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Tasting unfiltered olive oil (and lunch) at Tokara

8 Jun

Tokara’s filtered premium extra virgin olive oil, an award-winning product that most of us know and love.

Visiting Tokara is a must on the Stellenbosch to-do list, whether you’re an out-of-towner or a local-for-life. This landmark winery, restaurant, deli and olive oil producer is one of my favourite destinations in my home town – one that we visit regularly and one that keep evolving to bring some us award winning wines, food and oils every year.

This week I had the privilege of visiting Tokara for a special tasting of their unfiltered oils, straight off the press. Unfiltered oils are preferred in top olive oil producing European countries like Italy, but in the South African market people still prefer a clear, filtered product. To tell the truth, I would seek out and buy unfiltered extra virgin olive oil if it was available on shelves. So I might try to twist the arm of Tokara’s olive farmer to sell me some of their milky, peppery gold.

We tasted three varietals, including a soft and mild mission, a new hybrid called FS17 with a walnutty undertone and a very peppery coratina that will take your breath away (literally). Afterwards we had a delicious lunch, prepared by Tokara chef Richard Carstens and Tokara Deli head chef Edwina van Niekerk, accompanied by Tokara’s award winning wines.

Here is my visit in pictures. Do take the time to visit Tokara and Tokara Deli for a wine tasting, some olive oil shopping, or anything from breakfast to dinner.

Autumn becomes Winter at the entrance to Tokara Deli. This is olive harvest season.

Tokara GM Karl Lambour welcoming guests to their unfiltered olive oil tasting.

Gert van Dyk, olive farmer and oil producer at Tokara’s Olive Shed.

We get to take a tour inside the olive production plant at Tokara.

Ulfiltered liquid gold.

The table in the private dining room at Tokara Deli, next to the olive oil production plant.

These little blue glasses are international olive oil tasting glasses – round so that you can warm them in your hands, blue so that colour won’t affect your tasting perception.

Our lunch menu.

Tokara sauvignon blanc to start with.

Freshly baked bread and parmigiano to go with our unfiltered olive oil.

Roasted beetroot & gorgonzola salad with orange, pear, winter greens, nuts, thyme & orange dressing.

Tokara grenache 2012 to go with our main courses.

My choice of main course: mushroom risotto with spinach, leeks, parmesan and mascarpone.

Orange & polenta cake with orange ice cream and candied oranges.

Renowned Tokara chef Richard Carstens telling us more about his team’s choices for our lunch menu.

Tokara Deli head chef Edwina van Niekerk.

Freshly baked bread sticks, unfiltered Tokara olive oil, salt and recipes to take home!

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Introducing HAUS by Hertex

7 Jun

Serving spoons, dessert spoons and teaspoons by HAUS – in matt black, matt chocolate, old gold and matt anthracite. Forks, knives and other serving cutlery also available.

 

There’s a fabulous new range of homeware on the scene. It is called HAUS by Hertex – the popular upholstery textile supplier that also offer a range of rugs, wall coverings, drapery and cushions.

The new HAUS range contains a selection of flatware (contemporary stainless steel cutlery in gold, anthracite, chocolate and matt black), French Riviera napery (timeless French-inspired table cloths and napkins), Marma boards (marble serving plates and boards), protea-print tablecloths and sea-to-sand salad bowls and serving platters made from mangowood and boldly printed enamel. I’m told that next in line is a range of gorgeous stoneware dinner plates and bowls, so watch this space.

All the products are available directly from Hertex’s showrooms countrywide (yes, you can now buy directly from the showrooms) at competitive prices. You’ll see many of the items featured in my upcoming food styling as I am very privileged to collaborate with Hertex in plating and styling with these items for at least the next year, and of course in using their beautiful range when I cook and entertain in my home!

This range is so very versatile – contemporary yet timeless. Like the rest of Hertex’s product ranges, the HAUS range is of the highest international quality and it is exciting to see how European trends will reach our shores quicker with such an expert buying and merchandising team. Well done Hertex! I cannot wait to see what’s next.

Find your nearest Hertex showroom and pay them a visit to view the HAUS range.

French Riviera napery, Sea to Sand bowls and flatware in black and gold.

Protea table cloth and French Riviera napkins.

Sea to Sand serving bowls and salad servers with French Riviera napkins. I love the Mediterranean look of the enamel print on these bowls.

The HAUS collection has a timeless yet contemporary feel.

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Review: Lunch at Longridge Wine Estate

22 May

Longridge against the Helderberg mountains (picture from www.longridge.co.za)

There are many wine farms in and around Stellenbosch – more than 300 to be exact. Many of them make and serve world class wines. Many of them have great restaurants – some better than others. And then a good few have access to the brilliant views of the surrounding mountains, vineyards and even iconic Table Mountain in the background. Longridge Wine Estate is one of the destinations that have all of the above.

Situated in the Stellenbosch region on the slopes of the Helderberg mountain range, the farm was first registered in 1841 and underwent a few name changes before finally being called Longridge in 1992, when commercial wine production first started. Today, biodynamic viticultural methods are utilised to the fullest in their vineyards, where they strive to produce excellent quality wines while minimalising the impact they have on the environment. Their vines, herbs and vegetables are free from artificial pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers. The farm is also home to cattle that are free to wander the farm and provide manure that can later be used as compost.

I was invited to experience a food and wine extravaganza last week at Longridge, curated by their culinary consultant Marilou Marais in association with winemaker Jasper Raats and head chef Maritz Jacobs. I was in awe of the brilliance of this lunch – a contemporary yet unpretentious display of simple, seasonal ingredients in the most delicious way, pairing to a tee with Longridge’s world class wines (I will visit soon for a full tasting). The hospitality and generosity of the Longridge team seeps into the atmosphere, and I felt so genuinely at home.

Here is my experience in pictures:

A view from the restaurant towards the stoep, wine tasting area and vegetable gardens.

The vegetable garden area.

Longridge Vintage Reserve Brut 2009 on arrival, served with delicious canapés of fresh oysters, chicken skin “crackers” and truffled mushroom arancini.

Chef Maritz Jacobs, Marilou Marais (culinary consultant) and Jasper Raats (winemaker) of Longridge.

The restaurant interior at Longridge.

Our lunch menu.

Bread board.

First course: broccoli and romanesco, parmesan custard & baby spinach salad. Served with Driefontein Sauvignon Blanc 2015.

Second course: fragrant winter squash soup, poached trout & vadouvan spice. Served with Longridge Organic Chardonnay 2015.

Second course: baby potatoes, kaiins, coffee and mushrooms. Served with Die Plek Cinsaut 2015.

Fourth course: Farmer Angus thick flank, bone marrow drusted fillet, horseradish cream & Jerusalem artichoke. Served with Longridge Ekliptika 2013.

Dessert: caramelised Granny Smith apple dauphinoise with homemade Madagascan vanilla ice cream. Served with Longridge Edelgoud 2011.

Chef Maritz Jacobs and his star pastry chef, having a laugh with guests.

Thank you to Longridge Wine Estate for hosting me at this memorable lunch. Thank you also to Carina Diedericks-Hugo of Mabalel Communications for the invitation and for your part in creating this top event.

THE WINE SHOP:

Tastings Monday to Saturday, 10am to 16:30
Wine sales Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm
Closed Sunday, 1 January, Good Friday and Christmas Day.

THE RESTAURANT:

The menu changes regularly, and can be viewed here.

R225 for two courses, R295 for three courses.

Tuesdays Open for dinner only.
Wednesday to Saturday Lunch  and dinner.
Sundays Open for lunch only.
Closed Mondays, Good Friday, Christmas Day.

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(review) New small plates menu at Makaron Restaurant

17 May

Small plates at Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House, Stellenbosch. (Photograph supplied by Manley Communications)

MAKARON RESTAURANT is confirming its reputation as one of the most exciting dining destinations in the Winelands with an exciting new ‘small plates’ menu from Head Chef Lucas Carstens.

Situated in the stylish Majeka House & Spa in Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch, this luxury small hotel has recently earned yet another award, being named the Best Design Hotel in Africa & the Middle East at the international Condé Nast Johansens Awards for Excellence 2017.

This winter, Chef Carstens is heating things up with an innovative menu of tapas-style dining where the idea of flexibility and social eating gets preference.

The small plates offering begins with an amuse bouche of leaves from the Majeka vegetable gardens, tossed in rooibos vinegar and served alongside korrelkonfyt, sourdough and butter. From there you can choose from 18 small plate dishes on the menu, varying from vegetarian to meaty to sweet and everything inbetween. Fermenting and curing play key roles in bringing out umami flavour, with the team making kombucha, malt vinegars, cured duck breast, pickled figs and ginger beer.

I had the privilege of experiencing a taste of the small plates menu earlier this week. Makaron remains one of my favourite restaurants in Stellenbosch. Their new small plates offering is highly recommended and their wine pairings were, as always, exquisite. Here is my experience in pictures:

Our media table at Makaron Restaurant, where I had the privilege of tasting many of the small plates on the new menu.

Chef Lucas Carstens tells us more about his new small plates menu.

Majeka garden leaves & rooibos (compliments of the kitchen).

Bread board with spiced butter dip (compliments of the kitchen).

“Mielie pap” croquette & Sheba (compliments of the kitchen).

Heirloom tomato, white balsamic, house ricotta, gazpacho granita.

House made duck breast ham, baby figs, cos lettuce.

Cured trout, beetroot-apple kraut, milk kefir dressing.

Charred cauliflower, cabbage, sweet corn, parmesan.

Beef tartare poke bowl, avocado, sesame bar – one of my favourite dishes of the day.

Kingklip, black garlic, eggplant, ash baked carrot, black rice.

Baby marrow risotto, cured egg shavings, raw mushroom, truffle.

Springbok rump, beetroot, cabbage.

Dark chocolate, almond milk ice cream, home brewed ginger beer.

Passion fruit, buchu meringue, coconut, spekboom.

“Melktert” ice cream sandwich.

Makaron Restaurant is open daily for dinner (closed on Wednesdays during winter between May and September), from 18h30 – 20h30. Diners can choose four/five/six courses from the ’small plates’ menu for R450/R565/R675 respectively. An optional wine pairing is also available, at a cost of R770/R940/R1100 for both food and wine.

Take advantage of the special winter promotion available at Majeka House & Spa where you will pay only R1420 per person sharing a night inclusive of breakfast and dinner at Makaron, available from Sunday to Thursday, May to end of August 2017. 

Majeka House & Spa and Makaron Restaurant are situated at 26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch. For bookings call 021 880 1549 or email reservations@majekahouse.co.za. For more information visit www.majekahouse.co.za

Thank you to Makaron Restaurant and Manley Communications for hosting me.

WIN this hamper with the Fairtrade Challenge

17 May

You can win this incredible hamper from Fairtrade SA.

In celebration of the #WorldFairtradeChallenge that took place this weekend I am giving away this fabulous Fairtrade goodie hamper to one lucky winner!

To enter this give-away, name one official South African Fairtrade product, along with the hashtag #fairtradeSA.

Leave your answer in the comments section below. (Winner via random draw to be announced on Tuesday 23 May 2017.)

One of the Fairtrade wines that we enjoyed over the weekend – a Merlot from Place in the Sun.

Over the past weekend, participants from all around the world celebrated Fairtrade labelled brands as we honour the commitment they have made to a fairer trading economy and the development of many hard-working farmers and workers in South Africa and the rest of the globe.

Fairtrade is an alternative approach to conventional trade. It is based on a partnership between producers and consumers. Fairtrade offers farmers and workers improved terms of trade, which allows them to improve their lives on their terms. For consumers, Fairtrade is a powerful way to reduce poverty through every day shopping.

The Fairtrade system is one of the largest and most diverse global movements with thousands of relationships in more than 90 countries. Fairtrade takes a holistic approach to sustainability focusing on improving economic, social and environmental conditions for the long-term.

Have a look at the website www.fairtradechallenge.org/za and show your support by buying #faitradeSA!

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(review) Lunch and dinner at Stellenbosch Kitchen

16 May

The entrance to Stellenbosch Kitchen on Andringa Street, early evening.

This year, I’ll be celebrating my 40th year in Stellenbosch. A year ago we made a move from the outskirts of town to the beautiful bustling historical centre. While we gave up a chunk of living space (in size) in the process, we gained the incredible European-like lifestyle of locking up our apartment and walking a short distance to the best coffee shops and restaurants the Winelands has to offer.

Dorp Street and Church Street is where it’s at: the centre of my beautiful town when it comes to tourism, social hotspots, food and wine. Right in the middle of it all is Stellenbosch Hotel and its recently renovated restaurant Stellenbosch Kitchen – pretty much back to back with its sister-hotel Coopmanhuijs Hotel & Spa featuring Helena’s Restaurant. I recently had the opportunity to visit Stellenbosch Kitchen for dinner and lunch respectively, and would love to share my experiences with you.

The landmark veranda of Stellenbosch Kitchen on Andringa Street, early evening, just before the arrival of dinner guests.

Stellenbosch Hotel is one of the oldest hotels in town, built on Simon van der Stel’s property (a grant) between 1692 and 1701. It has since been restored in 1987 and declared a national monument. After the refurbishment in 2016, the name Jan Cats Restaurant was replaced by Stellenbosch Kitchen, featuring an eclectic yet contemporary spin on the existing historical eatery.

The space that is now called Stellenbosch Kitchen has forever been a local hotspot to both students, the mid-town working crowd and the wealthy. Their bistro-style fare has been a favourite for decades, being enjoyed on the tree-rich veranda that envelopes their landmark corner on Dorp and Andringa streets.

Here are my lunch and dinner experiences in pictures.

One of the massive old oak trees that surround Stellenbosch Hotel.

Our 18h00 arrival at Stellenbosch Kitchen meets a neatly prepped restaurant space.

Chef at work – the service hatch at Stellenbosch Kitchen.

Bread board with red wine butter and hummus. All bread baked in-house.

The dinner menu at Stellenbosch Kitchen. This menu changes seasonally.

An exceptional wine list is one of the attractions at Stellenbosch Kitchen. Here we’re enjoying Adi Badenhorst’s Secateurs Shiraz.

Potato gnocchi, butternut, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, goat’s milk feta, basil pesto. Beautifully cooked gnocchi with a mixture of very punchy ingredients.

Pan-seared line fish, fennel velouté, prawn barley risotto, grilled prawn, red pepper fondue. Perfectly cooked line fish, and I really enjoyed the texture of the barley risotto.

Ale-battered hake, hand-cut potato chips, sauce tartare, charred lemon, mushy peas. A stunning dish, yet so simple. Perfect tartare, fluffy hake, super crunchy chips – what more do you want?

Fondant of black cherry and Valrhona chocolate, Bulgarian yoghurt ice cream. Excellent texture and an interesting spin on the classic fondant – maybe a little too bitter and sour for my personal preference. Beautiful plating and delicious ice cream.

Our second visit was an early lunch at 11h30 – also much better lighting by day for my camera!

A buttery yellow glass of Jordan Chardonnay for me.

Roasted rack of Karoo Lamb, carrot purée, spiced pear chutney, polenta, fine beans. This dish is from the dinner menu, but was made for us on special request over lunch. It is one of the most popular dishes on the menu and well worth ordering (for dinner).

Osso bucco with risotto milanese. This dish certainly won’t win any prizes for plating, but it is hearty and moorish and hits all the right spots for comforting winter fare.

Apple and almond tart, vanilla bean ice cream, ginger crumble, crème anglaise – definitely my favourite dessert on the menu. They should serve this delicious pastry for breakfast too!

Coconut panna cotta, compressed pineapple, mango caviar, passion fruit mushrooms.

Stellenbosch Kitchen is well worth a regular visit, whether for a mid-week lunch, a lazy weekend dinner, or a special occasion with friends from abroad.

Thank you to the staff and management of Stellenbosch Kitchen for hosting us. We’ll certainly be back for more.

Make your booking:

Tel: +27 (0)21 883-2893
Address: Corner of Dorp & Andringa Streets, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa

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(review) Chef’s Table at The Twelve Apostles

20 Apr

The view to the right from the Leopard Bar at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.

Two weeks ago I have the pleasure of attending the first degustation dinner at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa – a new and exclusive “secret menu” chef’s table experience that will be available once a month for a limited number of people all sharing a long table adjacent to the Azure restaurant kitchen.

Chef Christo Pretorius ready for action.

Chef Christo Pretorius and head sommelier Gregory Mutambe welcomed us at 18h30 in their restaurant, against an awe inspiring backdrop of ocean, mountains and sunset. The award-winning Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa is part of the family-run Red Carnation Hotel Collection and is situated on Cape Town’s most scenic Victoria Road in Camps Bay. Poised above the Atlantic Ocean, the 5-star boutique hotel is flanked by the majestic Table Mountain National Park, a World Heritage Site, and the Twelve Apostles mountain range. The hotel offers 70 guest rooms, with unique features that include a holistic spa, private cinema, and breathtaking views from the legendary Azure Restaurant and The Leopard Bar.

A quick pic with award winning sommelier Gregory Mutambe, before the start of our dinner.

The sunset view from the Leopard Bar at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.

For the chef’s table dinner, you can enjoy a surprise six course degustation menu designed by chef Christo Pretorius – a menu that will change with every occasion. Starting on the 5th of May 2017, the hotel will be hosting these dinners on the first Friday of every month.
The recommended wine pairings with each course, featuring an exclusive selection hand-picked by acclaimed sommelier Greg Mutambe, is one of the highlights of the experience. Chef Christo and Greg will be on hand to guide you through the menu and the wines, but a screen with some footage of the action in the kitchen is a welcome addition (their kitchen space do not allow the chef’s table to actually be inside the kitchen).

Azure Restaurant reception area.

The interior of Azure Restaurant at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa (picture supplied by The Twelve Apostles)

Take a look at my experience at The Twelve Apostles’s first degustation dinner in photographs. I shared the table with a few other digital media guests and their partners, as well as the GM Michael Nel and PR host Joanne Hayes from Tumbleweed Communications. I can honestly say that this dinner was one of the most welcoming, enjoyable, relaxing, luxurious experiences of my life. The unsurpassed views, the incredibly professional and friendly staff, the thoughtful interior, the absolute attention to detail, the magnificent selection of wines expertly paired with the food, the faultless service and of course the selection of scrumptious and inventive dishes from the kitchen – it was a unique all-round experience of the highest quality, one that I would certainly remember for a lifetime.

Amuse-bouche: 60 °c Saldanha Bay Oyster – oyster mayo | miso caramel | compressed cucumber ǀ passionfruit | wild rice puffs

First course: Chicken and Ham Terrine – pickled shitake mushrooms ǀ tarragon mayo ǀ honey mustard emulsion ǀ baby micro salad ǀ compressed granny smith ǀ cured egg yolk

Second course: Roast Cauliflower – cauliflower crème ǀ pickled sultanas ǀ Malay spice dressing ǀ onion dhaltjies ǀ aged parmesan

Third course: Citrus Cured Salmon – molasses curd ǀ hazelnuts ǀ pickled beetroot ǀ stem ginger ǀ fennel fronds

Fourth course: Loin of Venison – venison osso buco ǀ parmesan gnocchi ǀ roast butternut puree ǀ squash custard ǀ confit baby leeks ǀ seed crumble ǀ maple and coffee jus

Fifth course: Boerenkaas Biscuit – pickled plum ǀ plum gel ǀ watercress ǀ toasted macadamia mousse

Sixth course: Valrhona Manjari – crémeux ǀ macerated berries ǀ gingerbread ǀ vanilla meringue ǀ dulcey crème

Mignardises, served with coffee and tea.

This degustation dinner experience is limited to 6-12 guests per event and comes with a price tag of R2150/person for six courses (includes wine, water and gratuity). With 10 days notice, they can do this Chef’s Table on any date (other than advertised) for private bookings. The experience is certainly not for the budget conscious, but fits perfectly in line with The Twelve Apostles’s high end / luxury offerings. Do browse their website for other services, including spa packages, romantic getaways and even an option where kids stay free. And did you know they were pet friendly?

Contact The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa for your reservation:

Telephone: +27 21 4379000
Email: reservations1@12apostles.co.za
Address: Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town, South Africa
GPS Coordinates: 33º58’59.37” S ,  18º21’31.43” E

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Review: Lunch at FABER

1 Mar

The magnificent mountain and garden view from the front porch at FABER, Avondale.

I was recently invited to visit FABER – a new restaurant at Avondale Farm in the Paarl wine district. Avondale is a 300 year old, family-run farm that is situated on Lustigan Road, Klein Drakenstein, on the slopes of the Klein Drakenstein Mountains.

FABER marks the meeting of minds and passions between a chef and a winemaker, paying tribute to the craftsmanship in both the kitchen and the Avondale cellar. With a shared commitment to sustainability, it’s no surprise that acclaimed chef Eric Bulpitt and Avondale proprietor Johnathan Grieve decided to collaborate.

Proprietor Johnathan Grieve and chef Eric Bulpitt welcoming the crowd.

“I’ve always believed that we as chefs are craftsmen,” says Bulpitt, explaining the meaning behind FABER, the Latin word for artisan, or craftsman. “We work with our hands, using produce from the land. It’s the perfect way to capture who we are and what we do.”

“It’s always been a goal of ours to open a restaurant on Avondale. We’ve looked at it for over 10 years, but never really found the right chef,” explains Grieve. “I’m a firm believer that when the energies are correct the partnership will happen, but up until now that hasn’t happened. When we met Eric we knew we’d found the perfect partner.”

“We have very similar belief systems in our respect for nature and a natural approach,” adds Bulpitt. “We’ll be working hand in hand together in telling the story of Avondale through the food at FABER. Whatever’s in season on the day (from the fields or the vegetable garden), we’ll bring that onto the plate and tell the story of where it comes from. It’s a dish that sums up exactly what FABER stands for.”

Chef Eric Bulpitt and team getting ready to plate our pastrami course.

Our lunch menu. I love FABER’s logo.

Avondale’s organic and biodynamic food garden has already been extended to produce fresh vegetables and herbs for the restaurant, while stone fruits and citrus from the farm’s orchards arrive with the changing seasons. Eggs are harvested daily from the eco-friendly egg-mobile housing Avondale’s free range chickens, and in time the farm will provide a steady march of broiler chickens and pasture-reared organic beef to the kitchen.

The restaurant interior at FABER.

The décor inside the renovated dining space is a blend of country-style comfort and relaxed elegance. Interior designer Annie Dower helped to infuse the Old Cape-style space with a bright modern country edge. Crockery was handcrafted at the Potters Gallery in Kleinmond, while crystal stemware from Schott Zwiesel showcases the terroir-driven wines from Avondale. Artworks by local painter Scats Esterhuyse are seen on the walls along with delicate botanical prints, echoing the landscape seen from the terrace. Keeping in line with their sustainability theme, the table tops, bar counters and wooden planter boxes are all crafted from stone pines on the estate that were felled when a fire swept Avondale a decade ago.

One of the planter boxes at FABER.

FABER is a new gem on the culinary Winelands landscape. With exceptional views, wines and food, they are sure to become a hot favourite. Here are some of the dishes that I tried at my visit:

Amuse bouche.

Black Angus pastrami, mustard, mustard chantilly and fried celery leaf, to be topped off with a celeriac veloute (which was poured over directly after I took this picture.)

Avondale happy chicken, garlic maize rice, crispy cauliflower, radish and mustard flowers.

Lemon verbena infused watermelon carpaccio, watermelon and basil sorbet, consommé and jellies. The sorbet was one of the best things that I had tasted on the menu – just brilliant.

A box of truffles and coffee for the road.

  • 5-course lunch menu: R535
  • 5 course dinner menu with Avondale wine pairings: R825
  • (Note: Prices subject to change, please check website for more info.)

The restaurant is open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday from 12h00 – 15h00 and for dinner from Wednesday to Saturday from 18H30 – 21h00. Reservations recommended. For bookings and more information phone 021-202 1219 or email faber@avondalewine.co.za. Visit FABER on Facebook and follow faber_sa on Instagram.

Thank you to Manley Communications and Avondale for the opportunity to visit FABER.

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Visiting Bartholomeus Klip with Miles For Style

9 Sep

The farmhouse at Bartholomeus Klip.

Earlier this August I was invited by Miles for Style to an all-inclusive stay at Bartholomeus Klip in Bo-Hermon between Wellington and Riebeek-Kasteel from Sunday afternoon until Tuesday lunch. The trip included breakfasts, afternoon teas, four course dinners, game drives, informative guided walks, sundowners in the wild, wine and olive tastings, rowing on the dam, cycling on the farm, lunch in Riebeek-Kasteel and much more.

I was over the moon to find out that I could bring my family along, as I’m always keen to explore places where young families could take their kids to experience beautiful surroundings and delicious food.

Miles for Style is an exclusive online shopping experience, providing premium aspirational brands from a select community of supply partners to the public and to members of the South African Airways Voyager programme. Members can now also redeem their SAA Voyager miles into #StyleMiles for a great shopping experience. One of the premium destinations that you can book online is Bartholomeus Klip, but check out their website for many other luxury destinations, travel options, spa experiences, wine & pamper products and much more.

An early morning game drive. This is the entrance to the Elandsberg Nature Reserve.

An early morning game drive. This is the entrance to the Elandsberg Nature Reserve.

I’ve never been to the Bo-Hermon area before. This expansive rural area is serenely quiet with breathtaking mountain views, extensive Fynbos, natural streams and dams. Bartholomeus Klip is a sheep and wheat farm in Bo-Hermon, but also boasts the 4000 hectare Elandsberg Nature Reserve (recognized since 2008). According to the Bartholomeus Klip booklet, it’s botanical value is incalculable since it preserves the largest remaining portions of two highly threatened renosterveld and fynbos plant communities, which have otherwise been almost entirely ploughed up for wheat farming. The reserve is particularly rich in plant species, with more than 820 recorded so far. Several of them occur nowhere else on earth. The endangered geometric tortoise and Cape mountain zebra can also be found on the reserve, along with the bontebok and many other antelopes. You’ll also find other mammals such as leopard, lynx, bat-eared fox and baboon.

Three hiking/cycling trails are available to guests, with bicycles at your disposal if you’re not bringing your own.

On a guided walk with the other guests.

On a guided walk with the other guests.

The breakfast table.

The breakfast table.

Beautifully poached pears as part of the breakfast buffet.

Beautifully poached pears as part of the breakfast buffet.

Muesli pie, bruléed grapefruit, and other treats for breakfast. Not to mention the warm breakfast items.

Muesli pie, bruléed grapefruit, and other treats for breakfast. Not to mention the warm breakfast items.

The interior of the Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse has an eclectic old-world charm with grand fireplaces, plush colourful furniture and thick carpets. Our spacious suite was luxurious and comfortable, with underfloor heating in the bathroom, air conditioning, linen robes, extra thick white towels, silky Egyptian cotton linen and a coffee pod machine with complimentary treats. At night, freshly made hot water bottles were placed in our beds and the aircon turned on warm (the nights were quite cold outside) – such a comforting way to end the day. The professional staff looked after us in every possible way – so discreet, quick and friendly.

A cosy fireplace in the tea room.

A cosy fireplace in the tea room.

The charming stoep at the farmhouse.

The charming stoep at the farmhouse.

The charming bathroom with free-standing batch and heated floor.

The charming bathroom with free-standing batch and heated floor.

Afternoon teas at Bartholomeus Klip were a delight: freshly baked scones, mini chocolate cakes, date bars, savoury pies – a different selection of wonderful treats every day. At dinner time, a four-course set menu (that also made room for special dietary requirements) were beautifully plated and presented. The food was of the highest standard. I later learned that the chef and front of house positions were shared by identical twin sisters Louise and Lesley Gillett, authors of the beautiful cookbook “Life on a Cape Farm – Country Cooking at its Best”.

A selection of afternoon tea delights.

A selection of afternoon tea delights.

The ravioli starter at dinner.

The ravioli starter at dinner.

During summer months, the circular swimming pool (with wooden deck and deck chairs) is a cool haven. A large plush lawn and established trees surround the house. Just behind the house lies the recently built boathouse, perfect for private functions and parties. The views from the boathouse onto the lake by sunset were mesmerising and truly something not to be missed.

Nothing beats a tranquil canoe trip in nature!

Nothing beats a tranquil canoe trip in nature!

Taking it easy in a boat on the dam.

Taking it easy in a boat on the dam.

A panoramic view of the dam, late afternoon.

A panoramic view of the dam and boat house, late afternoon.

We also visited the historial Bosman Family Vineyards in Wellington for a tour of their cellar and a wine tasting of some of their premium wines. What a beautiful cellar! Our second tasting was presented by Kloovenburg at Bartholomeus Klip – exceptional wines and olives from Riebeek Kasteel.

A wine tasting at Bosman Family Vineyards.

A wine tasting at Bosman Family Vineyards.

Kloovenburg Shiraz - one of my new favourite wines.

Kloovenburg Shiraz – one of my new favourite wines.

For sundowner drinks on our second night, we were taken by Landrover to a remote spot next to a watering hole in the middle of the reserve. Staff set up a seating area, a well stocked bar and snacks. I had one of the best gin & tonics of my life with a backdrop straight from heaven.

The magical setting for sundowners in the Elandsberg Reserve.

The magical setting for sundowners in the Elandsberg Reserve.

In the landrover with Mike, Carlin, Seth, Sam, Dax and Melissa.

In the landrover with Mike, Carlin, Seth, Sam, Dax and Melissa.

Bartholomeus Klip is a destination where you can unwind, refresh, relax, be pampered and get in touch with the magical serenity of farm life away from the city. With the drive from Cape Town being just over an hour, this is an accessible choice for a fuss-free weekend away.

Thank you to Miles for Style for the incredible gift hamper that was filled to the brim with many of the luxury products available on www.milesforstyle.com.

My gift hamper from Miles for Style included silver jewelry, wine, bee balm, chocolate, olive oil, hand crafted soap, a coffee mug and a leather wallet!

My gift hamper from Miles for Style included silver jewelry, wine, bee balm, chocolate, olive oil, hand crafted soap, a coffee mug and a leather wallet!

On our last day we were treated to lunch at Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel. It was one of the highlights of the trip – absolutely scrumptious Italian fare.

Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel.

Mama Cucina in Riebeek Kasteel.

Some of the dishes that we tried at Mama Cucina: Prawn & saffron risotto, polenta with meatballs, veal with tuna & caper mayonnaise and a roasted artichoke dip.

Some of the dishes that we tried at Mama Cucina: Prawn & saffron risotto, polenta with meatballs, veal with tuna & caper mayonnaise and a roasted artichoke dip.

Thank you also to Bartholomeus Klip for yet another gift bag filled with Lesley & Louise’s cookbook and many other delightful local treats.

Our visit to Bartholomeus Klip was unforgettable and I cannot wait to return – highly recommended to anyone seeking a scenic, tranquil, farm-style getaway where you will be treated like royalty. Get more information and book your trip on www.milesforstyle.com.

A midweek family getaway at Boschendal

25 Jul

The beautiful centre of Boschendal, surrounded by the Werf Restaurant, the deli, farm shop, butchery and manor house.

The beautiful centre of Boschendal, surrounded by the Werf Restaurant, the deli, farm shop, butchery and manor house.

Stellenbosch is an amazing town to live in. We’re spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants, coffee shops, wineries, sights to see and views to enjoy. But escaping this bustling town is sometimes just what you need.

I was invited to Boschendal Farm for a midweek dinner and stay-over with my family. Boschendal is situated off Pniel Road in the Groot Drakenstein between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Over the past two years the new owners have revamped the farm, historical buildings and restaurant to establish a more contemporary and ethical destination that offers one of the best quality all-round experiences in the Cape Winelands.

Only a few kilometres across the Helshoogte Pass lies a working farm destination fit for royalty, but accessible to many. With a choice between many different cottage accommodation options adjacent to the main farm buildings or higher up in the mountain (closer to the bike trails), you’ll certainly find something to suit your pocket and your needs. Starting from R700/p sharing, the cottages offer between 1 and 4 bedrooms.

Our beautiful accommodation for the day: Brinkhuys Cottage.

Our beautiful accommodation for the day: Brinkhuys Cottage.

Brinkhuys Cottage, one of the Werf Cottages at Boschendal.

Brinkhuys Cottage, one of the Werf Cottages at Boschendal.

The three of us stayed in one of the Werf Cottages – one bedroom with a double bed (and a day bed), fire place, self-catering kitchen, dining area, stoep with shaded seating and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. The beautiful Le Creuset cookware was a nice touch for an avid cook like me.

Upon arrival on a Thursday afternoon we couldn’t help but explore the breathtaking gardens – a paradise for children and adults alike. After a drive amongst the massive farm’s fruit orchards, we checked out the accommodation options further away from the main buildings (perfect for mountain biking enthusiasts), then headed back where we settled into our cottage with a cozy little fire and a complimentary bottle of wine. After dark we took our seats at the Werf Restaurant next to a roaring fireplace where we were treated to Boschendal’s famous “farm-to-table” shared eating experience and some of Boschendal’s best wines. Although executive chef Christiaan Campbell was on a well deserved holiday, his professional team operated seamlessly. All ingredients are ethically sourced and produced (mostly directly from/on the farm). It was one of the best meals that we’ve shared as a family and the friendly staff left a lasting impression on all of us.

Entrance to the Werf Restaurant.

Entrance to the Werf Restaurant.

Inside the Werf Restaurant.

Inside the Werf Restaurant.

The Spanish interior of the Werf Restaurant.

The Spanish interior of the Werf Restaurant.

The second starter:

One of our starters: grilled octopus, pork sausages, oyster emulsion, parsley and lemon preserve.

Our shared beef platter with marrow bones, aioli, potatoes and much more.

Mains for two: Our shared beef platter with fillet, marrow bones, boerewors, aioli, salad, potatoes and much more.

After dinner we walked back to our cottage (with a provided flashlight) and snuggled into our luxury beds – pre-heated with electric blankets.

For breakfast we opted for the packed basket which came brimmed with charcuterie, cheeses, fresh orange juice, bread, butter and preserves, muesli, yoghurt and more. Ground coffee and a large plunger sorted us with a proper caffeine fix for the day. Breakfast can also be enjoyed at the deli – just book when checking in at reception.

This one night stay-over on the other side of the mountain felt like a much longer break-away adventure in one of the most beautiful places in the Cape. There is so much to do and see and experience at Boschendal, and all of it is great: the best droëwors I’ve ever tasted at the butchery shop, horse rides for kids, fly fishing, hiking trails, wine tasting, farm shop with fresh veggies and meat from the farm – the list is endless. It is truly accessible to locals (not only international guests) and is highly recommended for people and/or families who are keen to explore the majestic Groot Drakenstein outdoors. Boschendal’s honest approach of “local, seasonal, ethical” is a shining light in a very competitive market.

Thank you to the Boschendal team and to Atmosphere PR for making our stay possible.

One of the roads on the working farm side of Boschendal Farm. Magnificent scenery.

One of the roads on the working farm side of Boschendal Farm. Magnificent scenery.

The Orchard cottages on Boschendal Farm, perfect for outdoor lovers and mountain bike fanatics.

The Orchard cottages on Boschendal Farm, perfect for outdoor lovers and mountain bike fanatics.


Book your mid-winter farm retreat now on 021-870 4290 or accommodation@boschendal.co.za and profit from the winter-warmer special at one of the Boschendal Orchard Cottages, valid 1 May to 30 September 2016: 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom at R1500 per night B&B for 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 16 or 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms at R1900 per night B&B for 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 16. Please use the reference Bosch002 when booking.


The Werf Restaurant: +27 (0) 21 870 4206 / werf@boschendal.co.za

Winter opening hours:

Lunch: Wednesday to Sunday 12:00 to 14:30  (Seated by 14:00)

Dinner: Thursday, Friday & Saturday 18:00 to 21:00 (Seated by 20:30)

Booking is essential. Download the Winter 2016 menu here.

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