Sunday, October 07, 2012

27 September 2012 Main Ingredient's MENU - Chenin Blanc conference, Gold Restaurant, Cape Wine exposition, Conference Centre food, Saltimbocca, Anchovy & lemon butter for asparagus, Etc.

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods, Ingredients & Fine Wines
Eat In Guide’s Outstanding Outlet Award Winner from 2006 to 2010
+27 21 439 3169 / +27 83 656 4169
Three seagulls playing in stormy waves off Sea Point

In this week’s MENU:

*     Products
*     Our market activities
*     Chenin Blanc conference
*     Gold Restaurant
*     Cape Wine exposition
*     Conference Centre food
*     Saltimbocca
*     Anchovy & lemon butter for asparagus
*     Events and Restaurant specials
*     Wine courses & cooking classes
To take a look at our Main Ingredient blog, follow the link:
because to tell the whole story here would take too much space. You can also click on underlined and Bold words in the text to open links to pictures, blogs, pertinent websites or more information
This week’s Product menu   Exciting news! We have obtained a small supply of the wonderful, complex West African spice Grains of Paradise – just the thing for lovers of pepper and chilli. It hits you with really pungent heat and then runs through layers of flavour, almost like allspice with serious attitude. If you like chilli and pepper, you’ll love this! To see what else we have available for you, you can access our product list and see pictures in our website. If you can’t find what you need, let us know and we will try to find it for you. Until our online shop is ready, drop us an email and we will help you. We are very happy to see that traffic on our website is increasing and more orders are coming from it.
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. You can contact us by email or phone, or through our website. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa.
Our market activities  Come and visit us at the Old Biscuit Mill’s wonderfully exciting, atmospheric Neighbourgoods Market, as always, this Saturday and every Saturday between 09h00 and 14h00. Tip: Some visitors tell us how they struggle to find parking. It’s quite easy if you know how. Click here for a map which shows where we park.
We will be back at Long Beach Mall tomorrow, Friday 14th September from 09h00 to 16h00. We look forward to seeing you there.
Chenin Blanc Association Conference     This country produces the most wonderful range of Chenin Blanc wines. It is our most widely planted cultivar, being about 20% of the wines grown in South Africa (this percentage has dropped from 30% in 1997) . It is a wine that can be drunk young when its style is fresh and fruity and vibrant, it can be drunk after several years where it can show wonderful rich ripe and generous mouthfeel characteristics. If some gentle wood is added, it shows much aging potential and maturity and even more richness. And it can make some of the best Noble Late harvest dessert wines. All of these styles go very, very well with food.
South African Chenin gets good attention overseas, but our local industry seems to be a little confused as to the direction to take in marketing it. This was our impression at the Chenin Conference on Monday at the One&Only Hotel. Just market it as “Glorious Chenin, the versatile grape” is our opinion. And stop selling it in bulk overseas to people who have no respect for it, who have no idea how to make it and who are ruining our reputation by marketing it as “South African wine”.
The first session : Do wines from Chenin Blanc in the various growing regions, express their unique regionality covered terroir, soil and climate and the speakers compared our very varied conditions and soils with other places where Chenin is grown, like the Loire, where the growing conditions and soils do not vary much. We think the differences are a positive not a negative and we love the way one region or ward can produce something so different and interesting from another. While Sauvignon blanc can show badly in hot areas, Chenin does not have this problem, it just uses what it is given to produce something drinkable - if the winemaker has the skill to turn it into a good wine. Some of the rules do need to be changed to aid farmers in producing better Chenin.
Chenin is also used in outstanding award winning blends. We have to protect our old vines before they are pulled up as they can produce some of the very best wines. Different clones also need to be brought in to improve our wines.
But the most important thing to emerge was research to find how to change the Public’s perception of Chenin, from a cheap, easy drinking wine to a classic varietal capable of producing superb quality. This was highlighted in the second session: Feedback from the 3 year research project on Chenin by Dr Hélène Nieuwoudt of Stellenbosch University. This was interesting but incomplete because the research had just received more funds, so the investigation into the chemistry, taste profiles, consumer perceptions and choices, associations and psychology of this interesting wine continues.
Jeff Grier CWM, of Villiera, led us through an interesting and quite varied tasting of 12 superior Chenins of different styles and regions. Flight 1, classified as Fresh and Fruity: Perdeberg 2012; Slanghoek 2012; Simonsig 2012; Lutzville Diamond Collection 2011; Radford Dale Renaissance 2010; Mulderbosch Small Change 2009.
Flight 2 classified as Rich and Ripe: Spier 21 Gables 2010; Rudera Robusto 2009; Rijks Reserve 2009; Remhoogte Honeybunch 2011; Graham Beck Bowed Head 2010; Ken Forrester FMC
Some of these wines were then served with lunch at Nobu and showed beautifully with the different courses. It is apparent that not all Chenins show well when tasting, but they come alive when put together with food. Click here to see the people, the wines and some of what we ate ... it was memorable.
Gold in Africa     Gold restaurant is no longer in the Martin Melck house in Strand Street. It has moved to 15 Bennett Street in Green Point, just off Prestwich Street. This restaurant highlights food from the whole African continent and the experience also includes drumming sessions and traditional African entertainment by its staff and Mali puppeteers.
We were invited to see the new restaurant on Tuesday night and were very impressed. It is now on four floors and has access to a huge entertainment and function venue in the next building. And there is a stunning roof terrace. The decor is so impressive because it is filled with beautiful arts and crafts, traditional masks and other artefacts from the African continent. While you eat the R250 set menu of at least 9 courses, you are entertained by music, dancing, drumming and puppets and there is huge energy and life in the spaces. Definitely a place to take all your visitors to, but do book as they are one of the busiest places in Cape Town, with lots of tours enjoying the drumming and the dinner. See the photos by clicking here
Cape Wine     This very large, normally biennial, trade exhibition is South Africa’s most important wine export showcase, organised by Wines of South Africa. It started on Tuesday morning and ran through to this afternoon. Because of all the activity surrounding the 2010 football World Cup, it was not held that year, so it had not been held for four years.  It was extremely well organised and, it seems, was visited by many overseas buyers and media, which is just what our wine industry needs. Our first day’s visit started with a seminar on Pinots Noir from the Hemel and Aarde Valley, presented by Peter Finlayson of Bouchard Finlayson. Click here to see pictures from our visits over the three days. We visited many stands and tasted new and older wines on offer. On Wednesday, we rushed to join the Pinotage Seminar. The 1964 Lanzerac had not lasted as well as the 1959 we tasted 4 years ago, but from the 1974 Zonnebloem, they showed great maturity and elegance and the newer vintages show lots of promise. This afternoon, John rushed in to collect a newly released wine he needed to photograph for a client, but was lucky enough to have the time to visit a few more stands and to enjoy a half hour presentation of Robertson chardonnays by Graham Beck cellarmaster Pieter “Bubbles” Ferreira.
The food at CTICC     The catering offered to exhibitors and their guests in the conference centre is absolutely abysmal – a disgrace. And, because of this, the restaurant seemed to be constantly empty, while the small coffee bar near the entrance could not cope with the queues of hungry people, including exhibitors trying to do business, who wanted to grab a bite and get back to the show. All through Cape Wine we heard complaints about the quality of the food and the staff. The food on offer was not inexpensive, but most people would have been prepared to pay a bit more for something palatable.
How can we showcase our best wines and produce our worst food? Cape Town has a reputation for the best food in the country and we offer our visitors this tasteless, soggy rubbish at one of our most important exhibition centres. Plastic, blotting paper sandwiches, cold and clammy wraps with minimal filling and long queues. Inarticulate staff who cannot tell you what is inside the food. And there is not much content for the money. No wonder the restaurant is empty. People are walking up to Woolworths to get salads. And there is not much else in the area. It is embarrassing. What must the foreign trade and media think? Lynne posted a comment on her Facebook page and has received many negative comments from people who have had the same experience at this and other conferences. Why can’t we have a Taste of Cape Town tasting with our top chefs alongside the next Cape Wine?
Classic Saltimbocca      On Saturday nights, we are usually tired after working at the Biscuit Mill, so Lynne cooks something quite simple for supper. This week she was still Italian inspired, so she decided to treat John to Saltimbocca (“jumps in the mouth” is the translation). It is not at all difficult to make and we happened to have all the right ingredients. You are meant to use (please, ethically raised) veal or baby beef, but it is quite acceptable to use pork fillet. You need about two pieces for each person.
8 Veal escalopes or Pork fillet slices – 8 slices of prosciutto ham – 8 sage leaves – seasoned flour – 1T butter – 250ml white wine or Marsala – juice of ½ a lemon
You need small slices about 3 cm thick, which you cover in cling film and then bash the living daylights out of till they are tender and no more than 1 cm thick. Think of your worst enemy and get rid of some frustration. Place one fresh sage leaf on each escalope, then wrap with the ham. Secure with a toothpick if the ham does not fully wrap the meat.  Dip the meat on both sides into the seasoned flour and fry each side gently for a minute or two, until the ham is crisp and golden. Remove from the pan and keep warm. Deglaze the pan with the wine and a squeeze of lemon juice, pour over the Saltimbocca and serve. Wonderful with thin steamed green beans that are sautéed briefly in butter and garlic slices. The traditional starch would be a pasta like linguine or creamy polenta to soak up the juices.
On Sunday we had another dinner party and this recipe was what we served with our amazing fresh asparagus:
Anchovy and lemon butter for Asparagus
40g of soft butter – 6 anchovies – juice of half a lemon.
Mash the anchovies with the lemon juice, then add to the butter. Melt and pour over cold or warm asparagus.
There is a huge and rapidly growing variety of interesting things to occupy your leisure time here in the Western Cape. There are so many interesting things to do in our world of food and wine that we have made separate list for each month for which we have information. To help you choose an event to visit, click on our Events Calendar. All the events are listed in date order and we already have a large number of exciting events to entertain you right through the year. Click here to access the Calendar. You will need to be connected to the internet.
Learn about wine and cooking We have had a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wine. Cathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details here.
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen here. Pete Ayub, who makes our very popular Prego sauce, runs evening cooking classes at Sense of Taste, his catering company in Maitland. We can recommend them very highly, having enjoyed his seafood course. Check his programme here.
Restaurant Special offers. Some more restaurants have responded to our request for an update of their special offers and we have, therefore, updated our list of restaurant special offers. 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.
20th August 2012

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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