Friday, October 25, 2013

Main Ingredient's MENU - Nedbank Green Wine Awards at Kirstenbosch, Wade Bales Wine and Malt Whisky Affair, Wine on the River in Robertson, Elgin Red Wine Tweet Up, Champagne Season is coming, Apple Ice Cream

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Late evening at Weltevrede in the Bonnievale valley
In this week’s MENU:
* Nedbank Green Wine Awards at Kirstenbosch
* Wade Bales Wine and Malt Whisky Affair
* Wine on the River in Robertson
* Elgin Red Wine Tweet Up
* Champagne Season is coming
* Apple Ice Cream
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: We have new stock of chestnuts, in cans and jars and have replenished our stock of the ever popular truffle oils. Patés have been selling well, especially the delicious French duck rillette, and we have more of those in stock too. They’re in our shop. See it here
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.
As usual, we have a link at the bottom to our calendar of wine and food related events which should interest all lovers of great food and wine and events which promote them. We have always had a few from centres outside the Western Cape, but we now have enough to justify a separate list, so, if you live in one of the other splendid places in our lovely country, have a look. If you are promoting an event in any of these places, please let us know and we’ll add it to the list.
Nedbank Green Wine Awards at Kirstenbosch     Last Thursday saw us at Kirstenbosch where the awards were presented at Moyo Restaurant. Sadly, we did not have time for a walk in the Garden as last week’s edition of MENU had to be sent out before we left. Everything was blooming beautifully after our wet winter. A welcome drink on the lawn and then we went inside for lunch and the awards. The awards are divided into two categories: Organic wines and Biodiversity & Wine Initiative (BWI) wines. Laibach received the award for Best Organic wine overall, for their Woolworths 2012 Merlot, which was also judged to be the Best Red Organic wine. Paul Cluver scooped three of the BWI awards with Best Wine overall for their 2012 Gewürztraminer, which was also the Best White. The Bloggers’ Choice was their 2011 Chardonnay. Click here to see the awards in detail, photos and read about the lunch. We note that there is a huge change upwards in the quality of all the wines we tasted at the awards and none could be recognised as anything else but a quality, well produced wine. It is a huge improvement since the awards started several years ago.
Wade Bales Wine and Malt Whisky Affair     Immediately after the awards, we were off to 15 on Orange Hotel for this wine and whisky show. The hotel turns out to be a good venue for a tasting as they have lots of space in the airy atrium. There were some excellent wine farms showcasing their wines and a separate room for lots of good whiskies, many of them aged. This room became very crowded and rather rowdy as the evening progressed; we hope all the guests were getting taxis home afterwards. The hotel provided a free buffet of cheese, breads, fruit, chutneys and preserves for those who needed to line their stomachs during the tasting. Click here for photographs.
Wine on the River in Robertson     We managed to get to the festival by 11h30 on Sunday and were a little disappointed to find that it was not overflowing with people as, apparently, it had been on Friday and Saturday. This year they had a marquee where they had grouped all the Robertson Bubblies, Chardonnays, and Shirazes and, after wandering around the stands to greet and spend some time with our wine making friends, we found this good place for a quick taste through the wines. We ate some lovely food – Zandvliet had a cornet of crisply battered hake with chips and onion rings, which suited John perfectly, and Lynne had two perfectly seasoned and cooked lamb chops, also with crisp chips and onion rings. We know that this food is not terribly good for us but it is SO enjoyable and we don’t indulge very often. We were given media vouchers which afforded us some Hectic Biltong, some bubbly from Graham Beck and Viljoensdrift, some excellent tempura prawns from the Mimosa stand and a kind of  pasta dish called lasagne which, sadly, was really not very enjoyable nor very typical of a lasagne. The weather was dull but the festival wasn’t and we hope that, next year, it will be sunny again and filled with people sitting by the side of the river. We think that it does need to close a little later than 3pm on the last day, especially if one is driving up for the day, because having only 4 hours to taste the variety that Robertson has to offer is just not long enough!
Weltevrede were extremely kind and offered us one of their cottages to stay in, as we had decided to stay over for Sunday and Monday nights, so that we could visit individual farms and taste at leisure. The cottage is well equipped and has the most wonderful views over the vines, the Breede River and the beautiful Bonnievale valley. We had a roaring fire going soon after we arrived. A rather loud storm blew in on Sunday night and made a terrific noise on the corrugated iron roof. Lynne finds the sound of rain on the roof immensely soothing and like white noise; she slept through most of it like a baby. Poor John was kept awake from about 1.30 to the early hours.
After breakfast, we were off to the Bonnievale butcher to get some meat for a braai that night and then a visit De Wetshof, where Peter de Wet gave us a really good tasting of their superb wines. We left with a case of 2013 Bon Vallon Chardonnay, so elegant, lean and delicious. Next was a long and chatty catch up lunch with Bonita Malherbe, marketing manager at Van Loveren. We ate lunch at their restaurant, Christina’s, and shared a bottle of Chardonnay. John enjoyed an enormous hamburger with blue cheese sauce and Lynne had the fried gnocchi with mushrooms and cheese. Bonita was the inventor/instigator of Robertson’s newer and more innovative festivals like the Wacky Wine Weekend and Wine on the River, which other wine areas have copied. It was lovely to see her again as we have not been to Robertson for a while. We bought two bottles of wine, their marvellous Noble Late Harvest and Gewürztraminer Special Late Harvest. We wanted something heady and sweet to drink with some paté that evening. Then we drove off to Ashton Kelder, which is always worth a visit, and had a taste through their wines. They often have specials and we bought a case of their easy drinking unwooded Chardonnay for summer lunches. They make very good grape juices, plain or sparkling, beautifully packaged to look like a proper bubbly, great for celebrations where you have non-wine drinkers. Then it was back to the cottage for a relatively early night. Our braai was cooked over the inside fire as it was another damp and chilly evening.
Next morning, after tidying up the cottage, we spent some time with Elzette Steyn in the Weltevrede tasting room, catching up on their wines. We really liked their 3 MCC bubblies, the Place of Rocks Chardonnay and their cracking Bedrock Black Syrah. Then it was off to visit Zandvliet for another tasting, where we liked the Rosé and the Shiraz so much that some had to come home with us. Then, a drive into Robertson, where we wanted to visit the good nursery. We had ‘sandwiches’ at Bourbon Street. Slow service - they seem to want you to drink more than eat - and it was not great food. Putting greasy and stringy once-frozen smoked salmon offcuts into a sandwich is SO wrong. Then a quick visit to our friends Audrey and Jean Grobbelaar who own Rivierzicht Farm. They had been busy all weekend, as their riverside campsite is very popular. And then onto the road for a very easy drive back home. We love Robertson and Bonnievale. Such friendly people, great wine at good prices, lots of beauty and it is very relaxing. Next event is the Hands on Harvest next February.
Elgin Red Wine Tweet Up     Yesterday, we took part in this Tweet Up at Caroline’s Fine Wines. We had two hours to taste and tweet about Elgin’s ‘other’ red wines and it was quite an eye opener. There was not a bad wine in the tasting and this was rather a surprise for lots of us, as Elgin is known mainly for its crisp white wines and its elegant Pinot Noirs. As a general rule, the grapes have a lovely soft ripeness and perfume and are well supported by soft chalky tannins. These are very approachable wines although some will, of course, benefit from time in the cellar. We encountered no harsh heavy tannic wines and several of these are very special indeed. Stand out wines were Cathy Marshall’s Amatra 2011 Merlot, Shannon’s Mount Bullet 2011 Merlot, Paul Cluver’s Woolworths Cabernet Franc, Thelema Sutherland’s Cabernet/Merlot blend, Oak Valley’s Merlot/Cab Franc/Cab Sauvignon and Lynne’s favourite (although a little deterred by the price of R180 a bottle) was Kevin King’s Micah, a stunning blend of Shiraz, Mourvedre and Barbera. You can follow us on twitter @mainingmenu. There will be another Elgin Tweet Up in the next few weeks.
We hope to see lots of you at Caroline’s White Wine Review next week, on Wednesday 30th, at the Table Bay Hotel, where you will be able to taste more than 40 special white wines chosen by Caroline as her best selection from 5pm.
Champagne Season is coming     Don’t forget to book your tickets for Wine Concepts ‘Finer Things in Life’ Champagne Festival at the Vineyard Hotel on November 22nd. This is normally a very chic event, with prizes for the best outfits and you can drink lots and lots of real French Champagne.
Franschhoek has its “Magic of Bubbles” Champagne and Cap Classique Festival on Saturday, November 30th and Sunday, December 1st.
This week’s recipe     There are still some lovely crisp flavourful apples in the shops, while we wait for the soft summer fruits to arrive, so we thought you might like this easy ice cream recipe. Investing in an ice cream maker is worthwhile as it can save a lot of effort. Look in the large Cash and Carry shops or Hypermarkets like Game or Makro. If your family eats more than just the occasional ice cream, it will pay for itself quite quickly.
1 kg cooking apples - 100g caster sugar - 300ml single cream - 3 egg yolks - juice of 1 lemon - 1 tablespoon Calvados or other apple flavoured alcohol (optional) - 150ml double cream
Peel, core and cut up the apples and put them in a pan with 50g of the sugar and cook gently till soft. Let them cool and purée them in a blender or processor before pushing the pulp through a sieve.
Make the ice cream by heating the single cream until just before it reaches boiling point. Beat the remaining sugar with the yolks, and whisk in the warm cream to this mixture until a custard is formed, then add the flavourings (lemon juice and Calvados). Let it cool.
Fold in the cold apple purée; whisk the double cream till it’s thick but still soft and fold that in. Pour the mixture into the container of your ice cream maker and churn it until it sets. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture into an empty ice cream box and place it in the freezer. Cover it. Remove it every hour for about three hours and whisk it vigorously to break up the ice crystals which will make the ice cream crunchy rather than smooth.
Remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge for about 20 minutes before serving to allow it to soften a little. Lovely with crisp almond tuille biscuits.
If you want to try making other fruit into ices, you can use this as a blueprint. Plums, pears, apricots can all work well.
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

24th October 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 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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