Tag Archives: Winelands

Col’Cacchio Stellenbosch revamped to celebrate 25 years

23 Oct

Early evening at Col’Cacchio, Stellenbosch.

 

This year, well-known pizza franchise Col’Cacchio celebrates 25 years in the industry. They’ve updated their branding and revamped some of their flagship stores, with more revamping rolling out countrywide shortly.

I was invited to visit my local Col’Cacchio in Plein Street, Stellenbosch last week. The location of this store has always been a hit – a tranquil courtyard in the absolute centre of town, perfect for families with young kids but also walking distance from campus for students. It has a distinct European feel, yet enough privacy and safety because it is not directly on the street.

Col’Cacchio distinguishes themselves as an Italian-inspired elegant pizzeria with an extensive menu, also including generous salads, antipasto, pasta and desserts. With their menu also recently updated, you can now do half-and-half pizza options, choosing any two of your favourite pizzas on the menu or even creating your own list of toppings.

The standard thin crust of Col’Cacchio’s pizzas wins my vote. I also love the size of their pizzas and the fact that they don’t feel heavy, but still are generously topped with fresh ingredients. I’ll definitely be back for the antipasti platter – such great value and perfect for sharing. Note that there are also gluten free and vegan pasta and pizza options!

As always, kids are well catered for with complimentary pizza dough and cookie cutters to play with, as well as crayons to draw on the brown paper table cover. This literally keeps them busy for ages – I love it.

Linger longer this summer season at Col’Cacchio Stellenbosch, invite a crowd of friends to join you and sit back while you snack through their menu. Their wine selection also includes many local favourites.

Take a look at our visit in pictures:

Garlic, chilli, parmesan, Tabasco, olive oil and balsamic vinegar comes standard with every sit-down table.

Happiness is fresh dough for the kids!

My favourite of the day: a delicious antiplasti platter of caprese salad, artichokes, charcuterie and marinated peppers. This platter also includes thin, crisp, herby pizza slices, plated separately.

Prosciutto and orange salad with rocket.

My half-and-half pizza – the smoke babe (Asian deboned smoked pork ribs, rosso onion, corn, spring onion, mint and coriander) and spicotta (fior di latte, garlic, spinach, ricotta, tomatoes and parmesan).

Schalk’s half-and-half pizza: the smoke babe and the moghul (Indian butter chicken, yoghurt, fior di latte, coriander & crispy onions).

Kids playing happily in Col’Cacchio’s courtyard.

 

Where to find Col’Cacchio Stellenbosch:
Location: Shop 29-31, Simonsplein Centre, Plein Street, Stellenbosch, 7600
Telephone Number: (021) 886-7088

For more info visit www.colcacchio.co.za or hop onto these social media platforms:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ColCacchio/
Twitter: @ColCacchio
Instagram: @colcacchio

Download the Col’Cacchio Rewards app from the Apple App Store or Google Play & unlock delicious rewards.

 

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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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(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.

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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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Top 10 Winter Winelands Taste Adventures

3 Aug

The spectacular view at Jordan, as taken a few weeks ago at a brunch. Beautiful winter's morning.

The spectacular view at Jordan, as taken a few weeks ago at a brunch. Beautiful winter’s morning.

It is mid-Winter in the Winelands and it’s one of the coldest ones in a long time. But the locals aren’t moaning, they’re smiling. Why? Because we’ve been looking forward to this: the magical comfort of a dreary, rainy, icy Winelands winter. “Kaggel-en-rooiwyn” weather, we call it.

I’ve put together my list of the top 10 places in the Winelands to visit this winter, specifically because they make us love winter even more. Places where you’ll find roaring fire places, more than enough of the very best red wine and the most delicious winter fare in the district. So get your car insurance quotes online, make sure your vehicle is covered and get out there!

  1. Boschendal – Pniel Road, Groot Drakenstein
    • The Werf Restaurant is super cozy with a fire place that roars like a dragon. From wine tastings to visiting the deli or even staying over in one of the cottages (also with fire places and heaters), this is a winter haven.

      The fireplace at the Werf Restaurant, Boschendal (image from www.boschendal.co.za)

      The fireplace at the Werf Restaurant, Boschendal (image from www.boschendal.co.za)

  2. The Bakery @ Jordan – Stellenbosch Kloof Road
    • There’s just no substitute for a late morning breakfast in a place that smells like freshly baked bread all the time. And just in time for a wine tasting afterwards, because hey, wine in the morning is fair game in the Winelands. And did I mention they now also have luxury accommodation facilities?
  3. Cuveé Restaurant @ Simonsig – Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof
    • Ever had oysters and Kaapse Vonkel in the middle of winter next to a crackling fire? These guys will show you how.
  4. Glen Carlou – Simondium
    • The red wines at Glen Carlou keep me coming back for regular tastings during the cold months in the Winelands. Their huge glass doors leading to the stoep keeps the cold at bay (with breathtaking views right through the year) and a fireplace oozes warmth right through the tasting area and restaurant.
  5. Terroir @ Kleine Zalze – Strand Road, Stellenbosch
    • Heaters are placed around every corner of this understated gem of a restaurant. Winter specials include 2 or 3 courses with a glass of wine and is excellent value for money. A must-visit.
  6. Tokara – Helshoogte
    • With a massive fireplace in their tasting area and views to die for, this is also one of my favourite wine tasting venues during winter. Stay on for lunch at Tokara Restaurant or move a little further along to Tokara Deli for more roaring fires and kid-friendly zones.
  7. Terra del Capo @ Anthonij Rupert – R45, Franschhoek
    • Ask for the private tasting area on the first floor that has a fire place – just magnificent. Don’t miss out on the tapas downstairs, as well as a beautiful drive to the motor museum and a second tasting at the Anthonij Rupert tasting area. A full day of wonderful wine-induced activities.
  8. Makaron @ Majeka House – Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch
    • With a fire places in the lounge and heaters in the restaurant, you won’t even feel the chills of winter. Remember to try their Sunday roasts for lunch, or opt for one of the best breakfast experiences in the Winelands over the weekend. They always have Winter stay-over specials at their hotel, so check out their website for more info.

      M Lounge at Majeka House (picture from www.majekahouse.co.za)

      M Lounge at Majeka House (picture from www.majekahouse.co.za)

  9. Waterkloof – Somerset West
    • With a crackling log fire all winter long, you’ll feel right at home at Waterkloof. They offer delicious platters at their wine tasting lounge, or opt for a cheese and wine tasting. The restaurant is spectacular and a must-visit destination.

      The tasting lounge at Waterkloof (image from www.waterkloofwines.co.za)

      The tasting lounge at Waterkloof (image from www.waterkloofwines.co.za)

  10. Clos Malverne – Devon Valley
    • One of the best value for money three course meals with wine pairings in the Winelands, but don’t forget the magnificent views through the glass panes as well as the fireplaces and the authentic Devon Valley hospitality. Bring the whole family – you’ll feel truly welcome.

This post was written in collaboration with Dialdirect.

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A day at Anthonij Rupert Wines, Franschhoek

8 Feb

The glass entrance door at Terra del Capo.

The glass entrance door at Terra del Capo.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to experience a day at Anthonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek. We put aside a Saturday as we heard that it was worth spending more time than just the usual for a tasting, and took the drive over the magnificent Helshoogte Pass towards Franschhoek.

Anthonij Rupert Wines is home to two exquisite tasting rooms. The first is their Terra del Capo Tasting Room, situated at the entrance to the property, which was designed to showcase the company’s Italian-inspired Terra del Capo range. At the restored original Manor House on the farm, wine aficionados can also enjoy tailored wine tastings  of the Cape of Good Hope and Anthonij Rupert Wine ranges.

Both tasting rooms are unique in their own rights and offer visitors an exquisite day out to the Winelands. Earlier in 2014 the farm introduced two beautiful vintage trams offering visitors a complimentary transport system between the two tasting rooms as well as the adjacent Franschhoek Motor Museum on the picturesque L Órmarins Wine Estate.

Below is our day at Anthonij Rupert Wines in pictures. It is surely one of the best day-trips to make in the Winelands, and offers exceptional value in terms of scenery, wine tastings, tapas and adventure. The tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo is still one of the best kept secrets in Franschhoek (not too commercial, not overcrowded) and it is very affordable. I’ll return there often – one of my favourite new places to eat. You can sit inside with a view of the cellar, or outside underneath the beautiful olive trees on comfortable couches.

This experience is highly recommendable for food and wine lovers looking for a quality day out in the Winelands, but is also a picture perfect romantic Valentine’s excursion with your beloved – especially with the newly released L’Ormarins Brut Classique and Rosé. The motor museum at the adjacent L’Ormarins is breathtaking (even for those who aren’t necessarily gearheads) and the sheer beauty of the pristine grounds and gardens will leave you in awe.

Anthonij Rupert Wines & Terra del Capo is open: Tuesday – Sunday, 10h00-16h30.

Cost for tastings: R10-R60

Prices for tapas vary from R20-R150

Contact: Elana Bernhardt – 021 874 9041 / tasting@rupertwines.com.

The Franschhoek Motor Museum is open:

Mon – Fri: 10h00 – 17h00  (last admittance 16h00)
Sat & Sun: 10h00 – 16h00 (last admittance 15h00)
Open most public holidays (phone for confirmation +27 (0)21 874 9000 / fmm@fmm.co.za)
No motor bikes

Admission prices are R60 adults, R50 pensioners, R50 motor club members, R30 children (3-12yrs).

The lush green gardens at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The lush green gardens at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tram waiting for us under one of the huge trees at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tram waiting for us under one of the huge trees at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The beautiful vintage tram - our ride for the trip to the Manor House and L'Ormarins.

The beautiful vintage tram – our ride for the trip to the Manor House and L’Ormarins.

The exotic entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wine's Terra Del Capo tasting room.

The exotic entrance to Anthonij Rupert Wine’s Terra Del Capo tasting room.

Lounging on the counches under the olive trees outside the Terra del Capo tasting room.

Lounging on the couches under the olive trees outside the Terra del Capo tasting room.

The cheetah statue outside the entrance to the Terra del Capo tasting room at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The cheetah statue outside the entrance to the Terra del Capo tasting room at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The tapas prep area at Terra del Capo's tapas restaurant.

The tapas prep area at Terra del Capo’s tapas restaurant.

Inside the tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo, adjacent to the wine cellar.

Inside the tapas restaurant at Terra del Capo, adjacent to the wine cellar.

The private boardroom / dining room / tasting room at Terra del Capo.

The private boardroom / dining room / tasting room at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil tasting of the Terra del Capo 2012 and L'Ormarins premium ranges.

Olive oil tasting of the Terra del Capo 2012 and L’Ormarins premium ranges.

Opening our tapas lunch with a glass of L'Ormarins MCC at Terra del Capo.

Opening our tapas lunch with a glass of L’Ormarins MCC at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil and wine tasting at Terra del Capo.

Olive oil and wine tasting at Terra del Capo.

Deep fried rillette balls at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Deep fried rillette balls at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

White anchovies, quails egg, manzanilla olives & tomato salad, caper dressing at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

White anchovies, quails egg, manzanilla olives & tomato salad, caper dressing at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Artichokes marinated with thyme, lemon & olive oil at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Artichokes marinated with thyme, lemon & olive oil at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Fried calamari with lemon & chive aioli at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Fried calamari with lemon & chive aioli at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Zucchini fries at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Zucchini fries at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Lamb chops at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

Lamb chops at Terra del Capo tapas restaurant.

The talented chef at Terra del Capo's tapas bar. Some of the best tapas I've had in this region.

The talented chef at Terra del Capo’s tapas bar. Some of the best tapas I’ve had in this region.

A wide variety of wines, oils, preserves an decor is available at the shop at Terra del Capo.

A wide variety of wines, oils, preserves an decor is available at the shop at Terra del Capo.

L'Ormarins MCC.

L’Ormarins MCC.

The premium range extra virgin olive oil by L'Ormarins.

The premium range extra virgin olive oil by L’Ormarins.

Terra del Capo wine gift boxes.

Terra del Capo wine gift boxes.

 

The beautiful cheetah statue outside the entrance to Terra del Capo.

The beautiful cheetah statue outside the entrance to Terra del Capo.

The facade of the Terra del Capo tasting room and cellar at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The facade of the Terra del Capo tasting room and cellar at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The pristine grounds at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The pristine grounds at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the tram, en route to the Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the tram, en route to the Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the stoep at the Manor House tasting room, Anthonij Rupert Wines.

View from the stoep at the Manor House tasting room, Anthonij Rupert Wines.

The manor house stoep, where we tasted the Anthonij Rupert Wine range.

The manor house stoep, where we tasted the Anthonij Rupert Wine range.

Cape of Good Hope Ultima - one of their premium wines at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Cape of Good Hope Ultima – one of their premium wines at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Three of the wines in the Antjonij Rupert range.

Three of the wines in the Antjonij Rupert range.

One of the rooms inside the restored Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

One of the rooms inside the restored Manor House at Anthonij Rupert Wines.

Some of the cars that you can see at the Franschhoek Motor Museum at L’Ormarins, next to Anthonij Rupert Wines.

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A panoramic view of the motor museum at L’Ormarins.

 

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#Stellenblog is coming…

30 Apr

StellenblogAs some of you might know, I am very excited and honoured to be involved with the upcoming #Stellenblog campaign as the local host blogger – I’ll be the one showing the rest of the group around my town! For those of you that don’t know what #Stellenblog is, you can follow the hashtag on various social media platforms, and quickly find out more.

The group of international and local bloggers will be living in the heart of Stellenbosch wine country, in a soon-to-be-revealed villa on a working wine farm. From there they will explore and uncover Stellenbosch as a multi-layered destination, and experience some fantastic local food, wine, people and places.

“The itinerary of discovery planned for #Stellenblog is complex and full of surprises, for the bloggers to peel away the layers of Stellenbosch and share their first hand experiences with the world. It will also aid in collecting authentic content for the region to use on our own web platforms and for promotional activities,” explains Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

“Through #Stellenblog we aim to expose Stellenbosch beyond the veneer of its Cape Dutch history and the wine bottle. We want to introduce the world to a place that has a far more interesting story to tell and invite visitors to come and discover the warm heart of South Africa’s wine and gourmet capital.”

This campaign was designed by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold from Destinate for Stellenbosch Wine Routes. Says Mariette: “Word of mouth through social media is now the most powerful tool for any destination marketer today and this is being utilised fully through the campaign.”

As I cannot reveal too much of the upcoming secret adventures yet, I thought I’d give you some hints as to what the group can expect during the #Stellenblog week:

  •  one of the best launch parties the Winelands have ever seen (I’ve seen the food and wine contributors for this event, and it’s going to blow your socks off…)
  • a lekker intimate local braai at the villa, cooked by one of Stellenbosch’s top chefs (actually, one of SA’s top chefs)
  • the chance to learn how to cook local Stellenbosch cuisine, using age old recipes passed on through generations
  • dinners at some of the best fine dining establishments in town
  • experiencing historical Stellenbosch on foot
  • a secret vineyard lunch experience
  • a luxury pampering session
  • exploring surrounding wine farms by alternative transport…

Need I say more? This is only the tip of the iceberg. #Stellenblog is coming!

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Review: Picnic at Uitkyk

14 Feb

The picnic spread available at Uitkyk, in front of their historic manor house (photograph courtesy of Uitkyk)

Last week, I was invited to Uitkyk Wine Estate on the R304 outside Stellenbosch for a Georgian picnic. I confirmed the date for Thursday morning the 6th of February and took my husband along for the experience.

The picnics at Uitkyk cost R350 per basket and is perfect for two people to share. It includes a bottle of Uitkyk wine (you have a choice of about 5 wines and we chose the wooded Chenin Blanc) and mineral water, as well as a wide selection of charcuterie, cheeses, pâté, olives, fruit, smoked salmon with giant capers, dips, artisanal bread and decadent chocolate brownies. The picnic is beautifully presented in a classic picnic basket with an extra table cloth (if you’d like to make use of the tables) and a picnic blanket for the lawn.

The atmosphere at Uitkyk is absolutely serene. Their expansive lush lawn stretches out in front of the historical and beautifully restored manor house. This 18th century Georgian neo-classical double-story building was completed in 1788, and is one of only three such houses left in the country.

With many more wine farms presenting visitors with a picnic option these days, Uitkyk certainly impresses with the tranquillity of their estate, the natural beauty of their lawns and ancient trees, and the value for money that you receive on booking this picnic. Not only is this a fantastic option for a romantic or lazy lunch, but you can also play a game of boules or croquet – completely free of charge. The full experience has an air of timeless beauty and relaxation, and it is a great way of discovering the magic of Stellenbosch’s wine country.

Picnic bookings must be made 24 hours in advance. Call 021-884 4416 or email info@uitkyk.co.za for more information. Upgrades are possible to include Uitkyk’s MCC Glass Memoires and other exclusive wines from their collection. Uitkyk is a child-friendly venue.

Uitkyk is situated on the R304 between Stellenbosch and Paarl. Thank you very much to Uitkyk and Manley Communications for this delightful experience.

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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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