Wednesday, July 26, 2017

This Week’s MENU. Breakfast at Mondiall, Hemel and Aarde Valley, Creation, Lunch at Newton Johnson, Geometric Gin, Raath Tasting, Chicken and Corn Chowder, Bartho Eksteen Blom Rosé

Moorhens in their mating rituals, Hemel en Aarde Valley    
A busy week. We had a wonderful weekend in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, celebrating a milestone birthday with a special friend and using the opportunity to taste some great wines and have lunch at a favourite restaurant. Then back to Cape Town to taste gin and more wines... 

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Continuing our search for the perfect breakfast in Cape Town we bought vouchers from Hyperli which took us to Mondiall in the V&A Waterfront. We think it was good value at R109 for a voucher for two people. Known for its wonderful position on the quayside at the end of the V&A Hotel, we have enjoyed dinner there and we liked the hamburgers from the Burger bar which we took home after a non-catered Waterfront event, but this was the first time we’d had breakfast there....

We spent the weekend in the Hemel and Aarde Valley at a friend's 70th birthday celebrations and much fun was had. As part of the celebration they had arranged to have an informal tasting with winemaker Bartho Eksteen on his property Die Wijnskool. Bartho was in great form. He told us he prints all his wine labels in Afrikaans only. He says the French, Italians, Germans and Spanish do it, so why not him. He reassured us that if you want to know about the wine, his web site and all sales material is in English. The wine that absolutely blew us away was....

Creation co-owners JC and Carolyn Martin were at the Birthday party we attended on Saturday night and they invited us to visit the farm next day so, as the day was beautiful and we were not due for lunch at Newton Johnson till 1pm, we decided to take the short trip up the valley. There is a lovely view of the Babylonstoren mountain over the Creation farm dam...
As we were in the valley for the weekend, we wanted to try out this restaurant as we had not visited since its change of chef from Erik Bulpitt to Ricky Broekhoven. They wanted to do less fine dining and more artisanal food. Chef Ricky was sous chef to Erik Bulpitt and it is good to see such a young and talented chef - he is only 26 - take charge of his own kitchen. He did his training at the TCA under Rebecca Hurst and has lots of good experience locally and overseas while he climbed the kitchen tree. He has worked in good restaurants in Sweden and with several respected South African chefs...
We were invited to taste Geometric Gin this week at the Gin Bar in Wale Street. The gin is named after our much endangered Geometric tortoise. It is produced by the Geometric Drinks Company and made by Jean-Baptiste Cristini, with help from co-founders Andrea and Chris Mullineux, who were inspired to "produce their own expression of Botanical and Grape-based drinks". Analjit Singh, the force behind the Leeu Collection, is also involved. Jean-Baptiste, known as Tista, decided to distill his own gin using locally sourced botanicals...
We took an Uber from Wale Street to get to Harrington's Cocktail Lounge in Harrington Street, as Lynne has twisted her knee. Kathy and Dane Raath represent several excellent wine farms and this is the annual chance to taste them for the trade. The winemakers are present, so you can ask lots of questions about vintages, terroir and the making of them. We tried new wines, new vintages, some old, some favourites, one or two not, and an exciting bottle of Chenin hoping to make it into the CWG Auction. The judging of the CWG Auction entries will take place on Thursday this week...
The Chicken soup recipe seems to have gone down very well so we thought you might like a variation. This is enough for a couple of helpings for two people; just double up the quantities if you want to feed four. You can use oil instead of butter, but it does lose some richness. Chowder is half way between a soup and a stew and must have sometexture from the vegetables.....

This palest of pale rosé wines is made from Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Bartho took a risk. He says the grapes were producing such beautiful juice this year that he blended the juice first and then made the wine. It is a risk, and very hard to repeat. The wine was so pale ...








25th July 2017
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a message.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

MENU's Wine of the Week - Blom Rosé 2017 from Bartho Eksteen

This palest of pale rosé wines is made from Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah. Bartho took a risk. He says the grapes were producing such beautiful juice this year that he blended the juice first and then made the wine. It is a risk, and very hard to repeat
The wine was so pale that he had to add a dash of red to give it some colour. It has produced a delicate wine, with a floral perfume of rose geranium on the nose and the palate. If you close your eyes it smells and tastes like a gentle Rhône red wine, but it is so pale. Pure gorgeousness, how all rosés should be. We cannot wait for summer Sunday lunches on the deck. R98 a bottle from the cellar 

What’s on the MENU this week - Chicken and Corn Chowder

The Chicken soup recipe seems to have gone down very well, so we thought you might like a variation. This is enough for a couple of helpings for two people; just double up the quantities if you want to feed four. You can use oil instead of butter, but it does lose some richness. Chowder is half way between a soup and a stew and must have some texture from the vegetables
1 dessert spoon of butter - 1 teaspoon of oil - 1 small onion, finely chopped - 1 carrot , cut into  ½ cm cubes- 1 leek, sliced - 1 stick of celery, chopped - 1 clove of garlic, sliced - 2 corns on the cob - 500 ml chicken stock - 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon - 1 dessert spoon flour - 2 bay leaves - 1 Table spoon of finely chopped parsley - 1 Table spoon of finely chopped celery leaves - 2 medium potatoes , cut into 2 cm cubes - 2 sprigs of thyme - 1 cup of chicken cut into pieces, raw or cooked - a good grating of nutmeg - several grindings of black pepper - 100 ml cream- salt to taste

Chop the vegetables into small cubes and, beginning with the onion, fry them gently in the butter and oil. While this is happening, using a sharp knife, strip off the corn from the cobs. When the vegetables have softened, add the bacon and fry gently, then add the flour, stir and let it fry gently for a minute or two. Add corn and the stock and then everything else, except the salt and the cream. Simmer gently till the potatoes are cooked and beginning to fall apart. You do need texture in this chowder. Add the cream, bring back to a simmer, taste and then add the salt, if it needs it. Serve with crisp bread. Lovely with a good Viognier or Chenin Blanc

A Trade Tasting of Wines from the Raath stable

We took an Uber from Wale Street to get to Harrington's Cocktail Lounge in Harrington Street, as Lynne has twisted her knee. Kathy and Dane Raath represent several excellent wine farms and this is the annual chance to taste them for the trade. The winemakers are present, so you can ask lots of questions about vintages, terroir and the making of them. We tried new wines, new vintages, some old, some favourites, one or two not, and an exciting bottle of Chenin hoping to make it into the CWG Auction. The judging of those takes place on Thursday this week
From one gin tasting to another. Esperanza from Hope on Hopkins was served with this Fitch and Leeds Pink tonic, a rather strange mix of roses and cucumber of all things. Lynne liked the gin. They were also serving it warm with tea, which Lynne found very comforting and soothing. So now we have an alternative to a whisky or brandy toddy. Almost look forward to needing one.... It did take one back to Prohibition days and drinking gin in tea cups
The bar with the huge array of glasses needed for a large tasting like this
Sebastian Beaumont talks to James Pietersen about his wines. It was the Beaumont wines that were the most talked about and praised that evening, the buzz in the room, his Hope Marguerite Chenin was on everyone's lips, literally and figuratively. We suspect this may sell very well this year, there were many sommeliers and restaurateurs present
The queue to taste was led here by Gosia Zielinska, sommelier at The Pot Luck Club
Michael Pownall chats with Teddy Hall. In Teddy's hands is an unlabelled bottle of the Chenin Blanc he has entered for the CWG auction. Lynne tasted it and it reminded her and others of Teddy's 2005 Rudera. Full, layered a compliment to the varietal and so excellent
Mike Bampfield Duggan of Wine Concepts in discussion with Katherine Miller, Marketing Manager of the Wine of the Month Club
A new label for us. Pandora's Box grapes come, Lynne was told, from Nabygelegen and the wine is made by James McKenzie. It has his inimitable stamp all over it!
Hope on Hopkins Gin with those roses and the tonic
The Chamonix table, deservedly popular
Thinus Neethling, winemaker at Chamonix, told us all about the new wines and the changes on the farm. We will visit soon
The long and the short and the tall at the end of the evening, when everyone is happy and tired. Lynne with Thinus, JD Gilloway representing Rosalie wines, and Pardon Taguza, sommelier from Aubergine/Auslese

Launch of Geometric Drinks

Gin is In; how about a Gin and Tonic? Or a Martini?
We were invited to taste Geometric Gin this week at the Gin Bar in Wale Street. The gin is named after our endangered Geometric tortoise. It is produced by the Geometric Drinks Company and made by Jean-Baptiste Cristini, with help from co-founders Andrea and Chris Mullineux, who were inspired to "produce their own expression of Botanical and Grape-based. drinks". Analjit Singh, the force behind the Leeu Collection, is also involved. Jean-Baptiste, known as Tista, decided to distill his own gin using locally sourced botanicals
He also produces three different tonics to go with the gin; they are called Symmetry Botanical Tonics. Made from local botanicals with minimal sugar content. We were told that they have one quarter of the sugar found in commercial tonics. You buy them as cordials and mix them with carbonated water yourself. We tasted these first with soda water and they are all very different. Opened, the cordials last for 2 months in the fridge. The Citrus has multi citrus zest flavours and buchu. It has a rather bitter pithy taste which will appeal to those who enjoy bitters in their gin. The Spice is full of cardamom, cinnamon, clove and Kapokbos (local wild rosemary), with other recognisable spice notes. The Floral is gentle with notes of lovely camomile, lavender and rose scented pelargonium. We would like to find the tonic bottled and ready to take home, but Jean-Baptiste insists that he does not want to go in that direction. (We don't always have soda water at home
There was a great selection of canapés served at the function, made by Source catering. This was warm popcorn 'salted' with seaweed powder
The Geometric gin in its retro Art Deco bottle with the tonic cordials. And some prawn crackers with guacamole
Next, we ventured to the other corner where this young man was producing Gin based dry martinis, using gin and vermouth made by Jean Baptiste. You could have one with a slice of freeze dried orange, which had some chilli on it, or a dirty martini with an olive. They were very good and rather strong
Pesto vol au vents
Snoek paté on crackers
The freeze dried orange slices and the green olives. In the background is the dry vermouth
A nice chilled Martini
Some interesting sweet olives
Smoked salmon and cream cheese on tiny crackers
Delicious skewered rolls of springbok Carpaccio with buchu
Gin, Art Deco bird, a dry Martini and the tonic
The room is a very good place for a large stand up or seated function and can be hired
On the permanent bar, this barman was making Gin and tonics using the three cordials, but they were long drinks, rather watered down.. We would have like to have tasted the gin neat to sense its underlying character and taste its botanicals, but it was not offered
Jean-Baptiste tells us about the Tonics and the Gin
Jean-Baptiste Cristini with Chris Mullineux
The components
The Tonic cordials are served in precise measures. They come in 500ml bottles, and cost R160 each. The Geometric Gin, aka GG, is in a 750 ml bottle and costs R450. You can order them from www.http://geometricdrinks.co.za. We suspect that they will also be sold in good liquor retail outlets and bars
 And then we were off to the Raath trade tasting across town, the second of three Uber rides that evening. Under these circumstances, driving is not an option

Lunch at The Restaurant, Newton Johnson Vineyards, Hemel en Aarde Valley

As we were in the valley for the weekend, we wanted to try out this restaurant which we had not visited since its change of chef from Erik Bulpitt to Rickey Broekhoven. They had told us that they wanted to do less fine dining and more artisanal food. Chef Rickey was sous chef to Erik Bulpitt. It is good to see such a young and talented chef - he is only 26 - take charge of his own kitchen. He did his training at the TCA under Rebecca Hurst and has lots of good experience locally and overseas while he climbed the kitchen tree. He has worked in good restaurants in Sweden and with several respected South African chefs
The winter vineyards in front of the winery on the hill. We saw that one of the cover crops is broad beans. Can't wait to have some in the restaurant
Inside the restaurant
It has an informal open kitchen
It has wonderful views over the valley and down to the sea with Hangklip in the distance
The menu of the day. Quite small and simple, but choices for most
First they bring lovely sweet sourdough bread with a good chewy crust, served with whipped lard - bread and dripping!
As we had done two wine tastings already that morning (driver John does spit!), we decided to play safe and go with wine by the glass and, as we were having the same starter, we shared a glass of 2016 South End Chardonnay. The restaurant was happy for us to share a glass and poured it into two glasses. Golden loquats on the nose with orange and tangerine notes on the crisp and rich palate ending with a light toast
We ordered the deep fried duck bitterballen, a great reminder of our holiday in the Netherlands. A crisp crumb crust with a soft, creamy shredded duck centre. Good soft mustard sauce with a little kick complemented the bitterballen and the wine
We decided that each of us would order one of the main courses, eat half then swap. John started with the tender loin of Eland, served nicely pink. This came with seared onion rings and wood sorrel and a lovely onion sauce. We suspect that the Eland had been in buttermilk; it gives it an unmistakable tenderness. John ordered a glass of the Full Stop Rock red blend to go with our main courses
We cracked and ordered one serving of the Hand cut Fries with aioli. They are very good indeed. Nicely crisp
Lynne began with the Beef ragout, covered with a blanket of mashed potato and cream - which reminded her of the Greek Skordalia sauce - braised cabbage and a broad bean pesto. The ragout was intense and very rich. The beef tasted as if it had been smoked and some pieces were almost like ham, and then added to the rich jus rather than cooked together. The pesto added good green notes and was also rich. A great find on the plate was some lovely flakes of crisp roast potato
We skipped dessert and, over our very good double espressos chatted about training, restaurants food, experience and life to chef Rickey and manager Theo van Niekerk for ages. What nice, enthusiastic young men. The menu changes regularly. We will be back
The bill