Monday, February 24, 2014

Constantia Fresh - fun with great wine and food

Constantia Fresh took place on Saturday at Buitenverwachting and was a marvellous festival of good wines and some lovely food. Tickets cost R400 and for that you could taste all the wines available and eat the food of five chefs. It was hugely popular; there were 950 tickets available and they sold out. We saw people being turned away, so if you want to come next year, buy your tickets in advance. With added guests and media we estimate there were at least 1000 people attending and it never seemed crowded. The festival was spread out on the lawns and there was seating available or you could just sit on the lawn. They also added an antique fair as another facet. 

This festival has taken place at Buitenverwachting for the past few years and has evolved from being a purely Constantia wine festival to now showing wines from all over the Western Cape, and it seems, even some from abroad.  To quote from their web page: “ With the main aim of presenting and discovering fine wines, Constantia Fresh 2014 will bring the finest South African wine producers to showcase wines exhibiting that all important character, freshness.” Read more on  http://www.constantiafresh.com/
The chefs, who really did cook up a storm, included Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse at the Cellars Hohenort, Christian Harbeck of Raith Gourmet High Constantia, Bertus Basson of Overture Restaurant, Edgar Osojnik of Buitenverwachting Restaurant and Brad Ball of Steenberg’s Bistro Sixteen82.
The long queue to collect tickets. The event started at 3 in the afternoon
There was also a small antique fair on the surrounding lawns
We always like to start with a bubbly and this was Jacquart Champagne
Nathalie Opstaele of Almenkerk in Elgin, looking very pretty and summery, pouring wine on their stand
It was a lovely summery late afternoon;  the tables were well protected by umbrellas and there was lots of wine of offer
We also enjoyed a rye bread open sandwich topped with sauerkraut and pickles, then a thick slice of ham and finally a slice of Emmenthal cheese. This was popped under a grill and went superbly with Sauvignons Blancs.   It was from Raith Gourmet deli.
Emy Matthews, tasting room manager at Winter's Drift
A bearded Sebastian Beaumont tells us about his harvest plans. Many winemakers grow respectable beards during harvest
Michelle Stewart, Clive Torr and Caryn Formby having a fun afternoon
Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse restaurant at the Cellars Hohenort
His chefs preparing the spicy tortillas...
...which you could top with a lovely spicy tomato salsa
Lots of seating on chairs and also on hay bales, which did cause a problem for some people after the event including Lynne, who has a nasty allergic rash on her back from hay bale mites
Dave Nel on the Klein Constantia tasting table
Relaxing on the lawn with supper. The food was served in good sized portions and there were five different stations, each with a different chef’s food to try, so no one went hungry
There was also a Lakeside craft beer stand, but you did have to pay for a pint, the only additional charge of the festival
Chicken braaied and smoked in a Big Green Egg by chef Bertus Basson
This went on top of smoky Asian sauced noodles and topped with a good salad
Chef Brad Ball from Steenberg’s BistroSixteen82 valiantly cooked 155 kilos of Porchetta, Italian style rolled pork filled with herbs and garlic roasted on a spit.  This was served on a bun with salad. Here he is slicing yet another one
The superb rolls of crisp crackling pork “porchetta” just off the spit. It was our dish of the day
Sharon and Gavin Patterson of Sumaridge having one of them for supper
AMBITION!  This unlikely pair had us all in stitches
Yet another use for corks
Girls having fun. Annli Basedahl and Chantel Ball of Buitenverwachting's tasting room. Buitenverwachting served two beautiful and fresh white wines
As evening wore on, the crowd thinned, but the party continued until about 9pm
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014
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