Friday, December 06, 2013

131206 Main Ingredient's MENU - Riesling Rocks competition, Hotel School Seafood lunch, Mondiall Opening, Franschhoek “Bubbles”, Quoin Rock, Thelema Braai, SAWi Awards, Grootbos, Springfontein, Christmas

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Gourmet Foods & Ingredients
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Cape Grassbird or Cape Grass Warbler (Sphenoeacus afer) near Walker Bay Reserve
In this week’s MENU:
* Riesling Rocks competition
* Seafood lunch at Granger Bay Hotel School
* Mondiall Restaurant Opening
* Franschhoek “The Magic of Bubbles”
* Quoin Rock
* Thelema’s Boland Braai
* SAWi Awards
* Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
* Springfontein
* Christmas is coming
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.
A little commercial     While we have a huge list of subscribers, MENU does not earn us money, apart from a small amount of advertising revenue earned when readers click on the advertisements which appear in the blogs which are linked to this newsletter. So it will be a great help to us if you click on some of the ads in the blogs. It won’t cost you anything – the advertisers will pay – and we’ll be most grateful!
Enter Riesling Rocks competition and win one set of tickets to the event.     Get the New Year into gear and head off to Hartenberg Wine Estate in the Stellenbosch Winelands for the annual Riesling Rocks Festival, which takes place on Saturday, 25th January 2014. Taste the finest flagship Rieslings from South Africa’s top wine producers paired with gourmet deli fare. Answer this simple question and you will be entered into the draw for this pair of tickets worth R240. Which European country is famous for its Rhine Rielsings? Or buy tickets online from Read more about the festival here.
And you thought last week was busy?...
Seafood lunch at Granger Bay Hotel School     Last Thursday, invited by Principal Alan Romburgh, director of the Cape Town Hotel School and Head Chef Jerome Peters, we attended a light summer seafood-themed lunch served on the terrace overlooking the ocean. The young chefs put on a very good spread, the hospitality students ably attended us and we enjoyed some good wines from Allee Blue. And we were all delighted and surprised by a take home container of steamed mussels and a bottle of Allee Blue to enjoy that evening. Click here for photographs
Mondiall Restaurant Opening     This brand new restaurant, which had its glittering opening on Friday evening, is situated in the old Green Dolphin premises in the Waterfront. We think it will do a huge amount to push the Waterfront dining experience back into the fine dining arena. It has very impressive modern décor with several different seating options from outside, on the glassed in terrace, inside and even on the balcony upstairs. We now look forward to trying their menu, put together by owner Peter Tempelhoff, Executive chef at Cellars Hohenhort, and Mondiall Chef Oliver Cattermole. Lots of good canapés were served, wines flowed and there were good cocktails. See photos here.
Franschhoek – “The Magic of Bubbles” Cap Classique and Champagne Festival     Sunday was a perfect day. There was a great crowd, not to mention wonderful bubbles to drink. We dressed up as requested, and so did many of the other guests, and we had a superb time chatting to old and new friends in the wine industry or just having fun at the Festival. Good food was available, although less than in previous years, and the temperature, for once, was very pleasant. Where else can you taste this many superb sparkling wines in one place? We can’t wait for next year. Click here to see the photographs
We do think the Black and White theme has completely run its course and needs to be adjusted to something a little more inclusive to those of us who like a bit of colour and don’t own any white. Black is far too hot for mid-summer. What about Pink to support Breast Cancer?
Quoin Rock invited us to join a few other members of the media and see what they are doing on the farm since it was purchased by Ukrainian businessman Vitaliy Gayduk. He is a professor of Economics, resides in Kiev and runs numerous businesses including a business school in Kiev and is involved in the Iron and Steel industry,. Winemaker Narina Cloete gave us a comprehensive tour of the magnificent tank and barrel cellars, we saw the new concrete egg fermenters and learned of the pending arrival of wooden ones, both new approaches being tried out by some of our more innovative winemakers. And we learned about her winemaking philosophy and plans for the future. Viticulturist Nico Walters, who has recently joined from Rustenberg, told us of his plans for radical new plantings. We marveled at the Baronial Hall which is something out of King Arthur with its Round Table in the rock-walled “Cave”, where they will be holding functions, and then sat down for a tasting of the wines from both the Cape Agulhas and the Stellenbosch properties. This was served with many, many delicious canapés prepared by their caterer, well known chef Craig Cormack. We met Dennis, the son of the owner, had a long chat with him and then spoke to Thys Lombard, the Managing Director of the farm, about the future plans for Quoin Rock. They have focused mainly on Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz, with smaller plantings of Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier on the Simonsberg farm. At Cape Agulhas, the vines are mainly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with smaller plantings of Merlot and Pinot Noir.
We really enjoyed their Cape Agulhas Cap Classique bubbly, which is crisp and lean and dry with a good mousse. Their rather tropical Simonsig Sauvignon Blanc Nicobar is very popular, as is their Shiraz with a touch of Mourvedre. We have always liked and bought Oculus, their Sauvignon Blanc/Viognier blend. The 2013 barrel sample of the Cabernet Sauvignon we tasted is still shy on the nose but the softly perfumed, berry laden wine with a soft chalky end is full of cassis and black cherries, with a touch of treacle on the end, and we think it is going to be a cracker. Narina was a finalist in the Young Winemaker of the Year competition just announced and all her wines score 4 or 4.5 stars in Platter this year, quite an achievement for such a young winemaker. Click here for pictures.
Thelema’s Boland Braai     How lucky that we were in the area on Friday evening, as it gave us a chance to call in at Thelema for their Annual Braai and tasting of both Thelema and Sutherland wines. Giles Webb, the owner, is the cook and does very good boerewors rolls, while the rest of the family rallies round to help serve the wines, make nice snacky things to eat and entertain the large group of trade and other wine-related people who attend. And then there is the beautiful view which helps to de-stress one and the great hounds that roam around. A thoroughly great way to taste wine on a Friday evening. Pictures here.
SAWi Awards     SAWi stands for South African Wine Index. It is a system that records all the awards South African wines, entered and tasted blind in local and international competitions,  receive and, using an algorithm, puts their results into a point scoring index so that the public can see which wines are really scoring highly and are therefore deemed to be worth buying and drinking. It started in 2009 and the plan is to do this over a 10 year period. Do read their web page for more detail of this complex system and the award categories. We first encountered SAWi earlier this year when Premier Helen Zille was presented with a selection of these wines for the cellar at Leeuwenhof, so that she can serve her guests some of South Africa’s best wines.
We were invited to attend this year’s awards ceremony, which was held at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve and were delighted to find that we did not have to drive back after the awards as ‘a room’ had been made available for us at this legendary property.
How to describe the evening? A beautiful elegant stepped room in The Villa, filled with winemakers, partners and other industry members and tables laden with their wines. Lynne decided that, given the number of wines on offer, she would only taste those she was not familiar with. No chance, we knew all the wines very well, as they are many of the top wines we taste, drink, buy and write about regularly. Interspersed with the Awards (click here to see the list) of certificates, plaques, trophies and accolades presented to worthy winemakers and farms, were superb small dishes prepared by Executive Chef Benjamin Conradie – of special mention: his perfectly cooked whole crayfish tail nestling in a glass on a great mayonnaise. Izak Smit, Project Director who came up with the idea of the Awards, announced them with Brett Garner, editor of The Month. Hempies du Toit ably and amusingly did the presentations.
The wines: Lynne tasted four Sauvignon Blancs: Kaaimansgat from Bouchard Finlayson in Hemel and Aarde, Sugarbush from Lomond in Elim, Cederberg’s Ghost Corner and Fleur de Cap’s Unfiltered. All from different areas, all with different profiles, but all top of their field and delicious to drink. And so the evening proceeded through Chardonnays: Paul Cluver, Bouchard Finlayson Joubert Tradow, Shiraz: Eagles Nest and Stellenzicht, Pinot Noirs: Creation, Sumaridge and Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak and Chenin Blanc from Rijk’s and Sijnn; de Morgenzon’s Maestro white blend; Merlots, Cabernets and great blends and ended with Laborie’s Alambic brandy. Thank heavens we were staying the night. Look at the photos here.
Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Eco-lodges on Walker Bay, just beyond Stanford on the way to Gansbaai, has been voted the world’s best family hotel, and has received green sustainability awards. Michael Lutzeyer, co-owner and founder of Grootbos, was at the awards and told us how he and his family had built up this amazing 5 star luxury property. The lodges are surrounded by ancient milkwood forests and fascinating wild, indigenous and rare fynbos plants, with lots of birdlife.
We were given, not a room, but a two roomed luxury suite with a deck facing the sea. We don’t often get this pampered; we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and would recommend that you aspire to go and experience this magnificent place. The price includes many of the features: all meals, horse riding, nature drives, land-based whale watching tours and much more. We had a lovely breakfast before departing and loved the place, despite it raining for the entire time we were there. Click here to see the photographs of our very memorable experience.
Springfontein     We have known Tariro Masayiti for many years since he was white wine maker at Fleur du Cap and later at Nederburg. He has recently moved to Springfontein in Stamford to be the General Manager and winemaker. His partner Hildegard Witbooi is Springfontein’s horticulturist. When we met them at the bubbly festival, he invited us to visit and taste some of the wines. Initially hard to find, they are on the other side of the river from the mountains and you get there by driving through Stamford. We went on our way home from Grootbos and he did a very generous barrel and bottle tasting for us.
This is definitely going to be a label to watch under his expert guidance. They grow Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinotage, with smaller amounts of Petit Verdot, Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. He is focusing on Pinotage and we had a really interesting tasting of three different barrels which he plans to blend. They all had something to offer and it looks as though the finished wine might just be one to savour. In the tasting room we tasted the current wines on sale and particularly liked their entry level Sopiensklip Red blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Pinotage, which we think is an easy drinking wine at very good price. Jonathan’s Ridge Pinotage 2010 earned 4½ stars in the new Platter and the delicious Jil’s Dune Chenin blanc gained four.
Springfontein is evolving into a four star place to visit. They are building guest accommodation and have recently opened a fine dining restaurant “Springfontein Eats” under Chef Jürgen Schneider who, with his wife Susan, held a Michelin star for over 18 years at their successful restaurant in Germany. He told us he does a lot of foraging and the food features a strong locavore leaning with hints of molecular gastronomy, though never at the expense of flavour. We will definitely be visiting again when Tariro has some of his wines to show. Pictures here
Christmas is coming – much too fast
This week’s recipe is just a suggestion.     You probably have your dinner all planned or, like us, are looking around for alternatives. We don’t like turkey and local duck is disappointing, so this year we may be doing a roast in the evening. We could do a Capon stuffed with Chestnuts or possibly a Beef Wellington or, more likely, a local adaptation of the celebratory dish Tournedos Rossini. The dish comprises a beef tournedo (filet mignon), pan-fried in butter, served on a crouton, and topped with a rich duck pate. This is garnished with slices of black truffle and finished with a Madeira demi-glace sauce. Outrageous. Which means our starter will need to be really fresh as we have to finish off with a small portion of traditional Christmas pudding. Boxing day will be left-overs and, sometime over Christmas and New Year, Lynne will cook a traditional gammon.
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

6th December 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.
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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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