Thursday, June 25, 2015

This Week's MENU: Aegean Odyssey. Part Three, Niel Joubert, Boplaas tasting at Dear Me, Shiraz SA showcase, Sommeliers Selection Awards at Open Door, Den Anker Winter Menu specials, Elgin Hidden White Gems, Caribbean Soup

An elegant Three-master on a rainy Naxos night
In this week’s MENU:
* Hidden White Gems at an Elgin Tweet Up
* Caribbean Soup
* 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 story with photographs, please click on “Read 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.
Our Aegean Odyssey continues with Naxos and Athens      This week, we tell you about the rest of our stay in Naxos and our first day in Athens, most of which we spent in the Acropolis, immersing ourselves in nearly 3000 years of history. Read On:
Tasting and lunch at Neil Joubert Wine Estate     Charles Withington has had a respectable career in wine. He owns the Darling Wine Shop and has become a friend. During his tenure as General Manager at nearby Backsberg, he got to know the Jouberts very well and has looked after their export marketing since the mid 90s. Recently, he suggested that we should all go and have a tasting and lunch with them. We met him there last Wednesday and a wonderful day was had by all. Read On
Boplaas tasting with lunch at Dear Me Restaurant in Longmarket Street     We were invited to taste four Boplaas wines made with Port varieties and four of their ports last Thursday. The tasting was held in Tjing Tjing on the ground floor and then we went upstairs to the Dear Me restaurant to lunch, paired with more of the wines and Port. Read On
Shiraz SA showcase at the CTICC     Since its inception in 2009, the Shiraz Showcase has grown and, this year, it took place at the CTICC for the first time, previous venues having become too small to accommodate it. Shiraz has become a signature varietal for South Africa and shiraz plantings now account for about 11% of the national vineyard. CTICC is a good venue for this huge showcase of shiraz and it was a very good tasting indeed this year. It was difficult to manage to taste more than half of what is on show but we tried. It is always a very social evening as well and we met lots of you enjoying yourselves. Read On
Sommeliers Selection Awards at Open Door Restaurant at Constantia Uitsig     A total of 101 wines was selected from 400 entries for the first Sommeliers Selection Wine List, which was judged only by members of the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA). The judging panel was chaired by internationally acclaimed sommeliers David Clarke and Higgo Jacobs. The awards ceremony was attended by many members of the wine and food industry last Friday and, following the awards, the wines were available for tasting. Read On
Winter Menu specials at Den Anker     We always enjoy it when we are invited by restaurants to come and taste their food; better still when we know the food they produce is good. Last Friday was a beautiful crisp and sunny winter’s day and, following the Sommeliers Selection Awards, we made our way to this waterside restaurant in the Waterfront. We were able to sit outside on the dock and eat our way through tasting portions of their winter specials, accompanied by a selection of samples of Belgian beers. The selection is very good and those of you with children will love Sundays, when they eat free (but no beer for them!). Read On
Hidden White Gems at an Elgin Tweet Up     Last night we headed off to Rococoa in the Palms Centre in Woodstock, where this Tweet Up was to take place. It is a very good venue indeed, in the cellar which used to house Cuvées Classiques. It is large, spacious and the Wi-Fi connection is excellent. We tasted through 11 Elgin white wines and thoroughly enjoyed the two hour tasting, as there were some excellent wines. We discovered that the Tweet Up was the #1 trending site in SA at 7 pm! If you want to follow us on twitter our handle is @mainingmenu
This week's recipe comes from the days when we sold Sue Long's wonderful fruit vinegars. They have all but disappeared now, sadly, but in this one, you can just use lime juice or even Roses Lime Juice instead of the vinegar in the delicious winter warming soup.
Caribbean Soup
2 chopped onions - 30g butter - 70g rice, uncooked - 45ml grated coconut - 400g spinach leaves, washed and cut up - 1.5 litres good beef stock or 1 beef stock cube - 80ml coconut cream - salt- freshly ground black pepper - 30ml lime juice
Soften the onion in the melted butter, add 1.5 litres boiling water or beef stock, bring to the boil and add the rice and grated coconut. Allow to cook for 20 minutes, add the well drained spinach and, if using, the beef stock cube. Bring to the boil, add the coconut cream, a good grinding of black pepper, salt to taste and the lime juice to taste. Serve hot. If you have any jerk spice, you can try a dash of that too.
Saturday, 27th June at 18h30 for 19h00  Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa invites you to enjoy a gourmet meal paired with a wide range of carefully selected wines from Quando Vineyards & Winery. R295 per person for Dinner only or R1995 per couple includes the dinner, room and breakfast. ENQUIRE TO BOOK
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 his 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
Nicolette van Niekerk runs baking courses at La Petite Patisserie in Montague Gardens
George Jardine will be running a series of winter cooking courses and other activities at Jordan. Details here

24th June 2015
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