Tuesday, February 07, 2017

This Week's MENU. Yzerfontein, Darling, Brandy Alexander, Getaway Good Value wines, Wine & recipe of the week

A flight of Black oystercatchers at Yzerfontein on the West Coast
We have had a busy start to the year, fixing things at home, taking clients on tours to the Winelands and even being part of a British TV commercial, but our world is waking up and we have stories to tell you.
This year certainly has had a dry start. The drought is severe in the Western Cape and if the rains don't come this winter, and early, we are going to be in serious trouble. Apparently we only have enough water for about 80 days. And getting the last 10% out of the dams is apparently not an option. It has rained this week, the first time in our area for months and it was lovely; it won’t be enough, so we hope for more. We are getting a lot of exercise watering a few of our precious plants by hand, the rest of the garden is dying. No hoses or watering systems are allowed
Now, it is harvest time in the Winelands and it is all GO again. We will be writing about several harvest festivals and experiences that we have been invited to. We would encourage you to go to these if you can, they are so much fun and a very good way to see how hard farms have to work in this season. Most winemakers are very short of sleep, having to work incredibly long hours, not only to get the grapes in to the cellar, but then deal with them and start the wine making process. The smell of fresh ripe grapes going into a crusher is a superb, never to be forgotten aroma. And tasting the freshly pressed grape juice, not yet fermented, is something you will never forget, it’s sensational.
A Summer Holiday in Yzerfontein     

After the hectic activity of our year, we decided to take a week off and booked a small flat at the side of a house in Yzerfontein, about 1½ hours north of Cape Town. It was at the edge of a dune. We do live by the sea but a holiday right on the front with no buildings in front of us, no traffic, fresh sea air and lazy days are what we crave. We read books, ate and drank well, walked on the beach, watched the birds and enjoyed the beautiful sunsets. A restorative for our souls, which was all too short but very beautiful....

A West Coast Day 
You might think the West Coast is quite sleepy but it is not! There are so many things to do up there. While we were on holiday there, we accepted two invitations from Darling people which included wine and food: Lukas Wentzel at Groote Post and Charles Withington of the Darling Wine shop, who was doing a wine tasting at Chicory Cheese restaurant. We decided to see them both on the same day so we could spend the other days relaxing by the sea! Tasting wine from the tanks, lunch at Hilda's and a game drive at Groote Post with Lukas

Brandy Alexander Day at Shaker with Distell     
Cocktails or straight up? We love having our predilections challenged. We like good brandy, gin and whisk(e)y. We didn't think that we liked cocktails. Distell threw us in at the deep end and taught us how to make some cocktails with their brandies. We had a ball and loved the experience, although it did have an effect on the rest of the afternoon. And yes, we took the bus there and back. First, we sampled some great brandies and imported cognacs.....

The Getaway Best Value Wine Awards     
Almost 250 wines were entered for this annual competition and we attended the awards ceremony this week. Should you want a copy, this year's Getaway Best Value Wines Guide is bagged with the February issue of Getaway, which is on sale from 23 January 2017. Results are also are also available at www.bestvaluewineguide.com  Wines to enjoy without breaking your budget.....

To remind you how short our summer fruit season is and to remember to cook some of the fruits so you can have lovely puddings in the winter. It is plum season at present and a plum crumble on a cold winter day is superb. You may not realise how easy it is to make and freeze for use in a few months time.
Stewed Plums for freezing
1 kilo of red or purple plums (NOT prune plums, you want the juicy sharp and tangy plums) - ¼ t cinnamon - 1 teaspoon of butter - 2 Tablespoons water - 2 Tablespoons sugar or more according to your own taste and the ripeness of the plums - a pinch of salt
Halve the plums and remove the pips. Put all the ingredients in a deep pot and cook gently until the plums begin to melt and form a nice juice. Don't cook until it is all mush, leave some shape. Taste, adjust the sugar and add a pinch of salt to intensify the flavours. Pack into freezer boxes and freeze till you need them.
To make the tart or crumble, put the defrosted plums into a pie plate and cover with shortcrust pastry - glaze the top with an egg wash and sprinkle with sugar, or just add a crumble top with some added chopped almonds. You can do this with other fruit too, like cling peaches, apricots and cherries.

MENU's Wine of the Week: Altydgedacht Gewürztraminer 2014     
We showed this wine in a tasting of Teutonic varietals with our wine club recently. It is one of very few bone dry examples of this varietal in produced in South Africa. Like Riesling, Gewürztraminer does not have a large following, largely because it is not well understood. It is a delicate and aromatic wine, typically with roses and a little spice on the nose (gewürz is the German word for spice) and Turkish delight and litchis on the palate with lightly spicy notes   Many people assume....

7th February 2017
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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.

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017

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