, you’ll come to an area known as Katombora. Like many areas in rural Zambia, thatched rondavels are immaculately clean and bursting with smiling, waving children. Their pristine, white toothy grins would be fit for Colgate billboards. Kids are showing off their acrobatic skills twirling and doing cartwheels in the sandy, red earth as we drive past.
If we intend to truly set the scene, you need to imagine the magnificent blue of the Zambezi River as we approach. Fishermen paddle their traditional dug-out mokoro canoes as they have for generations. Their bounty sustains their family for the day, and the extra fish is dried in the warm, Zambian winter sunshine.
Dom the Somm
It is here that we find Dominique Lubasi, a married 32-year-old from nearby Malambo Village. He was also raised along the banks of the Zambezi River and taught to fish by his father. He’s now married, has three children of his own and still boasts one of those magnificent Colgate grins. However, his story took an unexpected twist.
You see, Dominque Lubasi is locally known as Dom the Somm. As in Dom the Sommelier. Like us, you might be wondering “how does a man from a rural village in the Southern Province of Zambia discover his palate for wine when the nearest vineyard is thousands of miles away?” It comes down to passion and having an employer that believes in fuelling these opportunities.
Dominque started at Royal Chundu Lodge in 2011 as a waiter. This luxurious lodge is the
first and only Relais & Chateaux lodge in Zambia and boasts a unique blend of high-end opulence mixed with jovial Zambian artistry. Imagine an afternoon tea offered with full silver tea service and fine china alongside brightly patterned chitenge serviettes and biscuits shaped like elephants.
If you would prefer a more potent drink, since you are on holiday after all, then Dom is happy to offer recommendations. His favourite bottle is a 2016 vintage Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon, and this man knows what he’s talking about.
In addition to in-house training and questions by some of the world’s elite clientele, Dominique has travelled and tasted through the vineyards of South Africa. He’s been to Stellenbosch and Franschoek and dreams of one day trying the Thelema Merlot. We can tell that he’s got a thing for elegant, medium-bodied reds.
Destination Livingstone drilled Dom the Somm with a few questions about wine pairings, and he didn’t miss a beat when given the opportunity to showcase his knowledge. It’s clear to see that he loves what he does.
Destination Livingstone – What would you serve with a traditional Village Chicken Stew and Nshima?
Dom the Somm – An excellent Chenin Blanc would be my recommendation. The honey and cinnamon undertones match well with any form of chicken, whether it be roasted or made over an open fire in a three-legged potjie pot.
Destination Livingstone – Zambia has fantastic beef; what would you recommend to pair with a big, grilled steak?
Dom the Somm – A Shiraz is a safe bet, as it brings out the flavour of the beef. It’s a heavy wine, but the peppery notes would work well.
With Zambia being so far away from the winelands, Dominque has pivoted his skills to cocktails using locally sourced ingredients from Livingstone. Check out his latest flavour-packed cocktail creation – Zambezi Sunset – that will remind you of sitting back on the banks of the Zambezi River and watching the sunset while hearing hippos honking in the distance.
• Please hyperlink ‘latest packed cocktail creation’ with the DL posting for ‘Recreate Zambezi Happy Hour from Home’