Friday, February 15, 2013

Main Ingredient's MENU - Brenaissance, Hartenberg Riesling Rocks Festival, Wine Tourism Handbook, Recipe: Chinese prawn toasts, Tasting Tokaj at Glen Carlou, Cape to Canton at The Vineyard

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
A grey heron contemplates breakfast
In this week’s MENU:                                                              
*       On Line Shop
*       This week’s Product menu
*       Our market activities - Neighbourgoods, Long Beach
*       Brenaissance
*       Hartenberg Riesling Rocks Festival
*       Wine Tourism Handbook
*       Recipe: Chinese prawn toasts
*       Tasting Tokaj at Glen Carlou
*       Cape to Canton at The Vineyard
*       Wine and Food Events
*       Wine courses & cooking classes
To take a look at our Main Ingredient blogs, follow the link: because to tell our whole story here would take too much space and you can also read earlier blogs. Click on underlined and Bold words in the text of this edition to open links to pictures, blogs, pertinent websites or more information. Follow us on Twitter: @mainingmenu
Main Ingredient's On Line Shop is performing very well. We are continuing to update it with new products and with photographs of products. Please do not pay until we have confirmed availability and invoiced you. 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 and we will send you the final invoice once we’ve made sure stock is available. Click here to see the shop.
This week’s Product menu    One menu item which many of you are making is paella and we have been seeing steady movement of the Montsia bomba paella rice. And of course, with the rice, you’ll need the essential ingredient for a good paella: top grade Spanish saffron and sweet and hot smoked Spanish paprika. We also have the best risotto rice, Carnaroli and Violone Nano, as well as Chinese black rice.
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. On Friday, February 23rd, we will be back at the market in Long Beach Mall, Sun Valley, Fish Hoek.
By the time you read this, Valentine's Day will be over. We hope that you had a lovely celebration and that our list of activities was helpful to you
Brenaissance in Devon Valley     This farm in the Devon valley, near Stellenbosch, launched its range of wines to the media last week. We were seated outside, on a balmy but breezy day, on a deck under high fig trees between their plum orchards, vines and tasting facility. They also have elegant bed and breakfast accommodation with a large chapel for weddings on the farm (which can accommodate 250 people) and they are a Boran cattle stud. We got to meet a very friendly bull, Brigadier, and one of the heifers, which the owner Tom Breytenbach had put in a special pen. They roam the vineyards eating the grass , fertilizing the soil as they go. And as he pointed out, it is possible to make R1 million on 40 hectares of grapes but cattle can make you R1 million on one hectare, if you know what you are doing.
Tom, who is very passionate about his farm, introduced us to the wines and told us that, while all the grapes are grown on the farm they do not now, and never will, have a cellar on the farm. They use good local winemakers from other Stellenbosch farms to make their wine and they use those farm’s facilities as well.
Lady H 2011, their entry level Sauvignon Blanc, is made by Bruwer Raats at Longridge. Typical in style of many tropical Stellenbosch sauvignons, this wine goes well with the pizzas sold in their fairly new Café Blanc de Noir. (Lady H is Tom’s wife Hayley). Bruwer also makes the Knights of White 2010 Chardonnay and this full-of-fruit wine is very similar in style to previous Bruwer Raats wines, deep, complicated and delicious. Full of salty limes, nectarines and lemons, it has a good sugar acid balance.  Lord T is their non-vintage, all Stellenbosch grapes red blend and Tom would not tell us what it contained – we suspect shiraz is involved! And he did confirm that it contains no Pinotage. Soft sweet fruit with a smoky bacon whiff of wood. Jack of Diamonds is their 2009 Shiraz, full of Cassis, pepper and spice with high toast wood and chalky tannins. Needs some time. Made by Charles Coetzee on Clos Malverne next door. Next year, there will be a new winemaker. The 2010 Queen of Hearts Merlot made by Billy Marklew is their “Mid-vine crisis wine!” according to Tom.
We loved the Full House 2010 Bordeaux Blend, which was put together by Billy Marklew and Tom but the final blend was done by Nico Grobler of Eikendal. It has all the Bordeaux varietals and is full of red berries, soft vanillins and is smooth as silk on the palate. There is a very good integration of fruit, tannins, acid and wood, which means that it will age well. Lynne’s notes read: “Made by someone who knows what they are doing”. Only 2600 of the last wine have been made, The King of Clubs 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine needs time and is full of intense cassis and soft chalky tannins to take it forward.
We then went off to try out their restaurant, Café Blanc de Noir. Set alongside the river with a huge deck it serves good pizzas, salads and grills. Tom wants to keep it simple so the locals will visit regularly. Good food, we enjoyed it very much, especially the crisp thin-based pizzas. See the pictures here.
Hartenberg Riesling Rocks Festival     Saturday began wet, very wet indeed for this time of the year. Cape Town got a good soaking and by the time we got to Hartenberg after working at the Biscuit Mill it was still dripping down. But then, suddenly, at 3.30 the sky cleared and we had almost two hours to sample all the delicious Riesling wines on offer. We hope the rain didn’t deter too many people from going to this lovely festival.
Lynne so appreciates the style of Riesling now being made, as there were very few terpenes on show and also mostly only gentle wooding. The wines were in one marquee, and tables, chairs and lovely food were in another. Steve Jeffery had his super Black Plate charcuterie platters and over-filled rolls and Geza & Ghenwe Steingaszner’s Lebanese stand was full of the delights of that country.
We wanted to start with Howard Booysen’s Riesling but he had, again, ‘run out’. Obviously an extremely popular wine, this does keep happening to him. Luckily we get to taste them at trade tastings during the year. We then moved on to the table with the Thelema and Sutherland Rieslings, being introduced by Thomas Webb. Each of these is completely different in character from the other, but both are well worth drinking.
We tasted and chatted to old mates from Nitida, then Nederburg and Spioenkop, whose wine is very interesting. The Hartenberg Rieslings are always elegant and sophisticated and have won lots of awards. We spent a long time catching up with Sally Gower and her son James. Sally has just become a grandmother for the first time as eldest son Robbie has recently produced the first of the next generation of Gowers.
Styles at the show varied from crisp and taut wines to full blown and honeyed fruit with nice acid structure. Some had lovely full weight on the mouth and others lovely floral rose petal and honeysuckle on the nose and palate. We particularly liked and therefore had to buy, some of the honeysuckle and peach Groote Post and the marmaladey Parker Family Reserve Riesling from Altydgedacht which is classified as off dry, but seems dry because of the good sugar acid balance. We spent a while talking to both Nick Pentz  of Groote Post and Altydegedacht winemaker Etienne Louw about their wines and this year's harvest. These will be drunk this year with spicy food, probably Thai or Szechuan.  
We also would have liked to have bought some of the De Wetshof, which was very fresh, lively and young but, by the time we got to the wine purchasing table, run by Lodine Maske of Fromage de France in Franschhoek, they had departed with all their wine. Next year perhaps? We have some pictures of the event here
Now we wait with anticipation for Hartenberg’s very popular Shiraz festival which will be held later in the year.
Wine Tourism Handbook 2013: Sip, stay and play in South Africa’s Winelands
Monika Elias has just published this year’s edition, so do go and get your copy now, so that you can plan where to visit. As she points out: “Wine tourism is a global phenomenon and it is a growing market, but we are fast getting the impression that here in South Africa, we do it rather well, perhaps better than most. Our handbook is a reflection of this burgeoning market”.
As wine tourism is about the entire experience – wine, food, people, activity and place – detailed listings are offered for the best places to eat, stay and play – whether that is casual cafés or fine dining, rustic cottages or five star hotels, a wine picnic on the river or helicopter flip over the vineyards. The Handbook is an indispensible companion to anyone looking to have a fun, meaningful and in-depth experience when visiting the country’s wine regions. If you are one of the readers in another country and are planning a visit, it might be a huge help. In addition, you can also look at our website to see what we can do for you.
This, the 8th edition, can be ordered online or downloaded from and is available in all good bookstores.
Today’s recipe is very simple but has, in the past, been one of our favourite canapés, which we have neglected for a few years. Thanks to Glen Carlou for reminding us of it.
Chinese Prawn Toasts
6 slices white bread - 500 g raw shelled shrimps or prawns – 2 t finely grated fresh ginger – 2 spring onions, finely chopped – 1 egg white, beaten - 1 T cornflour – 1 t light soy sauce – 1 t dark soy sauce – 1 t toasted sesame oil – ½ t ground white pepper - ½ t salt
75g white sesame seeds – oil for frying, peanut or canola
Cut off the crusts from the bread. Put all the other ingredients in the first group into a food processer and grind to a medium paste. Spread the paste onto the bread, sprinkle over the sesame seeds, then cut each slice into four triangles. Heat the oil in a wok and fry the toasts prawn side down for 1 minute until crisp and golden. Then turn and fry the other side for 15 to 30 seconds, remove and drain on kitchen paper briefly, keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest and then serve. You can make the paste earlier in the day and keep in the fridge, covered with cling film until you need it. You can serve with a chilli and garlic dipping sauce.
Tokaj tasting     Some wine tastings are so rare and special that we will remember them for the rest of our lives. We have been fortunate over the many years we have been studying, selling and writing about wine to have tasted Tokay wines from Hungary only once or twice, so, when Elsie Pels CWM invited us to a tasting of five of them, we did not hesitate in accepting. This was held at Glen Carlou last week.
Tokay wines are legendary, with a history going back to 1650 – just a little older than wines from Constantia. Made from Furmint and Harslevelu grapes (and sometimes a little yellow Muscat added), they are intensely sweet botrytis wines, similar to Sauternes and Constantia, and were drunk in the courts of Peter the Great and his daughter Catherine, as well as in other courts in Europe. The bunches of grapes are left to rot and desiccate on the vine late into the year. Each grape has to be picked individually and the wines go through an extremely complicated and long fermentation process to extract the high levels of sugar and the right balance of acidity. Fermentation on the sweetest and most concentrated wines can take up to 30 years and then only achieve an alcohol of 7% or less. In the very best years, the top wines can reach an astounding 920 gsl (grams of sugar per litre), but will have a good acidity to balance the sugar. More details of the tasting, with pictures, are here
We have been very lucky this year. On top of these and other great wines at various tastings, we have had some very special wines at home. You can see some of them here
Celebrating the Year of the Snake     If all this were not enough, Sunday was Chinese New Year and the Vineyard hotel, in conjunction with Neil Pendock, put on an innovative celebration called Cape to Canton. Tables were scattered throughout their marvellous gardens and on each was a chef preparing a different Chinese delicacy. Each table had at least two wine farms serving tastings of a small selection of their wines which went with the food. It was a hot day, but there were lots of umbrellas and many people to laze on cushions on the grass. We had traditional drumming and a dragon dance and the hotel’s huge tortoises put on a show of their own. You checked in, got your glass and a map and went from one table to another sampling everything. If you paid a premium, you also gained entry to the Bisquit Brandy area, where there was an opportunity to taste different brandies and special wines and even try a Cohiba cigar. Click here to see the photographs. We do hope they repeat this again next year, it was a very good way to celebrate.
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.
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 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. Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has cooking classes in Fish Hoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here.

14th February 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 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 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.
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. We own our mailing software and keep our mailing list strictly confidential. 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.

No comments: