Monday, October 26, 2015

Jan Harmsgat Country House

Robertson/Klein Karoo trip night two
We were invited to review Jan Harmsgat Country House, on the road from Ashton to Swellendam. We have enjoyed a picnic here once before, when we were invited by the previous owners, but had never stayed the night. It is luxurious and your every need is catered for by the great staff.
We were greeted by the Tour manager, who was on duty in the reception area on Sunday evening. We were offered a car wash and all our baggage taken to our room but, as we were off-road driving the next day and we only needed our overnight things, we declined and took only what we needed. Not many places offer these services so we knew we were in for a treat
The main house is very old and historic. The farm was established in 1723
We were tired and thirsty after the Wine on the River festival and the trip here and it was lovely to be offered Tea on our arrival. Lots of wicked and delicious things on offer. John had a slice of the pineapple cheesecake
There were savoury quiches and turnovers and apple pies and crumbles
Lynne could not resist that small slice of a classic carrot cake, beautifully moist and baked with pecans from the nut orchards surrounding the house. Carrot cake is not correct if it doesn't have lots of nuts in it, in our opinion; this had them. She had this with a pot of Earl Grey tea; very refreshing.
The lounge area is at one end of the long room and leads to the outside terrace, while the restaurant is at the other end
One of the old windows shows how thick the old walls are
This was our room for the night, right next to the herb garden
It has a huge four poster bed with crisp percale linen, a Cleopatra sized bath in the centre of the room (John kept asking for asses milk), a huge walk in shower and, thankfully, a loo with a door - and a bidet
The enormous bed. They have air conditioning, which is necessary in this room as there are no windows other than the door, which you cannot leave open
Two apples and a welcome for us
We went to dinner at 6.30 as requested. There is a lovely golden glow from all the Oregon pine and indigenous Yellow wood (Podocarpus)
First we had a tasting of the Jan Harmsgat wines. We really liked the crisp Sauvignon Blanc and the spicy Shiraz. Sadly the Chardonnay had been open for too long to do it justice. And yes, Lourens van der Westhuizen of Arendsig had a hand in these wines as well. Not a bad thing, as he is an excellent winemaker
Liandra was our very pleasant and helpful waitress
The starter was a goats cheese and tomato tart with balsamic vinegar, lovely crisp crumbly pastry, served with a small salad. A good start to the meal. We had this with some Oak Valley 2011 Sauvignon Blanc from our own cellar which paired beautifully, not fighting with the balsamic vinegar
They served beetroot and butternut bread
We also took along a Morkel Tumara 2003 Bordeaux Blend. It was nearing the end of its life, but went so well with the food and was still drinkable the next day
Lynne's main course was Kingklip with sliced potatoes, a tomato and raw onion salsa and a selection of vegetables. She stayed with the white wine. Raw onion does rather overpower fish and can cause long breath after-effects. We are not fans
John had a kudu steak with a delicious, rich red wine jus, mash and vegetables
Dessert was an individual, very sweet apple tart with excellent real vanilla custard and topped with some ice cream
Up for breakfast next morning, we discovered a cool and cloudy day in the pecan orchard
You can dine on the terrace
Breakfast from the buffet, where there is a very good selection of items. Lynne was happy just to make a selection
Hmm ... to croissant or not to croissant? Yes with cream cheese and smoked salmon ...
... and have some plain double cream yoghurt and honey. The coffee was Cona black
John ordered a cheese and tomato omelette. You can have a cooked breakfast as well as the buffet
The misty morning view
with a small fire lit in the grate
Loungers and a Boules court being laid out on the lawn. Pétanque to you too. And thank you Jan Harmsgat for a lovely, comfortable stay
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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