Friday, November 29, 2013

131128 Main Ingredient's MENU - A busy week, Wine Concepts Champagne Festival, Annual Summer Picnic at Nederburg, Kershaw Elgin Wines, Genevieve MCC lunch, Jordan Bakery and Deli, Confit duck

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A malachite sunbird shows off his brilliant colour
In this week’s MENU:
* A busy week
* Wine Concepts Champagne Festival
* Annual Summer Picnic at Nederburg
* Kershaw Elgin Wines
* Genevieve MCC lunch
* Jordan Bakery and Deli
* Confit duck
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: Christmas is only just around the corner and 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.
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.
So you think you have had a busy week?      We are in the middle of the busiest period we have encountered this year and for 14 days we are nose to tail at really great events, one of which included John’s birthday which we tried to do justice too without letting him down due to lack of preparation time. Many of our readers say ”We don’t know how you do it all” and we usually say “but we are having such a great time”. We certainly are, but even we are finding this a little challenging. Just organising life around the work and fun gets pushed into corners a bit and means more late nights and early mornings. But we are not complaining, we love our life.
Last Friday lunchtime saw us at the well organised Craft Beer Festival held at Hamilton’s Rugby Club on the Green Point Common. You may think of us as wine people but we both really love good beer of all types, local and international. John has been brewing since he was in his 20s and we love the new push for great craft ales and beers that is going on in the country. We beat the weekend crowds by going early and tasted some very, very good, some extremely interesting and sadly one or two misdirected and just a couple of weak and wobbly beers. The food available was good (Lynne had some very good US ribs) but minimal and we hope they had a marvellous festival, which you all attended so it can be repeated next year. Click here for the photos.
Wine Concepts Champagne Festival      This was a very glamorous, smart and fun evening indeed. Held at the Vineyard hotel last Friday evening, this year people really embraced the Moulin Rouge theme and there were some very good costumes. Of course, there were also some extremely good French Champagnes, notable for us was the Taittinger, the Ruinart, Pol Roger and one of Lynne’s all time favourites, Piper Heidsieck, but there were a few new marques as well, some exciting, some sadly not. We think we are spoilt here with our own really impressive Method Cap Classiques so, when you encounter a flabby French champagne, it gives one pause for thought. But a good French Champagne can be legendary. If you missed this, check out the photographs here and do remember to book for next year.
Annual Summer Picnic at Nederburg     It was delightful to be invited to the Summer Picnic at Nederburg last Saturday. We sat on the lawn in the late afternoon sun, looked at the magnificent Paarl Mountains and the beautiful manor house, enjoyed a super concert and ate their very good and generous picnic, drank some wine and then arrived home in time for a relaxing evening.
The concert started at 17h00 and gates opened at 15h00 to allow everyone enough time to choose a picnic spot on the sprawling lawns. We packed up at the Biscuit Mill and flew down the motorway to Paarl. Places were available on a first come, first served basis and we found a lovely shady area on the side under the trees for our chairs and our picnic basket. Concert tickets cost R100 while, for children under 12, entrance was free. The Sterling EQ instrumental pop group and the multitalented South African Sopranos entertained us well for two hours while we enjoyed the beautiful late afternoon sunshine and our picnic.
You could pre-order a picnic basket from the Red Table restaurant, and it was a very generous basket of freshly-prepared dishes made from locally sourced ingredients, for R180 per person. Individual brie, onion and bacon quiches, tender chicken kebabs, meatballs, a good salad with roasted butternut, beetroot and feta with leaves, a chocolate and date cake and more. Pictures here. Guests were able to bring their own picnic, but all wines had to be bought there. Sadly, there was a fairly limited selection available from the Winemaker’s Reserve range and the two white wines we had, one which came with the picnic and one which we bought as an alternative were rather sweeter than we like and quite understated in quality, so the balance of each came home with us. It was a bit like slipping back to the wines of the 1980s. We loved the event and can’t understand why Nederburg do not continue these picnics all through the summer.
A Passion for wine      This week, we attended the launch of the Kershaw Elgin Wines. Richard Kershaw is a British Master of Wine who now lives in Elgin and we have seldom encountered anyone more passionate and knowledgeable about his subject or his wine. On Monday, we went to Rodwell House in St James for a tasting of all the clones he chose to put into his newly released 2012 Chardonnay and Syrah. Richard calls himself a clonehead and we discovered that the amount of knowledge and detail he has amassed about the clones, terroir, climate, viticulture, and the many other things that affect the vines he selects, nurtures and picks is truly amazing. He gave us a very informative Powerpoint presentation and then we tasted the wines made from the individual chardonnay (CY76, CY96, & CY95) and Shiraz (90 & 22) clones and the finished wines, blended from these clones. This was not something we have done before and it was a hugely valuable learning curve. Each wine had quite distinct differences and yet each, while adding to the finished wine, contributed something important to the blend. Not all were entirely pleasant on their own but, in the structure and finesse of the final blend, you could detect their influence. This Chardonnay is clean and crisp and elegant with multi layered minerality, deep flavours of white peaches and citrus. An important wine that has already won an impressive award, being one of this year’s 5 star Platter wines. The clones all show the wood structure quite markedly; it is (thankfully) almost undetectable in the finished blend, but holds the wine together. His Syrah, which will be released in March, was very similar in makeup, with the two clones used both showing complimentary characteristics which came together to make a very interesting wine. It has a waxy, very spicy nose with rich dark wood mixed with rhubarb and violets and keeps on opening up giving different aromas. It has a full mouth of soft red berries and lovely gentle chalky tannins. The curry spices also appear on the palate and add to its complexity. We think these wines have a bright future and Richard has a novel way to sell them as he is going to start a Clonehead Club, where members will get an allocation as production is quite small. Photographs here.
Genevieve MCC      Melissa Nelsen seems to have a passion for life, for her brand and, certainly, for Genevieve, her marvellous Methode Cap Classique. When she first launched this lovely wine, we were one of the first wine shops to sell it and we have remained firm fans ever since. On Tuesday, we and several others in the wine industry were invited to Bot River to taste the vintages she has made, along with a lunch created especially for her by the Eat Out Chef of the Year David Higgs, who had flown down from the Saxon in Johannesburg to prepare this feast. We were taken by bus on a very different road, the old Van der Stel Pass, and found ourselves in a very pretty rural setting at an old farmhouse, seated under a marquee in the garden. We drank lots of the 3 vintages – all Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc brut – and especially her maiden 2008 with which she was aided by the late lamented Ross Gower. The golden 2008 has age showing and if you have the goût anglais and like these older, more oxidised sparkling wines, this would be to your taste. Bready, grapes, pears and gooseberries with some nuts on the nose, it is full of stewed apples and pears with a little cinnamon on the end on the palate and is fantastic with rich desserts. The 2009 is, as Melissa puts it the Fat Child, bready and yeasty brioche with butter, not as crisp as the current release, but still very lively and is full of limes and oranges - even marmalade on the end - but is, sadly, no longer on the market. The crisp and elegant 2010 is delightful with a fine mousse, lots of crisp citrus and brioche and is a great celebration wine.
We ate marvellous food and then Melissa announced her surprise, the launch of her own perfume also entitled Genevieve. Made to echo the aroma notes in the wine, it weaves together notes of lime, apples and pear with a yeasty caramel undertone. We all got samples and so enjoyed the great day out in the country. Photos here.
Jordan Bakery and Deli George Jardine is known for superb food, but he also has a reputation as a very talented baker and it seems a logical progression for him to open a bakery on Jordan. It will also be a deli and we were thrilled to bring home a sample of some bacon he has made.
Jordan is currently celebrating 30 years of Viticulture and 21 years of making wine. So into the wine cellar we went, where Gary Jordan took us through a very interesting presentation of how the farm evolved before we tasted through some of the older Chardonnay, Nine Yards Chardonnay and Cabernets and Cobblers Hill red blend. SO interesting to see how the wines have progressed and to compare with some newer vintages. The first wine we tasted was the Jordan Barrel fermented 1996 Chardonnay and it was remarkable how young and fresh it still is: buttery golden plums, English gooseberries and peaches on the nose and warm complex toast, lemons and limes on the palate. The 2006 Nine Yards Chardonnay also has golden fruit with bready elegance on the nose and a full mouth of sweet lemons and limes with a great length of juicy fruit and shows as a great wine to accompany rich food. The current release of 2010 has fynbos herbs, complex French perfume and brioche on the nose with long crisp elegant flavours and was the only one still showing wood but just a light toast and this is followed with same lemons and limes. With a similar length and depth to the 2006, it is another food wine and will only get better and better. The 1993 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon has a block buster black berry, vanilla and herb nose so approachable and classic but is a little soft on the palate. Drink now. While the 1995 with its rose, violet and black berry nose, it is full of rich fruits, vanilla, forest floor, red and black currents and great wood structure on the palate and is stunning. We covet this but drink this soon as well if you are lucky enough to have any. The last three wines were all Cobblers Hill and our favourite was the 1999 with the 14% Cabernet Franc visible in the blend Lynne has written “Drink now, but often” about this rich red fruit on vanilla oak wine which is still evolving and the 2005 is following very closely behind with so much potential. With chalky tannins, great cassis and cherry fruit, even some almond extract, these long deep flavours still need more time to mature. It was a wonderful tasting.
We then proceeded to the new deck area under the trees in front of the winery, where a generous spread of George Jardine’s different breads was laid out. This was accompanied by charcuterie, pickles, chutneys, relishes and cheese. We also thoroughly enjoyed a very good fresh and spicy gazpacho, followed by a marvellous piece of hake that had been baked inside some bread dough. Tender, fresher than morning and perfectly seasoned, it is a fantastic way to showcase what is regarded by many as a very humble fish and which we think is a jewel. This was accompanied by tender sweet new peas and potatoes in butter. We also had a small selection of pastries for dessert and tried out the remains of the older vintages of Jordan wine to see how well they went with food and, of course, they were a splendid match. Photographs can be seen here.
Confit of Duck Did you know you can make this absolutely delicious dish yourself and it is not exactly a huge ask? Except for one thing: The quality and age of the ducks we have available to us. Lynne spent the last few days confiting duck for John’s birthday dinner and to say it was less than a success would be putting it mildly as, despite cooking for over 7 hours, the duck, which tasted very good, had the consistency of tensile steel. We will give you the recipe here in case you want to try it for yourself but do try to get young duckling of known provenance. And we mean white duck not all those Egyptian geese proliferating in the countryside. You can buy the duck fat or goose fat from us. If you don’t want to bother, we also have tins of ready made French duck confit. 2 legs or 4 to 5 leg and we can even get larger tins for special occasions, like Christmas.
Four whole duck legs – sea salt – a sprig or two of fresh thyme – 1 jar of duck or goose fat – 4 T honey – 1 t orange zest, or 1 t five spice powder or any flavour of your choice.
You need to start making this a couple of days before you serve it. Cover the duck legs all over in a liberal coating of salt and put into a container where they are confined, with the thyme, into the fridge for at least 24 hours to cure, turning occasionaly. Then wipe off all the salt but do not wash the legs, you need them nice and dry. The salt cure will remove a lot of the liquid in them. If you need to wash off the salt, pat them dry then leave them for an hour or so in the fridge. Pack them neatly and tightly into a casserole and make sure you cover them with the duck fat. Put them into a preheated oven that is at 150 degrees C until they have reached that temperature then turn it down to 90 degrees and cook for at least 4 to 5 hours or until the duck is cooked and starting to just come away from the bone. Try to keep the skin intact. You can also pack the duck and duck fat into large Consol preserving jars, seal and gently simmer them in water for the same amount of time. These will store for months. When ready to eat the duck, take it out of the duck fat and drain it (you can reuse the duck fat for potatoes etc so keep in the original bottle in the fridge or the freezer). Coat the duck pieces with honey and a flavour of your choice. You can use orange zest, five spice powder, za’atar or any other flavour that appeals. Put the legs, skin side up, under the grill and heat for approximately 15 minutes so the skin crisps up. Serve immediately. Good with Puy lentils or duck fat potatoes and a simple salad.
We often say that we are great fans of the screw top for our wines. John’s birthday dinner confirmed this. We opened a 2000 Boekenhoutskloof Cabernet. The whiff of taint hit us as soon as the cork came out. It is so frustrating to open a superb (and expensive) wine like this, which one has kept in our cellar for a special occasion and then find that it is undrinkable. Lynne will use it for cooking – the taint disappears when heated – but we’d much rather have enjoyed it in a glass. We had a 2006 Cape Point Isliedh with our sushi starter and that was magnificent, but the disappointment of the red wine still lingers.
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

21st 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 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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