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Food

News, recipes, culinary events and cookbook reviews.

Subcategories from this category: Restaurants, Events, Cookbooks, Recipes

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Fans of Italian fare (and isn’t that nearly everyone?) should diarise October 5 and 6 when the first Festa Italiana will take place in Milnerton at the Italian Club.

The club will be transformed into an Italian street fair, such as you find in Rome, Milan, Naples, Venice and Palermo. All things Italian will be the focus, with food and cooking playing a major role. Italian cars to drool over will prove popular while wine, fashion, music, arts and crafts are all on the menu.

Author and foodie Grazia Barletti will demonstrate Italian culinary dishes, ahead of launching her third book, Delicious Italian Moments. Expect to see her produce Peperonata and Amaretti Semifreddo. Her demos start at 11am on Saturday and 14,45pm on Sunday.

Giovanni and Gabriella Esposito, a father and daughter duo will also be demonstrating cooking, while Davide Ostuni will show us how to make authentic mozzarella cheese.

The programme is packed with two days of exciting activities with something for all age groups. As the organisers say, Italian brands are highly sought after and popular in every culture. From la Scala Opera to the Florentine arts, fashion icons, gastronomic delights and automotive brands, “Made in Italy “is in class of its own.”

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Tickets can be bought through Webtickets or at the door on the day. Costs are R80 for adults, R55 for pensioners and children from 12 – 18. Children under 12 go in free. The Italian Club is at 16 Donegal Street, Rugby, Milnerton.

 

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Unwind, unplug, breathe deep and savour the rural scene.  You're at  one of the most popular annual wine and food festivals in South Africa, with good reason. The 14th Wine on the River festival, hosted by the Robertson Wine Valley and Nedbank will welcome visitors daily from Friday October 11 to Sunday 13th with wonderful wine, fine country fare, a host of activities and memorable hospitality.

 

As before, the lawned and shady banks of the placid Breede river on Goudmyn farm make the perfect setting for the tents, stalls and al fresco restaurants that transform the riverside into a hive of happy festival-goers.

Along with tasting your favourite white, red, rosé and sparkling wines, you are likely to find exciting new varietals to try and buy. Snack on delectable local produce as you wander along, pause for quality coffee and rusks and take your pick from a tempting selection of lunch menus savoured at tables under umbrellas. Children will gravitate to their own area where supervised activities for all ages are offered.

Go one better and indulge in a Connoisseurs ticket which makes you a VIP for the day, with entrance to the Nedbank Lounge, where all kinds of goodies and treats are on tap. Book a seat at the wine theatre for wine and food pairings to remember. And note that stocking your boot with your fine quality wine purchases from this valley makes a far smaller dent in your budget than those from many of the competition!

Travellers booking for the weekend have a wide choice of village and farm accommodation to contemplate, plus luxurious camping, or glamping, presented in a package that includes tickets and transport.

B&B hosts in Robertson, McGregor, Bonnievale, Ashton and Montagu wait to welcome you (and there will be shuttle servces available from all towns to the festival over the weekend. You can even pre-book your shuttle trips on the website.)

The sporting types, both runners and bikers, will want to head to Van Loveren Family Vineyards where the popular Java MTB Challenge takes place on Saturday 12th October. There is a great choice of routes; runners have alternative 10km and 15km trails to consider while biking families can enter for  the non-technical fun ride . Serious riders can choose from more gruelling routes, some for top riders only. Every participant will receive a medal and goody-bag! Visit www.javamtb.co.za for more info, or call Alet on 023 6151505.

 

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Festival visitors enjoy feeling good about something they do or buy, which is why three charitable organisations always book their place at Wine on the River. Those enjoying a boat cruise on the river contribute to the Breede Hospice , which will also be selling snacks from their stall. The acclaimed Thunderchild red blend will also be on sale, every cent of your purchase going to Die Herberg, an orphanage with a century of history of ensuring a loving home and well educated childhood to hundreds of less fortunate children. Look out as well for the craft stall filled with useful items created by the folks at the home for seniors in Robertson – sales of  inexpensive items that boost their funds.

 

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Tickets cost from R150 to R350 a head, with a VIP ticket selling for R750. Buy your tickets online from Howler.co.za. There will be no ticket sales at the entrance gates, so it's essential that you get yours before you go.  For further info on accommodation, transport and wine theatre bookings, visit www.wineonriver.com, email admin@robertsonwinevalley.com or call 023 626 3167.

 

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Why Monica Lewinsky, I wondered as I savoured my first slice of a delectable pizza, thin, crispy, topped with capers, chopped anchovies and black olives on a tomato and mozzarella base. The flavours were so well integrated, the wedges the right size for eating with fingers, the size generous, that I could find no fault with it.

Vern and I visited Kurt and André’s new gastronomic venture with great anticipation, having heard a series of good reports about pizzas and puds.

Although they have not yet sorted out their liquor licence, the pub section of the FLA was well occupied, the long bar propping up mostly male customers and one couple preferring the sofa option. On to the spacious dining area behind, which is dotted with two long and two small pale blonde tables and trendy stick-leg 60’s-style chairs. Attractive lighting overhead was just becoming functional but there was enough daylight to take in the simple courtyard garden at the back, glimpsed through a wall of full length French windows. Al fresco dining should be popular as the weather warms up, wooden ranch type seating beckons between stone paths and the beginnings of a veggie garden.

Inside the feel is Scandinavian minimalist, with a modern fireplace emitting welcome heat at one end. At the other, Karoo aloes in tall floor vases flower either side a wall of huge butter-coloured platters on the wall. “We’re looking for five more to complete the scene...”

Settling at a small table, we were given wine glasses and a practical menu – the pizza takeaway list printed on an A4 sheet of white paper which can be replaced and updated with little expense. The pizzas start at R65 for the only vegetarian option, simply entitled Milkmaid. where the basic tomato and cheese base is topped with fresh basil. Six others follow, named after a variety of female celebrities, three of whom are deceased, and ranging in price from R85 to R95. Vern was very happy with his choice, topped with salami, feta and sweet peppadew (not pepperdew, why does no one get this spelling right?). It is dubbed Montserrat Caballe, a Spanish soprano who died in Barcelona last year, Google tells me. Ah.

Mae West lends her name to a topping of smoked chicken breast, more peppadew and smoked cheese, while nonagenarian Gina Lollobrigida is remembered with chorizo and camembert. Social media queen Kim Cardashian tweets about roasted BBQ rib and fresh rocket on her pizza and Mamma Cass’s name graces toppings of green bacon, blue cheese and green fig preserve. (I had to look her up as well – she was a member of the Mammas and Pappas pop group and died at the age of 32 in London.)

Service was solicitous and friendly. The blackboard announced the dish of the day as pork rib and mash, and the dessert was cheesecake (R45. )

And whether or not you appreciate the allure of presidential seductress Monica Lewinsky, succumb to the charms of the Fat Lady in the certain knowledge that your supper should prove to be a delicious experience.

 

A great and affordable addition to the McGregor dining out and takeout scene, The Fat Lady’s arms is open from 5 – 10pm from Wednesday to Sunday. Weekend lunches will follow soon. Find the venue in the middle of McGregor on Voortrekker street, and call them on 082 786 4888 for more info.

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A history stretching back 320 years. Renowned Polkadraai Hills terroir. A five-star   hotel, gourmet and bistro restaurants. A Gin bar with impressive stock. A wide choice of wines in two ranges. An estate managed by hosts with heart.

 

 

Michael Olivier, who handles their PR, is meticulous in recording developments, events and releases on this large and diverse estate and sharing them on his widely read blog. While international visitors dominate at the height of the tourist season, now is the ideal time for locals to investigate and enjoy the many attractions available at Asara.

 

As always, I find the early history of our Cape wine farms a source of endless fascination with Verdun no exception. Back in the latter part of the 18th century the farm was part of Vredenburg , which, together with Vlottenburg was bought in 1772 by Paul Roux and inherited by descendant Kosie Roux, who named his farm Verdun after the WW I battle of Verdun which was raging at the time. Some decades later he and his son, also Kosie, marketed their Gamay , then the only one bottled under this name in the Cape.

 

In the mid-1990’s the farm’s fortunes were revived when Francois Tolken bought Verdun and committed to planting a full 83ha to vine, rebuilding the old cellar and appointing a highly regarded winemaker to oversee the project.

 

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By 2 000 Verdun estate wines began making gentle waves on the Stellenbosch scene and its gamay production was revived after a break of about 15 years.

Four years on and the estate had changed ownership and was now called Asara (after a trio of venerable gods.)The wines continued increasing in quality, collecting both local and international awards.

 

Development in the form of luxury hotel, restaurant and specialty bar were in place a few years later, and today the Sansibar bistro and gin lounge bar boasts the largest selection of gin in the southern hemisphere. There is a choice of dining venues to follow visitors’ tastings. And there are vineyard walks to start the day after a good night’s sleep.

 

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The staff at Asara find time to support those less fortunate than they are, and this extends to donations to animal welfare and the well-run Stellenbosch branch of the Animal Welfare society in particular. So it was in July, Mandela month, that their chef produced large quantities of peanut butter dog biscuits for the Society kennels, now headed by efficient animal lover and former winemaker Lorna Hughes. Buy a packet or two from the Asara Tasting room and deli, or from the society offices close by. They look tempting, but are not recommended for pairing with Asara’s flagship Bordeaux-style blend, the Bell Tower.

 

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Tagged in: Food Restaurants Wine
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Posted by on in Restaurants

 

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Sited in the supremely beautiful Devon Valley, and named after the friendly Zulu greeting that can be translated as “Hi, how are you?” Kunjani wines start any encounter with the twin advantages of an enviable location and a companionable  name.

Comparatively new on the block, this multicultural enterprise is owned by German entrepreneur Paul Barth and South African businesswoman Pia Watermeyer, while the wines are made by well-known, well-travelled  winemaker Carmen Stevens. Their website reveals that they also operate a restaurant and cottages for travellers to hire.

Their trio of warming reds arrived , each in a dark bottle, with cork closures, adorned with black labels bearing gold lettering. The back labels offer brief notes on the nose, palate, and expected life of the contents.

 

 

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Kunjani Shiraz 2015 sports a gold from Michelangelo 2018, produced from homegrown grapes, which underwent malolactic fermentation in barrel. The wine matured in French oak for 12 months in a combo of new, second- and third fill French oak. The characteristic white pepper is there, spicing up the juicy flavours of red and black berries, balanced by some acidity for freshness. Alcohol levels of 15% are on the hefty side. The website lists the price at R220.

 

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Grapes for the Kunjani merlot 2017 were also sourced on the farm. They  were destemmed and cold -soaked for a few days before pressing. Secondary fermentation took place in barrel and the wine matured for 14 months in French oak. Moderate alcohol levels are in keeping with this medium-bodied merlot that presents tobacco and spices along with fruit on the palate, with no trace of greenness. It is priced at R190 and will pair happily with a wide range of winter fare, both casual and formal.

 

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As with the other two, homegrown grapes were harvested for the Kunjani cabernet sauvignon 2017 , then sorted into two lots to provide blending components. Yeast was added to one after four days but the second lot was left to ferment spontaneously for some time. The blend was matured for 14 months in French oak. Characteristic hints of chocolate, mint, blackcurrant and dried herbs are there, along with a hint of vanilla. This Stellenbosch cab has good ageing potential and costs R220.

Visitors can head to the tasting centre on any day of the week. For more info, visit www.kujaniwines.co.za.

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