Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A day with Groote Post at the Darling Voorkamerfees

Nicky Pentz of Groote Post wine estate arranged for us to be collected from the V&A Waterfront
and driven to Groote Post, where we met him at Hilda’s Kitchen restaurant for lunch
In a classic Cape Dutch homestead, 
it is full of old and interesting furniture, artworks and other lovely historic artefacts
Lunch was set up in a private room filled with beautiful old Dutch furniture and blue and white pottery
Some of the excellent wines we tasted with lunch, Behind the bottles are Maryke and Clifford Roberts of The Letter Box
Warm breadsticks with balsamic and olive oil or butter
A very fresh goats' cheese and beetroot salad goes so well with their Chardonnay
The charcuterie platter is all locally produced and is served with a very good home-made chutney
Lynne had the warm camembert and tomato tartlet, it was delicious.  The pastry on all the dishes was sensational, so thin and crisp and buttery. The soft filling went really well with the Riesling which surprised Lynne; she loved it.
Osso bucco in a really rich tomato sauce looked worth returning for
Lynne, wisely, chose the traditional chicken pie with a cranberry jus, good roast potatoes and duck fat potato wedges.
Marijke had the oxtail which, she said, tasted good but needed a bit more time in the oven.
This was the sensational steak sandwich with garlic aioli.  We halved both our starters and mains and Lynne really enjoyed the quality of the very, very tender beef and the hand-made aioli. And, yes, there were more duck fat potatoes
A very soft and creamy cheesecake with vanilla ice cream
Lynne thought she had room for the rich and warm chocolate and nut tart; it nearly defeated her, but was wonderful. John managed his
One of the historic ‘moments’ you encounter in the farmhouse, Diamond scratched graffiti from 1887 on a window pane, by a previous owner.
Groote Post co-owner Nick Pentz and winemaker Lukas Wentzel
Off to the Voorkamerfees, we meet for a chat at the Ormonde/Alexanderfontein table
One of the stalls was selling delicious macaroons and insisted that we taste them.
The enthusiastic and talented vendor
The crowd gathers in the early evening
Darling Wine Shop's stand, opening and selling fast 
Charming and generous Charles Withington, owner of the Darling Wine Shop, where you can taste and buy all the wines of the area. Call him if you need something, delivery can be arranged.
Tables to sit at in front of Evita’s Peron
The taxi organiser telling people to get into their queues for the visits to the voorkamers (parlours)
Traders get involved making and selling handicrafts
Ironwork and amazing beadwork flowers
While waiting for the taxis, we watched some local children do a choreographed dance using hula hoops
Pieter Dirk Uys is a living legend in South Africa. His alter ego, Evita Bezuidenhout, has been satirising our politicians and any others with vulnerable egos and things to hide for many years. He was signing copies of his books in Evita se Perron - (Evita's platform - he took over and revived the old, defunct Darling railway station)
There is a very amusing art exhibition featuring Evita, her sister Bambi and others in the collection of Pieter Dirk Uys’ characters. Each painting is a reworking of a very famous painting. They are very skillfully done
You might recognize some of the faces in this reworking of the French Revolution painting…
A triptych of Darling and its folk
There are some very amusing satirical sculptures in the gardens
Some echoes of Apartheid on the way to the old station platform
Marion Pla is an intern at Marie Claire magazine. She has just arrived from Paris to work here for a year and was loving the new experiences.
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Our taxis line up to take us to the mystery venues in Darling residents' homes for the evening's entertainment
Our friendly and safe driver Jerome de Lilie
Our first venue, in the middle of Darling, was a classic turn of the (last) century house
with a huge garden
We arrange ourselves wherever we can fit into the voorkamer
for the first show, which was a concert by two drummers: local, Barry van Zyl, who is the drummer for Johnny Clegg, & Daniel Bloem from Holland who presented NATIVE RHYTHM
Then it was off to the very neat township
and a small white house
where we were warmly welcomed by the house proud owner
and entertained by very funny Michael Kudakwashe , a comedian, actor, MC, voiceover artist....therefore (according to him) unemployed.. He has been in the business for 14 loooong yrs and is an incredible mimic.
His stage was a meter square and he used the space very well!
Then off to another well kept property
beautifully decorated and furnished
to hear a  Moonlight Serenade by Louise Howlett (Soprano) & Albert Combrink (Pianist & Musical Director) She sang some beautiful arias, and then changed to jazz ,musicals and film. Titles included Dvorak’s ‘Song to the Moon’, Dvořák’s “Song to the Moon” from “Rusalka”, Lloyd Webber’s ‘Memory’ and Howard’s ‘Fly me to the Moon’ and then stood outside with us, while we waited for the taxi back to the festival site, and sang another couple of songs without accompaniment.
People enjoying the evening part of the festival
Charles Withington generously treating us to a Darling beer
Posy Hazell, who organised all the media visits to the festival, Charles and Groote Post's Wimpie Borman bidding us all farewell
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2013
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