A bee collecting nectar from a lavender flower. Hillcrest Estate, Durbanville

That was the Year...      It has been very busy, very exciting (not always in the way we’d like) and now it is time to take a break. Actually, we took one last week and spent the time next to a West Coast beach, reading books, enjoying good food and wine and letting the stress ooze out of our pores. So, This is the last issue of MENU for 2016. We’ll be back in about mid-January, having rested, celebrated and done essential things round the house which we didn’t have time for during the year,  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

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and let us all wish for a less disruptive year in 2017

Franschhoek now has a good authentic Indian restaurant; not Cape Malay, not Durban Indian, but real subcontinent Indian. It opened to the public on December 8th. It is part of the Leeu Collection and is on Main Street/Heritage Square. We were invited to a media lunch just before it opened
If you want to taste Flagstone wines in Cape Town, you no longer have to go out to the winelands. They have now opened The Flagstone Tasting Room at The Rockwell Hotel in Green Point. We were summoned to be at the venue at 4.30 precisely, handed a glass of wine and then ushered into the theatre there (who knew there was a theatre at the Rockwell?). What followed was a very amusing piece of theatre as they launched their new wines to music, poetry and tasting in the dark! It was hilarious and great fun
We join a merry band of media and bloggers regularly through the year to taste and tweet about different Elgin wines. We are always impressed, it is such a great area for South African wine. Recently the Elgin Valley invited us all to a thank you lunch in Elgin and a tasting of some of the best wines we have tweeted about this year. To follow us on Twitter and learn more about Elgin wines in the new year: @MAININGMENU & @MenuLynne
Some invitations are worth waiting for. We were invited to stay at Asara a few months ago but, as we were both travelling and working, our dates and GM Pete Gottgens’ didn't collide and he so wanted to be there when we came, as we are old acquaintances. We had a great overnight stay there with dinner in their top restaurant, Mise en Place, at the beginning of December. We have to admit that we hadn't visited Asara for many years and we are so impressed at the many changes that have been made since then. When we last visited, they were a boutique hotel with just a few rooms; now they have a 41 roomed five star hotel, with three places to dine, a gin bar and, of course, their wine
We were invited, along with other media, to get our hands into old soil and plant new vines at Nederburg "a special vine planting event to honour the 225-year legacy of the winery’s founder Phillipus Wolvaart, who acquired the Paarl farm in 1791." So there we were in our sensible shoes, hats and covered in sun block prepared for the journey to the top of a hill on a very warm and sunny morning
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We were sent this newly released wine recently to sample and we drank it with friends while we were on holiday by the sea. A perfect start to lunch outdoors with the sound of the waves. It is crisp and rich from the Chardonnay, notes of apple and nuts on the nose with some nice citrus, apple and ripe peach flavours with a good mousse. Available from Lanzerac's Tasting Room at R220 per bottle

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Happy Holidays     We had some friends to our house for a summer lunch recently and Lynne made a classic French Onion Tart. It is very, very simple and quick to make, great if you have vegetarians to feed and very delicious. Do try and use Gruyere cheese for the authentic taste. If you want to make your own pastry do so, just add some grated cheese and some fresh herbs

Onion Tart from Alsace

1 Kg onions, sliced - 1 T olive oil - 1 T butter - a good pinch of salt - 2 eggs, beaten - 55 g gruyere cheese - 1 t fresh thyme leaves - salt and freshly ground black pepper - a roll of frozen cheese and herb pastry, defrosted - butter paper to grease the pie dish

Fry the onions gently in the oil and butter with a little salt on a slow burner for approximately 30 minutes, until they are soft and beginning to take on some colour. Set aside to cool. While the onions are cooking, butter a pie dish, roll out the pastry to fit and line the pie dish, leaving some overhanging pastry on the tin edges. Then refrigerate for 15 minutes. Turn your oven on to 180⁰C. When the pastry is cold, line the pie dish with a cartouche of baking paper and some baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from the oven and take off the baking paper and beans and allow to cool. Beat the eggs, add the cheese and the thyme and some seasoning and stir into the cooled onion mix. Add to the pastry and return to the oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden and the top of the tart is golden too, with a little soft wobble in the centre. Trim off any ragged pastry with a very sharp knife and serve either warm or cold with a salad. Lovely paired with a rich Chardonnay, such as DeWetshof Bateleur

 In MENU Next Week

This is the last issue of MENU for 2016

Have a wonderful Christmas holiday and a brilliant, enjoyable and productive 2017

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.

Sunday, 18th December from 10h00 to 15h00  Groote Post’s Christmas 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, 11th January 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

Wednesday, 25th January 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

Wednesday, 8th 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

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

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

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

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. 

28th November 2016

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