Friday, February 16, 2018

This Week's MENU. Grande Provence, Glenelly's Lady May, Madame May's Glass Collection, Essence of Tomato Soup, Wines of the Week

Clouds forming over the mountains in the Winelands

How wonderful it is to start this week’s MENU on a note of optimism. Clouds have appeared and a cloud has lifted.

What a week. On Tuesday night the heavens announced loudly a possible change in the weather, which sadly, violent though it was, didn't last. On Wednesday night we all finally got what we had been waiting for. No, not rain, we live in hope for that, but a new President. It was a day like no other; at times we thought we were in cloud cuckoo land, there were so many twists and turns, steps forward and back, stand offs and threats of possible gunfights at the OK Corral, but at near midnight, when most of the nation was tucked up on bed, Zuma resigned and has been followed by a man whose first speech in Parliament was statesmanlike and gives us hope that we may at last have a government that works for the people. Lynne wanted to rush out and blow the car horn to alert everyone. There is euphoria in the air.  Now we have to watch carefully, to see what happens next.

It has been a while since we last visited this farm, and in the interim period wine maker Hagen Viljoen has joined. We were invited for the release of the new 2017 Chenin Blanc, Grand Provence's new single varietal wine. He says “For many, Chenin Blanc is one of South Africa’s top wine varieties and has a strong claim for pole position when it comes to being the driver for brand South Africa. The ready access to a rich heritage of old vineyards, as well as the variety’s versatility of styles certainly re-enforces this claim”. And Chenin would be the main focus of the wine with lunch

What an invitation, one we were very keen to accept, as this opportunity does not come often on wine farms. Not many farms, in making their top wines, celebrate the vintage and let the wine express it, rather than trying to fit into an annual 'recipe'. On Glenelly in Ida's Valley in Stellenbosch, winemaker Luke O'Cuinneagain told us they often have vintage variations and he has to let the wines speak for themselves. And they certainly do, in a very good way, while still being recognisable as themselves

We thought this deserved an article all on its own as the museum so captivated us - as does Lady May. It is an extraordinary collection of glass from different periods in history and from all over the world. It is one of the largest privately owned collections in the world. She has been interested in glass for almost her whole life, and there is rare early glass from the 1st and 2nd centuries as well as modern contemporary classics. Her mother collected and some of her mother's collection is now in the museum

It’s almost impossible not to feel the pull of the craft-drinks revolution. Wine Concepts will host their inaugural Craft Festival on Friday 23rd March from 17h00 to 20h00 at The Vineyard Hotel, where they’ll showcase a fine selection of diverse and enticing Beers and Ciders along with creative Spirits including Gin, Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Brandy, Absinthe, Grappa, Vermouth etc. The Festival offers the opportunity to taste a range of craft beverages from over 20 of the country’s top producers. All the showcased products will be available for purchase at special prices from Wine Concepts on the evening. Cost: R200.00 per person – includes tasting glass, tastings and light snacks. Tickets can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za, or at any of the Wine Concepts branches or at the door on the evening subject to availability http://www.wineconcepts.co.za.  We will see you there.

Tomatoes are in season. This is not quite Christophe Dehosse's amazing tomato soup (illustrated above) which we wrote about this week, but you can add what he did and make this more complex. If you use good flavourful tomatoes like Roma or huge beef tomatoes, you will capture the flavour. This cold soup, which does not require any cooking, is a light starter for 3 or 4 people, not complicated to make and looks very pretty. There are lovely ripe tomatoes in the markets at the moment.

1 kilo of ripe red tomatoes, beef or Roma - 1 small clove of garlic - 1 tspn each of fresh marjoram, basil and parsley - salt and pepper - 1 or 2 extra tomatoes - 10 cm fresh cucumber - 1 dessertspoon chopped chives, - some torn basil - a few micro herbs - good green extra virgin olive oil

Cut a small cross in the top of each tomato. Drop them into a litre of boiling water for just a minute or two, then remove them and put into iced water. You can then easily remove their skins, their cores and their pips. Liquidise the remaining tomato flesh with the chopped garlic and the herbs. Then put them into a muslin or very fine mesh sieve or jelly bag to drip, and you will have essence of tomato, which you will then need to season gently with salt and pepper. You can make this a day in advance and chill. Skin, core and deseed the extra tomato and cut the flesh into tiny 1 cm squares. Do the same with some slices of cucumber; you can leave the skin on. You only need about 2 to 3 tablespoons of each. When ready to serve, adjust the seasoning and add the tomato and cucumber squares. Top with the chives and other herbs and a drop or two of good green olive oil. You can also add some cold cooked or ceviche peeled prawns. Do not use raw, it is too dangerous. If you want to stretch this further, add some clear sieved vegetable stock.

MENU’s Wines of the Week. There are two, a white and a red that both impressed us so much
Grande Provence Chenin Blanc 2017
is Hagen Viljoen's first wine for Grande Provence. A dusty nose with hints of English gooseberries, at first it is dry on the palate then the fruit powerfully bursts through, golden apricots, passion fruit, guava and a nice citrus shot of acidity. We were served some good sourdough bread and an unusual nut dip, the wine was very special in this combination

The Glenelly Lady May 2012,
which is just being launched. It has incense wood notes with layers of deep cassis, cherry and berry fruit, fresh and slightly warmly alcoholic. It was a poem with the roast lamb we had for lunch and is also one to put in your cellar for a year or three

16th February 2018

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 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 me
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