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The South African Cheese Festival celebrates its 18th anniversary this year, taking place from Friday 26 - Sunday 28 April 2019 at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch.

To mark its value- for- money experience the organisers list 18 experiences that   your ticket includes. Here’s a brief round-up of them all:

 

  1. The Cheese Emporium: The heart of the Festival where you can taste and buy the largest variety of cheeses under one roof.
  2. The Italian Experience: A new addition created in collaboration with Food Lover's Market. Stroll through their piazza and experience Italian hospitality and gastronomy in abundance.
  3. Taste it first: Many exhibitors utilise the SA Cheese Festival as a platform to launch new products and test the market .
  4. The Tasting Room: We marry cheese with wine, beer and every new trend. Listen and taste at no extra cost ... and experience interesting combinations presented by well-known foodies.
  5. ‘Raak ‘n bietjie rustig’ day: Friday, 26 April, a working day? Never! It's pay day after all – perfect for a leisurely day out. Watch out for ‘Raak ‘n bietjie rustig’ packages for groups and discover the festival at your own pace.
  6. Meet boutique cheese makers: Come and support entrepreneurs who, despite the drought, come from far and wide to introduce their unique handmade cheeses.
  7. Cape Made:: A fresh from the farm collection of alternative products such as olives, honey and rooibos to pick and choose  ... with bargains directly from producers.
  8. The Cape Made Kitchen: Experience a taste of magic as chefs from the Private Hotel School pair cheese with bread and alternative products. As a bonus there is a free recipe book to take home!
  9. Making memories: It just gets better year after year! The SA Cheese Festival is a popular place to celebrate birthdays.
  10. Boutique is king: Support boutique producers while discovering and appreciating new taste experiences – from wine and beer to gin with honey, almond, buchu, strawberry or chai!

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  1. The Ladismith Cheese Carving Competition: A daily highlight in Blossom's Gazebo – enter for free at the festival (entries are limited). Prove your creativity, carve a cheese and win great prizes!
  2. The Music Gazebo: Kick up your heels to the rhythm of popular local artists.
  3. The Milk Factory: Visit the friendly cows and goats at the Milk Factory and show the little ones where cheese comes from.

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  1. The Gourmet Lane: Popular food stalls serve delicious dishes – with even more cheese!
  2. The Kiddies Corner: Hours of fun and entertainment for the children in a safe environment while parents relax.
  3. #SundayFamilyFunDay: Enjoy a true #SundayFunday with your whole family whilst some of the country's best cheeses and other boutique products are just a few steps away.
  4. The Connoisseurs Experience: There are only 100 tickets per day for this exclusive  experience with shaded seating, a cheeseboard,  bottle of wine and many extras
  5. Be safe: The SA Cheese Festival promotes the responsible use of alcohol. Make use of shuttle services and taxis for peace of mind.
 

DETAILS:

The festival times are  10:00 - 18:00 daily

Sandringham is  located next to the N1, Stellenbosch turn-off (exit 39), between Cape Town and Paarl.

Tickets cost R180 per person per day. Senior citizens pay R120 and children between 2 and 13 years R20. Tickets are available at Computicket. No tickets will be sold at the gates. The Connoisseurs’ Experience costs R950 per person (only persons over 18 years old) and is available from Claudine Wagner at claudine@agriexpo.co.za.

Discover more about the SA Cheese Festival's 18 year celebration at www.cheesefestival.co.za, or contact Agri-Expo at tel 021 975 4440 or admin@agriexpo.co.

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Autumn has arrived, the Cape wine harvest is largely over, and there’s a tempting  variety of festivals, markets and Easter weekend events taking place during April and into May. Our northern provinces are not left out when it comes to great wine shows.

 

GROOTE POST’S MARCH COUNTRY MARKET

 

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Join the Pentz family in the gardens at Groote Post for their Country Market on Sunday 31st March between 10h00 and 15h00.

The terrace in front of Hilda’s Kitchen will be brimming with market stalls offering delicious and attractive country offerings including artisan foods, arts and crafts, homeware, clothing, décor, gifts, jewellery, accessories, toys, fresh produce and more. Local is always lekker with a selection of Darling gourmet produceand of course Groote Post’s well-loved wines.

Visitors can relax on the lawns under the trees enjoying the popular music and entertainment. Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but booking is essential. Kids will be kept busy with various activities: tractor rides, guided horse rides, the popular playground and more.

Dogs are welcome but must please be kept on a leash at all times.   Entry to the Groote Post Country Market is free of charge.

For further information Contact I Love Yzer: 022 451 2202 or info@iloveyzer.co.za

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THE MPUMALANGA WINE SHOW

 

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It’s their 10th show this year, taking place on April 5 and 6 at Riverside Park in Nelspruit (Mbombela) from 17h00 to 21h00.

Close to 40 exhibitors will be presenting around 250 fine wines alongside fare to complement on the side.

Bookings: Computicket.com or www.mpumalangawineshow.co.za

Ticket Prices: Early Bird R180  for bookings made by Sunday 31 March.  Thereafter and at the door, R200 (includes unlimited tastings and wine tasting glass). Emnotweni Rewards discounts apply.

Light meals will be available for sale.

For more information: Visit www.mpumalangawineshow.co.za or call +27 11 482 5936

The Shop@Show facility with Makro Nelspruit, offers an excellent reason to stock up and buy - with the advantage of show prices and the optional convenience of delivery to your door. 

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25-Year Celebratory Tastings  with Ken Forrester Wines

Ken Forrester invites friends of wine to their 25-Year Tasting Series, four themed  tastings hosted by Ken at their old barrel cellar / tasting lounge in Stellenbosch.

The first, 25 Years of Chenin Blanc takes place on 4 April at 6.30pm, where Ken will present Chenin Blanc in its various guises, following which cheese boards will be served family-style.

The remaining three tastings - aptly named 25 Years of Stellenbosch (29 May), 25 Years of Winemaking (July) and 25 Years of Inspiration (September) - will  feature wines from Stellenbosch and around the world sourced during the past 25 years.
All proceeds from the tastings  will be donated to Spark Schools, an educational institution committed to providing top-class education to the children of the Winelands. “

Each tasting costs R150 per person or R250 per couple and is limited to 30 guests. Pre-booking is essential and tickets are available at www.quicket.co.za or in the tasting room.
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STELLENBOSCH WINE FESTIVAL COMES TO CAPE TOWN

 

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Top Stellenbosch wine estates will soon be on their way to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town for the first-ever Stellenbosch Wine Festival in  Cape Town presented by Pick n Pay.

The two-day event will take place at the North Wharf at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April 2019.

Winemakers and estate owners will be there to chat to visitors. Participating estates include, among others, Beyerskloof, Warwick, Ken Forrester, Kleine Zalze, Kaapzicht Estate, Le Bonheur and L’Avenir.

Of course, where there’s wine, there’s food, and Pick n Pay will have something scrumptious on offer  from good old-fashioned burgers and fish and chips, to elegant charcuterie and cheese platters.

Winelovers can also book a session at the Pick n Pay Tasting Room. Children under 18 enter free of charge.

DETAILS:

Saturday 6 April: 12 – 9pm

Sunday 7 April: 12 – 6pm

Tickets: R 150 

Tickets that include  a Pick n Pay Tasting Room experience: R 180

-          Tickets include tasting glass and 20 wine tasting tokens.

Booking:

  • Visit www.Webtickets.co.za and either book your tickets online and collect instore, book and pay online, or purchase your tickets at any Pick n Pay Supermarket or Hypermarket countrywide.

For more information:: www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za

 

 

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MIDDELVLEI FAMILY DAY | 22 APRIL 2019

 

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Middelvlei Family Day, Monday, 22 April, promises to be a fun day out for the whole family. The Easter Bunny will be popping in making the Middevlei Easter Egg Hunt extra fun. 

Adding to the day’s festivities is the line-up of Boeresport games, guaranteed to be one of the day’s highlights while parents can relax  sipping Middelvlei wine and taking in the live entertainment. An Easter inspired spitbraai lunch completes the outing The cost for the lunch is R 280 per adult and R130 per child (12 years and younger), which includes the Easter Egg Hunt.

To ensure a truly memorable experience pre-booking is advised. For bookings or more information contact the farm on 021 883 2565 or email info@middelvlei.co.za.

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Spend the Easter weekend on the Jordan estate.

 

An Easter hunt with a difference – visitors are invited to search the gardens for the renowned origami chameleons, bring one to the tasting room and collect a spot prize! The hunt takes place on Sat and Sunday April 20 and 21.

Book a wine tasting at the farm then enjoy lunch at The Bakery which will be offering a special meal along with the a la carte menu, which includes harissa-rubbed chicken quarters with mint raita, garlc baby potatoes and glazed baby carrots for R110. Book your table at www.thebakery.co.za.

 

THE 2ND CAPITAL CITY WINE SHOW

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Calling Pretoria wine lovers! The second wine show takes place on May 3 and 4 at the Capital Menlyn Maine hotel in Africa’s only ‘green city’precinct. A premium range of icon wines and new kids on the block will be presented – think Grenache, Cinsaut, Malbec and Merlot. The list of exhibitors reads like a list of the best, most popular wine producers plus some new brands and international cuvees and sparkling wines for tasting. The best on the move deli fare will be there to accompany the wines.

 

Dates: Friday 3 and Saturday 4 May 2019

Venue: The Capital Menlyn Maine, 194 Bancor Avenue, Menlyn, Pretoria

Time: 17h00 to 21h00

Ticket price and bookings: Via www.capitalcitywineshow.co.za Via webtickets.co.za from 1 April.  Early Bird tickets until 28 April cost R180 for each night, R200 thereafter and at the door.  No under 18s.

For more information:  Visit www.capitalcitywineshow.co.za for more details on exhibitors and wines on show, available by the end of April.

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2019 SHIRAZ AND CHARCUTERIE FESTIVAL

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The annual Shiraz & Charcuterie Festival, takes place once again at the picturesque Anthonij Rupert Wyne in Franschhoek on Saturday, 25 May (11am to 4pm) combining some of the country’s finest Shiraz wines paired with charcuterie from artisanal producers.

 

Taste Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s range of Shiraz which include the limited release Anthonij Rupert Syrah, the site-specific Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Shiraz and Protea Shiraz. Alongside will be 18 of the country’s top Shiraz producing estates including Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Leeu & Mullineux Family Wines, Waterford Estate, Stark-Condé Wines and Hartenberg Wine Estate.

 Pair themwith delectable local and international charcuterie on offer - featuring everything from salamis and cured hams to flavoured chorizos. Nibble on the samples, choose your favourites and purchase them to enjoy at the festival or to take home. A lavish Anthonij Rupert Wyne Harvest Table, adorned with fresh seasonal salads, homemade Truffle arancini, estate olives, jalapenos, creamy tomato soup and pulled Moroccan lamb shoulder – is a match made in culinary heaven to complement the superb wine line-up. The Macaroon Bar, featuring an assortment of decadent flavours, guarantees a perfectly sweet finish.

Pre-booking is essential as tickets are limited. Your ticket, which costs R295 per person, includes entry as well as tastings of the wines on show. Book directly via www.webtickets.co.za.

 For more information contact DnA Event Management on info@dnaevents.co.za

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It’s not just the turreted fortress design of Fort Simon’s tasting centre that differs from the traditional Stellenbosch wine farm architecture, but also the fact that the Uys family-owned winery only started producing in 1997, making them one of the “newbies” in the Bottelary district.

Their philosophy is to produce enjoyable well-made New World-style wines, and their 2018 Chardonnay is a good example of success in achieving this goal. Recently released, the estate is pleased that it attracted a score of 90 in the current Gilbert & Gaillard international sommelier contest, a challenge held in France for more than two decades. The wines are tasted blind and results featured in their wine guides - of which more than 50 editions have been published in four languages to date..

Winemaker Dirk Tredoux leans toward making “bold and luscious" wines. Using their best chardonnay berries he fermented them in oak then transferred the wine to new French oak where it matured for some 10 months before being bottled.

 

Although it is apparent that the wine is wooded, it does not follow the pattern of  over-wooded chardonnays common in the USA until recently.

While the vanilla aroma is discernible on the nose as is the flavour on the palate it shares  with wafts of citrus and melon. Flavours of citrus and butterscotch mingle on the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh and uncomplicated, making an enjoyable al fresco aperitif and partnering poultry and seafood – both hot and salad creations – and creamy sauced pasta with flair.

Alcohol levels are held at 14%. The chardonnay costs R132 at cellar door.

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It’s a good start when your just-launched 2018 sauvignon blanc attracts gold and the Best of Show South Africa White award at the reputable Mundus Vini spring tasting held in Neustadt, Germany last month.

Not that this new release from the prestigious Pierneef Collection differs that much from its previous vintages: for both the 2016 and 2017 share many characteristics with the current release, a feature that many legions of fans applaud and expect.

In the 2018 Pierneef sauvignon blanc the semillon component is upped to 12% from 8% last year, a move which I think mellows flinty sauvignon blancs with a touch of honeyed, waxy richness. It is also an all-Cape South Coast wine, its grapes having been sourced in Elim and Napier, with the semillon from Elim.

Staying true to previous vintages the nose offers hints of grapefruit and gooseberry, follows with these flavours on the palate, plus some green pepper, allied to crisp freshness and backed by mineral notes. In all this elegant complexity already offers much pleasure, and will surely go on developing in bottle for years to come as cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche has  proven with previous vintages.

Alcohol levels are held to under 13% in this screwcapped bottle, adorned, as are its siblings,with a linocut of a South African scene from the Pierneef Collection.

Open a bottle of the 2016 vintage, which I did immediately after writing this, and the similarities were striking: the wine is as fresh and frisky as the latest vintage, with the semillon here sourced from Bot River. There is a waft of granadilla on the palate not noticeable in the other vintages.

In the 2017 vintage the semillon is reduced to just 8% and i think the difference is just discernible cf 2018, while the sauvignon grapes came from the same districts but the semillon originated in Elim.

Elegance is uppermost, and the Pierneef sauvignon blancs are stylish wines that present a complex blend of freshness, flavour and flint.

They make a fine aperitif ahead of a patrician menu, come into their own with most seafood creations such as La Motte Chef Eric Bulpitt’s Citrus and Fennel Franschhoek Trout and can enhance some dishes from the Far East – here advance experimentation is advisable...

The 2018 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc sells for R135 online or at cellar door. For more information on the older pair visit www.la-motte.com/collections/pierneef-collection/products.

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What a pleasure to discover a “new” chenin, and one that is quite delicious and a tad different. It’s crafted from grapes thriving in an unlikely area by a talented (and modest) cellarmaster in the heart of the Klein Karoo.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that I only got to hear about Kluisenaar 2017 by Le Sueur Wines via a roundabout route, as a recluse - as Louis van der Riet has named his creation - does not look for publicity…

But when you get a product as enjoyable as this, with a nice vineyard story to boot, the news is bound to get out…

Louis van der Riet, (le Sueur is his middle name) has been making port and other good wines for De Krans for many years. He has also long held an ambition to make his own wines – a dream that was realised in 2014 when he released his maiden vintage.

Focussing on the Swartberg where the vines deliver harvests that are used mostly for bulk blends, Louis spent much time hunting down lone vineyards of chenin blanc that are hidden among the masses. Having found a few, reclusive, promising  and unloved, he became involved with their wellbeing.  Eventually he was able to transport their harvest to De Krans where he crushed the grapes and cooled the juice before pumping to barrels: one third new French oak, the remainder older wood where it fermented naturally and undisturbed for 10 months. No added yeasts, no fining nor filtering before bottling, so Louis claims, with good reason, that this is a chenin “made from nature, by nature”

Low alcohol levels of 12,5 % feature in this limited edition of 1 550 bottles, the wine offers stone fruit and melon flavours, a hint of toffee and vanilla discernible on the palate. Dry ,with enjoyable fresh acidity, all nicely balanced in a chenin of charm and intrigue. Available from the De Krans cellar in Callitzdorp for R175. Looking at his website, I see there’s a highly rated pinotage/cinsaut blend in stock and a merlot on the way. Book at De Krans for tastings and sales.

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Posted by on in Recipes

 

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This recipe arrived  from Delheim wine estate where they enjoy wild mushroom harvests in the winter, and dry some of porcini funghi for later use. If you cannot access this ingredient, double the quantity of the fresh mushrooms. Also a good idea is to practise making gnocchi on the family first before attempting it for guests - not difficult but fiddly.

Gnocchi:

2 cups cooked mashed potato

1 cup flour

1 egg yolk

salt and pepper

1T olive oil

1T butter

Sauce:

80g dried porcini msurhooms

250g mixed mushrooms

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic , minced

1 cup cream

1 cup mushroom or vegetable stock

half cup grated parmesan cheese

ground black pepper

fresh basil leaves

Make the sauce: Pour very hot stock or water over dried mushrooms and soak about 15 mins. Drain, reserve stock or water.

Heat the oil add the onion, mushrooms and drained porcini mushrooms. Cook gently until mushrooms are tender but not brown, about 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook about 2 mins. Add the cream and reserved stock or water and increase heat until mixture simmers, simmer until sauce has thickened. Season to taste. Finish with cheese when serving. 

Make the gnocchi: Mix the mash, egg yolk, flour and a little salt to form a dough that is soft and a little sticky. Generously flour a working surface and your hands, place dough on surface and form a long sausage, about 3cm thick. Cut into 2cm pieces and press each lightly with back of a fork. Bring a pot of water to the boil and place gnocchi piece gently into water, and boil until they float to the top. Can leave for another few seconds and then take out using slotted spoon. Heat the oil and butter together and gently fry the gnocchi in batches untl golden..

Serve with the mushroom sauce, top with parmesan and shredded basil leaves .

A light-bodied red wine like Delheim Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon makes a good partner.

Serves 2 hungry diners or 4 moderate appetites.

 

 

 

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Not at all surprised to read that this unpretentious red blend is Delheim’s top-selling wine. What’s not to like about a captivating ruby-hued wine, medium-bodied, aromatic and fruity, that slips down as an enjoyable aperitif? It also goes on to happily accompany a range of home-cooked favourites, from mac’n cheese to chicken pie, from vegetarian pizzas to bangers and mash. It’s a wine that takes to weekend braais with equal enthusiasm, partnering chicken sosaties, boerewors and ribbetjies and yes, will be as happy paired with burgers, with pasta, with toasted cheese and tomato...

You get the picture. But what lifts this accessible value-for-money above many competitors is that it’s been made with care, offering consumers a delicious meld of shiraz aromas, fruit and spices that are well balanced by typical characteristics of cab. It sells for R85, is vegan-friendly with moderate 13,5% alcohol levels and offers a fine choice for everyday autumn sipping as our menus start to reflect seasonal changes.

Delheim marketers suggest that it will also enhance mushroom dishes, reminding us that their famous funghi foraging days are scheduled for mid-June. Seeing that the farm doesn’t produce a pinot noir, the Delheim Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 will no doubt take on this role as well.

Delheim shared a couple of mushroom recipes with us, one of which I have featured in the food section of this website.

Cheers and bon appétit.

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Posted by on in Cookbooks

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THE SOUTH AFRICAN VEGAN COOKBOOK

By Leozette Roode, published by Human & Rousseau,  Cape Town, 2018

The first of its kind in South Africa, this compilation of vegan recipes also offers readers who may be contemplating a vegan lifestyle much information, from basic equipments, answers to common questions, vegan alternatives for everyday products and menu ingredients using locally sourced products.

Last year veganism and its advocates became more frequent on South African culinary websites along with articles on the subject in the print media. This year sees more of the same, so that – while this country is, and is likely to remain, populated by avid meat-eating urban and rural South Africans, the number of vegetarians and vegans is sure to be increasing. Probably among the younger generation, who – if they stay the pace – will mean a larger number of older folk will bring up their families without eating meat in the near future. Time will tell.

Meanwhile this is the first local vegan cookbook to appear on our book store shelves, and author Leozette is well-equipped to write it: She is an international blogger, recipe developer and demonstrator of vegan recipes and ideas and has aimed, in this book, to offer readers 100 easy-to-follow, inexpensive and quick recipes.

Her journey from meat-eating to veganism is well- described in her introduction. Here she also offers facts on why going vegan is good for the environment, citing water resources needed to raise red meat and poultry, the quantity of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere while raising animals and the huge areas of our land that are required either for grazing these animals or growing crops to feed them. She also offers a useful list of vegan-friendly alternatives to meat, dairy, confectionery and other products – including wines.

Recipes start with breakfast ideas, including some berried smoothies and chocolate granola, follow with snacks like tandoori cauliflower bites and move to lunch choices that range from simple soups like zucchini “noodle” soup and multigrain salads to chicken-style salad cups and chilli con carne using soya mince. Some of the pasta dishes will tempt non-vegan eaters as well.

In the bakes offered as teatime treats the alternative ingredients are more obvious – eggs replaced with flaxseed powder, milk by almond or soya milk, butter by coconut oil, etc. But the results – muffins, scones, cakes and sweet tarts – look very appetising in the full page colour photographs.

Recipes for supper and grander occasions complete the menu and the recipe index ends the text.

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Posted by on in Wine

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Two enjoyable chenins came my way recently, nicely adding to the rich diversity of styles winemakers employ when transforming these versatile grapes into bottled sunshine.

From the Overhex cellars near Worcester, another label in their Survivor range, their 2018 barrel-fermented chenin blanc that is a great match for the seasonal specialties of autumn – think onion tart, butternut and Camembert soup, Mediterranean chicken bakes...

The winemakers sourced their grapes from a Swartland farm called Constantia, low-yielding blocks, that delivered full-flavoured berries. While 30% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks , the rest underwent barrel fermentation in first- fill 500 litre untoasted French oak where the wine spent four months before being blended and bottled.

The results are impressive: there is plenty of structure in this chenin, a good balance between wood and fruit, with stone fruit predominant, The wine is fresh but not frisky, and clearly characteristic of the Swartland with its superior ability to deliver quality, fruitiness and backbone in one delicious integrated package. Alcohol levels of 13% are in keeping. The new cellar door price, post-budget, is R120.

 

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From the north-eastern section of the Durbanville region, the vast Groot Phesantekraal farm has been releasing labels from its range  made by Etienne Louw, including this appetising summery 2018 chenin blanc, its grapes sourced from bush vines more than 50 years old. The result is fresh, fragrant and fruity, an unwooded aperitif or cheery companion to seafood and poultry salads. Unlike Durbanville sauvignon blanc which nearly always presents distinctive regional characteristics, this chenin did not identify itself – or not to me at any rate. But at R55 its a great buy and one that visitors to this sprawling farm should be sure to taste. It sports a double gold from the Michelangelo 2018 competition. (The price may have increased since the budget ).

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Posted by on in News

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The name intrigues – Seasalter is, according to Nick Pentz, a mediaeval village in Kent that was engaged in salt production during the Iron Age – and transported to the Darling Hills as a moniker  for a superior sauvignon blanc. As one would expect, this is a wine that reflects Groote Post’s proximity to the Atlantic coast, with hints of kelp and saline touches between the friskiness, flint and some citrus and green fruit.

Seasalter 2018 also offers complexity, partly provided by its component of 10% Semillon and partly because half the wine matured in French oak for eight months before being blended into the rest which fermented in stainless steel tanks.

The characteristic Darling dustiness is just apparent, and the whole is a zesty, layered, distinctive sauvignon well reflecting its west coast terroir. Moderate alcohol levels of 13,5% are in keeping. Its simple white label adds an image of those white sands, the two seagulls seem to be having quite a battle with the south-easter, and turquoise touches reflect the Atlantic at its soothing best.

Earlier vintages were limited to members of the farm’s wine club, but the 2018 vintage is accessible to all, and this flagship sauvignon blanc sells for around R140.

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Posted by on in Events

 

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Those following a Banting-type diet can savour a long, guilt-free feast with autumnal flavours at the next Pop-up in Pringle Bay lunch. March 9 is the day to diarise when Brian Berkman will set his long table for a five course buffet meal that includes ratatouille, beef brisket and cheesecake, home cooking at its tastiest best. The luncheon costs R350 and a digestif in the form of a walk on the beach is free of charge....

There are just 10 places available so booking in advance at Quicket or at BrianBerkman.com is essential. 

 

Bookings via Quicket are also open for the following dates: April 27, May 11, June 8, July 20, August 17, September 7, October 19, November 23, December 14, December 21 and January 4 2020 

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Posted by on in Events

 

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There’s no need to drive between the nine farms taking part in the 2019 Paarl Harvest Celebration – a hop on, hop off shuttle will transport visitors from one to the next , leaving every 15 minutes.

The event takes place on Saturday March 02, starting at 8am. Taking part are Boland Cellar, Domaine Brahms, Mellasat Vineyards, Nederburg, Perdeberg Winery, Rhebokskloof Wine Estate, Simonsvlei, Vendome and Windmeul Cellar.

Try grape stomping, enjoy barrel tastings, go on a cellar tour and relish delicious food and wine while the kids take in special entertainment.

Each farm has its own programme which is listed on www.paarlharvestcelebration.co.za. Stock up on some wonderful value-for-money wines as well. Buy your ticket online at

https://www.quicket.co.za/events/65050-harvest-celebration-hop-on-hop-off-shuttle/#/ for R100. For more information contact +27 (0) 87 094 3850 or +27 (0) 78 706 9560.

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Posted by on in News

 

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Winemaker Nadia Barnard-Langenegger has joined other talented young Cape winemakers in their quest to re-introduce cabernets that are lent berried elegance from cinsaut, a practice that produced many of the long-lived cabs of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s of the last century.

This makes the Revenant title of this False Bay Vineyards red particularly relevant, just as it applied to the maiden wine in this range, the blend of sauvignon blanc and chenin blanc, which made a stellar debut.

Revenant Red 2017 is the second, combining 80% cabernet from vineyards varying in age from 10 to 15 years with grapes from cinsaut bush vines up to 40 years old.

The cab harvest was slow fermented with natural vineyard yeasts, was foot-stomped twice daily after a three-day whole-bunch carbonic fermentation. The cabernet and cinsaut were aged separately for nine months in older oak before being blended and then matured in 600 litre barrels for a year before bottling.

The nose presents vibrant red fruit aromas, while the palate is well-balanced, with quite firm tannins and is medium-bodied with moderate 13,5% alcohol levels. As with its predecessor, the wine also reflects something of a light, feminine touch that distinguishes it from most other cabs, a feature that winemaker Nadia integrates into her creations with charming results. At R100 it is also competitively priced in a market where Stellenbosch cabs often command stellar prices. It's certain that many will welcome this rebirth of a classic cab.

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Waterkloof owner Paul Boutinot has established his biodynamic vineyards and cellar on the hillside above False Bay. False Bay Vineyards, his second range, is not biodynamic, but its wines are treated in similar environmentally-friendly ways, using natural yeasts, minimal processing, and sans fining before bottling. 

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Going, going gone! It could be something of a record: The Bruwer family launched their maiden Albariño in Hout Bay on the first Monday in February and by mid-month the last of the 600 cases had sold, both from cellar door and the online shop.

Frustrating both to those Springfield wine fans who didn’t move fast enough and to newcomers who thought they would sample the new addition on their next visit to Robertson.

Better news is that the 2019 vintage is likely to be a little larger in quantity – the grapes were harvested yesterday, February 13, so let me tell you more about this irresistible white wine that the Bruwer family enjoy as much as do those lucky customers who  hugging their case closely to their chests...

Albariño is a new cultivar – new that is to the Cape winelands - but a Spanish varietal widely grown in Galicia, in the north-west. It made its 

 way to Portugal where it's known as Alvarinho, used in vinho verde, familiar to legions of South African travellers to Mozambique, and also to South America where Uruguay produces a fine example, and one that enchanted the Bruwer family while on holiday there. They returned, determined to acquire some vines for their farm.

Luck was on their side as the Newton Johnson family of the Hemel-en-Aarde valley had had similar ideas and kindly offered Springfield some of their cuttings.

These were carefully planted and nurtured, slowly multiplying over three years until a single block was established, and one that meets the demanding standards that Springfield estate sets for their grapes.

Earlier this month Abri, Jeanette and Jenna Bruwer gathered at Hout Bay to host curious media to the official launch of their limited edition Springfield Albariño 2018, its retro front label eye-catching, brick-red writing on a cream background, the language of choice pertinently Spanish, with just a strap at the bottom in English, identifying this unique Robertson estate.

This is a full-bodied wine, yet pleasing in having alcohol levels of just 12,5% . It is unwooded, the grapes having been harvested exactly a year ago. The wine spent more than 3 months on primary lees before bottling. There is complexity in its structure, offering the palate a delightful balance of stone fruit and the flint that wines from this terroir usually display. It’s also as fresh as a daisy without being over-acidic: All in all this South African Albariño yields mouthfuls of deliciousness that are a little redolent of the ocean: one does not need a dish of prawns on the table to know that it will partner shellfish with panache. But it also makes a charming aperitif and I imagine that the Uruguayan Albariño would have a tough time competing with its Cape counterpart.

Just 6 000 bottles of numbered bottles were produced, selling at R115 a bottle  from the cellar door. Perhaps Springfield will start a waiting list after harvest for the 2019 vintage - happily they have assured us that their journey with Albariño has only just begun.

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Popular and prolific wine and food writer and broadcaster Michael Olivier has just launched the first of a new series of podcasts, featuring noteworthy wines he regards as worthy of special attention. Called Michael's Minute of Wine, each podcast will be pithy and informative, both characteristics his legions of followers have come to expect.

 

The series kicked off this week with Asara’s The Bell Tower 2013, a fine Bordeaux style blend from the historic Stellenbosch estate in the Polkadraai Hills. The podcast  offers listeners an informative and tempting portrait of this  flagship , voiced in clear and simple terms that do not require specialist knowledge to absorb.

If you missed it you will find it at http://bit.ly/2DZx9XZ. Visit Michael’s website at www.michaelolivier.co.za for this and many more wine stories, suggested pairings with recipes from local foodie and up-to-date events across the South African winelands. He also reviews new cookbooks and new non-fiction that he has enjoyed.

 

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Country cuisine and al fresco feasts

    

This hugely popular late summer harvest celebration takes place over three days from Friday March 1 to Sunday the 3rd with towns and farms in the Robertson, Ashton, McGregor and Bonnievale areas taking part. As before, all ages and tastes are catered for in this food and wine affair, along with activities ranging from energetic to pampering the senses.

Experience the grape’s journey from vine to barrel to glass by picking & stomping, vineyard safaris and blending & tasting experiences. Enjoy riverside lunches, gourmet dinners, vineyard picnics and food & wine pairings. Vineyard runs and mountain biking both make great starts to the day or try a game of croquet.

Among the attractions are a terroir tour at Bushmanspad, or working for your breakfast at Jan Harmsgat by harvesting a basket of grapes before enjoying your al fresco meal under the pecan nut rrees. Lords Wines are hosting a special McGregor market at their superb mountainside location on the Saturday and Tanagra hosts will be offering wine and grappa tastings between distilling their worldclass marc on their picture-perfect farm outside McGregor. Along with conventional wine-tasting and pairings, Weltevrede estate is presenting cheese and wine and chocolate and wine pairings with their Simplicity range.

Entry to the big family market at Viljoensdrift on Sunday March 03 is free of charge. See www.handsonharvest for the full programme. Book directly with the farm offering the event of your choice. For accommodation, contact the local tourism offices in Robertson, Bonnievale, Ashton and McGregor. Call Robertsonwinevalley for more info on 023 626 3167.

 

 

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Underground tastings in old candelit cellars

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Things are hotting up in every sense of the word. With harvest in full swing in many regions, the weather in some areas is sizzling, in others just offering enjoyable late summer warmth. Wine-lovers, travellers and adventurous spirits have a wealth of harvest fests and, of course, Valentine events to contemplate as February gives way to March.

G&T’s and more at Woodstock’s Old Biscuit Mill

 

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Sunday February 24 see the fourth Gin & Tonic Fest take place at this vibey venue, where popular and new gin brands are showcased to fans. The gin makers will be there to tell their stories, the Neighbourgoods Market will operate alongside, local performers will adda musical background and tempting artisanal food will be displayed.

Early Bird tickets have sold out and General Admission Tickets are live and going fast. There are three different group ticket options. Buy your whole crews' tickets to attend in one go and get a discount on each ticket purchased… the larger your group, the more you save. Please note that tickets for the day are limited, so we advise purchasing your tickets as soon as possible. 

Join The Gin Revolution… Get tickets here: http://qkt.io/G4C0gD Website:http://ginandtonicfestival.co.za/

 

 

DURBANVILLE HILLS INVITES YOU TO A WEDNESDAY AFFAIR

 

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Every Wednesday at 18h00, from the, 20th of February until the 27th of March wine lovers are invited to enjoy an exceptional harvest experience at just R275 per person.

A glass of Durbanville Hills’ renowned Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc starts proceedings, followed by a cellar tour with one of the expert wine ambassadors. Then a delicious two-course dinner in the restaurant is matched to the cellar’s fine wines. 

As space is limited, prepaid bookings are required. For bookings or enquiries, please contact Stephanie Timm (0) 21 558 1300 or send an email to SLTimm@distell.co.za

 

 

MURATIE'S ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL

 

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 tthere are several options for visitors to this popular celebrations, taking place on Saturday March 02. Good food, fine wine, great company are all on the menu at this celebration hosted by the Melck family at their beautiful and historic farm.

Grape stomping and tractor rides through the vineyards is one activitiy while tastings and a long alfresco lunch with the cellar’s wine is another. Music will be provided by the Kitchen Jammin Blues band. Entrance tickets cost from R120 pp depending on what is booked.

For further information and bookings contact Nina Martin at Muratie on 021 865 2330/2336 orinfo@muratie.co.za.

 

PERDEBERG CELEBRATE THE PAARL HARVEST FESTIVAL

 

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Perdeberg Wine Cellar will celebrate their annual Harvest Festival on 02 March, 2019 from 10am. The cellar is off the R44, on the Voor-Paardeberg road in the Windmeul district. Entrance costs R60 a head, which includes wine glass and 10 tasting tickets while youngsters younger than 18 go in free of charge. Buy at the gate or online at

https://itickets.co.za/events/416910.html

Tastings of wine, craft beer and a bubbly bar will be offered, while food trucks, cheese platters, a biltong stall and an oyster bar should keep guests well fed. Live entertainment adds to the vibe, and there is a children’s area with recreational activities charged at R20 per child.

 

FAMILY FUN AT NEDERBURG DURING PAARL HARVEST FESTIVAL

 

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The Paarl Harvest Celebration takes place on Saturday, 2 March 2019. 

Nederburg’s programme starts with an hour-long yoga session presented by The Om Revolution, from 9:00 -10:00, on the lawn in front of the manor house. Follow this with brunch from their picnic basket costing R225 per head.

From 10:00 until 18:00, visitors can sample some of Nederburg’s young wines join the adult lawn games and stomp newly harvested grapes. A variety of fun activities will be lined up for children.

Live music by popular South African artists will keep visitors entertained and various food, ice cream and drink stalls will offer  country-style fare to enjoy with Nederburg wines. 

Free guided tours of Nederburg’s state-of-the-art cellar and Old Cellar Museum will take place every hour from 11:00 until 17:00

The Red Table restaurant in the manor house, will be serving its à la carte menu between 11:00 and 16:00. Restaurant reservations are advised, and picnics need to be booked and paid for in advance.

Book through www.webtickets.co.za at R50 per adult (free for those under the age of 18 accompanied by an adult). 

 

 

MONTH LONG VALENTINES AT ANTHONIJ RUPERT WYNE

 

Sweet treats and Rosés are being paired during February at this Franschhoek estate, with free tastings of rosé wines, both still and sparkling. Partner them with a gourmet salad if liked, and finish dinner with a rose bubbly and strawberry tart.

Buy a case of rose wines and get the 6th bottle free.

Book for a MCC and Sweet Treat tasting with three bubblies paired with four treats, including  citrus and dulce fudge, a raspberry blondie and a cherry and white chocolate truffe. This costs R95 a head and is available Mon – Saturday, booking  essential. To book email tasting@rupertwines.com or call 021 874 9041.

 

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Huge, hospitable and a hive of activity. That sums up the scene at the Perdeberg cellar now and over the next few weeks with harvest in full swing. At least seven ranges of pocket-friendly wines of consistent quality flow from this impressive set-up, but the winery is first of all known for putting chenin blanc on the map before the trend became universal.   It also makes fullest use of the fact that among its 37 member-growers there are many who supply the cellar with the fruit-intense grapes from thousands of hectares of bush vines, many of them venerable and influenced by varying micro-climates

Recently I sampled wines from four of the ranges , adding up to a delicious and diverse case of enjoyment.

I started with the 2018 chenin blanc from the Perdebeg Classic range: Just as expected, mouthfuls of fresh and fruity flavour, notably peach and melon, delivering the characterful Swartland flavours that no other region can duplicate.  A crisp wine that will happily take on the roles of both sundowner and partner summer brunch and autumn picnics. It’s a wine that complements a wide range of vegetarian and poultry-based savoury fare with imperceptible ease. R43 from cellar door.

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Rossouw’s Heritage takes chenin blanc up a notch or three, leading a patrician blend, with grenache blanc and viognier bringing up the rear in the 2017 vintage. I opened the 2015 wine, which is made up of 40% chenin, 27% Roussanne, 13% viognier, finished with 10% each of clairette blanche and sauvignon blanc.

The wine pays tribute to Jan Rossouw of the farm Vryguns, who, 78 years ago suggested to his fellow grape farmers in the Perdeberg area, that they should join forces and increase marketing strength. Which is exactly what they did, to become producers of mostly dryland, or non-irrigated vines, many of them venerable, yielding intensely flavoured grapes.  

This is a memorable wine, showing off the Cape ‘s ability to make outstanding white blends. The  nose offers a mix of stone, citrus and sub-tropical fruit, followed by the spectrum of summer fruit flavours on the palate along with vanilla from 20% oaking. The fruit is well balanced by fresh crispness, adding up to rich and memorable mouthfuls. Deserves to accompany gourmet creations based on shellfish, duck and chicken and Moroccan tagines. R120 from cellar door.

 

 

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Perdeberg has added a new rosé to the substantial Vineyard Collection. The label of the 2018 Cinsault Dry Rosé is self-explanatory – the alcohol levels are a pleasing low 11,5%, the dryland cinsault adds its own distinctive character to this light-bodied, fruity summer sipper that will also make an excellent autumn picnic mate. R70 from cellar door.

Another rosé from the Vineyard Collection, this time a Cap Classique sparkler produced from pinot noir. Silver-topped, offering inviting hues of salmon pink, the Perdeberg pinot noir rosé MCC 2015 combines bubbles with berry and watermelon flavours, medium-bodied with whiffs of characteristic biscuit on the palate. A delicious choice for Valentine celebrations..R120 from cellar door..

 

On to the reds, starting with the Perdeberg SSR, (Soft Smooth Red) 2017 from the recently introduced Soft Smooth range (just three labels, white, rosé and red), an entry-level, easy-drinking blend of shiraz, cinsault, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. Partly wooded to add a little body to the juicy fruit and soft tannins, with alcohol levels at 14% this is a sweetish wine  that will go down well at braais and happily accompany pizza parties. The mountain zebra image is repeated in the markings of the screwcap. R45 from cellar door.

 

And, finally, back to The Vineyard Collection fo the Perdeberg Malbec 2017, a dark-hued medium-bodied wine lent backbone by a year in French oak. Accessible and destined to partner red meat dishes throughout the cooler months. R80 from cellar door.

            

 

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FIELD GUIDE TO WILD FLOWERS OF SOUTH AFRICA by John Manning, Struik Nature, 2019

FIELD GUIDE TO FYNBOS by John Manning, published by Struik Nature, 2018.

Invaluable and beautiful, these substantial paperbacks are both new editions, fully updated by author John Manning, an internationally respected botanist at the SA National Biodiversity Institute in Cape Town. He is also renowned for his botanical illustrations and flower photographs, many of which feature in both titles. Manning is a world authority on the Iris and Hyacinth families, has written and co-authored several other books on South African flora and is the recipient of several awards in recognition of his work.

He appears on the back cover of both books, against different floral backgrounds, along with his dachshunds adding a human and canine touch to the galleries of magnificent flowering species within the covers.

 

Field Guide to Wild Flowers of South Africa

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The title presents nearly 500 pages of more than 1,100 flower species, and focuses on the more common, conspicuous and showy plants found in South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland. The text opens with an introduction covering diversity patterns, floral regions and vegetation types. with a key to identifying plant groups.

The preface points out that around 20 000 wild flowers are indigenous to the region, along with grasses, sedges, reeds and rushes with insignificant flowers and no single book can attempt to cover even a small percentage of all these. Those that have been included are all carefully described, for easier identification, along with their scientific details.

Each entry is accompanied by its botanical name, common names, its family, genus and species a clear colour photograph, a distribution map and a key to the plant’s flowering season.

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Advice on how to use this guide to the best advantage makes important reading for any new enthusiast to the fascinating hobby of identifying what they find on hikes.  First find the right group, where plants have been divided into three categories, then consult the pictorial guide to wild flower families, then turn to the page where the relevant family is listed in the main body.

The entries for the 10 groups of flowering plants form the main body of the text, followed by a glossary of terms, further reading list and a detailed index of scientific names.

 

Field guide to Fynbos

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Another new edition, updating the original best-seller published in 2007, this one updated to reflect recent findings and taxonomy. More than 1 000 species are described,

The introduction identifies fynbos, offers a history of this unique and extraordinary African flora, defines it and describes its distribution. Its diversity, adaptations, reliance on fire, pollination and conservation.  There’ a guide to family groups, useful when accessing the entries which are arranged by these eight groups under which the entries are organised.

Each lists the scientific and common name, offers comparisons with  similar species, traditional uses, distribution map and key to flowering season, The captivating clear, colour photographs were taken by the author or by Colin Paterson-Jones, another renowned natural history photographer and writer. A detailed index of scientific names and glossary of terms completes the text.

 

To conclude, these two indispensable treasure chests of information for botanists and amateurs  are each packed into handy-sized formats where no square centimetre of paper is wasted!

Endpapers are used to illustrate flower parts and leaf shapes to complement the glossaries, while the edge of the back cover can be used as as a 20cm ruler to measure your floral finds.

 

Some fynbos beauties:

 

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Mimetes hottentoticus on Kogelberg peak

 

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Aspalathus costulata

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Muraltie spinosa

 

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THE WOMAN IN THE BLUE CLOAK by Deon Meyer, published by Hodder & Stoughton, UK, 2018.

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As usual, diverse strands of a necklace are  interwoven in Meyer’s impressive yet almost nonchalant way, as readers get caught up in a tale that strides across centuries and continents with consummate ease.

A woman’s body is discovered, naked and washed with bleach, on a rocky ledge at the top of Sir Lowry’s pass, on route to Elgin and the Overberg.

Detective Captain Benny Griessel is focussed on buying an engagement ring for his singing star friend Alexa, and wondering how he is going to pay for it.

In Holland a young man is fleeing from would-be captors as he runs through the night toward Rotterdam, then diverts to head to Delft....

Back in Cape Town the dead woman is identified, and Detectives Benny Griessel and his partner Cupido are on the case, wondering why a foreign visitor, who had been in the country just one day, was the murderer’s victim, and why she had wanted to go to Villiersdorp, a dorp near Elgin, that was not on the usual tourist trail.

Readers are taken to London to find out that the victim, Alicia Lewis,  was an expert in classical and antique art, who worked for an art loss register that searched for and recovered stolen art.

A painting now takes centre stage, a portrait of a woman, naked except for a blue cloak, attributed to Rembrandt ‘s star pupil Fabritius, and painted in Amsterdam in 1654. The woman was Rembrandt’s mistress and the painting had arrived at the Cape soon after where it ended up being sold to a member of the Van Reenen family who lived at that time in  Papenboom in Newlands. It was traced to a family descendant farming in the Villiersdorp district.

Of course Benny and Cupido get their man, an unlikely murderer, and it seems as if Alexa is going to receive a beautiful diamond ring from her lover, so all ends reasonably well, as things do in real life.

As always, the conversations between our much-loved detective Benny, and his partner Cupido, along with the action that moves across the city to the Cape winelands are realistic, accurate and convincing. 

Afrikaans fans got their dose of Griessel and co for Christmas, English addicts had to wait a little longer but both raced through this 140-page novella, finishing with appreciation and just one complaint. “It’s so short – hope the next one is back to normal. “

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