Friday, April 05, 2019

This Week’s MENU. Kimberley Hotel breakfast, Creation Harvest menu, Hemel en Aarde morning, Seven Springs tasting, The Onion Shack, Baked quinces, Creation Cape Vintage

The Babilonstoren Mountain appearing through the clearing mist as a pair of herons flies up the Hemel en Aarde valley

Most of this week’s MENU is about one of our all-time favourite places. Lynne surprised John yesterday by saying that she could consider buying a property there. The Hemel en Aarde (Heaven and Earth) Valley, about halfway between Hermanus and Caledon, is one of the most beautiful places we know and is great terroir for wine growing, especially cooler climate varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. So we hope you’ll like our stories about the place, its wines, its food and its people. Tomorrow we’ll be off to a much warmer area, also one we like a lot, Wellington, but that will be a story for next week…

Friends in the media had told us that this old Victorian Hotel in Buitenkant Street did a mean breakfast, so we decided to try it. It is no longer one of those old Commercial Travellers’ hotels, but has turned into a successful Back Packers Hotel. So the breakfasts are taken in a downstairs area open to the street; it looks just like a separate restaurant. It’s called The Kitchen. We got there at 9.30 and there was only one person there. That soon changed…

A morning walk in the Hemel en Aarde
After a quiet night in our friends’ cottage in the Hemel en Aarde Valley, John woke up quite early the next morning, with Lynne enjoying a little "lie-in. He took advantage of a crisp autumn morning to take a little walk in this very attractive part of the Valley…

We love what we do and we love the people who help us to do what we do. John mentioned that it has been a bit quiet in the wine and food world and immediately we got some great invitations. The first was from Carolyn Martin at Creation wines to come and enjoy their Harvest Lunch. And a friend saw the invitation and offered their cottage for an overnight stay. So off we went to the beautiful Hemel and Aarde valley again on a sunny but slightly chilly day. We seem to have an early Autumn…

Tasting the wines at Seven Springs
Seven Springs winery, up at the top of the valley on the way to Caledon from the Hemel and Aarde has been inviting us to come for a long time and it was on our way as we headed home this week. They now have their own cellar and have done their first harvest in it and opened a tasting room. We received a warm welcome from Augustus Dale who has taken over from winemaker Riana van der Merwe, who has followed her heart to Australia. Gus, who is also a viticulturist, has had many years experience as a wine merchant in London and, after studying Viticulture and Oenology in Beaune has worked in Burgundy, in St Emilion, and Bordeaux. He was one of the first to convert a French property in the region to an Organic culture. He is, like us, convinced that it is the future in wine…
Seven Springs Winery is home to a restaurant on site which has been open since December. It is called The Onion Shed and that is what it has been converted from. The chef/owner is Lois Braun and her boyfriend is the farmer who runs the organic pig farm. She is a trained pastry chef and is very proud that this is her own restaurant. And her first….
On the MENU this week. Baked Toffee Quinces
Quinces are in season and so often we find them rotting under trees as not many seem to know what to do with these beautiful fruits. They do need to be cooked. (There are masochists who like to eat them raw with salt, but we won’t go there.) The flesh is relatively hard and they are not a picnic to peel, but persevere, it is worth it. You can just stew them gently in some water and sugar till soft, adding some cinnamon or fresh ginger, but the following recipe is one of our favourites and the hard work will pay such dividends. See the Recipe…

This is a Port style wine made from Shiraz. We liked and enjoyed this so much when we were served it with dessert recently at Creation doing a pairing lunch, that we have made it our Wine of the Week. It is better than many of the young ports we taste in Portugal last year which lacked depth and complexity. This has concentration of flavour, sweetness and spice balanced with rich plums, black cherry and vanilla, good fruit acids, richness, and warmth from the KWV brandy added. It will age beautifully but is really drinking so well now. More…

5th April 2019

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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2019
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