Lynne wanted a Christmassy photo. This one is from ten years ago. The wonder of Christmas reflected in a little girl’s face: Izzy (Isabella) Sutton at Kirstenbosch Carols. We are very grateful to her parents, Tony & Julie, for allowing us to show you this photograph

And so we approach the end of what has been a very interesting year, for all of us. South Africa has seen a change with a new President who is walking a tight rope as he endeavours to remove the corrupt elements in his government without damaging his own position by allowing a rearguard action from those elements who have done so much damage in the past 9 years. Britain is tussling with the Brexit debacle. Our travels in Iberia were most interesting, often entertaining and had a few wobbles as well. See them on our Travelogues page

We have tasted wonderful food and wines, and some that were less than great and we've been able to take you with us on the journey. Thank you for coming with us

Now, we are taking a break until January. We wish you all a wonderful celebration, whether it be Christmas, Hanukkah or simply Yule and the solstice. We hope that 2019 will bring us all peace, less consternation and a bit more prosperity. Drive safely and take an Uber if you will be imbibing away from home.

Thursday evening saw us at Hillcrest wine estate in Durbanville for the launch of the new vintages of their Saartjie wines. They are named after GM, winemaker and viticulturist Arno Smith’s cute Jack Russell terrier and she has made it onto the labels. They have built a lovely new deck and they also have a Beer garden. They had laid a table…

To Upper Bloem restaurant on Main Road Green Point, opposite the Cape Town Stadium, for lunch on Saturday. They were offering a Restaurant Week special and we wanted to return after our last visit, which was for the launch of the De Wetshof Limestone Hill Chardonnay in August. We were quite early…

For our last media engagement of the year, we travelled to Darling in a minivan organised by Darling Cellars. The invitation was to come and taste some of their ranges of wines and enjoy a fish braai for lunch. How could one refuse. It was a great way to end the year and a huge success. We know the wines well, we used to stock the at Main Ingredient and they have always been consistent, good, and also good value…

Temptation

Christmas is approaching fast and we are still planning our main Christmas meal. We like duck, but duck has almost disappeared in the Cape since the demise of the Duck Farm.  We are not going to give you a recipe this week, but some different suggestions for the meal.  Of course many of you will be doing turkey, but if you look at what other nations do there might be alternatives, all for special occasions…

We tasted this wine at Darling Cellars and were so impressed that we have made it our Wine of the Week. A beautiful expression of unwooded Chenin Blanc from dry land vines in the Darling area.  Gustus is a new range of wines which are terroir and varietal specific. (Gustus is Taste in Latin). Darling Cellars want to explore the possibilities of these grapes, so that they express the best they can be and do not disappear into huge blends without investigating their potential. Golden fruit, minerality…

Coming in MENU Next Editions

Survivor wines launch

Hemel en Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration

Celebration and relaxation with your friends and family!

6th December 2018

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We enjoy sharing our experiences with you and are so pleased when you tell us that we’ve given you some pleasure

We have been producing MENU for 15 years, in which we have written about many interesting things. You can find them all in the Blog Archive in the right hand column of our blog page and in the Previous MENUs page on our website. Entering a word in the “Search this Blog” window on the blog site should bring up everything we have ever written which relates

We want to use wine barrel staves as the covering of a pergola which we wish to build on our deck, which has no protection from the sun. If any of our wine maker readers have old barrels which have outlived their original purpose, or even loose staves from old barrels, we’d love to have them. Condition is not important, we just need the staves. Please let us know

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

We keep talking about rain and the scarcity of water in our blessed, beautiful province. We are still in trouble. 2018 has seen the lowest rainfall of any year since 2010. We measured a total of 477mm for the year, which compares poorly with a "normal" annual average of 600mm

It is not difficult to be careful; just be aware of what you do with water and look after this precious resource. Don't leave the shower running while you soap, use grey water to flush, don't run the dishwasher until it is full..... We're in crisis. Think about it! Your garden may, like ours, become a desert. Sad, but necessary and a minor sacrifice in comparison to queueing at a hose for your daily 25 litre allowance. We are planting succulents and other water-wise plants which will tolerate the conditions and still give us pleasure

So don't think that it's OK, It's raining, the trouble is that it is not raining enough. The dams are only, on average, just about half full. We need to try harder. It is no use hoping that more rain will come. If it does, it will be a blessing, but the long term forecast still does not encourage optimism. Tapping into aquifers and installing desalination plants will help in the long term, but we must face up to the fact that water will always be a scarce, precious commodity. The world's weather is in trouble. Europe is experiencing temperatures that we are used to here in Africa. It might be normal in Spain, but when we hear stories from chilly Scotland and often icy Norway about temperatures in the 30s.....

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