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Myrna Robins

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Restaurants

Posted by on in Restaurants

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Glenelly’s  Lady May range consists of just one wine – Lady May 201 is  a beautiful cab  finished with 10% of petit verdot and a splash of cab franc. It’s an elegant wine in the best Gallic tradition:  cellarmaster Luke O’Cuinneagain expresses his talent in understated creations that many connoisseurs relish.

 

 The wine is a tribute to estate owner May de Lencquesaing who  - along with running Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande in Bordeaux -  invested in Stellenbosch 14 years ago, buying an old fruit farm and transforming it into a distinctive and beautiful wine estate.

Should any woman think she is too old to take on a venture like this, Lady May could be the inspiration  needed: she is in her 90's, and is still very active in running both her French and Cape estates, supported by her two grandsons.  At the launch last year of the renovated cellar and opening of a new tasting room and The Vine  Bistro, her young grandson introduced some of the wines, casually mentioning that he was in charge of marketing the estate across the USA, Europe and Asia.

Glenelly offers visitors a world-class destination, with May de Lencquesaing’s extensive private glass museum as an added attraction .

 

There are more than 300 items on display, antique and contemporary, dating from Roman pieces through glass from the 18th and 19th centuries, Art  Nouveau and Art Deco pieces, creations gy Salvador Dali and the Italian glassblower master, Lindo Tagliapietra, to contemporary South African works.

 One need not be a mother to savour a day in such beautiful surroundings, but for children looking for an unique venue for mothers who appreciate fine wine and relaxed seasonal  bistro fare, it would be hard to beat a day at Glenelly with its  spectacular views. Or just schedule a visit to see what hard work and vision can be achieved by a nonagenarian who takes little heed of passing years.

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Wineland news, events and seasonal attractions for December and into January 2017.

 

Travellers taking Route 62 will find new attractions at the historic Boplaas Family vineyards at Calitzdorp.The latest addition to their distilled product range is the Boplaas Whisky, a blended cask aged grain whisky,  to be enjoyed on the rocks or with a mixer.The Boplaas Whisky is made from maize, and distilled to an alcohol content of 93% and then diluted with distilled water to 68% strength.  Aging takes place in American oak  for between 54 and 60 months.  This is followed up with a short period in Boplaas brandy barrels. The whisky is again diluted with distilled water to 43% and then bottled unfiltered.

Then there's the Boplaas Stoepsit bistro - self-explanatory eaterie to visit.b2ap3_thumbnail_boplaas-something2.jpg

Pop! Pop! Pop! Boplaas will operate a pop-up tasting station in Sedgefield from the 16 - 31 December (excluding Sundays) where visitors can  taste the wine ranges, place an order and get it delivered to their  holiday destination in the Garden Route (next day deliveries, except on public holidays and weekends). For  more information, phone 044-2133326,  or email boplaas@mweb.co.za, admin@boplaas.co.za .

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Diners Club Winemaker of the year 2016

 

At a gala dinner last week, Pierre Wahl of Rijks received this award – many would say it was overdue.  Pierre commented "It has taken 21 years of love, determination, and patience to be named Winemaker of the Year. At Rijk's we concentrate only on Chenin Blanc, Pinotage and Shiraz which has allowed me to focus and understand  these cultivars over time from budburst to harvest. “ Congratulations Pierre.

 

 

 

For visitors who prefer an informal feast with delicious wines, Delheim’s riverside picnics offer laidback lunchtime feasts on the Klip river banks, surrounded by abundant birdlife.                          b2ap3_thumbnail_delheim-picnic-2.jpgb2ap3_thumbnail_delheim-picnic-1.jpg

 

The picnics for two cost R460 and the fare is plentiful, from cheese and charcuterie through to salads and roast beef bagels. Mini milk tarts make the finale. Vegetarian options are available as are children’s picnics at R100. A bottle of the estate sauvignon blanc or pinotage rose or cab/shiraz blend accompanies the fare. The Delheim picnics are offered seven days a week. Book by phoning 021 888 4607 or email restaurant@delheim.com.

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NEDERBURG PLANTS NEW VINES IN OLD SOIL

 

Platter’s Winery of the year has been planting interesting new cultivars to honour, they say, founder Phillipus Wolvaart.

Chambourcin a French-American hybrid grape, is one of them, noted for dark colour and spicy black cherry and plum flavours, noted for its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions as well as pests and diseases. Nederburg has also been experimenting with  Mediterranean varietals that are well-suited to changing climatic conditions for more than a decade.  Tempranillo and Graciano were established at their  Simondium farm in 2004, and a small mixed block of Carignan and Grenache on the farm in Paarl in 2008.

Varieties such as Chambourcin, Vidal blanc and Seyval blanc are being planted, both to battle climate change and help eliminate pest and disease control by planting disease-resistant cultivars.

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FACET         FOUNDATION         EXPANDS       FLEET      OF        MOBILE  LEARNING 

CENTRES

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Graff Diamonds’ charitable initiative, For Africa’s Children Every Time (FACET), recently  announced the expansion of the Graff Mobile Learning Centre fleet in the Cape winelands.In partnership with the Pebbles Project, three additional mobile units will be joining the mobile library and computer lab which have been in operation since 2014. Founder and director of the Pebbles Project, Sophia Warner, explains, “The t new Mobile Learning Centres are literally ‘opportunities on wheels’. They’ve taken our after-school programme to a whole new level and will have an even greater impact within the community.”

 The centres provide much needed after-school support for scholars between the ages of 6 to 18 years whom attend local public schools throughout the Cape Winelands from Stellenbosch Valley to Citrusdal in the Cederberg Mountains. The FACET Mobile Learning Centres have grown to include 2 computer labs, 2 travelling libraries and a multi-purpose vehicle for more remote areas. They assist 522 students in the fields of   basic mathematics, literacy and computer related skills.  The challenges of poverty, alcoholism and increasing school drop-out rates affect education in these areas. The FACET Mobile Learning Centres fulfil an acute need among the region’s disadvantaged youth .In their partnership thus far, the Pebbles Project has received financial support from the FACET Foundation to the amount of R20 million.

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JANUARY 2017

The family wine estate, Jason’s Hill Private Cellar in the Slanghoek Valley,  is the venue for the not-to-be missed Jason’s Hill Makietie Outdoor Music Show on Saturday, 28 January 2017. Look forward to an explosive lineup of SA’s finest performers. See much loved Afrikaans performer, Laurika Rauch, live. She will be joined on stage by Loki Rothman for part of her performance. Potchefstroom native Bouwer Bosch and Cape Town based musician Gerald Clark will also perform. Relax on the immaculate lawns while the kids run around before the show starts at 6pm (gates open at 4pm). Delicious food and refreshments will be on sale.. Secure and free parking.. Tickets cost R180 per person and can be purchased from Computicket. For more information contact Jason’s Hill Private Cellar on 023 344 3256 or info@jasonshill.co.za.

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Stellenbosch Harvest Parade in City of Oaks

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The oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch will be invaded by a colourful community of winemaking charismatics on Saturday, January 28. The annual Harvest Parade ushers in the grape harvest season with convivial cheer, paying homage the invaluable contribution of South Africa’s farm workers. This  Stellenbosch procession traditionally includes marching bands, Cape minstrels, drum majorettes and a flotilla of beautifully decorated tractors, trailer and trucks. The trouperepresentsparticipating wineries and will meander its way through the streets of Stellenbosch

b2ap3_thumbnail_SWR-Harvest-Parade-1_20161213-125555_1.jpgThe Harvest Parade, presented in conjunction with the Stellenbosch Municipality, gets underway on 28 January from 9am. It will be followed by a harvest blessing ceremony at the town hall in Plein Street at 10am. It signals the start of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick ‘n Pay, which takes place at the Coetzenburg sports grounds from 24 to 26 February. Buy tickets now at www.webtickets.co.za. For more information visit www.wineroute.co.za; contact Tel: 021 886 8275, or send an email to marketing@wineroute.co.za.

 

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Mr Analjit Singh's transformation of the upper end of Huguenot street in Franschhoek is, I think, complete. With the reorientation of Le Quartier Francais, the opening of the Leeu House boutique hotel, plus neighbouring Tuk Tuk, with its Mexican fare and artisanal beer, the face of this once rustic part of the town has been altered  to one of  sophisticated frontages that conceal luxurious interiors. With Marigold, Franschhoek's first restaurant offering North Indian cuisine, the choice of international fare has further broadened. Heading the kitchen is the charming Vanie Padayachee who has crossed the road from Le Quartiers kitchen to specialise in what she knows best at Marigold.

Guests were treated to a vibrant feast of flavour at a series of luncheons hosted by marketing head Nicolette Waterford, just ahead of the official opening.

Our menu was authentic both in flavour and dish titles, so we were pleased to have a knowledgeable manager to translate and explain the oriental delights. We started with Indian street food - little rounds of potato and tamarind  containers into which a chilli-spiked sauce was poured. Palak Chaat is the name of a spinach-based wedge of almost pizza-like snack, which came next, one of my favourite items, while Punjabi samoosa complete the appetiser trio.

Main courses included Palak Paneer, the classic cottage cheese and spinach sidedish to soothe palates coping with the fiery topping to Nimbu Machli Tikka, lemony fish. The perennially popular butter chicken (Murg Makhani) was there, along with lamb biryani accompanied by rice sparked with cumin. Delicious naan and wholewheat flatbread should not be missed, while yoghurt and cucumber raita helped temper the heat of the main dishes. 

The menu reverted to English for the dessert - attractively plated tandoor-baked pineapple and saffron crumble with coconut and a fennel seed kulfi made a memorable finale.

The restaurant is open  for both lunch and dinner from Tuesday dinner to Sunday dinner, closed Mondays and Tuesday lunchtime. Bookings to 021 876 8970 or email restaurant@Marigoldfranschhoek.com

 Hotel guests at either  Leeu House or Le Quartier Francais can cross the road to sample these oriental menus, while day visitors should arrive early to get parking, or make arrangements when booking, as Franschhoek's main drag is already crammed solid with cars from 9am. 

 

 

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They say it does us the world of good to wallow in luxury occasionally. Certainly I woke fresh and raring to go after a great night’s sleep in my inviting, soothing, bedroom, its stylish pastel décor livened by bedside lights doubling as branches of a ‘tree’, upon which lifelike birds perched, and a china hound-dog that kept watch over me from an adjacent desk.

Experiencing DB&B at Leeu House, BAS Singh’s enchanting boutique hotel in Franschhoek’s main road, ticked all the boxes and then some. Getting there stressed and chilly, first pleasure is finding that staff miraculously keep a couple of parking places outside the front gate empty – seemingly always! My car was whisked away while I greeted both Nelson Mandela on the left lawn and Ghandi on the right before going inside to register.

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Spaciousness is usually synonomous with luxury, and certainly my huge bedroom with its sitting area and large bathroom added to the pampered feel as I explored. The cabinet containing crockery, glasses, bar fridge and snacks invited ransacking – for the purposes of reporting, of course! Well, the snacks are mostly frightfully healthy (dried fruit and veggie crisps etc) but I did find a packet of little chocolate –coated biscuit balls to go with my tea. Guests also get a 375ml bottle of both the red and white house wines – BAS white and BAS rooi, both approachable, enjoyable aperitifs.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Leeu-House-2.JPGI fell in love with the hotel dining area – both inside and out – at first sight,  with its black and white tiled floor and soaring glass conservatory-feel. The other guests dining there were Americans – one couple from North Carolina and the other family party from further north up the coast. As they communicated and discussed the state of the Western Cape roads (good) and Chapmans Peak drive (stupendous) I dithered between a first course of local smoked salmon with brown bread, capers and lemon crème fraîche or  a Waldorf salad. The former won, and I went on to a delectable mushroom risotto seasoned with three-year-aged Parmesan. Other main courses included local fish, chips, peas and tartar sauce, rigatoni topped with Toulouse sausage and tomato ragout or beef and mushroom ragout with roasted carrot mash. As with the savoury courses, there is a choice of four desserts, one being a savoury option of local artisanal cheese and preserves. All in all, delicious cuisine that doesn’t try to be too grand or  gourmet, looks good and tastes even better.

This opinion was confirmed next morning when pondering on the two breakfast menus:  – One was available from the buffet – from croissants and pastries through berries and fruits to double thick yoghurt and honey-roasted nuts. Healthy items like oat granola bars and caramelised coconut were alongside muesli and tea-dried fruits while carnivores could protein-pack with the local charcuterie selection.

The a la carte choices include duck egg Benedict, folded omelettes with Swiss Gruyere and foraged mushrooms and smoked salmon with truffled scrambled eggs. Traditionalists and Scots can start the day with oats, malted sugar and single malt whisky or an old-fashioned pork sausage sandwich and brown sauce, which, I think, may hark back to the chef’s roots…

The previous evening I had walked next door to to visit Le Quartier Francais’s new renovated bar and lounge, which is now a vibrant, contemporary venue, as up to date as tomorrow’s weather. The walls are lined with a rough weave fabric, the roundback chairs sport blue suede upholstery and the long, long bar is fronted with a row of high stools dressed in blue and white. The lighting is dim, but its easy to enjoy the giant prints on some walls of everyday items like a pair of scissors and a bunch of screws. There’s also a cosy side room with nests of sofas for intimate fireside gatherings. Soft background jazz is teamed with black and white photos of the artistes, whether Jozi-style or New Orleans, I am not sure.

Everywhere at these exceptional venues now owned by Mr BAS Singh, the service is, as expected, swift and efficient. But it is also charming, friendly and concerned, with both the genial GM (who doubles up managing both Leeu House and LQF) and the receptionists and restaurant staff coming across as wanting to do their very best to make you happy. In this, they certainly succeeded.

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Why it’s taken me so long to visit this comparatively new Franschhoek estate, established in 2005, I cannot say, but I am glad that I now know more about this inviting former farmstead,  gutted inside to produce interleading spacious areas sheltering under a corrugated iron roof that has seen better days – and is proud of its heritage!

When I arrived midmorning and midweek on a perfect spring day I was  welcomed loudly by a rooster perched on the terrace. No other cars in the parking area, lined by a fragrant lemon orchard, but inside staff were bustling about setting up a food and wine shoot, while outside at the back, the chef seemed to be holding a class with a bunch of staff members.

I explored happily on my own, taking in the spacious indoor restaurant, casual seating area, furnished with plenty of blonde wood and a deli with shelves lined with produce, pates and pickles, jams and more.

I asked for a menu, was given one to take away, and offered a wine tasting, which I declined, as   a long chenin celebration llay ahead of me. The restaurant, named The Kitchen at Maison is headed by chef Arno Janse van Rensburg, who looks very fierce in his photographs, but presents an interesting menu that lists dishes by their ingredients – such as Beetroot, mushroom, turmeric, ginger, tuna and  another of Baby potatoes, nettle, chicken skin and egg yolk. He clearly is into fermenting and pickling, and includes trendy ingredients like kombucha with a dish of suckling pig, parsnip, cashew nut and celeriac. Adventurous palates are required for some of his creations, which range in price from R85 to R145 with a single steak – Angus prime rib – at an eye-watering R450.

Cheese and charcuterie plates make other options and a quartet of desserts, at R75 each, include unexpected combos like dark chocolate, quinoa, citrus, yoghurt and almond.

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I had received the 2014 Maison chardonnay with its trendy label of minimal wording and lots of white space. Maison boasts less than one ha of 11- year -old chardonnay vines, and viticulturist-cum-winemaker Antwan Bondesio has made good use of them in this wine, producing a wooded chard that is elegant, and almost frisky, in spite of its untrendy 14,5% alcohol levels. These are not apparent, however, as the citrus flavours prevail along with whiffs of butterscotch. An enjoyable summer chard, medium-bodied, with subtle oak, that will make an easy-going companion to a variety of salad fare, seafood and poultry, selling at R180.

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