Winter has gone. Families playing at the water’s edge, Three Anchor Bay

We had a problem sending MENU last week and it is late this week. When I called our service provider to ask why I could only send out to about 20 addresses per hour, I was told that they have a new policy which means that bulk mailing is no longer possible from any account and that this applies to all service providers. They said that the only way round it is to re-jig our mailing list of over 5000 addresses into groups of 20 instead of the 250 or so we've used up to now.

Doing that is going to take a long time, so we are late this week

What we need to ask all our subscribers is to follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Google+, so that all our stories and MENU can be accessed as they are published, so that we can all get round this obstacle

To get the whole of each story, with photographs, please click on the headline, the photograph or the DARK GREEN RECTANGLE at the end of the paragraph, any of which will lead you there. At the end of each story, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to MENU.

Cape Town is a winning city. We have to boast! This week, The Conde Nast Readers’ Travel Awards 2016 in category “The Best Food Cities in the World”, chose Cape Town as Best Overseas City for Restaurants and Bars. We so agree. AND the globally-recognised travel magazine also named Cape Town as a runner-up in the category of Favourite Overseas City on September 1st

Cape Town Tourism chief executive Enver Duminy said “It must be noted that tourism in the city is a major driver of the economy to the Western Cape, providing job opportunities to thousands of residents, and the attention earned by such awards aids in the growth of this sector”

UK Daily Telegraph readers named South Africa amongst their three favourite countries alongside New Zealand and the Maldives

The awards ceremony for this prestigious competition, sponsored by Portuguese cork producer Amorim, was held last Wednesday at the Twelve Apostles Hotel. There were 113 entries for the four categories: Blanc de Blancs, Rosé, Blended Brut and a Museum Class for wines including and before the 2008 vintage. And there were a few surprises this year. The labels usually at the top were not up there and two producers both took home two top awards. The wines are tasted blind by a panel of experienced judges and this year there was a change in judging procedures in that categories were narrowed, with judging no longer being done separately on vintage and non-vintage wines. And to promote inclusivity among producers, entries were open to non-members of the Cap Classique Producers Association. The winner are: Best Brut and Overall Winner: Anura Brut 2011; Best Rosé: J.C. Le Roux Pinot Noir Rosé 2010; Best Blanc de Blanc Colmant Brut Chardonnay NV; Best Museum Class: J.C. Le Roux Scintilla Vintage Reserve 2008; Frans Malan Legacy Award: John and Erica Platter

The HogHouse in Pinelands invited us to join them and take part in this wine quiz which is held once a month. We had no idea what we were in for, drank some good wine, did extraordinarily badly at the quiz but met some great folk and had much fun. Their resident sommelier Kimi Blackadder sent us the invitation and he sets and runs the quiz. This time it was five Pinot Noirs, one Pinot Meunière and three white pinots, some local, some international. If you want to attend one of their events, check out their website http://hhbc.co.za/events/  Their next event will be Hogtoberfest on the 8th of October, which sounds like a lot of fun, given the great beers they brew and sell

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OK, we are great advocates of Banting; we know some of you are too. We have been doing it for nearly two years now, not intensely with our limitations when eating out at catered events, and really feel the benefits, if not the weight loss. But sometimes you watch the Food Channel, find a great Italian chef doing pasta and it is too tempting not to try. So, last night for the first time in two years, Lynne cooked a pasta dish. It is the easiest and quickest dish to make and it can be straight from your larder. Preferably use thin spaghetti if possible, but it is not essential. Quantities are for two

Spaghetti with Oil and Garlic (Aglio et Olio)

Really good Extra Virgin Olive oil, at least a 1/3rd of a cup or more - 2 or 3 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced - 1 t finely chopped red chilli or chilli flakes -Spaghettini or Angel hair pasta - Flaked salt - freshly ground black pepper - 2 T chopped parsley or oregano - 35 to 40 g finely grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese

Boil a pot of really salty water - it should taste like sea water. In an frying pan, cover the base with a layer of good green olive oil (at least a 1/3 of a cup, and put it on a low heat. Add the garlic and the chilli and cook gently until the garlic is just beginning to take on some colour. Do not let it brown, it will be bitter. At the same time add the pasta to the water and cook until it is al dente. Just before it is ready, take a 1/3rd of a cup of the pasta water and add it to the garlic and chilli oil. Stir rapidly till it begins to emulsify, this is the sauce. Drain the pasta and put it into the oil and stir. Add a little more pasta water if you have no sauce. Add seasoning and stir in the parsley. Transfer to bowls for serving and add the cheese just before you eat. It is that simple. Enjoy with a healthy salad of mixed vegetables and a good Chardonnay

These are blends of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon and produce elegant dry white wines which show a lot of depth, length and quality. That may all sound rather vague but when you taste a good white blend you know you have something special in your glass. The combination of these two grapes is a magical one, the wines keep and get better as they age. The Semillon softens the Sauvignon and it's an almost perfect marriage. If we could only convince South Africans to drink more of them, they would deservedly become more popular. In France they revere them. If this blend is grown in Bordeaux near the Gironde River in North Western France they are simply labelled with that appellation. 35 entries from 31 producers were tasted by the judges Christian Eedes, James Pietersen and Roland Peens. The lowest score (they use the 100 point scheme) was 86. This year there were certificates given to 14 wines that scored over 90. Three wines scored 94, the highest. To see the entire list click here: http://winemag.co.za/riscura-white-hot-wine-awards-2016-results/

This annual blending competition, which is now in its 33rd year and can be entered by wine clubs nationwide and overseas, had its awards ceremony this week on the farm. We love to go and meet the finalists over lunch and find out how their wine clubs work, how often they meet and how they approach the blending of the wine. During lunch we tasted the winning wine and, this year, we were surrounded by all four of the finalists. We had fun asking them if they recognised their own blend 

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Summer has arrived with this newly released wine. Well, if you are not convinced, all you have to do is open a bottle of this week's wine and you will feel the sun on your face. It is so reminiscent of the rosés of Southern France. A blend of noble varieties, it is full to bursting with strawberries, raspberries, a good bite of juicy white peach and sunshine. So good with food. If you tasted this blind you might think it was a serious red, but its light, fruity floral nose and beautiful lipstick pink will convince you otherwise

 In MENU Next Week

Muratie Du Toitskloof Paella cook-off, Franschhoek Uncorked, Buitenverwachting lunch, Elgin Ridge & Constantia Glen tastings, Lord Nelson Inn, CWG Auction

We are planning to use wine barrel staves as the covering of a pergola. If any of our wine maker readers have old barrels which have outlived their original purpose, we’d love to have them. Please let us know

Information about interesting wine, food and related events happening in the Western Cape and, occasionally, in other areas. It is as up to date as the information we have received from the various organisers. Accuracy in the descriptions of events listed here depends on the information given to us by the organisers or their publicity agents. Some of this information comes to us in hugely verbose communiqués which we have to précis to make it easier for you. We will not be held responsible for any inaccuracies, however caused.

If you'd like us to publish news about an event, please send us the basic details: What, where, when, price. If we have to cut it down to the size which we'll publish, it may take us too long to fit it into our very busy programme

Events in September:

Accuracy in the descriptions of events listed here depends on the information given to us by the organisers or their publicity agents. Some of this information comes to us in hugely verbose communiqués which we have to précis to make it easier for you. We will not be held responsible for any inaccuracies, however caused.

Monday, 19th to Saturday, 24th September  The 'Chefs who Share - the ART of Giving' event week will take place in Johannesburg for the first time. Fourteen acclaimed chefs and seven top sommeliers will come together to create exclusive culinary delights in order to raise money for Youth Development in South Africa. And you can be there to taste their exceptional creations and contribute to the good cause! Three leading Johannesburg hotels will each host a once-off 'Chefs who Share' Pre-Dinner where the hotel’s Executive Chef will collaborate with an international chef flown in specifically for the event week. Each of the dinners is paired with an exclusive selection of Champagnes: Dom Pérignon at the Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff (20 September @ R2500 per person), Moët & Chandon at The Maslow (21 September SOLD OUT) and Ruinart Blanc at the Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa (22 September @ R2300 per person). Book your dinner tickets now!

Friday, 23rd to Sunday, 25th September  Renosterveld Weekend: Together with the Overberg Renosterveld Conservation Trust Rita & David Trafford will be hosting a weekend of Renosterveld exploration and wine-tasting in the beautiful Overberg. Come and see why they are supporting this special initiative in their small way. Pack your hiking shoes and join them for guided walks by Renosterveld ecologists within two different renosterveld types found on Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve (near De Hoop) and on the Sijnn Farm. Here you will experience the privilege of seeing several rare and threatened plants which are only found within a very small part of the Overberg, while learning more about the ecology of this extremely rich and threatened ecosystem. You will stay at the Old Dairy Guesthouse on the Haarwegskloof Renosterveld Reserve and enjoy warm fires, local food and Sijnn wines. Costs for this weekend will be R2500 per person, including all meals and activities. They can only accommodate 10 guests, so be sure to book soonestEnquiries to info@sijnn.co.za.

Saturday, 24th September  The 'Chefs who Share' Grand Gala is the highlight of the event week. Here the 14 chefs and seven sommeliers work in seven teams to wow a total of just 252 guests. It’s an evening where like-minded people meet in a “spirit of giving”. Artwork donated by leading local and international artists is auctioned during the course of the black-tie dinner, with all proceeds going to the nominated charities. Local celebrity Katlego Maboe acts as MC and there is entertainment by some of South Africa’s top musicians. The winner of the 'Chefs who Share - Young Chef Award' is also announced at the Grand Gala – which the media has described as “the feelgood event”. Limited Grand Gala tickets available! VIEW the full AUCTION CATALOGUE

Saturday, 24th to Sunday, 25th September  Franschhoek Uncorked Festival. With Spring in full swing, what better way to savour all things new than at this year’s Franschhoek Uncorked Festival from 24 to 25 September. Celebrate your heritage over a glass of Franschhoek wines, selected by the winemakers, and paired with delicious food cooked over an open flame as Franschhoek prepares to Braai4Heritage. The ideal opportunity to travel from farm to farm sampling wines from the Franschhoek Vignerons. Visitors can also look forward to amazing festival offerings – the perfect excuse to stock up on wine for the upcoming festive season! With so much on offer you’ll be forgiven for wanting to make a weekend of your Uncorked experience. Avoid the queues and pre-book your Uncorked Weekend Pass through www.webtickets.co.za. Tickets cost R140 per person and allows you access to all of the participating wine farms as well as a complimentary tasting glass and free wine tastings. As an added extra, outdoor enthusiasts will be able to participate in a selection of outdoor activities on offer during the weekend. Watch the press for further details. For more info contact the Franschhoek Wine Valley offices on 021 876 2861 or visit www.franschhoekuncorked.co.za for further details and a list of participating farms.  For regular updates follow us on Twitter @Franschhoek_SA.

Sunday, 25th September from 10h00 to 15h00  Groote Post’s Country Market. Groote Post will again be a hive of activity, brimming with delectable and beautiful country offerings. Guests can expect artisan foods, arts and crafts, home-ware and décor, and of course, Groote Post’s well-loved wines as well as loads of kiddies’ activities. In addition, the August market will be featuring some exciting new stalls as well as live music. Local will always be lekker, with a divine selection of Darling gourmet produce including: Darling Mushrooms, Weskus Worswa, Udderly Delicious Cheese, Darling Pomegranate Products, Saucy Boys’ organic preservative-free chilli sauces, marinades and spices, Darling Brew and more. After browsing through the market, visitors will be able to relax under the trees while tucking into their delicious eats from the market. Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but please note that booking is essential. The kids, as always, will be kept busy with a wide variety of kiddies’ activities - tractor rides, face-painting, water-balls, guided horse rides and, of course, the popular playground. Although pets are welcome – all dogs must be on a leash at all times.  Visitors arriving without their dogs on a leash will be given an option to buy one from the SPCA stall or hire one at the information stall.  Entry to the Groote Post Country Market is free of charge. For further information on the Groote Post Country Market, contact Eldré Strydom: 082 877 6677 or eldre@iloveyzer.co.za. www.grootepostcountrymarket.co.za • Facebook.com/GrootePostCountryMarket • @GPCountryMarket

Wednesday, 28th September, 18:30 to 23:00. The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Dinners. Cost: R800 per person. The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Dinners offer intimate food and wine experiences at top winery restaurants in the Cape Winelands. With Guild Members hosting the tables at the dinners, you will have the opportunity to meet and talk to the personalities behind the wines you will be enjoying. With sumptuous menus, each dinner promises to be a unique and unforgettable experience. There will also be a special charity auction at each dinner.  Funds raised will be donated to the Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Development Trust which supports the Guild's Protégé Programme. The following venues will be hosting dinners: Catharina's - Steenberg Vineyards – Tokai; Cassia - Nitida Wines – Durbanville; De Grendel - De Grendel Winery – Panorama; Cuvee - Simonsig Wine Estate – Stellenbosch; Jordan - Jordan Wine Estate – Stellenbosch; Rust en Vrede - Rust en Vrede Wine Estate – Stellenbosch; Tokara - Tokara wine farm  - Stellenbosch. For more information or to make your booking, please contact the CWG office on 021 852 0408 or e-mail bookings@capewinemakersguild.com

Thursday, 29th September. WEST COAST FEAST AND FLAVOURS An evening of exploration, through the West Coast wines and food region in the style of a “West Coast Long Table”, with a focus on sustainability and foraging. Seafood and Sauvignon Blanc are  sure to make an appearance and make the night more extraordinary. Cost: R450 per person. Bookings: Send an email to TableBayDining@suninternational.com  or call: 021 406 5988

Friday, 30th September, 18h00 to 21h00 The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Final Pre-Auction Tasting, Spier Conference Centre, Stellenbosch. R450 per person - Ticket sales will open in August! A final preview of the wines crafted exclusively for the 2016 Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction. Sit down for a formal tutored tasting and sample exceptional wines with a creative edge and great diversity of styles, presented formally by the winemakers. 

Friday, 30th September to Sunday, 2nd October  Symphony Wine Festival at Montecasino, presented by Core Catering. The second year of the Festival, where again we will showcase the talent of the Johannesburg Symphony, including some of South Africa’s top artists in the music industry, who will perform on stage with the Orchestra. The Festival promises to be unique in terms of the new offering by focusing on entertainment with representation of all wine regions to showcase the diversity of the industry, as well as showcasing food and beverage from the various markets. In excess of 100 exhibitors will tantalise your tastes to ensure your entertainment. So come down to Montecasino from 30th September to 2nd October and enjoy the offering of great food and wine, as well as entertainment from the Orchestra and some of SA’s favourite musicians at The Symphony Wine Festival presented by Core Catering. MONTECASINO CARDHOLDERS Click here to purchase tickets

It has information about interesting wine, food and related events happening in the Westerm Cape and, occasionally, in other areas. It is as up to date as the information we have received from the various organisers. Accuracy in the descriptions of events listed here depends on the information given to us by the organisers or their publicity agents. Some of this information comes to us in hugely verbose communiqués which we have to précis to make it easier for you. We will not be held responsible for any inaccuracies, however caused.

It you'd like us to publish news about an event, please send us the BASIC details: What, where, when, price. If we have to cut it down to the size we'll publish, it may take us too long to fit in to our very busy programme

Classes in culinary arts for kids at The Table Bay. Following the super success of the cooking workshops for kids in 2015, The Table Bay’s Executive Chef Jocelyn Myers-Adams, will be hosting monthly classes in culinary arts for emerging young cooks in The Table Bay’s Atlantic at 12h30 on scheduled Saturdays. The cost to participate is R300 per child April to November 2016. Mini Chefs will get to work side by side with Myers-Adams for two inspiring hours while learning some special tricks of the trade. Each two hour Mini Chefs class is an interactive learning experience that gives children between 5 and 12 years of age the opportunity to develop a life-long love for the culinary arts, whilst celebrating South Africa’s rich culinary heritage. Each month, the children will prepare something different based on a theme which is aligned with the seasons or a special occasion. They will be assisted by Myers-Adams and a dedicated minder, and will get to take home what they have prepared. More in the Events Calendar

We receive a lot of enquiries from people who want to learn more about wineCathy Marston and The Cape Wine Academy both run wine education courses, some very serious and others more geared to fun. You can see details of Cathy’s WSET and other courses here and here and the CWA courses here. Karen Glanfield has taken over the UnWined wine appreciation courses from Cathy. See the details here

The Hurst Campusan accredited school for people who want to become professional chefs, has a variety of courses. See the details here

In addition to his Sense of Taste Culinary Arts School, Chef Peter Ayub runs a four module course for keen home cooks at his Maitland complex. Details here

Nadège Lepoittevin-Dasse has French cooking classes in Noordhoek and conducts cooking tours to Normandy. You can see more details here

Emma Freddi runs the Enrica Rocca cooking courses at her home in Constantia

We write about our experiences in MENU, not only to entertain you, but to encourage you to visit the places and events that we do. We know you will enjoy them and we try to make each write up as graphic as we can, so you get a good picture of what is on offer at each place, restaurant, wine farm, festival we visit. 

9th September 2016

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