Spring starts to decorate the garden at the Vineyard Hotel, Newlands

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MENU is late again; our techno woes continue. At least we have our internet connection back, but our car is still in the workshop with its transmission being rebuilt. It takes a challenge like this to make us appreciate the things we normally take for granted. But it has also given us an opportunity to appreciate the benefit of an excellent public transport service in our area – it still has to be extended into the southern suburbs – and easily accessible taxis. Also, to give thanks to generous friends who have given us lifts and lent us their cars. Another busy week...

You may think we are jaded with all of the many meals we have at good restaurants. But who cannot fail to be excited by an invitation to a restaurant that has featured as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world for the last few years. This was to celebrate Saronsberg's annual release of their six new season wines, which takes place at this time of the year. This year, they decided to treat members of the wine trade and some members of the media to lunch at La Colombe with the wines, paired with several courses. It was a wonderful showcase for their lovely wines. Saronsberg was rated the Red Wine Producer of the Year by the South African Wine Index Awards 2015 and 2016

Another annual event that we look forward to. John Collins represents some excellent wine estates and many of them are releasing their new wines at this time of the year. This tasting was to showcase these wines and to remind the trade of the excellent quality that these farms produce 

Once a year we are invited by the management of the Vineyard Hotel to join them and other guests, pruning the vines in the small vineyard on the bank of the Liesbeek river in the gardens of the hotel. They have kindly made us custodians of one vine

This year, we were also invited to Waterford wine estate in Stellenbosch for a tasting of the last four years of the wines that have been made. Waterford, one of the five wine estates which sponsors a row of vines, vinified the 2015 vintage. We were to bottle the current vintage, taste the wines and have lunch together

First we went on a Wine Drive Safari in their game viewing Land Rover, guided by Kevin Arnold, Cellarmaster of Waterford and part owner with Jeremy Ord. You, too, can do this when visiting the farm. Click here for details

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An easy starter is always welcome and you can also have this as a simple main course. Also good for the end of the month when the budget is a bit tight.

Baked tomatoes filled with coddled eggs

4 large tomatoes - salt and freshly ground black pepper - 4 fresh eggs - 40 g butter

Turn your oven to 160⁰C. Slice the tops off the tomatoes and scrape out the seeds, the juice and the cores. Season the inside of the tomatoes well. Put the tomatoes into a buttered oven proof dish so they stand up together. Break each egg individually into a cup and slide them carefully into the tomatoes. Place a knob of butter on top of each egg and season again. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the whites of the eggs are cooked but the yolks are still runny. Serve with a dab of pesto or tapenade or a green chilli/coriander sauce and good crisp garlic bread


There was no doubt about this wine when we tasted it on the farm last week and our opinion was only confirmed when we tasted it again on Monday at La Colombe

It is spicy and savoury with fennel and violets - a robust nose. But on the palate at first it has delicate fruit almost Pinot Noir like in character but then it steps ups to a different level, with full red and black fruit warmth and good gentle wooding from 2nd fill barrels. Such a special food wine

 In Next Week’s MENU

Saronsberg wines at La Colombe, John Collins trade tasting

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 August:

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.

Tuesday, 23rd August, 14h30 to 17h00. Nedbank CWG Auction Tasting, Pretoria Country Club, 241 Sidney Street, Pretoria. R250 per person. The Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Tasting at the Pretoria Country Club is a formal tutored tasting of a selection of the 2016 Nedbank CWG Auction wines presented by the winemakers, followed by an informal tasting of all the 2016 Nedbank CWG Auction wines. Light snacks will be served. Only a very limited number of tickets is available. The Auction is open to the public and takes place on Saturday, 1 October at Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch. Please go to Webtickets to book tickets!

Wednesday, 24th August, 18h00 – 21h00. Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild Auction Showcase of rare, individual wines. The Atrium, Nedbank Sandton, 135 Rivonia Road. R250 per person, includes a Spiegelau tasting glass. Tickets can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za

Friday, 26th August 17h00 to 21h00, Saturday, 27th August 12h00 to 18h00 “We Love Wine” Fest returns to Capegate. If you’re a wine lover and living in the northern suburbs of Cape Town, the fourth “We Love Wine” Festival at Capegate Shopping Centre is right up your alley. Festival visitors can taste and buy more than 100 wines directly from the wineries, which include large producers with well-known brands and smaller boutique and family-owned wineries, giving a taste of the best of South Africa’s winelands in one venue. The Cape Wine Academy is presenting a wine theatre (Three sessions on Friday and four sessions on Saturday) with fun tastings and pairings on the programme at set times. Participating wineries include: Alexanderfontein/Ormonde, Arendskloof/Eagle’s Cliff, Beyerskloof, Biocape, Bonnievale Cellar, Diemersfontein, Dieu Donné Vineyards, Du Toitskloof, Edgebaston, Eerstehoop, Fledge & Co, Groenland, Imbuko, La Couronne Wine Estate, MWS, Orange River Cellars, Overhex International, Perdeberg Winery, Peter Bayly, Stellenbosch Hills, Villiera Wines, Villiersdorp Cellar, Yonder Hill. The Pebbles Project, which looks after disadvantaged children, especially those impacted by alcohol, is the charity beneficiary of the festival and will be present to spread their message and raise funds and awareness. Tickets from the door or www.quicket.co.za. R70 pp (Includes a branded tasting glass). Bookings for the CWA theatre sessions can be made at the ticket office. For up to date information, visit www.capegatecentre.co.za

Saturday, 27th August. 18h30  Explore Spring’s enchanting chorus at The Table Bay. Explore Spring’s enchanting chorus of tastes and fragrances. You will be hosted by Executive Chef Jocelyn Myers-Adams and bespoke perfumer, Tammy Frazer, in a senses-evoking, three stage dinner experience. The fresh and invigorating scents of Spring blossoms and the wild flavours of foraged plants characterise this unique sensory adventure. Awaken the senses. Savour the essence of Spring. Cost: R450 per person. Bookings: Send an email to TableBayDining@suninternational.com  or call: 021 406 5988

Saturday, 27th August Blossoms, Biscotti & Wine this August at De Krans. Make your way to De Krans Wine Cellar in Calitzdorp for the third annual Orchards in Bloom Festival. This time of the year the fruit trees, in particular the apricot, peach and plum trees, are in full bloom and it is truly a sight to behold. The spring blossoms traditionally indicate the start of the season for the fruit and wine industries. Visitors to De Krans will be able to experience this beautiful sight for themselves as well as enjoy a few more exciting offerings during their visit: A first for South Africa - a Biscotti and Wine pairing presented by well-known chef Francois Ferreira will be available to guests on the day at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Pre-booking at De Krans Wine Cellar is recommended to avoid disappointment as seating is limited. The cost is R85 per person (18 years and older only). Kick start your day at 9am with the Vineyard Run. Jog or walk through the vineyards whilst admiring the breathtakingly beautiful orchards in full bloom. Participants can choose between a 5km or a 10km trail. Pre-enter via De Krans, or on the day from 8am. A superb selection of wine prizes are up for grabs for various categories. If you prefer something less strenuous take a leisurely walk through the orchards at De Krans to view the beautiful blossoms from up close. Prizes will be awarded to the best photographs taken on the day. During this year’s event visitors will get the opportunity to prune the vines which were planted by visitors to the Orchards in Bloom Festivals in 2014 and 2015. De Krans’ seasoned pruners will be on hand to provide guidance to novice pruners. Pruning and outdoor fun can lead to working up a healthy appetite and what better excuse than to enjoy a hearty country style meal made by chef Retief van der Walt, in the comfort of the De Krans Bistro & Deli, which will be open from 9am to 5pm. Unfortunately no reservations will be taken on the day, so come early to avoid missing out on a delicious brunch or lunch. And what would a visit to De Krans be without sipping, sampling and stocking up on their range of superb ports and wines. Don’t miss out on tasting the newly released  2016 wines such as the Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinotage Rosé and delicious Moscato Perlé. Winemaker Louis van der Riet will be showing off his cocktail skills as he whips up a delicious port cocktail (or two) for you during your visit. A fun day out for the whole family with so much to do. Live entertainment and boules under the vines complete what promises to be an unforgettable day in the Klein Karoo Winelands. For more information contact Helet Viljoen at De Krans on 044 213 3314/64 or email dekrans@mweb.co.za

Sunday, 28th August from 10h00 to 15h00  Groote Post’s spring 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. 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, but please note that booking is essential. The kids, 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. Pets are welcome but 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 is free of charge. For further information, contact Eldré Strydom: 082 877 6677 or eldre@iloveyzer.co.za. www.grootepostcountrymarket.co.za • Facebook.com/GrootePostCountryMarket • @GPCountryMarket

Wednesday, 31st August  One&Only Cape Town presents the 2016 Wine&Dine series with Reuben’s One&Only, where one of Constantia’s finest wine farms, Buitenverwachting, will be joining chef Reuben Riffel to pair their wines with the unique flavour combinations of the chef. Winemaker Brad Paton brings his range of cool-climate wines to the party. One of the oldest estates in Constantia, Buitenverwachting marries old traditions with modern winemaking to make outstanding wines with character and longevity. The evenings with Reuben and Luvo are priced at R425 per person. To reserve your table for these Wine&Dine evenings call +27 21 431 4511 or mail to restaurant.reservations@oneandonlycapetown.com

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. 

14th August 2016

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