Friday, November 15, 2013

131114 Main Ingredient's MENU - Battle of the Wors, Platter launch, Elgin Gardens & Wine, Brandies at Bizerca, Klink Awards 2013, Tweet up cancelled, Wine Concepts Champagne Festival

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An orange-breasted sunbird hen enjoying a refreshing nectar meal
In this week’s MENU:
* Battle of the Wors at 96 Winery Road
* John Platter Guide launch
* Elgin Gardens and Wine
* Bizerca with van Ryn and Oude Meester
* Klink Awards 2013
* Tweet up cancelled
* Wine Concepts Champagne Festival
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.
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: It is time to start stocking up for festive meals; Christmas and the New Year are already on the horizon. So spoil your family with delicious treats like chestnuts for your stuffing and desserts, duck confit, cassoulet and other dishes and superb French patés. We also have just one or two of Lynne's traditional Christmas puddings (not cakes). 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.
Battle of the Wors at 96 Winery Road      Earlier this year, we had been invited by Freddy Hirsch and Stellenbosch Hills to join them and learn how to make boerewors and droëwors. We loved the lesson and the resulting sausage we made so much that we bought sausage skins, spices and even a drying cabinet. Sadly, we have not had a chance to use them, but it was with great anticipation that we went to the prize giving lunch at 96 Winery Road, near Stellenbosch, last Friday to see who actually did have time and to have a marvellous lunch, apply supported by Stellenbosch Hills’ wines, which grow in quality each time we taste them. Click here to see the photographs.
Then it was off the Vineyard Hotel for the eagerly awaited
John Platter Guide launch     How to taste through all the 80 five star wines in an evening, when all your many peers are there, also trying to get to the tables to taste as many of these stunners as possible? Perhaps, next year, we will need a larger venue and more spittoons? And a bit more separation between bottles?
Many of the wines we have written and enthused about this year have deservedly won the coveted five stars. The best wine Lynne tasted all evening was also the recipient of the Red Wine of the Year. She was standing, talking to Gordon Newton Johnson and ordering a case of it when the announcement was made. It is lovely to see such surprise and delight on someone’s face, who was obviously not expecting the award - for their Windansea Pinot Noir 2012. It is truly a beautiful wine, fragrant, with many layers of beautiful succulent fruit and elegance, which keeps on giving on the palate, and it will be a superb food wine. We were also thrilled to see De Morgenzon win the White wine of the year for their 2012 Maestro white blend. Owner Wendy Appelbaum was absolutely brimming with joy. Winery of the Year went to the Mullineaux Family Wines from Swartland. Great canapés as usual, Vineyard Hotel, thank you.
There were also three well deserved five star ports and South African Brandy has been put back into Platter and produced 7 five stars. We tasted some of these, not at the Platter tasting but later in the week... read on.
The 2014 Platter guide has an elegant eau de nil blue cover, but we were very disappointed with the quality of the photographs in the book. They are usually of a high standard, but this year’s are not. Almenkerk, for example, has a beautiful modern winery, but the owners and their senior staff were photographed next to a shed, badly posed and poorly exposed, the picture saying nothing about the people or their place.
Elgin Gardens and Wine     We love these two weekends exploring beautiful gardens and, now that wine has been added as an element, there is a huge incentive to visit. When we can, we try to go for at least a day. We met Joris van Almenkerk recently at one of the Elgin tweet up tastings, and he invited us to come and stay at the family cottage on their farm, which is not for hire. This meant that we could have a couple of days more in the beautiful Elgin valley. We spent Sunday visiting open gardens on Fairholme and Auldearn, admiring plants, birds and plantings and taking many photographs. We had a superb lunch at Iona, cooked by Andrew Gunn’s wife Rozy, who is a very talented cook. They only do lunches on these open weekends and they are legendary. The people we sat with at the long table had all been before and said they made a beeline for it every time it was on offer. Photographs of the house and lunch here
Then it was on to Almenkerk to ‘check in’. They were still busy with customers, so we had a brief tasting of their wines and then went to collapse at the cottage, which was extremely comfortable with wonderful views. And it was a very early night for Lynne as the wine and the sun and the country air work wonders.
Belfield     Next morning was lazy until 11h30, when we had an appointment at Belfield, a small but very interesting wine farm on the Highlands Road, just behind Peregrine Farmstall. Mike and Mel Kreft have been farming there since 2000. Mike is Cellarmaster/winemaker/viticulturalist and he is passionate about his terroir, vines, wine and farm. He only wants to make red wines, so has planted Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. He has a small piece of land left and is currently contemplating what to put on it. We suggested that a little Petit Verdot might work, as it showed so well in the Elgin red blends we had tasted recently. His Shiraz is full of rich creamy Lindt chocolate and red berries, spiced with cinnamon and some nice chalky minerality. We loved Arista 2009, his Bordeaux blend, which is like dark maroon velvet, full of vanilla, fresh cassis, raspberries and mulberries and very smooth. He insisted on presenting us with 2 bottles when we left, which we will treasure. His blockbuster flagship wine is called Magnifica: 90% Cabernet sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. Full of violets and mushrooms, blackberries, cherries and cassis, with richness mid palate. This needs a bit more time and has all the mineral structure to last. Photographs here.
We had a quick sandwich at Peregrine Farmstall, who delivered horrible slap chips (we asked for crispy) and a toasted cheese sandwich which had been toasted on the outside but the heat had not reached the inside. On returning it to the kitchen, they did produce superbly crisp chips and a proper melted cheese sandwich with proves you should complain, gently, to get what you desire. John had a springbok pie which had good pastry and a very good filling of shredded meat and rich gravy.
Elgin Vintners     Then it was off to Elgin Vintners with Nicky Wallace. Generous with her time as always, she took us through their range and we spent a very happy afternoon chatting and tasting. She is such a good ambassador for Elgin wines. These wines are very well priced and there are a couple of superb wines in the large list. We particularly liked the Merlot Rosé, full of fresh strawberries and summer. The Century 2011 blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon is fantastic. You get a full mouth of gentle fruit with a long follow-through. The Viognier is restrained and elegant, not full and blowsy as so many are; nor is it over-wooded, but the wood is present. Full of white table grapes, white peaches and apricots. Chardonnay 2010 is ready now, while the 2011 isn’t. The new Pinot Noir has notes of cola, herbs, vanilla, rhubarb and smoke on the nose and is very fruity with wonderful red and black fruit, a little chewy with soft chalk and is delicious, finishing on licorice notes. A food wine for sure. The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon could be used to teach what cassis tastes like. And then there is the complex Agama 2008 Cab/Merlot blend: violets, many layers of fruit and berries with spice and perfume. Sweet fruit with nice balance of acidity and a good dash of smoky wood. This still needs a lot of time but will reward well. Photographs here.
We invited Nicky and her viticulturalist husband Paul (he is very well known and respected and has worked with so many of the successful farms in the area) to join us for a braai that evening and we had a very chatty and gemutlich evening with lots of different wines to taste. They have their own farm and produce a marvellous Malbec named Black Dog. More are on the way.
Almenkerk     We had to pack up early the next morning to get back to another function in Cape Town, but thank you so much Natalie and Joris for making this such a superb “weekend” for us. Almenkerk is a very modern cellar, designed by Derek Henstra, and it has appeared in many books. They produce really elegant wines, 3 top estate labels: a 2010 Syrah with 15% Cab Franc added produces a soft juicy shiraz with lots of extra spice and elegance. The buttery leesy barrel fermented 2012 Chardonnay is very French in style with limes and citrus contrasting with the butter, and a classic Sauvignon Blanc in the style we love, full of green figs and crisp notes. Their second, well priced Lace range has very drinkable red and white blends and a juicy rosé, which we enjoyed. Photographs here
Bizerca with van Ryn and Oude Meester     To be invited to Bizerca at any time is a huge treat; to be invited to a lunch there, matched to Van Ryn and Oude Meester premium brandies is unmissable. So we came back from Elgin a day earlier than intended. Chef Laurent produced a really special menu and the brandies were all impressive. After our sojourn in Cognac with all the tastings we did there, we have a much better understanding of the spirit. We did brandy as a module when we studied for the Cape Wine Academy Diploma  but we must admit that we drink it rarely and usually at special meals. We started with Oude Meester’s 18 year old Souverein: vanilla and floral perfume, then chocolate and sweet nuts on the nose. Peaches, caramel, hazelnuts and warm heat, almost chillies on the palate, followed by Hanepoot grapes and nice toast. Coriander and then other spices appear. R950 a bottle, and only 5000 litres produced each year. Matched with fresh beetroot, labneh herb cream cheese, pickled artichoke hearts, pink peppercorn vinaigrette and slivers of fresh apple.
Then Van Ryn 12 year old was paired with the main course of honey and spice coated duck confit and roasted duck breast with poached pear and porcini mushrooms, broad beans and a good savoury jus.
The brandy was Amber amami, dark prunes and violets, sweet wood vanillins with marzipan and citrus and roses. On the palate licorice, toffee, butter, stewed apricots, spiced rum and almonds and then bolder darker cherry flavours appear. R500 a bottle.
To match the dessert, we had the Van Ryn 20 year old, priced at R1 300 a bottle, very inspirational. On the nose: honey and spiced wood smoke, apricots, rhubarb, perfume, butter, toffee and salt. It finishes with dried Christmas fruits. On the palate, it follows through with toffee, apricots, chocolate cinnamon, caramel nuts and salt and finishes with long caramel flavours. This was the chef’s best match. We had an apple sorbet, a choux bun filled with crème patisserie nougatine, a phyllo parcel containing cooked apricots and prunes, nuts and guava and then brandy truffles enrobed with white chocolate.
AND THEN: We were able to taste their real luxury brandy, Au.Ra (Au is the chemical symbol for gold, Ra was the Egyptian sun god). R14 000 a bottle at Van Ryn, R30 000 at duty free. Only 107 bottles were produced and only 20 are left, should you wish to purchase some. And we do recommend that, if you can afford it, you should indulge. It is sublimely delicious, and not because it costs so much. It is beautifully crafted from 30 to 40 year old cask brandies. It has honey, Valentino perfume, fennel, William pears, apricots and orange blossom, nougat, peaches and nectarines on the nose. The fruit levels are amazing for a brandy of this age: tastes of Apricots, muscat grapes, limes, lemons, pears, then jasmine, orange blossom, and nuts. It is super smooth and layers of flavour keep revealing themselves. It is surprisingly gentle but packed full of flavour and length. Magnificent. Photographs of the lunch can be seen here
Klink Awards 2013     Last night was Awards night for the nominated wine farms, held on the penthouse terrace at Derek Henstra’s dhk stylish offices, overlooking Heritage square. The Klink Awards are run by Monika Elias of Wine Tourism Handbook. The awards are not about the wine, but what else the farms have to offer its visitors. We have been on the panel which nominates candidates for the past two years. The panel makes the nominations, then the top five farms in each category have to marshal their customers to get votes on the social media. Those who work hardest get the best results. There were some surprises and lots of happy people, despite quite a brisk wind, which meant John had to sacrifice his jacket to a rather cold Lynne. Click here to see who won what and what we ate. Very, very good canapés as we had last year. Thank you, Monika, for organising a very glittering evening. This award needs a sponsor for next year. Photographs here
Tweet up cancelled     We were supposed to take part in an Elgin Sauvignon Tweet up after the brandy tasting but, when we arrived at Caroline’s, we discovered that four attendees had cancelled that morning and five that afternoon. This is very rude, inconsiderate and an insult to the organisers. We hope they all had very good reasons for cancelling with so little notice, as a lot of time, money and organisation went into this event. It is sad that people cannot commit. If you are busy, don’t accept the invitation. Commit, or don’t. Hedging your bets for a better event will be sussed by the industry and you could lose all credibility.
Wine Concepts Champagne Festival at the Vineyard Hotel, from 6 to 9     Where else can you taste wonderful French champagnes for the price of less than one bottle? All are imported from France. We hope to see many of you at this smart and elegant event next Friday, November 22nd. They would like us to dress up for it – feathers and stylish modes of the Moulin Rouge era. Prizes will be given for the best dressed. Or just come and celebrate life with bubbles.
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

14th November 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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