Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Bartholomeus Klip afternoon and evening

We met Lesley Gillett of Bartholomeus Klip at the recent Groenberg Festival and they went on to our mailing list. We were delighted when they invited us to come and stay and write about Bartholomeus Klip. We spent Sunday early evening, the night and Monday morning there and it is a lovely place to completely relax and chill out. Everything you need is provided in this small country house on a farm in the Swartland. It also has its own private nature reserve and game drives come as part of the cost, as do all meals. The only extra is wine. It reminded Lynne very much of English country house weekends and certainly is attracting lots of British and other nationalities, who return more than once to be spoiled. http://www.bartholomeusklip.com/
Twin sisters Lesley and Louise Gillett work at Bartholomeus Klip. Lesley is the manager of the farmhouse, and draws on years of experience in the hospitality industry. Louise is the head chef, who has honed her skills in some of the top restaurants in South Africa and the United Kingdom.
We learnt a lesson on Sunday afternoon. We rely far too much on GPS and when you are in the country you need to expect it not to work. We learnt that is essential to print out directions sent to us by the people who invite us. Google maps sent us to a Denel munitions factory and no one in the area knew where we were supposed to be. The phone at Bartholomeus Klip has been cut off for a week so we were in a bind. Luckily we found an informed shopkeeper in Hermon (he has only been there for about 2 months!) who could direct us and we found it, eventually. They are prevented by the authorities from putting a sign on the R44 (WHY?) so if you go you need to look for the Bo-Hermon sign and turn off there.
A few kilometres down the road you come to the entrance to the farm and the Elandsberg Private Nature Reserve which runs from the gates right up to the Elandsberg mountains in the distance
Our bedroom (the Nerina) was comfortably furnished with a mix of classic Victorian and modern furniture, screens on the windows, a ceiling fan and air conditioning. It has a very comfortable modern bed
The en suite bathroom is large and has a shower over the bath
We were invited to "Take Tea" in the lounge
where we found a splendid spread laid for us
In the interests of good journalism, we did sample a few cakes and other delights with our tea and coffee
Cucumber sandwiches, the best and lightest scones, caramel chocolate cakes and the lightest and crispest apple tart ever were laid out on the buffet. This is a daily occurrence and is included in your room rate
Next door is the bar which works on an honesty system; you write what you have taken in a book and help yourself. You are billed at the end of your stay
Next door to that is the conservatory dining room which is very light and airy. Breakfast, brunch and dinner are all held here and all are included in the room rate
Another lounge to relax in and there is also a TV lounge and a desk with a laptop for the use of guests
Very lush gardens surround the Victorian house which has a covered veranda on two sides
This is where we sat early evening for sundowners and they brought us, and other guests who joined us, platters of smoked salmon blinis You pay for most of your drinks but all the food is part of the deal
The covered veranda facing the garden
The veranda and the conservatory dining room from outside
It is also a working farm and these are some of the cattle pens
They have a large dam and you can take out canoes and boats should you wish to. There are good walks around the farm
A lovely view of the Groenberg over the dam
Wonderful views and lots of birds to see
Walking back to the house
A house by the dam and the boat house where the kayaks are stored
Looking across to the nature reserve
Magnificent mountains
Is this Bartholomeus Klip (stone) ? The farm was established in 1705 by Frantz Joosten van der Lubstadt and his vivacious 24-year-old wife Maria Mouton who settled there against the foot of the Elandskloof Mountains. It is named after the St Bartholomews Day massacre of the French Huguenots in 1572
The swimming pool
Walking back to the Farm house
One can laze in the sun by the pool
Smoked salmon blinis served with sundowners
Help yourself to sherry before dinner, or chose some wine to have with dinner
All the wines on the winelist are local to the area
The dinner menu on Sunday 19th April
The dining room ready for dinner
Specially made charger plates
The house chenin blanc is a wooded wine made by Mullineux. A little too much wood for our palates. We started with a glass each
The twice baked cheese soufflé to start
Romantic candlelight
The excellent minted pea soup followed
Perfectly cooked rare fillet of BBQ beef on a pumpkin risotto with a mushroom veal jus was delicious. We found the caramel pinenuts a bit sweet with the meat. We ordered a bottle of Saronsberg Provenance Shiraz to accompany the dish. John’s came without mushrooms, as requested
A chocolate mousse topped with a nutella sorbet surrounded by a chocolate vanilla custard with added sugared pumpkin seeds for texture.
The drinks tray should you care for an after dinner drink. It has lots of really good South African port, liqueurs and alcohols plus some imported essentials like the Cointreau. They also serve local craft beers
.......To be continued next week
(the pictures from the next morning)
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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