Thursday, September 21, 2017

Afternoon tea at the Leeu Collection, Franschhoek

How can one refuse an invitation to take tea with friends? We were invited to try the afternoon tea at the Leeu Estates this week with other members of the media and they kindly arranged transport from Cape Town to get us there and back. Should you wish to partake of this lovely experience, the tea costs R190 per person and includes a pot of tea. Afternoon Tea will be served from 2pm to 5pm every day of the week. The Leeu Estate is the 17-room country house retreat and boutique winery in the Franschhoek valley and it is part of the Leeu Collection owned by Mr Analjit Singh
It was a lovely day, the gardens are looking splendid and the vineyards have the buds breaking. Mr Singh is a partner in award-winning Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines which are located on the property
The views of Franschhoek from the terrace are lovely. You can see the Franschhoek pass winding up the mountain in the distance.
The invited media group was welcomed with a glass of Bas MCC from the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines - this is the nickname by which Mr Singh is affectionately known
or some sherbet if you did not want alcohol
It makes a very pretty picture
PRO Nicolette Waterford chats to Journalist/publisher Ingrid Jones
The Estate is filled to the brim inside and out, with art, some of it very whimsical like this sculpture
Diana letting loose the Dogs of War
The main Leeu Estate building
Time for tea, or perhaps something a little stronger? Refreshments for the hotel guests
We were seated in the main dining room
which has two magnificent lion sculptures
Executive Chef Oliver Cattermole came to chat to us and tell us about the tea
Martin Senekal, who is a well known and respected chef has joined the Leeu Estates and is the pastry chef
The Afternoon Tea Menu
One of these three tiered cake plates served two or three of us. It is an overwhelmingly good selection, and vast. Lynne has been watching a TV programme where professional pastry chefs compete for the top award, many of these fine classic French and English pastries were part of that programme and made one's mouth water. Now we had a chance to taste them
On the top tier were Leeu Pina Colada macarons, a guava Paté de fruit 
a fruit jelly topped with a crumble and fresh cream
On the next tier you can see a pastry shaped like a little nun or choir boy, this is a Religieuse - the lightest crisp choux pastry, crusted with nuts, filled with crème patissière (flavoured confectioner custard), given a cream frill and topped with its own white chocolate halo; scrumptious. The strawberry gateaux are more like a strawberry jelly and they are filled with a lovely tart passion fruit gel
On the other side of the second tier are the chocolate gateau, so light and fluffy and very chocolatey, topped with roasted hazelnuts. And the Mille-feuille (thousand leaves), thin layer of puff pastry sandwiched with creamy pistachio custard and given a chocolate sail anchored with a pistachio nut.
On the bottom tier is the savoury selection - more Lynne's cup of tea. Spicy Coronation Chicken sandwiches, tiny, well seasoned spinach and feta quiches with crisp, crumbly and buttery short crust pastry. There are mini Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato baps, small oak smoked salmon sandwiches on Banting seed loaf with pickled cucumber and dill crème fraiche - could have done with more of those. And then there are the lightest scones most of us have ever tasted. Made with buttermilk, they nearly float off the plate. They are accompanied with fig or apricot jam and real clotted cream
Mr Singh came to meet everyone
And both chefs had to answer lots of questions about the pastries and other treats. It really is a magnificent tea. Three of us shared one cake tier and we each just had half of each of the pastries. And half a scone each. This normally would have been far to many sweet things for Lynne but because they are so light and delicious, she coped. We drank some lovely Earl Grey tea on our table, John stuck to water and another glass of BAS MCC. If you come for the tea, the wine and bubbles are extra
Carriages awaited outside the reception area
Journalists Anel Grobler and Ingrid Irma Jones enjoying some sun while waiting

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