Honey bee;a pickerel weed; Pontederia cordata; jongsnoekkruid

A honey bee harvesting from a pickerel weed flower in our pond (Pontederia cordata; jongsnoekkruid)

The shutter speed was 1/1250 of a second and the bee's wings are still a blur!

This is a lovely time of the year, but it is never complete bliss. We love the sunshine, but we long for the drenching rain our friends in the north of the country are having, even if it is a bit excessive at times. We have enough water in our dams to last about four months if we are careful. It should start raining by May, but we need to be very careful. Of course, this being harvest time in the wine industry, we need dry weather until the grapes have come into the cellars. It seems to be a very good harvest, down on quantity, but beautiful quality, so it should be a good vintage.so please read on... 

or click any of the following links, headings, green buttons or photographs to look at a complete story. When you reach the end of a story, click on RETURN TO MENU to come back to MENU

A landscape on Kalmoesfontein, Adi Badenhorst's farm in the Swartland

The grass is yellow, we have a drought. The sand lies beneath the grass 

The South African wine community is in a state of shock. An application for sand mining rights in the Paardeberg area of the Swartland has been approved by the Malmesbury municipality. An appeal against this decision is in progress. If it is allowed to go ahead, some of the country's best wine producers will be very badly affected, if not ruined. These include Eben Sadie, the Mullineuxs, Adi Badenhorst, Vondeling, David and Nadia and Lammershoek. 

PLEASE go to http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/protect-the-paardeberg and sign the petition against this travesty

Glorious summer brings on the grape harvest in our winelands and many farms are celebrating their success. We hear that this harvest is generally a good one, despite the drought; grapes are smaller but the juice is very concentrated, with good sugar and acids. We were invited to Jordan this week with other media people to taste some of the juice, the newly fermenting wine and last year's bottled wine 

Muratie Harvest Festival, grapes, breads, cheeses, koeksisters

Muratie opens its doors each year for the Harvest celebration and hosts a relaxed day in the garden with food, good music, lots of wine and fun. We saw the new Art Gallery, passed on the opportunity to stomp some grapes (much enjoyed by the youngsters), tasted their new fermenting wines, took a tractor ride through the vineyards and chilled under the trees with a huge box full of grapes, figs, cheese, bread and other delights, accompanied by their wines

MOK is run by Cecile Blevi, a relative of Muratie's owner, Rijk Melck. Rijk took us to have a look and we were very impressed. It is in an historic 300 year old house on the property, where freed slave Ansela van de Kaap lived 
.

We know that many of you loved the simple strawberry ice cream recipe Lynne published a while ago. Now for another decadent ice cream. Masterchef Australia has been full of ice creams, parfaits and mousses this year and they made them look very complex, especially when chocolate was involved. It is not

75g caster sugar - 4 egg yolks - 600 ml single cream - 1 Vanilla Pod, split open - 200g plain 70% dark chocolate

Put the sugar with 6 tablespoons of water in a small pan and heat gently until the sugar is dissolved. Bring to the boil and continue boiling until the sugar reaches the thread stage* – about 110º C. Beat the yolks in a mixing bowl, then pour in the syrup in a thin stream, whisking all the time

Put the cream, vanilla pod and chocolate, broken into small pieces into a pan over a low heat and stir till the chocolate has melted. Take it up to just below boiling point. Remove the vanilla pod and pour the scalding chocolate cream onto the egg mixture, whisking until it is thoroughly mixed. Pass through a sieve. It should resemble a light custard in texture. Cool and freeze for 24 hours. You can use an ice-cream machine if you have one.

[*Thread stage for sugar is when you drop a bit of the mix into a cold glass of water, the syrup will form a loose thin thread]

.

Muratie's Isabella Chardonnay is luscious with white peaches, citrus and gentle caramel, with a nice clean dry finish. The new fermenting juice we tasted from this year's harvest has fresh nectarines & apricots in abundance, with a hint of pine nuts. It points to another lovely wine from the 2017 harvest. Winemaker Hattingh de Villiers showed us the new wine fermenting in the cellar. It sells for R145 on the farm or on line, and is also available at good wine retailers. It is drinking well now, but if you can keep it for a couple of years, it is bound to become even better. Platter awarded this vintage 4½ stars


 In MENU Next Week

Jordan Wine Estate harvest

Muratie Harvest Festival

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

Coming Events:

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.

Wednesday, 22nd February Stellenbosch Street Soirees Warmer weather and longer days echo the return of the ever-popular Stellenbosch Street Soirees - bi-monthly street parties bringing together wine farms, restaurants, locals and visitors in the vibrant streets of the City of Oaks. The Stellenbosch Street Soirees will take place every second and last week of the month for a hip crowd to immerse themselves in the inimitable food and wine culture of this forever young town, with live music adding to a cool and casual vibe. For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, visit www.wineroute.co.za, follow the Stellenbosch Wine Routes on Twitter @StellWineRoute or like them on Facebook at STBStreetSoirees. #VisitStellenbosch

Tuesday, 21st February 17h30 – 19h00 A tasting which will include a selection of Gonzalez Byass sherries and a variety of Beronia Rioja wines. Johannesburg. Cost: R 175.00 per person (R 300.00 per couple) RSVP: mira@reciprocal.co.za. Space limited to 14.

Thursday 23rd February Momentum Grape Golf Challenge, Stellenbosch. www.wineroute.co.za

Friday, 24th February Whisky dinner with a selection of Bruichladdich single malt whiskies. Click here to book online, or scroll down for telephone and email booking options. If you have difficulty making your booking online, please contact Shoba 021 447 0323 or shoba@dishfood.co.za

Friday, 24th to Sunday, 26th February. Stellenbosch Wine Festival. Coetzenburg sports grounds. www.wineroute.co.za

Saturday, 25th February Pick n Pay Women’s Walk, Stellenbosch. www.wineroute.co.za

Friday, 3rd March, from 18h00 to 22h00 & Saturday, 4th March from 12h00 to 17h00 Brooklyn Bubbles, Brooklyn Mall, Pretoria

Wednesday, 8th March Stellenbosch Street Soirees Warmer weather and longer days echo the return of the ever-popular Stellenbosch Street Soirees - bi-monthly street parties bringing together wine farms, restaurants, locals and visitors in the vibrant streets of the City of Oaks. The Stellenbosch Street Soirees will take place every second and last week of the month for a hip crowd to immerse themselves in the inimitable food and wine culture of this forever young town, with live music adding to a cool and casual vibe. For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, visit www.wineroute.co.za, follow the Stellenbosch Wine Routes on Twitter @StellWineRoute or like them on Facebook at STBStreetSoirees. #VisitStellenbosch

Friday, 10th March Michael Crossley will host an international wine lunch at Aubergine Restaurant. For more details, please contact tarryn@reciprocal.co.za. or crossley@reciprocal.co.za

Friday 10th to Sunday, 12th March Robertson Hands-on-Harvest Festival. http://handsonharvest.com/

Wednesday, 22nd March Stellenbosch Street Soirees Warmer weather and longer days echo the return of the ever-popular Stellenbosch Street Soirees - bi-monthly street parties bringing together wine farms, restaurants, locals and visitors in the vibrant streets of the City of Oaks. The Stellenbosch Street Soirees will take place every second and last week of the month for a hip crowd to immerse themselves in the inimitable food and wine culture of this forever young town, with live music adding to a cool and casual vibe. For more information contact Tel: 021 886 4310, visit www.wineroute.co.za, follow the Stellenbosch Wine Routes on Twitter @StellWineRoute or like them on Facebook at STBStreetSoirees. #VisitStellenbosch

Friday, 24th March 17h00 – 20h00 Wine Concepts Chenin Blanc & Pinotage Celebration at The Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Road, Newlands. Cost: R200.00 per person – includes wine glass, tastings and light snacks. Tickets can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za,   or at any of the Wine Concepts branches. Telephone Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at 021 426 4401. Email: admin@wineconcepts.co.za or at the door on the evening subject to availability. http://www.wineconcepts.co.za

Thursday, 30th and Friday, 31st March FNB Eastern Cape Wine Show in East London.  Queries: 011 482 5936/5/4. Website: www.easterncapewineshow-el.co.za. Tickets: Ticket sales are open and can be purchased at www.computicket.com

Saturday, 1st April Cluver Family Harvest Day Book directly through www.webtickets.co.za.  For more details on what you can expect visit www.cluver.com

Wednesday, 19th – Friday, 21st April  WTM Africa. CTICC http://africa.wtm.com/en/visit/

Saturday, 22nd April Bot River Barrels & Beards showcase. Get tickets at www.quicket.co.za For enquiries and pre-bookings contact Wilmari Geyer, email: info@bartonvineyards.co.za and mobile: 084 231 8930

Thursday, 1st to Sunday, 4th June 14th annual Wacky Wine Weekend proudly hosted by Robertson Wine Valley. www.robertsonwinevalley.com/

Wednesday, 20th September Michael Crossley will be hosting an international wine dinner at The Beverly Hills Hotel in Umhlanga Rocks, Durban For more details, please contact crossley@reciprocal.co.za

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. 

21st February 2017

Advertise here

Ask us about our rates