Friday, March 13, 2015

150313 Main Ingredient's MENU - Wine Festivals, Awards, a concert and touring in the Western Cape

Vineyards and Mountains in the Helderberg Valley
In this week’s MENU:
* Wade Bales and the Constantia Fire
* Learn about wine and cooking
We write about our experiences in MENU, not only to entertain you, but to encourage you to visit the places and events that we do. We know you will enjoy them and we try to make each write up as graphic as we can, so you get a good picture of what is on offer at each place, restaurant, wine farm, festival we visit.
To get the whole of our story, please click onREAD ON.....” at the end of each paragraph, which will lead you to the related blog, with pictures and more words. At the end of each blog, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to the blog version of MENU.
We have had a frantically busy two weeks filled with work, wine tours, a wedding, overseas visitors and festivals. We have loved almost every minute of it, but are getting rather tired of all the PR events being clumped towards the last weekend of each month. This happened in January as well and it looks like it will happen again at the end of March. We have been so frantic that we had absolutely no time to process all of the photographs, write the text and put out MENU last week. We hope you will understand that this is the first time this has happened since we started MENU in 2003 and give us some leeway.
Our working week started with John doing a wine tour for some US guests who were here for a wedding and Lynne being invited to Anthonij Rupert – both were in Franschhoek.
What’s on offer at Anthonij Rupert?     At some wine farms you just get a tasting room experience; at others, like Anthonij Rupert, there is a selection of great experiences. It is a very beautiful farm with almost as much garden as vineyards. We started the morning with tea in the summer house, accompanied, of course, by a glass or two of their MCC. Read on
Starlight Concert     Lots of strategic planning ensured that we met up that evening at La Franschhoek, where John’s tour guests were staying, and then it was off to one of our musical highlights of the year, the Starlight Concert at Vergelegen. Read On
Feast of the Grape in Durbanville     John’s tour party was too exhausted after the wedding at Cavalli, and cancelled their planned tour of the Peninsula on Sunday, so he was able to come to the Feast of the Grape with us, held this year at D’Aria farm. We were still standing as we had left the wedding earlier than most. It was a very popular and good “one venue” festival, with all the local farms showcasing their wines, lots and lots of different food stalls and much else besides to amuse the visitors, including grape stomping. Read On
Harvesting our grapes at the Vineyard Hotel     We were summoned to the Vineyard at 7 am on Monday morning for a glass of fresh orange juice, or some bubbly, and marshalled into helping harvest the rows of grapes that grow in their small vineyard alongside the Liesbeek River. This was the third harvest from this tiny young vineyard. Our vine had over 24 bunches this year, smaller than last year and they had been sulphured to stave off the rot. We await this year’s wine (being made at Meerlust) with great interest. Read On
Van Ryn Brandy experience     Another early rising for us on Wednesday to get to Van Ryn by 8 am and then into a bus for the trip to Opstal Winery in Slanghoek valley to see the brandy grapes being harvested, taste the must and some of the rebate wine from the tank from an earlier picking during the week. Then it was back on the bus for 2 superb brandy tastings and lunch at Van Ryn. It’s a hard life... Read On
Wade Bales and the Constantia Fire     That evening we drove through to Constantia to our wine club meeting, which was held at Wade Bales Wine Society, where we did a very comprehensive tasting of Constantia wines. We were horrified to see the results of the fires which had started on Sunday and we could still see emergency vehicles in the surrounding vineyards and countryside putting out flames until we left at 10h30. Thanks to the sterling work by the local fire brigades and volunteers the fire is now out.
Opening of L’Avenir’s Pinotage Lounge     John had another wine tour in Durbanville on Thursday and so Lynne caught the bus laid on by L’Avenir to get to this lovely event which started on their lawn at sunset with their Pinotage MCC and some canapés. L’Avenir produces some of the very best Pinotage in South Africa and they have opened a lounge in the cellar with a vinoteque, where you can taste the wines of the past and hold functions. Read on
Blaauwklippen presents Zinfandel and launches a new MCC at Blues    Remarkably, Blaauwklippen is celebrating its 333rd anniversary and on Friday, to celebrate, they invited the media to their annual vertical tasting of Zinfandels, paired very skilfully with food prepared by Chef Lorenzo Magni of Blues. Read On
Taj Classic Wine Trophy Awards     This annual competition, in which South African wines are judged by visiting and local French sommeliers and wine people, is always an interesting occasion where one can see what the French palate prefers. There were some very notable winners, some predictable, some not at all. Perhaps, if more local farms entered, we might get a broader spectrum of wines in the competition. Read on
Paarl Ommiberg Festival     We decided to give this festival another chance and are delighted to report that, on the two farms we visited, it was a huge success and great fun. We started at Landskroon on the Agter Paarl and then went round “the Pearl” Paarl rock to Laborie in the centre of Paarl. Read on
This week’s recipe     We love cold meats in summer, but are always horrified at how much they can cost. So why not make some yourself. We are talking about roasting a gammon or doing salt beef. So easy as long as you can find good meat. Today Lynne has made salt beef for a picnic we are having tomorrow and there will be plenty for 8 people as part of a meal with guacamole, humus, corn chips, salads, chicken, cheese and something wicked for afterwards like brownies or small cup cakes.
Salt Beef
1 piece of salt beef 1 to 1.5 kilos approx – 1 large onion cut into 8 pieces – 2 celery sticks – 2 carrots – 2 bay leaves – a sprig of thyme – 5 allspice berries – 1 clove – 8 whole peppercorns
Turn your oven to 150°C. Put the beef into a large oven proof casserole with a lid. Roughly chop the vegetables and add to the pot. Add the herbs and spices and cover with water. Bring gently to a simmer and as soon as the water starts to shimmer, cover the pot with a layer of foil and then put the lid on tightly and transfer to the oven. Bake slowly for at least 1½ to 2 hours or until the meat is lovely and tender, but not falling apart. If the joint is larger, you may need more time. Check on it a couple of times to make sure the liquid is not evaporating. You need to slice it when it is cold. Remove it from the heat, cover and slice when needed. If you want to, you can serve this hot. It makes wonderful salt beef sandwiches with mustard and pickles.
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. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here
The Hurst Campus, an accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here
In addition to the new Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here
Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has French cooking classes in Noordhoek 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.

13th March 2015
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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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