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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 Events

 

Harvest has begun in some regions, while grapes are being sampled and assessed in others as cellars get ready for the first influx of the 2017 harvest. Around McGregor the air is not yet filled with the aromas of crushed grapes, but the trail of trucks loaded with peaches that trundle down the main drag seem endless... With the apricot harvest behind us, and the peak of the tomato season just ahead, we have been bottling our 2016 harvest of ripe olives, making pesto, or rather pistou (no nuts) as our basil plants wave in the wind, wafting enticing aromas toward the kitchen. The first batch of ripe fig jam will be bubbling on the stove soon, although keeping birds, large and small, from our crop, is a thankless task.

 

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Durbanville Hills' maiden chenin blanc 2016  arrived just before year end, and its a charmer, Its fresh and lively, fruity and undemanding, yet far from run-of-the-mill. It's the sort of weekday wine that is ideal for those hot January evenings when a well-chilled chenin will precede your salad supper, accompanied by a further glass. The label offers no clue as to the source of the grapes, but cellarmaster Martin Moore told me that he found old chenin vines on various Durbanville farms to make his maiden vintage. So yes, this is Durbanville Hills chenin from Durbanville valley grapes.

 Selling at R55 it should  hold its own with the cellar's several stellar sauvignon blancs, but you may have to hunt for it - its not yet listed on their website or, at time of writing on the Vinoteque site yet. Worth putting on your shopping list.  

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By the first weekend of February, winelovers should be ready to don something cool and white and head to Leopards Leap Family vineyards for a late summer celebration. The 2017 Franschhoek Summer Wines takes place on Saturday, 4th February, offering a selection of summery whites, roses, Cap Classiques and light reds all suitable for warm weather sipping. Pair them with fare from the rotisserie kitchen and relax on the verandah or lawns as you drink in the valley panorama. tickets cost R180 and are obtainable from www.webtickets.co.za/

at R180 per person.  This includes a wine glass and a tasting of all the wines on show between 12pm and 5pm.  

For more info contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861 or email info@franschhoek.org.za.

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DESTINATION MCGREGOR FOR SLOW WINE WEEKENDS

 

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Slow Wine weekends in the picturesque village of McGregor offer two days of diverse wines, fine fare that ranges from gourmet to country, and the unique combination of tranquillity, hospitality and a pace that is as leisurely or lively as visitors choose to make it. Add in attractions like spa treatments, a busy pottery, serene art gallery and welcoming donkey sanctuary and the pressure to book for a stress-free weekend increases. Mid-February is traditionally time for romance, so the forthcoming weekend is entitled Bubbles for Lovers. There's a good choice of sparkles and Cap Classiques available in the valley, including one that's organic.

To find out more visit  <https://slowwineweekends.com/bubbles-for-lovers-february-2017/>and add a plethora of bubbles to your stay in this timeless village.

Looking ahead to late March, the organisers are putting together a four-day getaway focussing on the harvest in and around the Breede river valley. See  <https://slowwineweekends.com/four-day-harvest-experience-17-21-march-2017/>

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                                   2017 PINOTAGE AND BILTONG FESTIVAL  - ESSENTIAL DIARY DATE!

 

 

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Indulge in two of SA’s favourite delicacies on Saturday, 22  April and Sunday, 23  April 2017 at the  annual Pinotage & Biltong Festival, which takes place at  L’Avenir Wine Estate just outside Stellenbosch from 11h00-17h00.   

 A wide range of biltong products will be paired with specific wines from some of South Africa’s top Pinotage producers for each tasting. Guests can taste and buy some of the best red Pinotages or have fun with alternatives including rosé’s, bubblies, blends and even a white Pinotage!

 

The event is family-friendly with live music, food trucks, light meals and casual seating under the trees next to the dam or on the lawns in front of the cellar. The charity beneficiary is Anna Foundation who will be present to entertain the kids and raise funds for their many worthy projects.  Visit www.annafoundation.com for more info.

 

On 14 and 15 October 2017 it’s the turn of Gauteng fans when the festival will be held at the Leriba Hotel in Centurion, Gauteng as part of the official Pinotage Day celebrations, presented by the Pinotage Association.

 

Tickets @ R200 pp includes a branded crystal wine glass, a biltong cup and a pairing card for the Free Pinotage and Biltong tastings.  Tickets  at www.plankton.mobi.   or www.computicket.co.za from 1 March 2017.

 

For more info visit www.cvomarketing.co.za  

 

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Posted by on in Restaurants

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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Posted by on in Restaurants

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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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Posted by on in Events

 

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Sunday December 04: the final Pop-up Sunday lunch along the Bottelary Hills wine route takes place at Kaapzicht. Chef Bertus Basson will whip up a seafood feast over the fire, to relish with wines from the sub-route. The fun starts at 12,30 and the event costs R350 a head, which includes wine-tasting, three-course meal with a glass of wine per course. Booking is essential. Tel 021 886 8275 or email marketing@wineroute.co.za.

 

Friday, Dec 09 and onward:

b2ap3_thumbnail_la-petite-ferme1.jpgDecember 16 start

La Petite Ferme is introducing Festive Fridays, where, from 4 - 6pm they will offer unique cocktails and delicious bites in their lovely garden. Cocktails - named The Pretty Lisa, The Mariano, The Spa and The Garden, are either vodka or gin-based with fruity and other ingredients. Live music wil add to the vibe, and the event will also take place on December 16 and 30, and January 06 and 13. For more info, call 021 876 3016 or see www.lapetiteferme.co.za

December 16, 17 and 18 Gabriëlskloof’s Favourite Things Market

b2ap3_thumbnail_Gabrielskloof-Market-LR-5.jpgWhether you visit for fun, relaxation, or undertake a serious shopping spree, this lovely Overberg olive and wine estate is an excellent venue to choose. Their popular three-day market offers fabulous food and wines, a host of handmade goodies including alpaca wool items, designer jewellery, exquisite quilts and intricate ceramics, along with homemade toys and knits. Friday evening visitors will be treated to the sounds of the Gypsy Jazz trio, while a French accordian adds to the charm of Saturday and Sunday browsing.

The market starts at 5pm on Friday and at 10am on the other two days.

 

For more information about the annual Gabriëlskloof Favourite Things Market contact Nicolene Finlayson on 028 284 9865 or nicolene@gabrielskloof.co.za;

 

Daily from now until April: Uitkyk estate has contracted Pikant Catering to offer lunches and tapas to visitors seven days a week  until the end of January. Main courses cost between R89 and R140.  Their picnics make another option, costing R400 for two. More info from tel 021 88 44416

 

 

Final result of the year? Sauvignon  Blanc still holds its own as first choice of many a wine consumer. This year’s results of the annual FNB Sauvignon Blanc competition hosted by the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group of SA are as follows, wines listed alphabetically:

  • Almenkerk Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Cape Point Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (wooded)
  • De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2016
  • Hermanuspietersfontein Nr 5 Sauvignon Blanc 2013 (wooded)
  • Jordan The Outlier Sauvignon Blanc 2015 (wooded)
  • Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc Reserve 2015
  • Merwida Sauvignon Blanc 2016
  • Nitida Golden Orb Sauvignon Blanc 2015
  • Tokara Reserve Collection Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2016
  • Uitkyk Sauvignon Blanc 2015
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Posted by on in Food

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The biennial  Celebrations of Chardonnay hosted by the De Wet family at De Wetshof are always highlights of the year, both socially and wine-wise. This year the sixth event was hosted by De Wet sons Johann and Peter as Danie and Lesca de Wet graciously stepped back for the next generation. And the younger De Wets made sure that the 2016 event was going to go down in Cape wineland history as distinctly memorable: the guest list was long and varied, the wines quite extraordinary, the guest speaker

inspiring and the winning chef impressive…

 

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After much meeting and greetings, guests settled in one of the giant marquees on the lawns in front of the iconic Cape Georgian manor house. Sommelier Higgo Jacobs led the tasting, which started with a flight of unwooded chardonnays, a category I always enjoy. From Eikendal’s Janina 2015 - lean, green in Old World style, De Wetshof Bon Vallon 2015 followed with its fresh purity, underlying why this, the first commercial unwooded chardonnay in South Africa, is perennially popular. Bouchard Finlayon’s well  balanced Sans Barrique 2015 was up next, and the flight finished with a 2014 Joseph Drouhin Chablis where flint was followed by white velvet on the palate. A dozen more, wooded and  including four older vintages followed – every one impressed, but highlights for me included Richard Kershaw’s Clonal Selection 2014, Uva Mira Single Tree 2014, DeMorgenzon Reserve 2015 and Groot Constantia 2014. A pair of  2005 vintages – Neil Ellis and Hamilton Russell chardonnays – got my votes in the museum class.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Jay-McInerney-Celebrate-chardonnay-the-De-Wetshof-Celebration-of-Chardonnay.jpgJay McInerney was, as one would expect, the ideal guest of honour, presenting an insightful, enjoyable talk on chardonnay from the Old and New Worlds. His delightful tale of vinous adventures, A Hedonist in the Cellar (Bloomsbury, 2006) is still one of my favourite wine books, although he is better known as a novelist, and has just released his latest title, Bright Precious Days, the third work following the fortunes (or lack of them) of Russell and Corinne Calloway.

 

Lunch started with flutes of Klein Constantia and L’Ormarins 2012 bruts before more delicious unwooded chardonnays were poured to partner the first course, a variation on prawn Caesar salad. Four more courses followed, 10 more wooded chards accompanied them and somewhere between we were introduced to the latest winner of the Golden Vine Award, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, South Africa’s only Michelin star chef.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Jan-Hendrik-van-der-Westhuizen-and-Johann-de-Wet.jpgHis short address was more than humble – it was an affirmation that no matter your background, innate talent, ambition, determination and perseverance make for an awesome combo on the road to success. For a budding chef whose father sent him out, as a schoolboy, to ‘smous’ mealies outside the local service station in Middelburg, Mpumalanga before class, this was a disagreeable task. In telling his audience about it, it became another reason to warm to the personality and successes of this Mpumalanga farm boy.

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