Friday, October 12, 2018

The Veritas Awards 2018 at the CTICC

The annual Veritas Awards, which is the longest running and most prestigious wine and brandy competition in South Africa, dating back to 1991, and is said by Bennie Howard CWM, who is the MC of the evening, to be the "Oscars of the South African Wine World". It is indeed always a very glamorous, formal black tie affair. The Awards Ceremony this year was held in the Ballroom of the Cape Town International Convention Centre in Cape Town. There is a formal dinner, served with winning wines and, this year, we were very excited to hear that the dishes would be by some of our top chefs. The Gold and Double Gold Medals are presented during dinner and afterwards there is coffee and a selection of winning brandy entries. The full list of this year’s awards can be viewed on the Veritas website
Small pastry bits with chicken, raw onion and cucumber
Some more canapés - smoked salmon mousse on mini blinis
The rugby test match between the All Blacks and the Springboks was due to finish at 7 pm, so it was being shown in the coffee shop of the CTICC when we arrived. Not a good result this time, with a narrow, last minute loss, but South Africans are passionate about their rugby and a good number of eminent members of the wine industry have been rugby Springboks
The crowd of invited guests and contestants gathering in the foyer with glasses of MCC bubbles
while we meet and greet and wait for the doors of the ballroom to open
Two top chefs, whom we have known and appreciated for several years, Craig Cormack of The Goose Roasters and SALT at Paul Cluver and Rudi Liebenberg of the Mount Nelson. They were responsible for the main course (Craig) and the dessert (Rudi)
La Motte winemaker Michael Langenhoven with De Wetshof's Bennie Stipp and Johann de Wet
Glenelly winemaker Luke O'Cuinneagain in his mini kilt. We suspect that his Irish one was at the cleaners. Very dapper Luke, but just dip, don’t bend when accepting your awards please
Master of Ceremonies Bennie Howard CWM
 Veritas Chairman Christo Pienaar gave the guests the industry background
This year’s recipients of Living Legends honorary scrolls for their services to the wine industry were Albert EksteenChristine Rudman, Melvyn Minnaar, Pierre Marais and Martin van der Merwe
Two people we see rather a lot of at media events were deserving winners of their awards:
Christine Rudman CWM and Journalist Melvin Minnaar. Well done guys!
The sensational starter made by CTICC's Executive Chef Roberto de Carvalho, It was a tour de force of seafood, well prepared. and very pretty to look at. Smoked salmon, cold or smoked and gravadlax, on a runner of salmon carpaccio, a delicious poached prawn stack, a black squid ink stained panko crumb coating on a large peeled prawn, a light bacalhau fritter, salmon roe and chopped capers, picked sushi ginger, crème fraiche, Japanese yuzu dressing and two roundels of parmesan crisps. Yes we know you are not supposed to do cheese with sea food, but this added good umami savouriness to the dish. Chef Roberto is to be loudly and roundly applauded as his kitchen prepared all the dishes and there were more than 600 guests. The food was consistent in presentation and quality too. And served hot where appropriate. That is some organisation. The food came out quickly and the waiting staff were superbly efficient and just plain nice
Wines we enjoyed at our table with dinner
The waiters would bring a selection and we could choose within reason
Cellarmaster Morné Vrey from Delaire. Note the chic dinner suit worn with veldskoen!
Proud recipients of gold medals were the team at our table from Distell's Spirits division
Those gold medals
The main course was conceived by seasoned Chef Craig Cormack of The Goose Roasters and SALT Restaurant at Paul Cluver wine estate. Rich and satisfying slow braised Brisket on Denningvleis purée (Denningvleis is a South African lamb stew with a mixed spice marinade from Cape Malay influence, here used as a sauce). It also had an apricot atjar (spicy chutney) and was served with brocolli, baby carrots, turmeric arancini (rice balls) and the natural jus
This beautiful floral bouquet of local proteas and fynbos was the centre piece of every table
The cheese course, floodlit by the roaming coloured floodlights. Tiny delicate warm cheese beignets at the top and slices of the winner of the Qualité awards 2018. Made by Parmelat South Africa, their Mature 18 month Cheddar cheese
The dessert was by celebrated Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg of the Belmont Mount Nelson. It was a poem of flavour, delicacy and pure joy. Described as a Vanilla and white chocolate crunch beside a layered Delice of raspberry mousse, and chocolate crème topped with raspberry jelly, raspberry paté de fruit, macerated raspberries and a lime salsa with a vanilla bean ice cream. We felt we were having tea at the Nellie!
The final awards are completed, and now the dancing can commence
The valiant organisers, Elsabe Ferreira and Bennie Howard CWM
The food was the best we've had at Veritas to date, Thank You!
The Distell team with their brandies and their gold medals
The De Wetshof family men: Viticulturalist and Marketer Johann, father Danie de Wet and Winemaker Peter

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