Thursday, April 25, 2019

The new Heritage Tasting Menu at Grande Provence, Franschhoek

Grande Provence wine estate in Franschhoek, has gone back to its culinary roots with a new Heritage Tasting Menu,
prepared by talented Head Chef Marvin Robyn, and we were invited to the estate to sample their new Tasting Menu,
which is available exclusively to dinner guests. The menu offers a wide selection of fresh, local ingredients
expertly prepared with Chef Marvin’s own twist on South African heirloom recipes
We arrived in the transport kindly arranged and were welcomed with a glass of Grand Provence Brut MCC,
made from equal quantities of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
It is aged “sur lie” for 5 years before disgorgement with zero dosage. Classic Eye of the Partridge colour
and complex flavours of brioche and cooked apples, a good fine mousse and a nice crispness on the end
And served by very happy staff
We love the garden area with its trees, pools and beautiful sculptures
Oysters were served with the MCC
Then we repaired into the Jonkershuis, where a long table had been set for lunch
Marna Viljoen, Hospitality Manager, welcomed us and explained how the Heritage Tasting Menu had been conceived
They had taken heirloom recipes and asked the chef to refine them for modern tastes
Not fine dining, but to make traditional South African food more sophisticated
The food is paired with Grande Provence wines. She said that there is such enthusiasm in the kitchen
We were introduced to Head Chef Marvin Robyn
He graduated with distinction from the acclaimed Institute of Culinary Arts (ICA) and previously worked at a number
of top winelands restaurants including Delaire Graff, Cuvée at Simonsig, Equus at Cavalli and finally Makaron at Majeka House
We also met winemaker Thys Smit who has been part of the Grande Provence winemaking team since 2015
In July 2018, he was promoted to Grande Provence winemaker and farm manager. Previously with Lourensford Estate,
he has also trained and worked in America at Roth Estate, focusing on Chardonnay and Bordeaux-style blends
The Menu for our tasting. We were told we would get to taste other items of the main menu during lunch
The first course of Ox tongue was paired with the Grand Provence 2017 Rosé
It has lovely fruit flavours of raspberry and mulberry, slightly lactic on the end and very refreshing
The 2017 Chardonnay was served with the intermediate courses. Rich, oily, a typical Chardonnay nose, round on the palate; buttery flavours with apple, crisp limes and long flavours; very, very enjoyable.
We were served freshly baked Mosbolletjies with a dill flavoured butter
The soft, sweet glazed rolls are made with fermenting grape must; traditional in the winelands at harvest time
The herb butter was an interesting and not unpleasant pairing
The days of wine and roses
Chef Robyn came out to describe each course to us
The first dish (an amuse bouche), served on a dish of raw black beans, was a sample of a tiny Bobotie samoosa
topped with a sour gel and a cheese tuille filled with thick cheese sauce and dusted with grated biltong
Despite many saying that they did not enjoy tongue, this dish went down very well indeed. Finely shaved ox tongue, nicely meaty, topped with pickled mustard seeds, ash, on a bed of sweet mustard, radish and turnip. John had a perception that tongue is slippery and viscous, this completely changed that opinion. Lots of umami flavours paired with the warmth of the mustard, the zing of the pickle and the fresh crispness of the shaved radish and turnip combined to make this an impressive dish
And the pairing with the Rosé worked well
Another intermediary dish of a bed of Malay fried onions, smoked snoek, rather fishy tasting oyster cream, topped with a crisp poppadom sprinkled with cayenne pepper and other spices. It was a good riff on a deconstructed Pickled Fish.
Not all of us were brought up with the intense flavours of this classic Cape Malay dish, but it was enjoyed by many
The Chardonnay went well with this dish
Winemaker Thys Smit explained how they had paired the wines with the menu
The Chardonnay
Probably the best dish of the day was the Intermediate course of Kabeljou fish,
on a heringboontjie purée (a local white dried bean), celeriac, with a dill cream
The perfectly cooked fish, which has a steak-like texture, crisp and golden on the outside and moist inside,
was then topped with sliced white seedless grapes and herbs
A great combination of superb cooking and great flavours, well matched
The fish was served with the rather woody 2015 The Grande Provence White, a blend of Chenin Blanc and Viognier,
pressed, barrel fermented for 11 months and aged in French oak barrels for 24 months
Full bodied with flavours of sweet peach, melon and quince with big oak structure. R430 on the farm
The Main course was Venison (kudu) loin, perfectly pink, served on a buchu and honey syrup, a slice of grilled polenta
(mielie pap) and accompanied by a spicy purée of Chakalaka, a spicy vegetable relish or African version of salsa,
made from cooked onions, chilli, tomatoes, carrots and peppers
And then another extra course of tender Lamb loin served with a delicious and unusual purée of acorn and parsnip
(with peanut butter like richness), and a Morogo purée
Morogo is wild African spinach and can be one of three different plants. Served with a jus and sliced tomatoes
The wine paired with these two dishes was the 2015 Grande Provence Red
Complex red and black berry fruit on the nose and palate, a Bordeaux style red blend matured in French barrels for 24 months
with notes of dark plums, fresh fruit acidity, chocolate and lots of wood support on the end. R590 on the farm
Dessert was half a small Melktert, a scoop of very creamy vanilla ice cream flavoured with Naartjie (mandarin orange)
and a curry praline
And the Petit Fours were minute cream horns and Koesisters - the Cape Malay coconut covered doughnuts
The talented team that put this menu together. Do go and try it for yourself
It is definitely a place to take overseas visitors to try our local food
We loved this wonderful sculpture which absolutely captures two horses nuzzling each other, and having a word, as they do
If you look at it for a while, you swear you can see the heads coming together, so magical is it

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