Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas dinner: Rillette and Boeuf Wellington with Macushla & Marlbrook '95

The table set for Christmas dinner 
Presents under the tree
Shannon Macushla Pinot Noir
 was an excellent partner for some duck rillette
The main course - no turkey!
Filet de Boeuf Wellington, ready for the oven
and ready to serve
with a 1995 Klein Constantia Marlbrook
which was simply beautiful
- who says SA wines don't age well? -
and a tribute to the skill of Ross Gower
who made it

The beef carved
and ready, with a French Sauce Madère,
enhanced with a little truffle
One of Lynne's wonderful Christmas puds to finish
with a splash of a 12 year old
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

A farewell look at the Neighbourgoods Market

A photo from the early days
Mark Bayly and son came to visit his father, Peter, who sold his port next to us
  Peter Kampmeinert, visiting from Holland, enjoyed tasting it

Two of our more popular products
 Yvonne Kampmeinert
Marina and Georgie selling The Creamery's ice cream near us
 Georgie Berens is an art student 
She drew this caricature of us
 Cameron Munro, one of the market's owners
Jessie, vamping it up
 Fritz, who sells Pesto Princess pestos
It was even a good place to be on a rainy winter day
with the tented area getting wet
and cold, but still smiling
 Arnold & Denise Couzyn with a table of Wayne Rademeyer's buffalo mozzarella
 Julie Carter sells fish at Ocean Jewels
 and Richard sold French cheeses and patés
 Naughty boys selling ice cream to Eskimos
 Good fresh veg
 and a young admirer
Pesto Princess has generous free samples,
Emily Gammon helping the fans
 The focus is now more on selling things to eat and drink in situ than on selling produce
 A popular venue for social activity, "market fare" and craft beer
 and a smile on our last day
No regrets, we had a good time while it lasted
We wish continued success to all the friends we have made there in the last 3½ years
or call us at 083 229 1172 / 021 439 3169
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Friday, 20th December 2013 Main Ingredient's MENU - Here comes Christmas, Old Vines Chenin, Slanghoek wineries, Slanghoek Mountain Resort, Opstal Winery, Holiday time in the Cape, Robin Auld at Auslese

Main Ingredient’s weekly E-Journal
Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
Eat In Guide’s Five time Outstanding Outlet Award Winner
+27 21 439 3169 / +27 83 229 1172
Follow us on Twitter: @mainingmenu
Log cabins by the dam at the Slanghoek Mountain Resort
In this week’s MENU:
* Here comes Christmas
* Old Vines Chenin
* Slanghoek wineries: Jason’s Hill, Slanghoek Cellar, Opstal
* Slanghoek Mountain Resort
* Opstal Winery
* Holiday time in the Cape
* Robin Auld at Auslese
Follow this link to see our Main Ingredient blogs, because to tell our whole story here would take too much space. Click on Bold words in the text of this edition to open links to pictures, blogs, pertinent websites or more information.
This week’s Product menu: If you want chestnuts, marrons glacé, duck fat, duck confit or French pates for Christmas and New Year we have them, but do note that stock can run out and we would hate to disappoint you.  Phone us, send an email or come and see us on Saturday at the Biscuit Mill. We can still post but cannot guarantee how busy the Post Office is going to be. Courier is also possible. We do have most of the things you like to buy from us. But PLEASE don’t leave it to the last minute to get them from us as our suppliers have limited supplies this year and we are only carrying a limited number of each item and just ordering what we need as sales so far have been slow. Have a look at our on-line shop and order now.
Here comes Christmas     Many of us are winding down to Christmas and New Year celebrations and holidays. This will be our last MENU in 2013 and we, like you, will enjoy a good break, with time to spend with our family and to take a well earned rest. It has been a hectic business- and fun-filled year. We have done so much that has been enjoyable and met so many new people, eaten some really great food (and some not!) and tasted as many wines as possible. We are convinced that South Africa is producing world class award winning wines and food and it is lovely to see visitors and overseas media and trade organisations agreeing with us. We will resume in mid-January. Please check our blogs to see any activities we might add until then.
Our market activities Come and visit us at the Old Biscuit Mill’s Neighbourgoods Marketthis Saturday and next, Saturday 28th December between 09h00 and 14h00. They will be our last regular attendances at this and any other markets, although we may do pop-ups during the year.   Sadly, most, including the Neighbourgoods Market, can no longer be described honestly as markets. People are not going there to shop in the numbers we saw when we started there in 2010 and it has become more of a fair, with tourists and students visiting to catch the great atmosphere and have something good to eat and drink – not to shop for provisions. We have watched our turnover drop to a point where we barely break even most days and, despite our enjoyment of the place, the people and the atmosphere, we also need to make money. So, in future, we are going to concentrate on building and improving our On-line shop, Main Ingredient and of course, if you are in the Cape, you will be able to come and purchase from us at our home (call first to make sure that we will be there). A big thank you to all the people who have supported, entertained and befriended us in the 3½ years that we have enjoyed there.
Tip: Some visitors tell us how they struggle to find parking at the Old Biscuit Mill. It’s quite easy if you know how. Click here for a map which shows where we park.
As usual, we have a link at the bottom of this to our calendar of wine and food related events, which should interest all lovers of great food and wine and the events which promote them. We have always had a few from centres outside the Western Cape, but we now generally have enough to justify a separate list (quiet at the moment – maybe most of the organisers have plans to come here for the holidays!), so, if you live in one of the other splendid places in our lovely country, have a look. We have also added a separate list of picnics and other ongoing events. It used to be part of the events  calendar, but is has grown too much. If you are promoting an event in any of these places, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
A little commercial     While we have a huge list of subscribers, MENU does not earn us money, apart from a small amount of advertising revenue earned when readers click on the advertisements which appear in the blogs which are linked to this newsletter. So we’ll be most grateful if you click on some of the ads in the blogs. It won’t cost you anything – the advertisers will pay!
It has been a very bumpy week for us. Let’s hope it will be smooth sailing in the new year. We wish you all a very, very Happy Christmas, Kwaaza, winter solstice or just a festive season, summer or winter break, or whatever you like or need to celebrate at this time of the year and, of course, a happy and successful 2014. We hope you keep reading MENU and enjoying what we have to write about the food and wine industry. We do love getting your feedback.
John’s Microsoft Outlook has crashed twice recently, the first time deleting all messages, contacts and his diary and the backup. In the second instance, it just refused to open. If you have sent a message to his address in the last few weeks and you have not received a response, this is almost certainly the reason. Please accept our apologies and re-send your message, if you have not received a response. Microsoft has said that they will only help if he pays a fee similar to the cost of the program. He is now moving on to an alternative program.
Old Vines     Irina van Holdt CWM and her daughter, Fran Botha, had an open house last Friday evening to taste their currently released wines, including a couple of older vintages. We dropped in for a brief while to see them, taste the wines and wish them a Happy Christmas and a much better New Year. Some of you may remember that Irina played a huge part, in the mid 90s, in ensuring that Chenin blanc, a national treasure among our grape varietals, survived when vineyards were being ripped up and replaced with other, more fashionable, varietals. Chenin was always thought of as a workhorse grape which could do almost anything, from box wine to brandy, and was, consequently, treated as a Jack of All Trades which did little of note. She launched her Old Vines brand with an excellent barrel-fermented and matured Chenin blanc in a blue bottle. It won critical acclaim and helped start the movement which became the Chenin Blanc Association. Chenin blanc’s slide into oblivion was halted and people started to realise that this grape, which was once nearly half of the national vineyard, was able to produce wines which could make the world take notice and give this country recognition as a superb producer of white wines.
Irina still makes her Old Vines Chenin and an Old Vines Chenin blanc MCC, as well as a very wallet-friendly Spring Valley range. You can see them on her website. We tasted the current unwooded 2012 (Platter 4½ star) and the 2010, as well as the premium wine in the range, the 2010 Barrel Reserve. The 2012, understandably, showed a little more acidity than the 2010, but also had a little more depth. It has an elegant palate of tropical fruits and an opulent texture. The Barrel Reserve is made from really old (63 year) vines and would be a wonderful food wine. It has complex flavours, with sweet fruit, although it is bone dry, and a very good, silky mouthfeel. The inexpensive Spring Valley range shows very good value for money. They are well-made wines, easy-drinking and ideal for summer, with prices starting at around R30. The MCC is sold out, but look out for it when, and if, it reappears. We have enjoyed it in previous years.
The beautiful Slanghoek Valley     We were invited to visit and discover this valley just off the N1, an hour’s drive north of Cape Town. As you come out of the magnificent Du Toitskloof pass from Cape Town, you turn right, then travel almost to Rawsonville, before crossing back over the motorway and heading past Goudini into the valley. We were stunned. It is such a beautiful valley and we have never, ever been that way before. Isn’t it wonderful that we have so much still to discover almost on our own doorsteps? If you continue along the R43, you will reach Wolseley and can go on to Ceres or Tulbagh and we so recommend that you take that route and stop off for a while at one of the wineries we visited.
Jason’s Hill      This was our first visit, at midday, and they were very welcoming indeed. The winery is a modern and well designed building and they provide the venue for lots of weddings, so there was a huge marquee on the lawn, which had seen two brides over the weekend. We met Ivy du Toit, the young winemaker. She is a 5th generation du Toit in the valley where the du Toits have been farming since 1844. Her father grew grapes for the Slanghoek co-op and was amazed when Ivy announced she wanted to make wine on the farm. He even made her pay for her first grapes and winemaking equipment, in case she didn’t work out! Trained at Stellenbosch and having done stages in France, Italy and Washington State she brings a great deal to the farm. She was voted  Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year 2003 and Landbou Weekblad Woman Winemaker of the Year 2004. Her husband Alister Oates is the viticulturist. The farm is named after a worker who was on the farm in 1883 and there is also a fountain named after him, which has wonderfully pure and clean water. We are very grateful for all the time she spent with us. Their Chenin Blanc is unusual for the area in that it is crisp and lean and quite restrained, but comes alive with food, as we discovered later with lunch. Their very drinkable wooded 2011 Chardonnay is buttery with smoky wood notes, golden apples with citrus and has full long flavours. Their Shiraz 2010 has quality fruit and lots of spice and liquorice on the soft sweet fruit and warm alcohols. The merlot tastes and smells of Black Forest cake, full of cherries and chocolate. Most impressive of the reds was the 2010 Pinotage with a pretty berry nose and then full fruit with lots of bananas and cherries, ending with a nice chalky minerality. The Jason’s Creek Classic Red 2010 red blend of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cab Franc won a gold medal at the Michelangelo Awards 2013.  All the wines are very well priced ranging from R40 a bottle to a high of only R59.
We then went upstairs to the Bistro for lunch. This is used by locals for client meetings and get togethers, with tourists like us dropping in. Quite an eclectic menu, there is something for everyone and the portions are huge and satisfying. We managed to share a boerewors flavoured hamburger and a lamb shank pie. They sell Jason’s Hill wines and you may even bring your own wine for a small corkage fee. Click here to see the photographs
Then it was time for our next appointment at Slanghoek Winery, the local grower-owned winery, where we were invited to do their “Blend and Bottle your Own Wine” exercise. Slanghoek Cellar was established in 1951 and processes 37 000 tons of grapes each year, sent to it by the 25 farms, who are now all shareholders in the business.
We were ably and amusingly supervised by winemaker Paul Burger and we had a great deal of fun. We have blended wine several times before, mainly at the Blaauwklippen Wine Club Blending Competition and we are always amazed at how much a blend can change by adding a very small percentage of another wine. It is an exact science. We tasted all of the three component wines, highlighted their good points and then proceeded to make a blend showcasing as many of those as we could. We blended a 2012 Pinotage bursting with spicy cloves and heady fruit with long, long flavours; a 2012 Shiraz rich with vanilla, raspberries and warm spices; and a 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon which smelled of sweet oak, tomatoes, liquorice and cooked berries and tasted of pure classic cassis with good soft chalky tannins. Good basics to work with. We each made about 4 blends and then we bottled and labelled our own favourite to bring home. John’s is called John’s Rough and Lynne’s Juicy Jarché! See pictures here
You too can go to the cellar and have fun doing this for a cost of R40 per person on three dates in 2014: 10th May, 16th August, 8th November, details of which you will find on their web site. These sessions are always held in the morning. If you have a large group (perfect for team building) you can book any time during the year. Just contact them and book ahead please. Phone 023 344 3026. You can also visit them all during the year or attend their Soetes and Sop (Sweets and Soup) festival held next year on 16th & 19th July.  By the time we had finished blending, it was 5pm, so we did not have time to taste their wines in the tasting room. We planned to go back the next day but, sadly, other events occurred. Read on. We plan to visit next March with friends from Holland.
It was then time to go to our accommodation and we called at the reception of the Slanghoek Mountain Resort at a little after 5 pm. We were then shown a dirt road and told this would lead to our cabin on the lake. It did, but the road was atrocious, with lots of river boulders and it was a bumpy and difficult ride, but we took it very slowly and carefully. Apparently they have had flooding and wash-aways during the wet winter. It needed maintenance. Our VW Sharan is not a 4x4, but does have reasonable clearance – significantly more than most cars. We were relieved and delighted to see the 3 commodious log cabins built over the dam when we got there and spent a very pleasant early night, as they only have small strips of solar powered LED lights and, after the sun went down it was easier to read in bed in comfort where, of course, we dropped off quickly due to the lovely country air. The views are magnificent and the full moon put on a show for us. They had provided us with a platter of party snacks for supper, but we are found these a little indigestible.
John woke up at 6 and went off with his camera to catch the early morning light. As he walked up to our car he was distressed to see a 600m long oil trail leading from it and, to put things briefly, we have a broken sump, our car had to be carried on a flatbed to Worcester (this is where our AA membership paid dividends) where an expensive repair is taking place. We have had to hire a bakkie for a week to get us home and to work at the Biscuit Mill market on Saturday and are hoping the car will be fixed before Christmas. If you plan a visit, please ask to be guided to the cottage in a 4x4, if you don’t have suitable vehicle. We were not warned about the road, but picked up a leaflet when we left which mentioned that one needed a 4x4 to reach the cabins. Such a pity that no-one mentioned it at the start. See photos here. We were then driven by the wife of the owner, Sakkie du Toit, in her 4x4 to our final appointment at 10am at
Opstal Winery next door, where we were treated to a brunch in the restaurant with some of the best views, which we relished and, especially, two cups of good black coffee to calm the nerves! Then it was time to meet Attie Louw, the young winemaker at Opstal, and taste through their wines with him. He banished our gloom quickly and we had a very informative and interesting session.
Opstal was founded in 1847 when JC Rousseau bought the farm called De Opstal bij de Fonteine (the stopping place by the fountain) and they do have wonderful water from that fountain. The farm has quite diverse soils and conditions. Attie is the 7th generation and their wine label bears part of the family crest. The farm restaurant is large, modern and French provincial in style and they cater for weddings and conferences. Click here for photographs
Their entry level wines, with a very attractive label, are called the Sixpence wines, the nickname of a shepherd, Daniel Smiles, who worked on the farm in the 50’s and 60’s. His son is now a pensioner on the farm. The white is a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend with tropical fruits and crisp acidity and the red is a 2013 Cab/Merlot full of red berries, chocolate and juicy fruit, Both very well priced at R35 a bottle on the farm. Attie was recently one of the finalists of The Young Winemaker of the Year competition and has also just received a huge accolade for his newly released 2012 Charles Everson Chenin Blanc, which is a 5 star Platter wine. Sadly it is now sold out on the farm. Attie gave us a bottle and we will write about it in due course. The Mill Iron blush wine, made from Viognier, Muscat and Colombard has a very pretty floral nose and a delicious roses and peaches semi-sweet acid balance, a perfect match for spicy Asian food without being cloying. The 2011 Cabernet has an absolutely classic Cabernet nose full of smoky cassis berries, with a little crushed blackcurrant leaf. It is full of juicy black fruit, vanilla, dark chocolate and liquorice, is elegant and restrained with a nice soft chalky finish and is definitely a food wine. R75 a bottle. They have a Sauvignon Blanc Sparkling Sec with some residual sugar, perfect for weddings in the area, and we also tasted the unusual Chardonnay Barrel Dessert wine which is fortified by brandy spirits with leafy umami, tomato and basil aromas and orange almond and butterscotch layers on the palate.
We think Attie is definitely one to watch in the future and can’t wait to taste his next Chenin Blanc. We also want to visit again and learn more about this beautiful valley, its wines and its hospitable people.
Holiday time in the Cape     We wish a hearty welcome to all our visitors, from other parts of the country and from cooler climes. There is a huge variety of entertaining things to amuse you. Please have a look at our Events Calendar which will give you some ideas and options, including a good variety of Christmas and New Year meals.
Robin Auld at Auslese     Last night found us at Harald Bresselschmidt’s Auslese offshoot of his excellent Aubergine restaurant to hear South African singer Robin Auld and enjoy some wonderful small dishes prepared by Harald’s chefs. The music and the wines were accompanied by Samantha O’Keefe’s elegant Lismore Chardonnay and Felino Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina. We had a wonderful evening, excellent food and wines with some interesting music, with the added bonus of finding that a few of our friends were also there. Pictures here.
Buying from us On Line      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 on line shop. We can send your requirements to you anywhere in South Africa. Please do not pay until we have confirmed availability and invoiced you, then you pay and then we deliver or post. When you make an eft payment, make sure that it says who you are. Use the form on the website to email us your order. Click here to see our OnLine Shop.
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 see what’s happening in our world of food and wine (and a few other cultural events), visit 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. Events outside the Western Cape are listed here.
Learn about wine and cooking We receive 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 of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here.
Chez Gourmet in Claremont has a programme of cooking classes. A calendar of their classes can be seen here. Pete Ayub, who made 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. Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has cooking classes in Fish Hoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here. Emma Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca cooking courses at her home in Constantia. Brett Nussey’s Stir Crazy courses are now being run from Dish Food and Social’s premises in Main Road Observatory (opposite Groote Schuur hospital). Lynn Angel runs the Kitchen Angel cooking school and does private dinners at her home. She holds hands-on cooking classes for small groups on Monday and Wednesday evenings. She trained with Raymond Blanc, and has been a professional chef for 25 years. More info here

20th December 2013
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 online shop 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 and standard 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 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. Our Avast! ® Anti-Virus software is updated at least daily and our system is scanned continually for viruses.
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Robin Auld at Auslese

Auslese is owned by restaurateur Harald Bresselschmidt of Aubergine. It is in Hope Street in Cape Town and can be hired for functions
An interesting Chardonnay from Greyton, Lismore, made by Californian winemaker Samantha O’Keefe, now working happily in Greyton
A tray of tapas.  Food and wine  comes with your entry ticket to these concerts which cost R395 a head. Herb veloute with string cheese and a salmon ravioli in broth
Robin Auld CDs were available for R100 each
The artist at work on his guitar and harmonica
and the audience, listening intently
Hake with asparagus and courgette in a cream sauce
Chatting with Emil den Dulk Jnr at the wine table
One South African and two Argentinean wines were open to taste and enjoy: Lismore Chardonnay and Felino Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon from Argentina
Roast beef curls on potato salad with pickles
The chefs, busy creating in the kitchen
Springbok in a rich wine sauce with spätzle and a roasted red carrot
The list of concerts and the number to callif you wish to book
The magnificent Auslese wine cellar
Some blues
and some laughing ladies: Heleen Rabe of Hartenberg and friend
Dessert was a vanilla fruit coupe topped with two macaroons
Natalie Opstaele and Joris van Almenkerk of Almenkerk wines in Elgin having fun in the city. Natalie is beautiful, but she moves too fast!
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013