Monday, October 05, 2015

This Week's MENU - New Stanford Wine route, Muratie Du Toitskloof braai cook-off, Mercurial Cats, Pongracz 25th Anniversary, Billecart-Salmon brunch, Rosé Rocks Awards

The sun sets over the dam. Robert Stanford Estate, Stanford
  Launch of the Stanford Wine Route
      Stanford Hills
      Klein River cheese
What a week this has been! The list of stories above will give some idea; our biggest challenge has been fitting all the writing and editing in between doing the things which are the subjects of the stories. We hope you’ll enjoy them.
As we said last issue, please try to get into the habit of checking our blog site, not only because of problems like those we had recently, but because our activities sometimes take us away from our base. This will happen again in a couple of weeks, when we will journey into the hinterland for a week and will only be able to post MENU on our return. We will post the stories as we finish them so you’ll be able to follow them. We will, of course post the links on Twitter. Please follow us there.
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.
The Cape has its 21st Wine route - In Stanford     Every now and then we find ourselves at the beginning of something exciting. A new restaurant, new wine release, a new B&B, but this was something different, the launch of a whole new wine Route. About a year ago we decided to go an explore the Stanford area and to be frank it was not a huge success as while there have always been some excellent wine farms to visit in the area, they were not organised. The winery was open but the restaurant wasn't. Some closed mid week and also in the winter because of lack of visitors or customers. How things have changed. Now that they have an official wine route it should encourage people to take that short trip from Cape Town to just the other side of Hermanus to discover a new area, an area which produces some great wines, beer and some very good food and produce. Start here and then follow us through our 3 day trip.
The Pongrácz event to celebrate their 25th Anniversary was held at the CAAM Gallery in Hudson Street in the Waterkant. We began the tasting in the basement and tasted a different MCC bubbly on each level. Pongrácz is named after Desiderius Pongrácz, a Hungarian nobleman and cavalryman who was captured by the Russians at the end of the Second World War and made to work in the labour camps. He travelled to Africa, where he trained as a viticulturist and was employed by Distell, where he helped to revolutionise winemaking in the Cape.    See the glamour of the event here
We visited Mercurial Cats, an exhibition of works depicting cats by 12 ceramicists and 7 painters, curated by Penny Dobbie, which we think you might like to visit. It is at the Lutge Gallery, 109, Loop Street, Cape Town and will run until 13th October. The Exhibitors are: Ardmore, Carol Mangiagalli, Ceramic Matters, Clementina van der Walt, Hennie Meyer, Leora Lewis, Lisa Ringwood, Lynnley Watson, Margy Malan, Margie Johnson, Nicolaas Maritz, Niki Daly, Ruby Lara, Simon Jones, Tania Babb, Tiffany Wallace, Wendy McClachlan. We took photographs...
The Karoo lamb cook off, now in its third year, between Muratie wine estate in Stellenbosch and Du Toitskloof winery in Rawsonville has become an annual tradition. In previous years we have seen lamb curries, chops and potjies. This year, the challenge took the form of that old South African favourite, the braai, with ribs and sosaties (a traditional South African lamb kebab marinated in curry spices and threaded onto a skewer with onion and soft dried apricots). The guests are the judges. Read the rest of the story....
Billecart-Salmon brunch at the Cape Grace     French Champagne has always been a luxury. We absolutely love to drink it but it is only on very special occasions that bottles are bought, or are prised out of our cellar. We always appreciate it when we are invited to taste it and write about it. This week, we were guests at a very special tasting of Billecart-Salmon at the Cape Grace hotel. What an amazing tasting and lunch it was....
Rosé Rocks is a new competition for wine producers. The idea is to recognise excellence in rosé winemaking and to promote the category in South Africa. Over 160 wines were entered into the competition and they were tasted blind.
The judging panel was chaired by Cape Wine Master Allan Mullins. The judges with him were journalist and wine merchant Neil Pendock, journalist Marthelize Tredoux, Tinashe Nyamudoka, Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, Praisy Dlamini, assistant winemaker at Distell and journalist Malu Lambert Coleman
The awards were presented at an evening function on the deck at the Radisson Blu in Granger Bay, at the edge of the V&A Waterfront. Read on....
Coming Events:
Wednesday 7th October from 17h00 to 19h00  De Trafford will host an informal vertical tasting of Chenin Blanc & Cabernet Franc at the cellar, going back to the maiden vintage. They plan to have a few bottles of selected vintages for sale so you may leave with something special in hand. There is no charge, but space is limited, so please confirm attendance by email to

Thursday, 8th October at 19h00 Top12Wines tastings series: Sauvignon Blanc at MOLO LOLO LODGE 27 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town R220pp inclusive of meal & Cheeses from Ile de France The format is as usual, a blind tasting 12 of the best SA Wines in the category of the day, all winners of awards and top reviews, competing against the public! You will rank the wines in order of preference, with old friends and new friends alike. Expect amazing quality wines. Info: +27 81 799 3899 - -
Thursday, 8th October at 12noon for 12h30 Buitenverwachting Restaurant Thursday Club. Guest speaker RW Johnson is an Emeritus Fellow of Magdalen College, Oxford and was the only South African Rhodes Scholar to return to live in South Africa after the fall of apartheid. He has published twelve books, scores of academic articles and innumerable articles for the international press. His former students include three members of the current British Cabinet, an editor of The Economist and a large number of leading academics and journalists. He lives in Cape Town. In 1977 his best-selling How Long Will South Africa Survive? provided a controversial and highly original analysis of the survival prospects of apartheid. He retained the title for his new work, partly for nostalgic reason. Now after more than twenty years of ANC rule, he believes the situation has become so critical that the question must be posed again. ‘The big question about ANC rule’ he writes, ‘is whether African nationalism would be able to cope with the challenges of running a modern industrial economy.' Twenty years of ANC rule have shown conclusively that the party is hopelessly ill equipped for this task ... A fascinating book; a fascinating man. Edgar Osojnik will be creating a menu to delight and the Buitenverwachting wines to accompany are elegant and superb. The price per person is R270 fully inclusive. Please telephone 021 685 8016 or email for more information or to book.
Saturday, 10th October CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL PINOTAGE DAY AT DURBANVILLE HILLS WINES. Pinotage, the cultivar that is unique to South Africa, will be celebrated not only at Durbanville Hills Wines and many other South African wineries on International Pinotage Day, but also elsewhere in the world to create awareness and to honour this noble varietal. This cultivar owes its existence to the legendary Prof Abraham Perold who in the 1920s out of curiosity, crossed Cinsaut (or Hermitage, as it was then known locally) with Pinot noir. The four seeds he obtained from the crossing he planted at his home on the Welgevallen experimental farm in Stellenbosch.  He soon forgot about his experiment. When Perold took up a new position at KWV in Paarl, the residence stood unoccupied for some time. During a clean-up of what had become an overgrown garden, a passing colleague who knew about the experiment, removed the rootstock just in time and so saved Pinotage for the world. The young vines were re-established at the nursery at Elsenburg Agricultural College. The area around the Durbanville Hills cellar is known for its cool climate which is considered ideal for the slow-ripening of Pinotage. On 10 October the cellar will celebrate the occasion with a lunch paired with a glass of Durbanville Hills Pinotage. Grilled venison loin with twice baked pecan nut soufflé, red coleslaw and a glass of wine will be available at R150 per person. In addition, you can purchase a gift pack from the tasting room consisting of three bottles of Pinotage from its Durbanville Hills, The Scout and Rhinofields ranges at R230. Bookings are essential. To book or for more information call 021 558 1337 or send an email to
Saturday, 10th October, 12h30 to 19h00   Pinotage on Tap - Cape Town, at Diemersfontein Wine Estate, R301 Jan Van Riebeeck Drive, Wellington, Western Cape. Opening Band: Grassy Spark; Main Band: Crash Car Burn. Your ticket buys you: A Goodie bag on arrival, endless flowing Pinotage wine - on tap, lunch, dessert, live music bands and the best wine festival experience ever! R 410 (Ticket Only) or R 925 (Ticket + a case of Pino) More details here

Saturday, 10th October International PINOTAGE day. Join DeWaal Wines in celebrating Pinotage. DeWaal Wines played a huge part in the rich history of Pinotage, the only uniquely South-African grape varietal.  The first barrel of Pinotage was produced by CT de Waal, a family member of the farm, back in 1941.  Today DeWaal Wines is home to the oldest existing Pinotage block in the world, the single hectare Top of the Hill vineyard, dating back to 1950 and therefore an unbelievable 65 years old! Activities will include Walk to the oldest existing Pinotage vineyard in the world, Comparative tasting of 3 different Pinotages. For reservations, please contact Helga Truter 021 881 3711

Saturday, 10th October, Elim Wine Festival  Experience a day of outdoor fun for the whole family and taste outstanding wines from nine inspiring Cape South Coast wineries at the 4th Elim Wine Festival on Saturday, 10 October. To be part of this ultimate wine and food getaway, be sure to book your accommodation early and buy your festival tickets and entries to the associated sports activities now on Tickets will also be available at the event. The entrance fee for the Elim Wine Festival on Saturday, 10 October is R75 per person, including a branded wine glass and wine tastings. Entrance for under 18’s is free. Pre-bookings for the tutored tastings need to be done in advance by calling 028 482 1902 or email  For more information on the event, schedule and pricing of the Winemaker one-on-one sessions and accommodation options in the area, visit Follow ‘Elim WineGrowers’ on Facebook and be part of the conversation on Twitter @ElimWines.
Sunday, 11th October BLAAUWKLIPPEN'S MARKET Stuart, the frontman of popular 60s and 70s cover band, Wroxeter, will be performing on the 11th. Since his return to the market, he has impressed guests and traders alike with his passion for music; his entertaining rapport with the guests and his reputation for rarely taking a break by just jamming on through the day. Enquiries to +27 21 880 0133  Blaauwklippen is on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, opposite Techno Park Stellenbosch
Sunday, 11th October at 6pm Drakensberg Boys Choir at Cape Point VineyardsSouth Africa’s singing ambassadors, the Drakensberg Boys Choir, will embark on a tour of Cape Town in October 2015. They will perform four concerts on their five day tour Wine and snack platters will be available on the evening. Tickets are available through WebTickets
Wednesday 14th October from 17h00 to 19h00  De Trafford will host an informal vertical tasting of Merlot at the cellar, going back to the maiden vintage. They plan to have a few bottles of selected vintages for sale so you may leave with something special in hand. There is no charge, but space is limited, so please confirm attendance by email to
Thursday, 15th October at 19h00 Top12Wines tastings series: Riesling at MOLO LOLO LODGE 27 Hudson Street, De Waterkant, Cape Town R220pp inclusive of meal & Cheeses from Ile de France The format is as usual, a blind tasting 12 of the best SA Wines in the category of the day, all winners of awards and top reviews, competing against the public! You will rank the wines in order of preference, with old friends and new friends alike. Expect amazing quality wines. Info: +27 81 799 3899 -
Friday, 16th to Sunday, 18th October ROBERTSON WINE ON THE RIVER Head for the Banks of the Breede for some fun in the sun. During the weekend of 16 to 18 October 2015, the banks of the Breede River will come alive with the annual and ever-popular Robertson Wine on the River – this year celebrating its 10th anniversary. The festival will, once again, take place on the picturesque riverside farm, Goudmyn, situated on the R317 between Robertson and Bonnievale.
Taste in excess of 300 wines from more than 40 wineries, enjoy a plethora of gastronomic delights and soak up the sultry sounds of live jazz and blues melodies.  Browse and shop at our Robertson Farmers’ market, meander through the arts and crafts, take a leisurely cruise down the river and enjoy tutored tastings for which visitors are advised to pre-book in order to avoid disappointment.  For details on these tastings please refer to Robertson Wine on the River offers a wide variety of children’s activities, making it a truly fabulous family festival.  Pensioner prices are available, with children under 18 years of age entering free of charge, and children’s activities working on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ system.  This makes it convenient and affordable for the entire family to enjoy this festive affair on the banks of the Breede River and experience firsthand the hospitality that this valley is notorious for. Convenient designated parking areas will be clearly sign-posted en route. For visitors utilising parking areas further a-field, a shuttle-service will provide transport to and from the festivities. With wines being sold on site at cellar door prices, Robertson Wine on the River provides the perfect opportunity to stock up on your favourite Robertson wines, renowned for their great value, from easy-drinking to top-of-the-range. An exciting new addition to the festival is the first annual Duck Derby hosted by Sanlam Alternative Investments in conjunction with Karin’s on Main bed and breakfast in Bonnievale.  The proceeds from this initiative will go towards the Bonnie-People Project in Bonnievale which assists the inhabitants of the settlement in building and developing sustainable components within their community, focusing on the future of their children. This idyllic, open-air spring festival is not to be missed. So bring your friends and family along for an extravaganza of fine wine, delectable treats, great music and complete relaxation amidst a rural ambience of spectacular scenery and warm sunshine. Please refer to for detailed offerings and more information on the festival. Ticket prices for the festival vary from R80 to R130 for the Saturday and Sunday, and R160 to R250 for a weekend pass.  For full details on the prices and early bird offers valid until 30 September 2015 please refer to

Sunday, 18th October BLAAUWKLIPPEN'S MARKET DOGGY WALK Another event that started with the market four years ago, is the Vineyard Doggy Walk. We would like to thank the Helderberg Animal Welfare Society for supporting us over the years. Bring your furry friend along on the 18th and join us for our monthly fundraiser. The walk starts at 10h00 and entry is R20 per person and dog. Newton Theron will be taking the stage on this day for another vibrant performance. Enquiries to +27 21 880 0133  Blaauwklippen is on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, opposite Techno Park Stellenbosch
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

5th October 2015
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
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