Sunday, September 27, 2015

This Week's MENU - Cape Wine, Chenin On the Beach, Amorim Cap Classique Awards, Robertson Wine Valley dinner, Wine and Art at Tokara, Amorim Cork's new closure, Borage Bistro

A green Overberg landscape near Caledon
*  Robertson Wine Valley dinner
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 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.
Cape Wine Week     Cape Wine is the largest trade wine exhibition in South Africa and it is currently held every three years. It was held on from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th at the CTICC and has been very good, very professional with many overseas buyers and media attending as well as local. There have been many social wine events connected to it and we were invited to several. Pictures from the exhibition here
On the Beach with the Chenin Blanc Producers     An informal gathering on the beach at The Grand turned into a great fun event with the Chenin Blanc Association members showcasing their best Chenins while we partied "on the beach" from 11am to 3pm on the Monday before Cape Wine opened. And despite rumblings of thunder, the weather held. This was our first Cape Wine function of the week and the foreign trade were also invited and turned up. Photos here
Amorim Cap Classique Awards at The Twelve Apostles Hotel     These Amorim annual awards, now in their 14th year, took place on the eve of Cape Wine at The  Twelve Apostles Hotel. The awards are divided into four categories: Blanc de Blancs, Rosé, Blended Brut and a Museum Class for wines including and before the 2008 vintage. There is an overall winner, and the award this year went to Altydgedacht for their Blanc de Blanc MCC 2013. To promote inclusivity among producers, entries were open to non-members of the Cap Classique Producers Association. The competition was judged by Chairman Allan Mullins, writers Cathy Marston and Samarie Smith, sommelier and wine exporter David Clarke and critic Christian Eedes. Pearl Oliver, sommelier at the Belmond Mt Nelson Hotel, was an associate judge. All the wines are tasted blind and the judges do not know until the awards who the winners are. Read on.....
Robertson Wine Valley dinner at The Twelve Apostles Hotel     Robertson went to town with their event this year and brought its wines to a gala dinner at The Twelve Apostles Hotel on Tuesday night. It was made up of the producers who were showcasing their wines at Cape Wine and was a glittering occasion. See it here....
Wine and Art at Tokara     Every year in September, Tokara hold an event called Wine Made Art to showcase the release of their Premier Black Label new vintage wines and, this year, they were also celebrating 10 years of Tokara wines. The art exhibited is from the Marie Stander School of Art and is a selection of paintings done, not with watercolour, but with wine and very accomplished they were. The wine, donated by Tokara, has to be boiled down to produce an ink-like consistency and is then applied, often in many layers, to watercolour paper. Also showcased was the food of Executive chef Richard Carstens and his team who served brilliant canapés all evening. We were delighted to be invited. See the event here
Amorim Cork launches a new closure      During Cape Wine, we were invited to the Westin Grand next to the CTICC by Amorim Cork to attend the launch of their new cork closure, Helix, a mushroom shaped composite cork designed for easy opening without a corkscrew. It is for use with wines which will not be kept longer than two years. Amorim Cork launches a new closure      During Cape Wine, we were invited to the Westin Grand next to the CTICC by Amorim Cork to attend the launch of their new cork closure, Helix, a mushroom shaped composite cork designed for easy opening without a corkscrew. It is for use with wines which will not be kept longer than two years. The bottles which have a special raised helix in the neck, are manufactured at a factory in France. The corks can be used on normal bottling lines with some adaptations. More here....
To Borage Bistro for dinner      We have been meaning to return to Borage all year after an excellent lunch there just after they opened and jumped at the chance when an advertisement appeared on Groupon this week with a very special offer for a three course meal for two. Lynne admits she relished the thought of someone else cooking a great meal for us after a very, very tiring week and it did made a great finish to it, as we had lovely food in a very necessary relaxed atmosphere.
Chef Frank Marks has worked under some top chefs here and abroad and has had his own restaurant in Portside, the FNB tower on Hans Strydom Drive for just over a year. It's a bistro and is open for breakfast and lunch Monday to Saturday and dinner only on Friday and Saturday and closed on Sunday. Check out their menu on the web site and see our pictures here
This week's recipe     We love Mexican food and we were given some new tacos to try by a chef recently and Lynne wanted to use those Pasillo and Californian dried smoked chillies she bought recently at Wild Peacock.  She made a spicy mince, some guacamole, the refried beans did NOT work as the pan boiled dry while she was working in the study (Note, we need more tinned beans!) and she decided to make some Mole sauce (pronounced Mo-lay) to go with the dish. This is a rich chilli and chocolate sauce that the Mexicans normally use to accompany chicken and stewed meat but she wanted to see what it was like and it did go very well with the mince.  There are some surprise ingredients and there is almost no cooking involved. The left over sauce keeps well in the fridge and freezes well.
Mole Pablano sauce
3 or 4 dried Pasilla and or California dried smoked chilli peppers -1 T olive or canola oil - 1 small chopped onions - 1 cloves garlic, minced -3/4 cup hot chicken stock - 1 T peanuts - 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped - 35g 85% dark unsweetened chocolate, chopped - salt and freshly ground pepper
Remove the stems and seeds from the chillies. Soak them in a little hot water for about 15 to 30 minutes.  Fry the onion in the oil until it is golden but not browning. Add the garlic to the onions and stir briefly, do not burn it. Make your chicken stock and when hot pour it over the chocolate in a deep mixing bowl or in the jug of your stick blender. It will start to melt.  Add the peanuts, the onions and garlic, the oregano and season.  Drain the chillies but keep back the water in case the sauce is too thick. Add the soaked chillies to the bowl and blitz with your stick blender until you have a thick chocolaty sauce to serve with or on top of your meat or chicken.  Don't forget to season it.
There are no substitutes for the chillies. The  peanuts are essential, they help to thicken the sauce. You can however use almonds.  Mexicans add sugar and raisins and lots and lots of different dry spices like cinnamon, coriander, cumin - the list is very long and we will be experimenting in future.  But we don't like a sweet sauce and loved the rich dark bitter chocolate combined with the slightly smoky and sweet chillies.  They are not at all hot, they just give a tiny buzz. Tonight we will have the remainder over chicken. 
A reminder:  1T - 1 Tablespoon  &  1t = 1 teaspoon
Coming Events:
Tuesday 29th September at 5.30 pm  MERCURIAL CATS, an exhibition of ceramics, paintings and papier mâché by  Ardmore, Carol Mangiagalli, Ceramic Matters, Clementina Van Der Walt, Hennie Meyer, Leora Lewis, Lisa Ringwood, Lynnley Watson, Margie Malan, Nicolaas Maritz, Niki Daly, Ruby Lara, Tania Babb, Tiffany Wallace, Wendy McClachlan at The Lutge Gallery, 109, Loop Street. The Exhibition will be open for two weeks. Gallery opening times: Monday to Friday: 9 am to 4.30 pm, Saturday 10 am to 1 pm. Sundays: Closed. Enquiries:  Penny Dobbie, 021 424 8349 e-mail:
Wednesday, 30th September  Nedbank CWG Winemaker Dinners The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Dinners offer intimate food and wine experiences at top winery restaurants in the Cape Winelands. With Guild Members hosting the tables at the dinners, you will have the opportunity to meet and talk to the personalities behind the wines you will be enjoying. With sumptuous menus, each dinner promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience. There will also be a special charity auction at each dinner.  Funds raised will be donated to the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust which supports the Guild's Protégé Programme.
Restaurant Venues:
Cassia at Nitida Wine Farm, Durbanville
Catharina’s at Steenberg Winery, Constantia
De Grendel Restaurant at De Grendel Winery, Durbanville
Tokara Restaurant at Tokara Winery, Stellenbosch
Jordan Restaurant at Jordan Winery, Stellenbosch
Cuvee Restaurant at Simonsig Winery,Stellenbosch
Rust en Vrede Restaurant at Rust en Vrede Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
For more information or to make your booking, please contact the CWG office on 021 852 0408 or e-mail us on
Wednesday, 30th September Around the World with Ingredients at Durbanville Hills. Beat the winter chill with an interactive food- and wine-pairing evening with ingredients from around the world, led by chef, Louisa Greeff, and Durbanville Hills winemakers. A tasting of four differently styled cheeses ranging from soft to hard, paired with a selection of wines from Durbanville Hills’ three wine ranges. The tasting will be followed by savoury snacks, Welsh rarebit, chicken prepared with ricotta, and gorgonzola soufflé. The cost is R395 per person for the interactive demonstration, snacks, three course meal, wine and coffee. Booking is essential as seats are limited. To book or for more information, contact Simone Brown on 021 558 1300 or send an email to
Thursday, 1st October CWG Sports Day,  De Zalze Golf Course, Stellenbosch
Thursday, 1st October Sample the Sommeliers Selection at The Taj. The Reserve at The Taj Hotel in Cape Town, in conjunction with First Thursdays – a global trend fast growing in popularity, whereby likeminded people explore art galleries and cultural events on the first Thursday of every month - will play host to the Sommeliers Selection Listed Wines on Thursday, 1 October. Join fellow wine enthusiasts as you sip, sample and savour a selection of the listed wines. Doors open at 5pm and tickets cost R150 per person, which includes entry and tastings of the wines on show. A tutored tasting, which is limited to 40 people adds to the experience of the evening. For more info and to book your place visit  Make the most of the evening and use the opportunity to relax and unwind, but not forgetting the wine sales and show specials on offer. Pre-book through
Thursday, 1st October Nobu Cape Town’s Wine & Dine 2015 Series: Bottega DistilleryNobu Cape Town welcomes Italy’s finest Prosecco producers, Bottega Distillery to their shores. From their home in the Veneto, the Bottega family produces a range of outstanding sparkling wines and delicious grappas and liqueurs. The four-course wine evening is priced at R495 per person. Bookings are advised as soon as possible. To reserve your table at Nobu Cape Town, call 021 431 4511 or mail to For more information and future dates please click here
Friday, 2nd October  CWG Final Pre-Auction Tasting, Spier Conference Centre
Saturday, 3rd October  Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction will take place from 09h00 at the Spier Conference Centre in the Stellenbosch Winelands. The auction is open to the public. To find out more, visit:, email or call +27 +21 852 0408

Saturday, 3rd October VAN LOVEREN’S JAVA MTB CHALLENGE. A fun-filled sporting event for the whole family with additional activities, which includes food stalls, music, wine tasting and so much more.  Not forgetting lucky draws and awesome prizes up for grabs! Taking place at Van Loveren Family Vineyards in the beautiful Robertson Valley (90 minutes from Cape Town), you are spoilt for choice between four MTB routes (8km, 20km, 45km, 80km) and a 10km Trail Run.  The routes boast spectacular views of the mountains and vineyards. The 8km is ideal for children while the 80km is a gruelling monster only for the seriously fit and experienced rider.  Medals will be awarded to all entrants.  For more info or e-mail The Java MTB Challenge is a fundraising platform for local schools and charitable organisations who in return provide event services.  Beneficiaries for 2015 includes Robertson Preparatory School, Robertson Primary School, Goudmyn Farm School and Wakkerstroom Farm School

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

18th September 2015
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