Saturday, May 22, 2021

SALT Restaurant at Waterford Estate

Great news. Chefs Craig Cormack and Beau du Toit have opened their restaurant, Salt, at Waterford Wine Estate, so you can look forward to a combination of great wines, paired with superb food. We were invited to join a small party and sample both this last week. Waterford is one of the most attractive wine estates in Stellenbosch, up the Blaauwklippen road, and we are always met with a very warm welcome. They have many things to experience and enjoy on the farm; have a look at their website

It was a small group that was invited; people we often used to meet at media functions like this and whom we have missed seeing very much. L to R Journalist Fiona McDonald; Kevin Arnold, Managing Partner and Cellarmaster at Waterford; Damien Joubert-Winn, Head of Sales and Marketing at Waterford; Lynne and Journalist Graham Howe

Salt chefs Craig Cormack and Beau du Toit. We are always very happy to see them cooking;
they produce such great food. They also have a catering company called Goose Roasters

Kevin Arnold shows a wine to Pamela McOnie of Cape Fusion Tours and James Pietersen of The Wine Cellar

The long table on the verandah with Chef Craig joining us for a short while
to tell us about the menu and his philosophy of seasoning with salt
Between Graham Howe and Craig is Maryna Calow who is Communications Manager at Wines of South Africa

A smiling Kevin Arnold, Cellarmaster and Managing Partner of Waterford Wine Estate since 1998
Kevin was one of the founding partners with Jeremy and Leigh Ord
They have had a good harvest in what has been a difficult year for the wine industry

Chef Craig Cormack is well known as the man who knows all about Salt.
He has collected Salts from all over the world. He sells them and he uses them in his cooking

Winemaker Mark le Roux came to suggest some Waterford wines to accompany lunch and to have a chat
He has been very busy with the harvest. We have not seen him for quite a while

The Menu is small but perfectly formed!

What to choose ....? It was not easy

To start, a plate of small delights to share. Potato bitterballen, very crisp sesame encrusted spanakopita triangles,
a delicious Imam Bayildi aubergine and tomato dip, freshly churned butter and soft sourdough bread

A lightly seared, succulent fillet of SASSI Orange listed Red Roman fish on a bed of plump smoked mussels, spicy chorizo in a lake of a classic saffron bourride sauce and topped with crisp melting slices of aubergine was hard to resist. The flavours took one right back to the Mediterranean coast. We were offered different wines to pair with each dish. The wine that came with the fish was the 2018 Waterford Grenache Noir, chosen because of the savoury flavours of the bourride and the chorizo. Lynne asked if she could also taste the unwooded Waterford Estate Chardonnay and was pleased to say that both are, in their own way, beautiful pairings. The crisp Chardonnay, with richness on the nose and palate with lemon and lime flavours, went beautifully with the moist, delicate fish but also put the spicy sauce in its place. And the absolutely delicious fruity and robust Grenache, lighter in colour but not in flavour, has all the charm and flavour to enhance this good dish. It is also the style of Grenache often found near the Mediterranean. Lots of cherry, mulberry and some savouriness

The slow braised and tender Hantam Karoo lamb shank, wrapped in lamb bacon, had the bone removed and was served with a flavourful lentil and vegetable stew, with fermented clementine, a harissa dressing, and minted labneh

John chose the lamb and so enjoyed the pairing of Waterford's Kevin Arnold Shiraz very much
The earthy black pepper and rich, dark berry fruit of the Shiraz made a perfect pairing with the rich, succulent lamb shank

The dishes do not come with carbohydrates; Chef Craig prefers to serve Farinaceous starch,
commonly referred to as pasta, and so they vary the different pastas they use
We were served linguini with seeds and micro herbs in a rich buttery sauce, to share

We had to think hard about dessert, but wilfully succumbed to the Pear Tart aux Fin
Light as air and melt in the mouth crisp, black pepper dacquoise base,
topped with slices of buttery roasted pear and flaked almonds,
an amaretto and pear purée and topped with a red Alaea Hawaiian salt and black pepper ice cream
To dream of - and want more

And another perfect match was the Waterford Heatherleigh dessert wine,
made from 55% Muscat de Alexandre, 30% Chardonnay, 12% Viognier, 3% Chenin Blanc
It is floral with honey, peach and clementine peel on the nose, which follow through on the palate,
and not over sweet, so a very good pairing with desserts
The grape stems are pinched on the vine, to concentrate and 'raisin' the grapes
No botrytis is allowed as it would make the wine too sweet

The Affogato dessert option: Traditional in Italy, it's a good shot of hot espresso black coffee
to be poured over a scoop of home churned vanilla ice cream

Voila! Heat meets icy cold. So enjoyable

Pam McOnie chatting to Beau and Craig. Nicely socially distanced

The courtyard is a lovely place to enjoy Waterford and its new restaurant, Salt
We recommend that you do go and try it

An intelligent graphic in the tasting room

As a final touch, we all enjoyed a glass of the Waterford Cap Classique
100% Chardonnay which spends 7 years on the lees in bottle and has just been disgorged
On the nose there is richness, fruit, brioche from the lees
Crisp and lean, just as we love it, with a lovely prickle from the mousse
then the golden fruit flavours appear, it is so satisfying and enjoyable

and the excellent food and wine made for a beautifully relaxed atmosphere
and appropriately relaxed conversation at the end of the meal

A Liquidambar tree showed us its autumn colours as we left Waterford

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Porcupine Ridge Pizzeria Challenge Launch

Porcupine Ridge Wines is running a good competition; the campaign will last 5 months and all you have to do is vote for your favourite PIZZERIA or Restaurant that serves Pizza. You can vote up to 10 times. The competition is open to all and also to Restaurants who are encouraged to get their customers to vote. We were invited to the launch of the competition which was held at Ferdinando's Pizzeria in Observatory last week

The Porcupine Ridge wines are affordable and are available in many restaurants country wide
They have come up with this great chart to suggest which of their wines to drink with different pizza

Ferdinando's is an established favourite in Obs. It is at 205 Lower Main Road
There is security on the door and Covid protocols are done: temperature and sanitizing before you enter

We could taste most of the Porcupine Ridge wines at the restaurant. These boxes of mixed Porcupine Ridge wine were presented to media members after the event, a very generous gesture

Ferdinando's Pizzeria's owners Diego Milesi and Kimon Bisogno with their beautiful daughter Luna Stella

John photographed Luna in September last year at Ayama's artichoke festival

Marking our tables were these pizza boxes and we were able to order a pizza each to enjoy sampling them with the wines

There are lots of prizes in the competition
The Weekly voter prize is a mixed case of Porcupine Ridge wines and the Pizza cutter
The grand voter prize is an Earthfire Pizza Oven, 30 Bottles of Porcupine Ridge wines
and Pizza for a year to the value of R1500 from your favourite Pizzeria
And there are many prizes for the Restaurants which enter too
To enter scan the QR code on the pizza box or on a bottle of Porcupine Ridge wine OR visit

Our home Pizza slice has disappeared so we were very pleased to be given this very good cutter

Social distancing and catching up with media friends whom we have not seen for a long time
Caroline van Schalkwyk of CVS Communications organised the event for Porcupine Ridge
and broadcaster Guy McDonald is always good value to brighten up an event; good to see them both

They have a fruity Sauvignon Blanc, a rich Chenin Blanc and a very, very enjoyable unwooded Chardonnay
The versatile Rosé is also very good and goes with many Pizzas

The serving bar. They have three reds, a classic Cape Merlot, a spicy and juicy Shiraz
and a classic Cabernet Sauvignon that might be good cellared for a year or two but drinks well now 

Boekenhoutskloof Sales and Marketing Manager Lynton Kaiser pouring the wine

Caroline van Schalkwyk told us about the Competition 

Boekenhoutskloof Sales and Marketing Coordinator Dupré Nell

He presented the wines to us and fleshed out the competition details
Every bottle of Porcupine Ridge wine bears a sticker with a QR Code
and scanning it with your phone enters you into the competitionThen our Pizzas began to arrive. A Cacciatore for Lynne, a very typical Italian Marguerita
topped with caramelised onion,  sliced mushrooms and Italian sausage

It was very good, especially the fresh tomato sauce
 Some slices did go home for eating for supper, their Pizzas are large

John's choice of the Arlecchino was unusual for him (He is usually a Quattro Stagioni man) and made us all very envious

It is a lovely combination of ingredients made special by the addition of the Balsamic reduction

Diavola for another member of the media, nice and spicy

Another classic Napolitano

For those who love olives, capers and anchoviesThere is a huge choice of different pizzas and they are happy to add or subtract ingredients

This brought back memories of the pizza Lynne had when very young, while in Naples at the original Pizzeria
 Thin, misshapen and absolutely superb. It really is about good ingredients 

The Classic list

His Aioli is superb and we got a tip from a regular, if you don't eat your edges, you can dip them in the aioli. Wow, good suggestion. Diego says that the thick edges keep the ingredients in place. The base is ultra thin

And they have some Lock Down specials during the week. See you there one Tuesday?

More choices. The Manuela Loca seafood pizza looked very enticing

A good vegetarian selection and some different and unusual bases

And if you don't fancy Pizza, they have some Pasta

Might have to return for some of these, the Wa wa certainly appeals

AND Gluten free. You have to try Ferdinando’s and its huge choice of Pizza

and then enter the competition
@Porcupineridgewines #PRPIZZA @Porcupine_Wines