Thursday, March 13, 2014

Paarl's Ommiberg Festival

So it was up and at ’em again on Sunday and off we went to this revived festival. We started at Spice Route and it was buzzing. But Clare, John’s daughter, had been there three weeks before and she said this was normal. Charles Back has really organised this farm, and his other farms, well. There is so much to see. We started by collecting our glasses, armbands and a slice of onion tart, tasted the new wine they had on offer and then split into two groups: girls to do the chocolate tasting and men to do the beer tasting. After a quick look at the sensational glass factory – sadly no blowing going on while we were there - we set off for Paarl’s Main Road where we believed most of the festival would be happening. It was very, very quiet. We tasted some wines from Painted Wolf at Proviant restaurant and then decided to go to Marc’s Restaurant. We had a lovely lunch, but we were almost the only people there. And this was supposed to be a festival day? Paarl, we think you need to trumpet louder and put on a few more exciting draw cards for people to come to the next festival. After lunch, we again split into two. The lads wanted to taste more wine at Proviant: Mason’s, Black Pearl and Mitred Edge and the girls wanted to go to the market and art exhibition, but it had finished at 3 and they were just too late. Perhaps because there were very few attendees? So we finished at KWV, tasting their new wine, having a lovely chat with Marc Friederich, owner of Marc’s, who said it had been busy there. We ate and enjoyed one of his spicy Mexican chilli tacos. There were several young people listening to the band, there was a petting zoo and tasting as normal inside in the tasting room. We looked at KWV’s stunning art collection, tasted a couple more wines and then it was 5pm and closing time. If you were staying in Paarl over the festival, there were no evening events. Sadly, not a terribly impressive event. Paarl organisers, PLEASE go and see what Robertson does at the Wacky Wine Weekend.
Magnificent views of Paarl and Stellenbosch from the lawns of Spice Route, in Agter Paarl
Our good friend, Peter from Holland, tastes the young white wine still fermenting in the barrel. This wine was picked in the last two weeks or so
You could also taste the still fermenting red wine. Taste and spit, NEVER swallow this wine, you will burp for days afterward
Then you could taste some of Spice Route’s current wines
We visited the Biltong bar but sadly they had sold out the snapsticks we wanted. Next time
The brewery where Wolfgang Koedel makes the Cape Brewing Company craft beers
R35 to do a tasting of these beers. Otto Joseph, on the righta student at Stellenbosch University, served us with great enthusiasm
The girls did a De Villiers chocolate tasting and it was very good indeed. It costs just R25 and is very good value as you get a huge selection of different chocolate from all over the world to taste.
Clare could not resist one of the ice creams they sell and you can see the coffee roastery through the glass doors. There is lots and lots to see on Spice Route
We will definitely be back to try out one or all of the restaurants on this farm
They also have the Red Hot Glass blowing studio and gallery, 
filled with beautiful and amazing things to buy
Some very modern pieces
A lovely display of wall lights
Sadly, they were not blowing glass while we were there, another thing to return to see
Venetian style chalices. These would make very good wine awards
A large group enjoying beer and the view
We arrived in Paarl and parked at The Mason’s Winery for a tasting of four local boutique wineries' wines at Proviant, the next door restaurant
Proviant is in a classic old Cape vintage house with long shady porch. Paarl gets very, very hot in the summer. And, you can see, there were not many people and this was at 1 o’clock
Lunch at a sadly (and mysteriously, as his is one of the best places in Paarl) rather empty Marc’s restaurant was excellent. You can have classic dishes or nice easy lunch time choices
A huge hamburger topped with feta and olives and stunningly good chips was really enjoyed by Peter
Duncan had a selection of tapas: falafel, spanakopita and peri peri chicken
Lynne had the excellent fish soup, full of scallops, prawns, good mussels and fish and a classic creamy broth
And John and Clare both had really good Pizzas. We drank a bottle of Painted Wolf Shiraz and the bill came to R115 per head. You get a complimentary basket of crisp bread with tapenade when you sit down. So, very good value and lovely under the trees in the peaceful courtyard
Then an interesting and amusing tasting of The Mason’s wines with the owner, Derek Clift, who told us some good ghost stories and other tall tales
We had chats with Lance Nash of Black Pearl wines in the back area of Proviant. He was a bit disappointed at the low turnout that day. There was a band playing local music here
The restaurant walls were lined with really lovely children’s’ paintings and drawings they had been asked to do for Ommiberg Festival. We spotted some future talent. Very good for a six year old
Amazing graphic ability for an 11 year old
Off to finish the afternoon at KWV and taste their young wines
Some old classics inside the wine tasting room
They have some fantastic masterpieces by South African artists in their gallery.
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2014

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