Thursday, December 01, 2011

111124 Main Ingredient's MENU - Nedbank Green awards, Callender Peak wines, Champagne competition, smoked trout starter, things to do, places to go

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
Click on anything underlined and Green to open a link to pictures or more information
 The view from Bontevlei towards the Helderberg
Green Wine Awards at the Mount Nelson     It is always lovely to be invited to a function at the queen of Cape Town, The Mount Nelson Hotel, our Nellie, dressed resplendently in pink with a frill of a fountain and a lovely a garden. Last Thursday found us there for lunch and the announcement of the Nedbank Green Wine Awards. Not all the wines awarded are organic, many are in the process of becoming so and others are biodynamically grown. We started in the gardens with lovely canapés and glasses of Reyneke Chenin Blanc 2010 and Waverley Hills Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2010 – both excellent quaffers with loads of flavour and fruit. We were served some lovely different canapés: thin slices of beetroot filled with cashew butter then folded over to look like half moon tortellini, slivers of seared tuna wrapped around a sharp fresh onion mousse served on forks, mini crisp deep fried pastry cigars filled with salmon tartar, duck slivers served in tiny twice backed soufflés and tiny bowls of spring salad with asparagus dressed with egg yolk. Have a look at the pictures. The weather was perfect and we had a couple of the awards before going into the Planet restaurant for lunch and the other awards. Lunch was a “lamb variation” - lamb shank in a rich meaty sauce and lamb fillet still smoky from the fire, served with oven roasted tomato with garlic and thyme. This was partnered with the award winning Laibach Ladybird Red blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec; full of plums and cassis, vanilla rich and juicy and a perfect match for the lamb with the tomato. Then we had the rest of the awards and then dessert which was fresh fruit, sorbet, curd and a savarin. This was served with Heaven on Earth Natural Sweet from Stellar, very thick and juicy, full of peaches, apricots, honey and nuts. Finally lovely coffee and friandise and then it was time to move on to the next event of the day…
A Tasting of Callender Peak and Winterhoek Wines      We were invited to this tasting at Nicky Booth’s lovely French style house in Bishopscourt, to taste wines we had not encountered before. Owned by Roy and Marion Jeffrey and Dugald and Marguerite Macdonald, these vineyards are up in the Winterhoek mountains in the Kouebokkeveld near Ceres, at the source of the Olifants River, where the weather is stark, often with frost and where they have never had philloxera. The vines are not grafted, but were planted in 1985 by Nicky Krone on the original rootstocks when Chardonnay was coming in by the back door. Classified only as Wines of the Western Cape, because they are not part of any certified wine area, they grow Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. Clive Torr, our mentor and teacher from our days studying for the Diploma at the Cape Wine Academy, and Johan Kruger of Sterhuis discovered these forgotten vineyards of Callender Peak and Winterhoek several years ago and have been acting as consultant winemakers to the farm. The production is currently very, very small. Each bottle is individually numbered and there is very little left of the earlier vintages of Chardonnay and of the Pinot Noir. They use oxidative wine making techniques and the wines are all wild yeast fermented in old barrels, with long drawn out fermentation, which gives good depth of flavour and intensity and almost no sulphur has been used in the winemaking. Some of the Chardonnays and the second label Winterhoek Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc are available from Wine Concepts. You can see pictures of the evening here. We loved the wines, especially the spectacular rich and peppery Pinot Noir. The latter is sold out, but we can recommend the others and the Winterhoek label wines are great value.
We started with the Winterhoek (their second tier label) 2011 Sauvignon Blanc with its shy elegant nose with whiffs of cabernet leaves, bananas and an ashy hint. Very minerally, with apple dominating the flavours. Good acidity and depth with a very long bone dry finish. Quite Burgundian, which obviously shows Clive’s French influence. With the tiny berries they only get about 550 to 600 liters a ton.
Next we had the Winterhoek 2010 Chardonnay. The nose is full of sweet vanillins, sweet melons, peaches, ginger with a rich and full mouth-feel and hot alcohol (14.5%) it tastes of limes and licorice. Good value at R60 a bottle from the farm.
2009 Chardonnay from Callender Peak was next. Cool clean fruit on the nose which is quite shy showing vanillins and bananas, pears and nuts and minerality. Rich amami flavours of soy and earthy flinty minerals. A beautiful expression of Chardonnay, this wine has a long end and is full of limes, grapefruit, granadilla with soft chalky tannins and slight wood smoke and was our favourite of the evening. Clive, who makes wine in Burgundy as well as here, compared the 2009 Chardonnay, justifiably, to a Puligny Montrachet and we agree.
2007 Callender Peak Chardonnay was next. This was the maiden vintage of Callender Peak and has a deeper gold colour, but is sparklingly clear. It smells of loquats, orange marmalade, vanilla and buttered brioche with some apricot notes. On the mouth, butter, hot toast, then ripe white peaches, nectarines and marmalade, hot cooked apples and ripe English gooseberries with a whiff of smoke at the end.
2007 Callender Peak Pinot Noir came from one barrel and we all insisted that in future they must grow more and make more. Pretty perfumed berries on the nose, with some tar and smoke, with vanilla and pepper and cumin spices. A full fruit bomb on the mouth, with soft licorice, sweet red berries and good minerality. “Quite divine” is Lynne’s comment.
2007 Cabernet sauvignon has a tarry, green leaf nose with trace of brettanomyces, whiffs of blackberries and pricey wood. On the mouth cassis, black cherries, marmite, forest mushrooms and licorice, chalky tannins and wood on the end show what potential there is to make interesting Cabernet on this farm.
Following the tasting, Nicky served up a lovely buffet of treats to match the wines: fresh salmon and dill in small vol au vent cases, crisp parmesan and rosemary biscuits topped with avo puree, chunky chips in a cornet with garlic aioli, cous cous with chicken, green olives and prunes, salmon fishcakes with tartar sauce, aubergine tempura, Parma ham wrapped around chicken liver pate, brochette of rib eye steak with a mustard sauce and a whole gorgonzola cheese with grapes cooked in the Cabernet as a grand finale. We had a wonderful evening.
Painful waste   The rest of our week has been busy working and then on Sunday our commercial freezer, which kept our bulk purchases at -23ºC suddenly reversed and we discovered it was heating the contents to +24ºC. It is tragic to have to throw out so much food in these times, especially when we had just visited a seafood wholesaler, where we found spider crab legs and stocked up for Christmas and John’s birthday – we had food especially for the lunch next Sunday. Lynne now has to rethink the meal and John has to do the insurance claim – nearly R3000 worth of spoilt food. As Lynne’s goddaughter so wisely says: Luxury problems (but bloody maddening).
Black Tuesday We had our friends from Portugal to dinner with 4 other friends last night and we had mostly cold Mediterranean food. And completely unbidden, everyone came dressed in black, as we were, in support of our horror at the Protection of Information bill being passed - the worst assault on media freedom we have seen since the apartheid days. All our guests had been associated with John in the photographic industry and we are all happy to be out of it. Lynne made Humus and Baba Ganoush (aubergine paté). We had bought some fresh tuna from Julie Carter at Ocean Jewels. Lynne seared it briefly and we had thick slices with a huge Salad Nicoise. Then a Duck Salad with pomegranate seeds, avocado, asparagus, rocket and watercress, artichokes and sliced radish. Lynne also crisped up the skin and scattered this on top. Our only hot dish was lamb ribs in a smoky barbeque sauce and hot pita and ciabatta rolls. Dessert was a huge dark chocolate roulade filled with cream, raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. We drank Hillcrest Sauvignon Blanc and Graham Beck “The Andrew” Bordeaux blend.
Competition   Wine Concepts has given us two tickets to tomorrow night’s ‘Finer Things in Life Champagne Festival’ at the Vineyard. More than 30 cuvees of champagne will be showcased, as well as delicious finger food and live music.  These are worth R400 each. The first email received after this edition of MENU goes out which correctly names two grapes used in the production of Champagne (Note: not any old sparkling wine but Appellation Controlée Champagne) will be the winner.
Starters for Christmas     We have enjoyed so many canapés this year that we will be doing a couple of them on Christmas day, and we suggest you think back and do the same. Keep it simple and preferably prepare the day before. Our favourites have been prawn tempura with chilli dipping sauce and something with smoked trout and salmon, perhaps gravadlax which can be made a week ahead.
Smoked trout rolls with avocado and watercress
200g smoked trout pieces – 150g good rich cream cheese - 2 t finely chopped chives – 2 t finely chopped dill – freshly ground black pepper - salt to taste
Then 200g smoked trout ribbons – 1 ripe avocado – juice of a lemon – lemon or lime – watercress – savoury biscuits
Blend the first 6 ingredients together, then taste and season with salt if necessary. Put a spoonful of the trout pate into one end of a 5 cm strip of trout and roll up. Fix with a toothpick until they stay rolled up, then remove.
Serve two or three each on a plate decorated with 2 slices of avocado that have been dipped in lemon, a slice of lemon or lime and some watercress. Add two or three good savoury biscuits like Woolworth’s Rosemary and Olive Oil crackers.
Some readers told us last week that the green underlined links didn’t work (this one takes you to our website). We apologise! Most of last week’s copies of MENU were sent via Microsoft Outlook in a Word mail merge, because our new Sendblaster mailing software was not properly set up. For reasons best known to itself, the program disabled the links at random. They should all work this week.
Our products: Christmas is coming and we have the goose fat but, sadly, no fat geese. We have had numerous enquiries from readers who would like a goose for their Christmas dinner. We sympathise, goose is so much better, richer and more flavourful than turkey, and we haven’t had one for several years. There are very few geese produced here for the table, but we recommend that you talk to Salvin Hirschfield, the Neighbourgoods butcher, who says he will have a few (talk to him on Saturday at the Biscuit Mill) or visit Super Meats in Kenilworth. If anyone knows of any other sources of geese, please let us know and we will pass the information along.  
If you are getting sucked into the vortex that Christmas is becoming, please note we have stocked up with lots of foodie items which make great presents. We can put together hampers or boxes for you, just tell us what you want. Lynne has some Christmas puddings from last year, so they are wonderfully mature and she will be making more this week. The price has not changed – they are still R85 each and are full of all the necessary luxury ingredients like cherries, dates, figs and nuts. Made with butter rather than lard, they also have lots and lots of brandy and can be quickly reheated in the microwave. She will be making small individual Christmas cakes which make delicious small festive gifts and were so popular last year. We should have these by next week.
Also for the rapidly approaching Christmas festivities, we have added lovely small Italian Panettoncino cakes and Cantuccini biscotti. Chestnuts are always popular for stuffings and we have them tinned and vacuum packed and we can provide frozen chestnuts to order (they need to be ordered and paid for and collected from our house) but please don’t leave buying these to the last minute, they do run out every year just before Christmas and we cannot get more. We also have sweetened and unsweetened chestnut purees.
We have a lot of fun putting MENU together each week and, of course, doing the things we write about, but making it possible for you to enjoy rare and wonderful gourmet foods is what drives our business. We stock a good range of ingredients and delicious ready-made gourmet foods. So, please have a look at our Product List and see what you need. You can contact us by email or phone, or through our website. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa, but don’t leave it too late. Remember the old maxim: “Post early for Christmas”!
Our market activities   You will find us at The Place at cavendish this Friday, 25th November from 09h00 to 17h00. We will also be at Long Beach on Tuesdays 6th, 13th and 20th December and Fridays 2nd and 16th December. We will be at The Place at Cavendish on Fridays 9th and 23rd December. We will be at the Old Biscuit Mill’s brilliant, exciting and atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00 and every Saturday, including Christmas Eve, December 24th.
There is a huge variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our list of Interesting Food and Wine Events. All the events are listed in date order and we already have exciting events to entertain you through into the new year. Click here to access the list. You will need to be connected to the internet.
Many of the specials in our list of restaurant special offers are continuing through summer and we have been told that there will be some new summer menus soon. Click here to access it. These Specials have been sent to us by the restaurants or their PR agencies. We have not personally tried all of them and their listing here should not always be taken as a recommendation from ourselves. If they don’t update us, we can’t be responsible for any inaccuracies in the list. When we have tried it, we’ve put in our observations. We have cut out the flowery adjectives etc. that so many have sent, to give you the essentials. Click on the name to access the relevant website. All communication should be with the individual restaurants.

16th November 2011
Remember - if you can’t find something, we’ll do our best to get it for you, and, if you’re in Cape Town or elsewhere in the country, we can send it to you! Check our product list for details and prices.
PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information
Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
Our Adamastor & Bacchus© tailor-made Wine, Food and Photo tours take small groups (up to 6) to specialist wine producers who make the best of South Africa’s wines. Have fun while you learn more about wine and how it is made! Tours can be conducted in English, German, Norwegian or Dutch flavoured Afrikaans.
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 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. Our Avast! ® Anti-Virus software is updated at least daily and our system is scanned continually for viruses.
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