Thursday, March 29, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Franschhoek. Glenwood, Stony Brook, Chamonix. Haskell Long Table. Wine Concepts Craft Festival, Honey ice cream, Chamonix Cab franc

Beach Road, Sea Point. Sunset with some blessed rain
A spectacular thunderstorm over the Cape Peninsula yesterday evening was very exciting. We watched a beautiful sunset with flashes of lightning from a flat on the Sea Point beachfront. Our car was washed by the rain. We are feeling the onset of an early winter and have already lit our first fire. The rain we have had has been  Festivally feeble and a long way from being enough to fill the dams and end the drought, but every drop is manna to the soul and we hope that this will be a very wet winter.
For many of us, this is a very significant religious weekend. We wish you and yours a happy Easter and a very good Passover celebration. Drive carefully and enjoy all that is special which may come your way

As you drive into Franschhoek, you might have noticed a sign pointed to Robertsvlei on the right hand side. Should you take the turn you will find yourself in a quiet, hidden valley behind the Franschhoek hill. The road turns to gravel for just 8 km and in the middle of this you will find a gem of a winery called GlenWood. If you continue, the road will take you to the top end of Franschhoek, near the Huguenot Monument, a circular route we bet few know about; it’s worth exploring.
GlenWood Winery was established by the owner, Alastair G Wood in 1984. They have 30 hectares under vines and DP Burger, the Cellarmaster (Dawid Petrus is fondly known only by his initials) has been there for 27 years, surely a record for any winemaker. They have Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Merlot and Shiraz grapes planted and produce an multi award winning Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blend. The farm has Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) certification, which is a voluntary environmental sustainability scheme which complies with international criteria; and Bio-Diversity and Wine Initiative accreditation (BWI)
What do you do the following day when you have stayed the night in Franschhoek? Well of course you visit some of the farms who have invited you to come and see them. Especially those that you have been meaning to visit for a long time.
So we began at Stony Brook which is at the top of the Valley, turn right at the Monument and wind your way along Green Valley Road until you see their sign on the left. Owned by the McNaught family this is truly a family run farm. Nigel McNaught's wife Joy runs the tasting room and son Craig is the winemaker. 14 hectares of this 23 hectare farm are under vines. The focus from the beginning at this boutique winery was on crafting premium-quality wines that reflected the area and the styles of wine that excited them.
Continuing our day in Franschhoek, we had arranged to meet winemaker Thinus Neethling in the tasting room. The farm is above Franschhoek on the right hand side when you enter the village. It is also on the Franschhoek Tram route. The farm has been owned by German businessman Chris Hellinger, who bought the farm over a quarter of a century ago. We were so pleased to see that they have extended the seating area for the Tasting room outside in the sunshine. Inside can be a little dark.
We were invited to sample the new menu as Haskell have reopened the Long Table restaurant. They call it a small plate menu, with dishes that you can share; they say four per couple would be ample and we agree
This new festival was held last Friday night between 5 and 8 pm and was well attended. There are so many new craft beers, gins, vodkas, even Rum, Whisky and Brandies being made in the Cape. Mike Bampfield Duggan decided it was time for us to sample some of them. We were delighted to be invited, but worried about tasting lots of alcohols. Uber was very popular indeed that evening. We decided just to sample beers and Lynne did one very interesting rum, she is not good with high tack after beer. We hope to taste them one at a time in the future. It was a lot of fun; these crafters are very committed to their products

This is a  fairly easy dessert if you are entertaining over the Easter holidays. Yes, you can use bought vanilla custard from Woollies or another supermarket. Just make the day before
4 Tablespoons runny honey - 120g sugar - 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon - 300ml double cream - 300ml thick vanilla custard - 2 egg whites
Put the honey, sugar and cinnamon in a saucepan with 100 ml water. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 5 minutes or until it becomes syrupy. Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually add the hot syrup in a thin stream, whisking all the time to keep the mixture stiff. Whisk till cool. It is easier in a mixer. It will look like soft meringue.
Whip the cream until it just holds its shape, fold through the meringue mixture and then add the custard. Spoon into a freezer container and freeze overnight. Take out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Serve sprinkled with nuts and some good fresh berries. And if you can get some, broken up honeycomb.
Note: there is a lot of rather dubious honey in the shops, much of which is imported from China, and much of which has been adulterated with other substances. Honey is expensive and dubious practices are used to bring prices down. As always, you get what you pay for. Read the label carefully. Preferably, it should be approved by the South African Bee Industry Organisation (SABIO). There is a simple test if you are in doubt: Fill a glass with water. Add one tablespoon of honey into the glass. Adulterated or artificial honey will dissolve in water and you will see it around the glass. Pure honey on the other hand will settle right at the bottom of your glass.
MENU's Wine of the Week. Chamonix Cabernet Franc 2015   We tasted this wine in our wonderful tasting at Chamonix with winemaker Thinus Neethling. Winter is on its way, somewhat earlier than usual, and we will soon be looking for robust, warm, sustaining dishes; comfort food

It will be a great partner to rich casseroles, made with duck, slow-cooked beef or lamb or, especially, venison. It is savoury with a dark berry nose, and perfume. Hot savouriness on the palate; smoky blueberries and cassis, delicious. It is drinking very well now but, as is so often the case, you are sure to be rewarded if you keep it for a few years. About R240 per bottle from the farm at the new 15% VAT rate.

29th March 2018

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
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Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169

Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005

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

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