Tag Archives: lunch

Review: Picnic at Warwick

29 Oct

Warwick’s expansive lawn, perfect for picnics.

I was invited (with my family) to visit Warwick Wine Estate on the R44 outside Stellenbosch on the 13th of October, in order to experience their Gourmet Picnic. Warwick is a family-run estate, and their approach is hands-on, personal and family friendly.

The estate and views are majestic: bright green perfectly kept lawns, lots of shade in the shape of garden umbrellas and trees (more secluded picnic pod structures are also available between the trees), a beautiful pond, immaculate surrounding mountains & vineyards. The atmosphere at Warwick is serene without being intimidating – a really relaxing vibe.

Warwick is situated on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts.

The gourmet picnic for two (R350 in total) consists of the following, and does not included wine or drinks:

  • 2 x ciabattas
  • pickled beetroot, pecan nut, goat’s cheese, quinoa & wild rocket salad
  • gazpacho salad with a chilli & garlic dressing
  • grilled beef tagliata with aoli & truffle oil
  • Mediterranean pesto
  • prosciutto skewer with basil, melon & bocconcini
  • Richard Bosman’s coppa ham
  • Forest Hill baby grand brie
  • Healey’s mature cheddar
  • Loved Ponies 3 fruit marmalade
  • vanilla cheesecake with mixed berry compote

This generous basket of culinary goodies is a true Winelands feast. All the elements were selected with care, the packaging is really appealing and the flavours are all bright and summery. I can recommend this as a fabulously effortless way to spend a lazy sunny afternoon, lounging on the pillows under the umbrellas or sitting comfortably at a picnic table. It is a great family feast (kids baskets also available at R49/child), but also perfect for a romantic day out.

One of the picnic pods at Warwick, a more private atmosphere.

Warwick’s wines are all of very high quality, but they are renowned for their impeccable range of red wines. Be sure to do a full tasting when you visit the estate. For the adventurous, there’s also the option of going on a guided “Big 5 Wine Safari” to see more of the estate and their surrounding vineyards.

The Warwick Gourmet Picnic is one of the best “things to do” on a beautiful day in the Winelands – top quality setting, great food and world class wines. I’ll surely be back this season for more.

Warwick is open everyday from 10h00-17h00. Contact them on info@warwickwine.com or 021-884 4410.

Thank you to Mike Ratcliffe and the Warwick team for a fantastic picnic experience. All pictures courtesy of Warwick Wine Estate.

Enjoy your picnic lunch at a table, or on the lawn.

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Review: Lunch at Brenaissance

18 Sep

Brenaissance Wine and Stud Farm in Devon Valley, Stellenbosch (picture courtesy of Brenaissance)

I was invited to Brenaissance Wine & Stud Estate‘s Café Blanc de Noir for lunch last week. They are situated in the beautiful Devon Valley on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, a relatively new project by owners Tom and Hayley Breytenbach (the Café opened in 2012).

Having heard of Brenaissance’s pizza and wine pairings, me and Schalk decided to try it out. Café Blanc de Noir is suitable kitted out in black and white, and the building has a strikingly modern yet rustic appearance.

The entrance to Café Blanc de Noir at Brenaissance (picture courtesy of Brenaissance)

After getting seated, we ordered the pizza and wine pairing from the menu, and our waiter explained how it would work. We each received a large laminated placemat with info about each of the 4 wines that we were about to drink, and then there was space for a rectangular wooden board  containing a rectangular pizza with 4 different topping combinations. Brenaissance’s signature rectangular pizzas are made by rolling out their pizza dough by hand, paper thin, and then using a large rectangular cutter (like a large cookie cutter) to standardize each one. The dough is pre-baked, then stacked for later. They use a wood fired oven and the pizzas have a very nice char on the edges – just the way I like it.

The pizza and wine pairing at Café Blanc de Noir.

 

Here is the full description of Brenaissance’s Café Blanc de Noir pizza & wine pairing (R160/person):

Parma ham pizza with garlic, rosa tomatoes, avo, mixed greens, parmesan shavings and pesto olive oil, served with Brenaissance Knight of White Chardonnay 2010

Caramelised onion pizza with kalamata olives, danish feta, mixed green & balsamic glaze, served with Brenaissance Queen of Hearts Merlot 2010

Biltong pizza with sweet fig, danish feta, mixed greens & balsamic glaze, served with Brenaissance Full House Bordeaux Blend 2010

Cajun chicken pizza with chorizo, red onion, mushrooms, mixed greens and chilli infused olive oil, served with Brenaissance Jack of Diamonds Shiraz 2009

 

My favourite pizza combination was the first option with parma ham and avo – really delicious! But I have to say that Brenaissance’s wines completely blew us away. All 4 wines that we tasted were superb quality, and I would seriously recommend a wine tasting at Brenaissance for true wine lovers who want to discover something new.

The atmosphere at Brenaissance was relaxed and the pizza was really scrumptious. The venue is child friendly with a large play area across the stream (in full view of the parents, don’t worry!). This place will certainly be a huge hit in warmer weather, for lazy lunches and wine tastings with lots of friends and family.

Contact Brenaissance’s Café Blanc de Noir on 021-200 2644 for bookings. They also have facilities to cater for events, weddings and accommodation.

Thank you very much to Brenaissance for the lovely lunch, we’ll be back soon!

Rectangular pizzas (picture courtesy of Brenaissance)

The kitchen and service station at Café Blanc de Noir

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Review: Lunch at Leopard’s Leap

11 Jun

A quick break in the weather helped to photograph the outside of Leopard’s Leap against the magical backdrop of the Franschhoek mountains.

I received an invitation to experience the rotisserie lunch at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek this past weekend. The invitation said that I could “bring my family”, so I strapped my 2 year old daughter in her car seat and asked my brother Dirk and his partner Frans to join us.

I had been to Leopard’s Leap once before for a wine tasting, and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of their wines (at really great prices). I noticed the rotisserie lunch offering (which also include a children’s menu), and vowed to come back for it soon.

It was a dreary, wet, stormy day in the Cape Winelands on Saturday. As we arrived in the parking lot at Leopard’s Leap, we were greeted by a friendly staff member who offered us umbrellas – what a nice touch! Inside, we each received a glass of sparking wine on arrival at the table. As if on cue, a live band started playing relaxing jazzy music on the covered stoep where we were seated. The interior of Leopard’s Leap is a very impressive space. With it’s high ceilings, industrial feel, and really large floor size, this place can accommodate quite a lot of people before looking busy. But despite the size of the place, there is a definite cozy atmosphere with clever textured elements, couch areas and fireplaces. The display of the rotisserie lunch buffet is truly mouthwatering, and it certainly makes you very hungry for great food! Add some breathtaking views of the Franschhoek mountains and the scene is set for a great family lunch.

Butternut and roasted pepper soup

We ordered a bottle of Family Vineyards Shiraz Mourvedre, and headed over to the soup station for our starter course. The chef on duty dished us bowls full of steaming butternut and roasted pepper soup, topped off with fresh chives and croutons. It was deliciously comforting and the perfect food for the dreary weather outside.

The rotisserie chef in action. (picture courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)

After the soup I headed over to the salad/vegetable buffet (all sourced from their own organic vegetable garden), where I helped myself to a selection of really great roasted vegetables, couscous with butternut and danish feta, tzatziki, curried potatoes and springbok pie. The selection was very large, so I only tasted these few dishes – there were plenty other! After weighing my plate, they asked me which of the rotisserie meats I was interested in. I opted for the lamb neck and the pork belly (I’ll have to go back for the chicken!), and drizzled the pork with some apple sauce.

Dirk, Frans and myself at the table with our rotisserie lunch plates.

The food was really scrumptious, and the crackling on the pork belly was some of the crispiest I had ever had. All of the meats and side dishes were really tender and flavoursome, and I can truly say it is superb family dining. Coupled with very friendly service and a really attentive team, this was one of the nicest family restaurants that I had been to in a long time. Leopard’s Leap is certainly doing things right, and they deserve to have their seats full all of the time.

The dessert buffet at Leopard’s Leap.

For dessert, we had a choice of cupcakes (each one individually plated and differently decorated – a hit with my daughter!), chocolate mousse (my favourite of the day), pecan pie, apple pie, chocolate brownies, marshmallow rice crispies squares (meant for the kids, but I had one and it was great), malva pudding, vanilla custard and cream. We had coffee before we hit the wet road again, and spent a total of 3 hours at the restaurant. It was such a relaxing, wonderful lunch experience, and I can certainly recommend it to families with young children (they also have a great outside play area and a huge lawn), or anyone that want to gather around a table in a casual atmosphere with abundant home-style food, top class service and well-priced wines. Amongst all of the immaculate fine-dining restaurants in Franschhoek, Leopard’s Leap certainly stands out as something refreshingly different – more laid-back, more family-friendly, but still a top quality experience.

Thank you very much to the team at Leopard’s Leap for making us feel so welcome and looked after! We’ll certainly be back for more.

A table full of friends, great food and excellent wine at Leopard’s Leap (picture courtesy of Leopard’s Leap)

More info:

The food offering is available from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:30 to 15:00.

A tempting selection of culinary and wine related items, gifts and take-away delights is available from the shop.

For more information on Leopard’s Leap Wines and all the new activities at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards, please visit www.leopards-leap.com or contact Harry at +27 (0)21 876 8002.

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