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Myrna Robins

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Food

News, recipes, culinary events and cookbook reviews.

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

Posted by on in Restaurants

 

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There can be few landscapes more evocative of the rural Cape than that of Val du Charron – the iconic gabled farmstead, the whitewashed ringmuur, orchards and vines all set in an exquisite valley edged with mountain ranges.

Nicely named to encompass Wellington’s earlier name - Valley of the Wagonmakers -  while adding a Gallic tribute to the Huguenot founders, the beautiful 45ha Val du Charron is in the Bovlei,  in itself a district worth visiting for beauty, history, hospitality and good wine.

Just over a decade ago the Entwistle family bought the neglected fruit farm, first registered at the close of the 17th century, and set about restoring it. Once again English settlers have joined Afrikaners in this region, confirming a pattern that has been developing over the last few decades with beneficial, even synergetic,  results.

 

Val du Charron is today a renowned destination offering a choice of luxurious accommodation, fine fare and some fascinating wines. The farm acquired estate status some five years ago and today  produces two wine ranges, the Val du Charron Reserve, comprising chardonnay, pinot gris, shiraz and  cab, while their Theatre of Wine presents a trio of blends.

Catherine Entwistle sent me a pair of blends, plus the 2017 pinot gris from the reserve range.  Pinot Gris is an uncommon cultivar at the Cape, consisting of just .35% of the Cape vineyard area. I have found some previous examples rather characterless, so was keen to see what Bovlei terroir produced. This one is pleasing without overwhelming, crisp and fresh,  offering sufficient fruit, both citrus and melon, along with  discernible structure and with moderate 13% alcohol levels. A portion of the harvest from the eight-year-old vines was barrel fermented which no doubt helps account for fullness and good mouthfeel. Cellar door price is R89.

 My favourite wines of the moment are chenin-led blends, so it did not take me long to unscrew Four White Legs, a 2015 vintage comprising 38% chenin blanc, 28% pinot gris, 18% roussanne and 16% viognier. In a word – delicious! From its complex nose combining stone fruit with vanilla to wafts of flavour on the palate, fruit, cream  and honey, full-bodied but retaining freshness.  Fourie harvested the components over two and half months, and matured a portion of each in French oak, mostly second fill, for eight months. Alcohol levels at 14% are a little high for today’s tastes, but at R59 from the farm, I certainly would not let that detract me from a great buy.

This is also a chenin blend with a delightful  story behind its unusual name which is  spelled out on the back label  - suffice it to reveal that the four legs are those of a horse.

The tale behind the Black Countess red blend is also printed on the back label – this involves a British remittance man from Wellington  who met the daughter of a freed slave in the Northern Cape. The couple settled in Wellington and in 1883 the man, Harry Grey inherited the title of Earl of Stamford and his wife became the Countess. They stayed in this country, undertaking the building of schools and uplifting the poor.

The wine is a shiraz-led blend finished with 21% mourvèdre and 5% grenache. Medium-bodied, well-rounded with berry flavours alongside some herbiness, the oak adding a dash of vanilla.  French and American oak were used for 12 months maturation. Alcohol levels just over 14% and the farm price is R99.

Val du Charron also produces a merlot, malbec and other red blends.

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Posted by on in Restaurants

 

A host of countrywide events in the Cape, Free State and Gauteng offer wonderful wines paired with companionable snacks. The events are chronologically arranged,  followed by  a few tempting winter wineland dining options .

 

 

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FREE STATE WINE SHOW IN BLOEMFONTEIN

 

The fifth Free State Wine Show takes place on Thursday and Friday August 3 -4 at Emoya hotel and conference centre in Bloemfontein. Visitors will find a choice selection of the Cape’s best, from bubblies to whites to reds to Cape ports and fine brandies. About 40 exhibitors will be pouring their best and the full list can be found at www.freestatewineshow.co.za. Tickets can be bought through Computicket and other outlets.  The show takes place from 18h00 to 21h00. Tickets cost R160 online until July 30 after that the price is R190 online and at the door. For more info, call 011 482 5936

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ROBERTSON SLOW FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL: 4-6 AUGUST 

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Robertson’s annual Slow Food and Wine festival attracts repeat visitors year on year who savour not only the  hospitable Robertson Wine Valley with its warm heart and fine wines, but a festival where wine farms offer personal itineraries that range from fireside tastings and hearty suppers to picnics and platters, underground cellar tours, game drives, horse-riding and slow cruising down the Breede river.

The Sunday Family Market on Klipdrift farm on August 6 from 10am is a finale worth staying on for . The setting, the produce, the ambience add up to a delicious slice of country life. Entrance is free, and  children are well catered for.

Look through the website programme and make your bookings – don’t leave this too late as some events are already fully booked.  See www.robertsonslow.com. And call 023 626 3167 for more info.

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Another perennial favourite to diarise: Wine Concepts will host their 5th Seductive Sauvignons Festival at The Vineyard Hotel in Newlands on Friday August 18 from 17h00. Taste a fine selection of recently released sauvignon blancs along with current cabernet sauvignons from more than 40 of South Africa’s top producers. Bubblies, rosés and dessert wines will be included to add delicious diversity, and moreish snacks will be offered throughout the event.

All wines showcased will be available at special prices during the show.Tickets cost R200 from www.webtickets.co.za, or at any of the Wine Concepts branches. Telephone Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at (021) 426-4401 or at the door on the evening, subject to availability.Email: admin@wineconcepts.co.za.

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THE CRADLE OF FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

 

 

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Gauteng winelovers have a new festival to contemplate and it has the makings of an annual must-do. The Cradle Boutique hotel and leading wine outlet Wine Menu have joined forces to host an event, which marks August as women’s month by featuring the products of 10 estates where women star as both winemakers and creators of fine boutique gins.

The premium wines on show include those by Catherine Marshal (Elgin); Swartland’s Huis van Chevallerie (winemaker Christa von La Chevallerie) and Kloovenburg (winemaker Jolandie Fouché); Stellenbosch’s Haskell (winemaker Rianie Strydom); Franschhoek’s La Bri (winemaker Irene Waller); Greyton’s Lismore (owner and winemaker Samantha O'Keefe) and Waterkloof wine estate in Somerset West (Nadia Barnard).
 
Also at the show will be Callan Williams who will present her lauded handcrafted wine brand The Garajeest and Carla Pauw from Stellenbosch who will show both her Saltare wines and olive oils.
  
Taking place on Saturday August 19 at the Cradle hotel from 11am to 4pm, families are welcome, although only those over 18 will be sampling the wine and gins. The Cradle Explorers Club will have a guide on hand to take children for a two-hour nature walk at R80 per child, which includes a picnic. The hotel is at Kromdraai road, Cradle of Humankind.

Adults can opt to buy a picnic hamper after the tastings, or book for lunch at the hotel. Festival entrance costs R75, under 18’s go in free.

 

 

 

HARTENBERG WINE ESTATE WARMS WINTER WITH ITS SOUL FOOD

 

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Heart and tummy-warming soul food is on the winter menu at this hospitable estate, from classic farm-style soups with farm bread, to the Hartenberg hamburger with chunky fries. There's a Vintners Platter to share, Banting options, vegetarian choices, and, of course the estate fine wines to complement your meal.  Open for lunch from Mon - Sat from noon, booking advisable. Call 021 865 2541 or e-mail info@hartenbergestate.com.

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 Winter Classics at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel

 

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Winter feasting at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel’s Planet restaurant

 involves a  a menu of hearty, traditional and classic dishes. Modern mezze, antipasti and fritto misto make starters, or opt for Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s famous South African Cheese Fondue.

There's a Valrhona chocolate fondue as well, silky indulgence at R365 for two.

For mains, there's  Laingsburg lamb neck, linefish, grilled chicken breast and tortellini or mushroom risotto. The Winter Feast Special costs R325 per person. In addition, classic Beef Wellington - albeit with a twist - is back, presenting another sustaining option. 

 

For more info or to make  a reservation, please phone 021 483-1000 or e-mail: restaurantreservations.mnh@belmond.com

 

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Posted by on in Events

 

 

With snow and freezing temperatures featuring on the weather charts, it’s time for robust reds and full-bodied fortified wines, while rare steaks will be many diners’ first choice. These names of recent winners and finalists in national competitions  could offer inspiration to both winelovers and those who eat out with relish...

 

 

TOP TEN FINALISTS IN THE WOLFTRAP STEAKHOUSE CHAMPIONSHIP

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The first round of the 2017 Wolftrap Steakhouse Championships is complete and these finalists represent those who garnered most votes from the public. The judges now take over for the final round.

 

In alphabetical order

 

  • Beef Boys Grill, Potchefstroom – North West
  • HQ, Cape Town - Western Cape  
  • Jayz Grill, Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu Natal
  • Karoo Cattle and Land - Irene, Pretoria - Gauteng
  • Little Havana, Umhlanga Rocks - KwaZulu Natal (2015 Champion)
  • Rare Grill, Kenilworth - Western Cape
  • The Cricketer, East London - Eastern Cape
  • The Godfather, Centurion, Pretoria - Gauteng
  • The Grumpy Griller, George - Southern Cape
  • The Local Grill, Parktown North, Johannesburg - Gauteng (2013, 2014 and 2016 Champion)

 

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TOP SCORERS IN THE CAPE BORDEAUX RED BLEND REPORT

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Winemag.co.za released the results of the high scorers among the 60 entries that were received from 45 producers for the 2017 competition. The following 25 rated 90 or more on the 100-point scale.

 

Just one, Thelema Rabelais 2013 achieved 94. Three collected 93 – Morgenster 2011, MR de Compostella 2014 and Tokara Director’s Reserve Red 2013. Those scored 92 were Holden manx Big G 2013, Rustenberg John X Merriman 2015, and Simonsig Tiara 2011.

 

Many made 91: Allee Bleue Cabernet sauvignon Merlot 2014, Beyerskloof Field Blend 2013,
Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve 2014, LaibachThe Ladybird 2015, Longridge Ekliptika 2014, Morgenster 2012,Mulderbosch Faithful Hound 2014, Muratie Ansela van de Caab 2013, Rustenberg John X Merriman 2014, Spier Creative Block 5 2014, Zorgvliet Richelle 2015.
The following blends were scored 90 points:Allée Bleue L'AmourToujours 2013, Creation Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot Petit Verdot 2015,KnorhoekPantère 2014, La Vierge Nymphomane 2015, Villiera Monro Red 2013, VriesenhofKallista 2011, and Vondeling Philosophie 2015.

 

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SHIRAZ STARS FOR 2017 ANNOUNCED

 

 

The results of the fifth Shiraz Challenge awards were announced recently at the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate in Paarl. SA Shiraz chairperson Edmund Terblanche announced that 220 wines vied for honours.“Initially we focused only on Shiraz, but soon after we invited winemakers to put forward their best blends as well... We’ve witnessed consistent growth in the blends category.”

 

The shiraz winners are:

 

Cederberg Shiraz                                                                     2015

 

D'Aria The Soprano Shiraz                                                    2015

 

Eagle's Nest Shiraz                                                                   2014

 

Fairview Beacon Shiraz                                                          2014

 

Fairview Swartland Shiraz                                                     2014

 

Flagstone Dark Horse Shiraz                                                2013

 

KWV Cathedral Cellar Shiraz                                                2015

 

La Motte Pierneef Syrah Viognier                                     2015

 

Rustenberg Buzzard Kloof Syrah                                       2015

 

Saronsberg Shiraz                                                                    2015

 

Strandveld Syrah                                                                      2013

 

Wildekrans Barrel Select Reserve Shiraz                        2015

 

While the Top Three shiraz-led blends are:

 

Bellingham The Bernard Series SMV                                2014

 

Rustenberg Stellenbosch RM Nicholson                        2015 and

 

Saronsberg Full Circle   

 

 

 

MOREISH MUSCADEL WINNERS

 

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   Muskadel SA 2017 Platinum Winners l to r Alvi van der Merwe (Alvi's Drift) Chris Venter (ORC) Tiaan Loubser (Du Toitskloof Kelder)

 

There were 23 entries in this year‘s Muskadel SA Awards contest, and the Orange River Cellars emerged  triumphant overall for the third consecutive year.

 

Orange River Cellars White Muskadel 2016 and Red Muscadel 2016 both received platinum awards, adding more medals to their stock of five platinum and two gold since 2013. Also awarded platinum were Du Toitskloof Cellar Red Muscadel 2014 and Alvi’s Drift Premium 2014.

 

Nuy winery took home gold for their Rooi muskadel 2012 as did Rooiberg for their Red Muscadel 2014.

 

Gold awards

 

Two cellars situated on the R60 between Worcester and Robertson was awarded gold; Nuy Winery for their Nuy Rooi Muskadel 2012 and Rooiberg Cellarfor their Rooiberg Red Muscadel 2014.

 

Another winner from the Northern Cape is Landzicht GWK Wines who took home gold for their Landzicht Rooi Muskadel 2016 and Boplaas from Calitzdorp scored with gold for their Boplaas Heritage Collection 2014.

 

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TRY THIS! TASTE OF TYGERVALLEY - A NORTHERN WINE FEST

 

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A first for this huge and populous centre! Don't miss out on the inaugural Taste of Tygervalley Wine Fest taking place on Friday June 30 and Saturday July  1. T.he venue is the Arena, where 21 cellars will be pouring their products, from potstilled brand and fortified wines to serious reds and full-bodied whites. Something for every palate and pocket, and most suited to the midwinter weather that we are welcoming with many a toast!

The wineries taking part are Blaauwklippen, Benguela Cover, Bonnievale, Brandvlei, Diemersfontein, Eagles'

Cliff, Edgebaston, Groenland, Hermanuspietersfontein, Imbuku, Kingna Distillery, Montpellier de Tulbagh, Montagu Wine and Spirits, Mooiplaas, Ormonde, Perdeberg, Peter Bayley, Spookfontein, Triple Three Distillery, Yonder Hill and Zorgvliet.

The Cabernet Franc Interest Group will man a special tasting stand for this trendy varietal. Wine of the Month Club and Good Taste will be present, and chocolate pairings and tastings are also on the menu.

Tickets cost R100 which includes glass, tastings, and a contribution toward a bursary for a local youngter to study toward becojing a sommelier. The festival times are from 17h00 - 21h00 on Friday and 14h00 - 19h00 on the Saturday. Tickets from www.computicket.com or at the door. Numbers of guests will be limited to avoid overcrowding. 

 For more information visit www.tygervalley.co.za

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DSTV FRANSCHHOEK BASTILLE FESTIVAL

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French flair to the fore, with berets, a red white and blue outfit, and an appetite for fine wine and gourmet bites? Then you are all ready for this years Bastille bash taking place on July 15 and 16.

As usual, it offers a mullti-sensory experience, and there is an optional package being offered this year dubbed Joie de Vivre: it comprises a number of mountain biking activies over three days, including Contre la Montre, a race against the clock in the Franschhoek mountains along with accommodation, exclusive functions and meals.

As before, the food & wine marquee will be sited at the Huguenot monument, where wines can be tasted and gourmet fare purchased. Tickets cost R280 a head, and include glass and five wine-tasting coupons. Book through www.webtickets. Visit www.franschhoekbastille.co.za for more info.

 

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FLAVOURS OF WINTER FESTIVAL AT MURATIE

 

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The beautiful historic estate of Muratie will host a celebration of Cape Port-style wines on Saturday July 29. The Melck family will welcome yhou to fireside sipping, then dining on rich flavours of warming winter fare from the Muratie Farm Kitchen. Wines on show will also be on sale at cellar door prices. Von Geusau will titillate tastebuds with their handmade chocolates.

The event runs from 10h30 to 16h00. Tickets cost R100 and include a glass. Advance booking is recommended. Email taste@muratie.co.za or call 021 865 2330.

 

 

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