Sunday, October 23, 2016

This Week's MENU. Durbanville Pinotages, Sommeliers Selection, Reciprocal Trade Tasting, Veritas Awards dinner, Graham Beck Glass Affair, Blanko at The Alphen, Springfield Life From Stone, Prawn Pilaff

Summer coming in – a Southern Double-collared sunbird hen and wilde dagga

This is truly a silly season. We are running flat out to stay in the same place and, in truth, to try and do all the necessary writing and editing after covering all the stories you’ll see in this issue, as well as a few which we’ll tell you about next week, and to have a few moments for ourselves, so please read on... or click any of the following links to look at a story

Enjoying Durbanville Wine Valley Pinotages     It is obvious from various tastings we have experienced over the last few months that Pinotage is coming of age in a big way. And that it is doing well outside of the recognised terroirs. This was reinforced by a tasting of some the Durbanville Pinotages at Meerendal recently.
The Sommeliers Selection Wine list     Once a year the Sommeliers Association puts together their recommended list of wines, the wines they would like to see on a wine list.  We tasted these wines at a trade and media tasting, which was held this year at the MOMO Gallery in Buitengracht Street. This is always an interesting selection, showing some wild cards, some favourites and some new entries
Reciprocal Trade Tasting in Cape Town     Reciprocal has a very good selection of imported wines and spirits and, once a year, they come down to Cape Town so that their good customers, trade and media can taste a selection of these. This is a chance to taste before you buy and people were putting in orders for these iconic wines and enjoying this unique chance to experience these excellent foreign wines. We certainly were very pleased to be invited. You, too, can order these wines from Reciprocal. Check out their web site
The 2016 Veritas Awards dinner     This Annual Competition has been running since 1991 and is one of the largest wine competitions in South Africa, with 1 670 entries this year. Five overseas judges Joe Wadsack (UK), Thomas Lüber (Germany), Janåke Johansson (Sweden), Guido Francque (Belgium) and Denis Lahouratate (France) joined over 100 local wine experts to taste these wines blind over four day. We were invited to this year's Awards Ceremony, which is a black tie event with dinner in the Ballroom at the CTICC
Graham Beck A Glass Affair     Did you know that different glass shapes have been made to enhance different wines (and other beverages)? Millions have been spent by the top glass makers in research to find the perfect shape for each varietal to showcase that particular wine in the best way. For many years, German and Belgian brewers have used glasses shaped to enhance the flavours of their products. We have experienced several tastings over the years in these different glasses and started out being sceptical. But we have come to see how well this works. Graham Beck have now done their own research and hosted this event o show us the changes they are making to their glassware in order to help showcase their Methode Cap Classique bubblies. Flutes are out, here is the future
Dinner at The Alphen's new Blanko restaurant     You may, like us, have been to the Alphen restaurants in Constantia many times over the years under their different guises, there have been several over the years. The Five Rooms was the name of the previous restaurant in this historic building till September, now it has begun a new life as Blanko (an Esperanto word we are told). It is part of the group owned and run by restaurateur Paul Kovensky . He has initiated a new change: the Five Rooms have gone and Blanko has opened. The house has been transformed from historic into a modern all white, leather and glass space with lots of modern art from the Goodman Gallery. Gone are the antiques and the Cloete family art collection. We were asked to come and experience the place and the food. Group Head Chef, Amber-May Deetlefs, delivers Italian style food
This wine is lively, zesty, green plums and elderflower with great minerality. It sings in the glass. Sip it before dinner and it will make you hungry, serve with seafood or fish and it will be the best compliment possible. See below.
1 onion, very finely chopped – 1 clove of crushed garlic – ½ t olive oil – 1 T butter - 2 cups of rice (not Basmati or jasmine) 100 ml dry white wine - 5 cups of fish stock –-sprig of thyme – half a bay leaf – a good pinch of saffron – salt – white pepper - 500g raw peeled and deveined prawns - 1 T chopped parsley
Fry the onion and garlic gently in the oil and butter with a pinch of salt. Do not brown.  When it is soft, add the rice and stir till all the grains are transparent. Add the white wine and let it bubble away. Add the stock, a good shake of white pepper and the herbs and saffron. Stir, then cover the pot with some greaseproof paper, then its lid and put into a 170°C oven for 20 minutes. Add the peeled prawns to the rice and put back into the oven for 10 minutes.. By this time the liquid has almost all gone and the rice will be very moist and glossy. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Stir in the parsley. Serves 4

22nd October 2016
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Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a message.

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