Monday, December 2, 2013

Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival 'The 'Magic of Bubbles' 2013

I've been so busy lately I haven't had a chance to sit-down, breathe and blog. But, a great way to kick-start December is to share my experience of this past weekend's Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival 'The 'Magic of Bubbles', Presented by Mastercard.

I was invited to experience the VIP Gourmet Theatre, which featured amazing cheese and charcuterie as well as a fabulous lunch by Chef de Cuisine Chris Erasmus of La Motte's Pierneef a la Motte restaurant.

The weather was gorgeous and hot with a breeze and the crowds were all dressed beautifully in black & white with 'stripes and dots' - the theme for this year's event. MCC producers participating in this year’s festival include (among others) Pierre Jourdan, Morena, Môreson, La Motte, Boschendal, Leopard’s Leap, Noble Hill, Plaisir de Merle, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Graham Beck Wines, Krone, Simonsig, Steenberg and Villiera. Some of France’s best Champagnes will be represented by brands such as Billecart Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut and Veuve Clicquot.

And so it began...

The VIP Gourmet Theatre at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival 'The 'Magic of Bubbles', Presented by Mastercard

My Champagne partner in crime for the day - looking dashing in black and white - the theme colour for every Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival

Our lunch table at the Gourmet Theatre - with The Food Fox and Neil Pendock in the background

The most incredible cheeses were on offer! Divine goat's milk cheese and creamy blue!

Charcuterie by Bread & Wine chef, Neil Jewell was showcased - love the new wagyu beef salami

Veuve Clicquot winemaker Pierre Casnave

a selection of cheese and charcuterie

A healthy pouring of Veuve Clicquot to pair with the cheese and charcuterie

Chef Chris Erasmus of La Motte's Pierneef A La Motte restaurant preparing our starter

starter: potato nests, smoke salmon mousse and quails egg

The Food Fox's husband enjoying his starter

Mr fabulosity enjoying his starter and wine

Mr fabulosity enjoying his starter and wine - hmmm delish!

Chris Erasmus explaining and demonstrating how to make the main course (with presenter Colin Moss on the right)

ME (again) sipping more Veuve Clicquot
Main course: Smoked and pickled lamb, sweet corn and vanilla cromesquis, wild barley and watermelon bbq sauce - very rich indeed! Thank goodness the food fox husband was there to help me finish this course!

My favourite course: DESSERT! Not a usual choice for me as I love savoury over sweet anyday! I do love berries though, and this sorbet was delish! The tart was a wood-roasted pumpkin and ginger flower pot, hence my love for it!

Out into the field we went, tasting the bubblies on offer at the stands. Here, Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose - my first choice of the afternoon

Fancy little MASTERCARD card with credits for Champagne and MCC tastings. Each card contained 10 tastings... we went through three after our lunch. Good Work I'd say!

Loved the Claudia 2008 Brut to the left!

The range of bubbleis from Domaine des Deux

De Wetshof Estate bubbly: De Wetshof Estate Methode Cap Classique Pinot Noir Brut 2008

Loving the new Groote Post labels - the Aurelia (private label produced by the winemaker is delish! And that Brut Rose is the new Old Man's Sparkle)
Maison's maiden bubbly is a superb: fresh crisp green apple bouquet with a dry style-mineral yeasty flavour.

tasting manager and sommelier at the Maison estate Alice Mfundisi - she always gets me into trouble... "bottom's up!"

Love the packaging of this bubbly box: holds 5 bottles of GM&AHRens Cap Classique

Tasting of the boutique bubbly: GM&AHRens Cap Classique

Chabivin's MCCs.... and this was the last that I could taste...
... although Mr Fabulosity rushed back to Haute Cabriere to grab a glassful before for the shuttle ride home to Cape Town!

For more information on the Bubbly fest, visit:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wine Tasting in the 'Burbs: Beau Constantia, Constantia Glen and Groot Constantia

the view from Beau Constantia

We recently spent an afternoon visiting the Constantia Wine Valley to do some wine tasting of course.
Our first stop was Beau Constantia. It was my first time visiting the winery and I was very impressed.

They have the most gorgeous views overlooking the Constantia vineyards and the city of cape Town beyond. I also love their labels! The Pas de Nom white (R75) has a really cool illustration of a beard and mustache. A great bottle to give to your hipster friends sporting the same ginger beards in real life.

They offer food and wine pairings - lovely looking canapes - and two types of tastings. One offers the basic wines in the Pas de Nom range - 3 of them for R20 - and the other tasting features 2 extra wines (The Beau Constantia range) for R50.

Pas de Nom white wine

Beau Constantia range

Beau Constantia

Wine tasting at Beau Constantia
For more information, visit

The Beau Constantia tasting room is open daily from 10am to 4;30pm. 021 794 8632


Next we went to Constantia Glen, literally down the road from Beau Constantia. I've been to Constantia Glen a couple of times, but we were taking some oversees visitors and it is great to revisit a wine farm to try new vintages. I love the 2012 Constantia Two white blend.

They also offer some platters for snacking on and a lovely seating area for summer sipping.

For more information, visit:

The tasting room is open until 5pm during the week and 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Groot Constantia

Our third and final stop was Groot Constantia. I haven't been to this tasting room in a while. I used to go years ago, when I first moved to Cape Town, but now I normally go through to the restaurants directly. The tasting room is quite big and the wine informants are very friendly and, well, informative!
We had a great time!!

I do love their shiraz (no surprises) hashtagshirazlover (R894 per case of 6)

I also love their 2012 Chardonnay. It's wooded, full bodied and delicious - another great white wine for summer. (R930 per case of 6)

Groot Constantia tasting room

Groot Constantia tasting room

For more information, please visit:
At only R30 per person all the wines may be tasted and bought.
The Groot Constantia tasting room is open daily, until 5pm.

Hartenberg Estate - Where Shiraz Lovers Meet

Hartenberg Estate

I've been a fan of the Hartenberg Stork Shiraz for years and the go-to (affordable) Cab Sauv Shiraz blend. But I wasn't that familiar with their other wines.

I was lucky enough to visit the farm for the first time the other day and do a vertical tasting of their Gravel Hill.

A bit of background:
The Gravel Hill Shiraz is the estate's ultra-premium Shiraz. It's harvested from a single block only.
Before even becoming commercially available, accolades for the Gravel Hill already included earning the highest price for any Shiraz at the 2007 CWG Auction (average R580 per bottle) and the second highest price for any wine at the auction ever. It is also the longest running wine at the CWG Auction.

Hartenberg Estate wine tasting room food on offer

Hartenberg Estate wine tasting

Hartenberg Estate wine tasting

Hartenberg Estate wine tasting of the Gravel Hill Shiraz
But more importantly, it is delicious!

My vertical tasting ran from 2005 to the 2009 vintages. I loved the 2005 and 2006 the best!
The 2009 is not yet available for sale.
Wine lovers can buy the 2008 vintage, of which only 550 bottles were made - seriously limited edition stuff! Perfect for wine collectors. 

The farm also offers amazing olives and snacks as well as a cellar tour for those who book.
It's really interesting to take the tour for the history of the estate. The door is one of the oldest existing in the Cape and has a giant Key to match.

Hartenberg Estate

Hartenberg Estate old cellar door

ancient key for the Hartenberg Estate old cellar door

The winery is open from 7 days a week, closing at 3pm on the weekends.

For more information, visit 021 865 2541.
Or visit:


Monday, October 28, 2013

Feed Me Friday – a charity dinner to attend this weekend

Hosted by The Clubhouse at Claremont Cricket Club and Isangqa Sobomi (Circle for Life), Feed Me Friday is a new charity dinner initiative that will focus on creating upliftment and education for the underprivileged fishing community of Hout Bay.

With only a limited amount of tickets available, Capetonians are urged to make a difference and join the festivities at the launch of Feed Me Friday.
Local entertainment will include an appearance by the Ad Libitum Ensemble while guests can take part in a silent auction and stand a chance to win prizes including spa vouchers and complimentary nights at luxury hotels.

Details you need to know:
-Takes place on Friday, 1 November 2013 from 19h00 till 22h00
-Held at The Clubhouse family-styled eatery at Claremont Cricket Club in Constantia. 
-Cost is R150.00 per person (guests will have the opportunity to dine alfresco on the restaurant’s wooden deck or have the option of warming up by the indoor fireplace, while enjoying a 2-course meal).
RSVP: To Trystan Haynes on  072 217 2998 or

For further information, please visit: 

Thursday, October 24, 2013

De Companje - best breakfast spot in Stellenbosch

This weekend I went to the fabulous little foodie emporium and bakery, De Companje in Stellenbosch for lunch.
I wrote a post on De OUde Bank Bakkerij when I first discovered it, just after it had opened two years ago.
See the original post here: 

Well, De Oude Bank Bakkerij is now just part of the expansion of the brand (no called De Companje), which features a wine shop, artisan ice cream section, fruit and veg section, artisanal food products (juices, yoghurts, jams, preserves, pestos etc), a boutique butchery, a coffee roastery and of course the original bakery-cum-cafe still operates serving the most astounding home-made breads (THE BEST SOUR DOUGH EVER!!)

Their coffee is superb and it's definitely worth going for breakfast if you can get a seat before 11:30.
Their pastries are mostly sold out by then and you don't want to miss the chocolate bread sticks or the Pastel de natas - hmmmmmmmm. Heavenly!

olive sticks from the bakery at De Companje

coffee roastery at De Companje - they make an amazing cuppa!

boutique butchery at De Companje

the restaurant has extended to include an upstairs section at De Companje

De Companje Oude Bank Bakkerij sandwhich with baby spinach, bacon, caranelised onions and feta on 90% rye sour dough bread. So delicious!

hubby eating roasted marshmellow ice cream and the salted caramel ice cream -
can we blame the man for not being able to choose one flavour!?
Get there as soon as possible.
Friendly advice: miss the post-church rush on a Sunday and get there early because they sell out every day.
De Companje:

Open Tuesday to Sunday, corner of Bird and Church Street Stellenbosch