The best food for the winter chills

Edith Sitwell said: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.”

Here are a couple of places where you will feel at home this winter:

Constantia Glen

Enhance your winter wine tasting experience at Constantia Glen and tuck into a trio of delicious homemade soups. These hearty treats, on offer until the end of August, are a good reason to visit this picturesque boutique wine estate.

Available as single servings or as a trio of smaller portions, visitors can indulge in Constantia Glen’s famous traditional Austrian Beef Goulash soup, French onion soup with croûte au fromage, or delicious roasted Butternut & Sage soup, all served with crispy, freshly baked bread.

Each of these soups can be partnered perfectly with Constantia Glen’s elegant cool climate wines. Add an additional mouth-watering platter of cheese and charcuterie to your experience and enjoy the wonderful winter vineyard views.

The soups are available at R95 per single serving, or R100 for the trio. Wines are available by the glass from R70 if you want to linger over lunch for a laidback afternoon.

The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa

During the chilly season from 18h30, the hotel’s Island Café is offering bottomless soup – a sensational selection of gourmet soups served with freshly baked artisan bread (gluten free and vegetarian options are available) that will fill and warm you up and get your cheeks glowing.

The cost is R95 per adult and R45 for children under the age of 11, making it an affordable and perfect option for families.

Bookings are essential.

The Shortmarket Club

Chef Wesley Randles continues his modern interpretations of classics created from ingredients with impeccable provenance. His menu boasts some exciting new dishes, such as a starter of Fig Leaf baked Ricotta with Creamy Gorgonzola, Wild Honey and Lemon, which he describes as “comfort food at its best”. Another starter of Raw Fig and Smoked Burnt Aubergine, Roasted Hazelnuts and Bitter Leaves hits all the right notes.

Winter also heralds the appearance of venison on the menu. The Springbok and Quince makes the most of seasonal ingredients and it’s complemented perfectly with a jus of locally produced Caperitif and intensely satisfying smoked bone marrow. Meanwhile, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will approve of the spiced tandoori cauliflower served with a vibrant peanut and lemongrass sambal that will bring some warmth to the Cape’s cold winter months.

The three-course Prix Fixe Winter Lunch Menu at The Shortmarket Club is priced at R280 per person, or R380 per person including a carafe of wine. It is available at lunchtime only, Monday to Saturday, until the end of September 2018.

Waverley Hills

Matching the landscape, chef Francois du Toit has set his own inspiration aflame in the kitchen and produced an enticing food and wine pairing menu that will have you linger for longer this winter.

Guests can expect to see dishes like Wild Mushrooms served with Parmesan Custard Cream and a whisper of Truffle paired with the Waverley Hills Chardonnay and Prawns fried with Spiced Paprika, Garlic and Parsley served with Fresh Ciabatta, paired with the Waverley Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.

The five-course food and wine pairing menu is available until the end of Spring 2018 and is priced at R395.00 per person. Reservations are required a week in advance.

BOSJES Kombuis

This dreamy winter destination is now offering their very own “First Thursdays” special in the months of June and August, giving guests the chance to celebrate chilly evenings with BOSJES’ winter curry nights on the first Thursday of each month. This special allows diners to feast on a selection of three curries served with sambals, naan, rotis, rice and dessert at R280 per person.

Contact eat@bosjes.co.za to book or call 023 004 0496.

BOSJES will be closed in July.

The Pot Luck Club

This winter sees the return of The Pot Luck Club‘s Lucky Lunch menu. Presented bento-style, lunch is served in small handmade bowls and wooden boards, and provides a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

The menu is subject to change without notice, due to seasonal availability and chef’s inspiration and is available for lunch until 31 August 2018. The offering consists of 6 items and is priced at R295 per person.

Bookings are open one month in advance and they are open from Monday to Saturday with lunch between 12:30 – 14:30 and dinner between 18:00 – 22:30. They are open on Sundays from 11h00 – 15h00.

The Pot Luck Club’s annual winter break is from the 23rd July 2018 to 5th August 2018 and it re-opens for dinner from 6 August.

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Chef David Higgs writes his first cook book

When a chef needs to recover from a stomach operation, the recovery time could either be daunting or rewarding. In Chef David Higgs‘ case, it was definitely rewarding, as that is when it all started. He started to write little stories, took photos and tried to come up with the perfect concept for his book, called Mile 8, which will be available from October.

He has cooked for the likes of Antonio Banderas, Charlize Theron, Chef Ferran Adria, Drew Barrymore, Elton John, Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga, MTN Team Qhubeka during the Tour de France and Nelson Mandela. And now he wrote a book!

I’ve been wanting to write a book for a number of years. About six years ago I ended up in Namibia after a stomach op and it was probably the longest period of time I’ve had to chill and relax. I started writing little stories, taking photos and trying to come up with a concept. I’ve never wanted it to be ‘just another cook book’ – I knew I wanted it to be something unique, beautiful and special to me – first and foremost. When My Kitchen Rules SA first approached me, I got into contact with Tessa Graham – she looked after Jamie Oliver for many years. It was at this time, with Tessa and my business partner, Gary, that I decided to do MKRSA, and I also started talking to Tessa about doing the book.

Why the name, Mile 8?

“For me, Mile 8 is a special marker as it is where I caught my first fish and my food journey began. Originating from the Swakopmund Post Office and running north for 108 miles, Namibia’s coast is dotted with mile markers.”

According to Higgs, the book is a very frank account of essentially his story – beginning in the small, coastal town of Walvis Bay, through the cowboy kitchens of Cape Town in the 90’s, to the heart of South Africa’s lush winelands, and culminating at Marble. 

Elsa Young was the photographer for the book. “… I met Elsa when I moved to Johannesburg from Cape Town. It’s very rare to find a photographer who sees food in the same way as you do. We have the same understanding of what we want the food to look like in an image. She’s terribly talented and she’s a good, honest friend.” 

With fishing being the initial start to Higgs’ cooking career, it’s only natural that he still enjoys it. “Fishing will always be part of my life for a number of reasons. First, it’s the most relaxing thing you can do, especially when you’re not surrounded by people. Generally, up the Namibian West Coast all the miles from Swakopmund there’s just peace and quiet, and the sound of the sea. It’s quite special and pretty much the area where I like to fish. My favourite fishing spot is Paaltjies, heading towards Sandwich Harbour – it reminds me of fishing with my father, although its catch and release now.

Higgs also enjoys cycling to unwind. “I ride mountain bikes and it’s close to my heart.” In fact, “In my dreams I would like to be a professional cyclist (haha).”

Higgs’ favourite dish to make? 

“I love slow cooking dishes like casseroles and stews, and I love cooking on fire. As I say in the book: ‘The first fish out of the water, goes onto the fire.’ It’s still the best way to eat – uncomplicated and with a little salt, pepper and lemon juice. It goes perfectly with an ice-cold beer.

From his book, he would recommend the snoek with the sweet potato and apricot jam, the fish stew and the curry tomato soup.

If he could cook for anyone, it would have been his father. “Sadly, I was never able to cook for him while he was still alive.”

I always wonder where chefs’ preferred culinary destinations are. Higgs says: “I’m a big fan of New York, and I always have been. There is a lot on offer and a lot to see in a small space – you don’t have to travel far and wide to taste different types of cuisine. It’s got a great international offering, even if you are limited for time.”

It’s been quite an emotional experience, and it’s reminded me of so many stories from my childhood, and things I had forgotten about. But it’s lovely to be able to share this with people and tell stories as they are. It’s also great to be able to give everyone a real peak into the ‘behind the scenes’ of a professional kitchen. Some people will relate, and some won’t – but I like it, and so I hope people enjoy it. – Chef David Higgs on writing Mile 8.

Higgs says that Mile 8 is really accessible to everybody. “The important thing about cooking is that you need to experiment, and you need to push yourself. You don’t have to do everything the recipe says – you don’t have to put a lemon gel, you can rather just put a squeeze of lemon. I’m really just trying to show the combination of flavours. I wanted to have something for everyone – chefs, home cooks and even for people that collect beautiful coffee table books – to tell people about Namibia, South Africa, and show them what we’re about.”

Prohibition Gin – Helping folk dance

Silver Creek Craft Distillery founder and chief distiller, Mark Taverner, knows how to have a good time. Much of his working life has been dedicated to hospitality and it was on this journey that he fell in love with American iconography. During a Harley-Davidson motorcycle tour to the USA in 2014 he noted the rise of craft distilleries and the legal production of moonshine. After two and a half years of study and research – including a stint at Moonshine University in Louisville, Kentucky – Mark decided to set up his own craft distillery in Gauteng. And so Silver Creek, its Southern Moonshine and Prohibition Gins were born.

Tucked away in an old mine building in Gauteng’s Randfontein, the state-of-the-art Silver Creek Craft Distillery does everything by hand – from mashing and fermentation to distillation and bottling. This process allows for extra special care, which is why every bottle is signed by the distiller.

First came Southern Moonshine and now, South Africa’s one-of-a-kind Silver Creek Craft Distillery’s two new two gins are made in the same style as gin from America’s notorious Prohibition era. Prohibition Craft Gin and Prohibition Pink Gin are handmade in small batches – distilled to fine spirit from carefully selected grains.

“Prohibition was a ban imposed on liquor through the campaigns of America’s ultra-conservative Temperance Movement of the early 1900s,” says Taverner.

“The ban in 1920 created a very fertile environment for the illegal liquor trade and many entertaining tales of gin-making by the light of the moon and lively underground speakeasies. Business flourished for gang bosses and the likes of Al Capone made a fortune during this time. By today’s measure, it is estimated that he would have been worth over R16-billion. Prohibition only lasted for 13 years, ended by overwhelming objection. As you can imagine, this was time to party and everyone rose to the occasion. To this day, its death knell in 1933 is widely celebrated.

Taverner says that by making their Prohibition Gin in the same traditional style as back then, they salute those who fought so gallantly to have the law revoked.

“We like to think of this particular style of gin as helping folk dance since 1933!”

Silver Creek’s distillers put their minds to making a clear craft gin in the New World style – fresh and crisp, not too dry and infused with traditional botanicals of juniper, coriander, lemon, angelica and cinnamon. “These would have been used in the time of Prohibition,” says Mark.

The resulting Prohibition Craft Gin, bottled at 43% alcohol, is a versatile spirit ideally suited to be further enhanced with botanicals, fresh fruit and herbs and good quality craft tonics. In the glass, Prohibition Craft Gin offers the immediate impression of balance with a fresh, crisp burst of citrus followed by lingering juniper and a hint of cinnamon. Citrus is again prominent on the dry palate, gently supported by the taste of juniper. The finish is defined by a crisp, clean smoothness that lingers with an earthy character.

The Prohibition Pink Gin, also at 43%, is Silver Creek’s Craft Gin further infused with raspberries and blueberries, with a touch of hibiscus flowers and rose water. The result is a refreshing drink that is both aromatic, flavoursome and romantic.

“To us, the aromas of Prohibition Pink Gin conjure up images of an exotic eastern bazaar. There’s tantalizing sweet Turkish delight and crushed pepper corns,” says Mark.

Silver Creek Distillery quickly rose to fame last year with the launch of its moonshines, boosted by a five-medal victory at the 2017 Michelangelo International Wine & Spirits Awards.

The new Prohibition Gins retail at around R360 a bottle and are available at selected bars, restaurants and liquor outlets nationwide.

www.silvercreekdistillery.com

#silvercreekcraftdistillery #ProhibitionGin

 

Chefs and the Vine

As interesting it is to see the collaboration of food and the vine, just as interesting it is to see chefs and winemakers come together to create unforgettable tastes and experiences.

As winter approaches in the Cape of Good Hope, Franschhoek’s La Petite Ferme is warming up to a grand season of gastronomic celebrations. Winemaker, Wikus Pretorius, together with La Petite Ferme’s brigade of enthusiastic chefs have masterminded a collaborative “Chefs and the Vine” series from May through to August this year.

On 28 June, it is the barrel fermented Chardonnay’s turn – a bold grape that continues to surprise and delight in all its different guises.

The Chefs and the Vine series include different soirées, of which each is presented by Wikus. It also includes a tutored pre-dinner tasting of handcrafted wines from La Petite Ferme’s cellar and compared with others from nearby terroirs as well as from afar. All the wines on each evening will be the same cultivar, providing a rare opportunity to compare different expressions and the effect of terroirs and winemaking techniques.

The La Petite Ferme Chefs and the Vine evenings include a four-course deluxe menu and are priced at R750 per person. They commence with canapés and Méthode Cap Classique wines from 18h30. Upcoming La Petite Ferme Chefs and the Vine evenings to look forward to, include the evening of 26 July, with Cabernet Sauvignon, and 23 August, which boasts some lovely red blends.

Reservations have been limited to ensure an intimate, personal experience and bookings are essential. To reserve your table, email frontoffice@lapetiteferme.co.za or contact Marinda Armstrong at (27) (21) 876 3016.

#LoveLaPetite

Photo credit: Claire Gunn

Sugar Shack’s the place to be

The West Coast is one of South Africa’s most unique and unspoiled areas, with pristine beaches and quaint fishing villages like Paternoster.

Sugar Shack Paternoster offers a rustic holiday with a touch of style and modern conveniences, with the add on of a mere two minutes’ walk down to the beach.

During summer months, sipping sundowners whilst relaxing on the hammock on the upstairs deck with sweeping views over the ocean is the norm. From here you can also enjoy watching the fishing boats return with their bounty. The kitchen (a gourmet lover’s dream), is fitted out with Le Creuset pots and KitchenAid equipment and the open plan dining and sitting room opens onto a spacious veranda with sheltered braai facilities.

Even though we encourage digital detox with every chance we get, families can also be well entertained with a full DSTV premium package, DVD player, Wi-Fi. There is a large seletion of board games to entertain adults and young ones as well. A roaring fire place in the living area awaits for those chilly and romantic West Coast winter evenings, which are slowly, but surely approaching.

It’s the perfect getaway for long summer family holidays, an escape for friends to reacquaint and intimate weekends for two.

The exterior and interior of this home is painted in the traditional West Coast white and trimmed with pretty candy pink shutters. The outside shower in the olive garden and the stairs leading up to the upstairs deck boasts magnificent Moroccan blue and white tiles. White-washed furniture and carefully chosen original art pieces complement the home and all bedrooms are beautifully finished off with white linen and down pillows. The home offers relaxed holiday-style decor that includes local original art works, creating a special ambiance of which memorable holidays are made of.

Sugar Shack is owned and operated by hospitality perception management specialists, Lise and Ian Manley. Their extensive experience both locally and abroad ensures a seamless and hassle-free holiday experience from initial enquiry to arrival. A locally based housekeeper meets and greets guests on arrival and is on call during the duration of your stay.

Sugar Shack Paternoster can accommodate 2 – 6 guests very comfortably.

Things included:

  • Upstairs deck with a full sea view
  • 3 beautifully appointed double bedrooms
  • 3 well-appointed bathrooms (two with showers and one with a Victorian bath)
  • Open plan gourmet kitchen, dining and lounge area, leading onto a spacious enclosed “stoep” with a built-in braai area and stairs leading up to a spacious veranda with 360 degree views of sea and village life
  • Microwave, stove, television, full DSTV and DVD player
  • Towels and linen
  • Fold-away cot
  • Wi-Fi
  • Secure enclosed parking for 2 cars
  • Alarm and security beams around the property

The base rate per night for the whole cottage is R3000.00. During Peak Season (Easter Weekend and 15 December to 15 January) the rate is R4400.00 per night.

www.sugarshackcollection.com

Gabriëlskloof – ‘n Syrah Towerspel

Gabriëlskloof Landgoed in die Overberg skyn in Juliemaand die kollig op ’n indrukwekkende portefeulje unieke Syrah-wyne in sy nuut omskepte Landskapskelder. Die rare vertoongeleentheid, wat ’n plattelandse middagete langs ‘n kaggelvuur insluit, sal op Saterdag, 28 Julie, plaasvind.

Che Syrah, Syrah, ’n speling op Que Sera, Sera (wat moet wees, sal wees) verwys na die natuur se onvoorspelbaarheid en die min beheer wat daar oor die wingerde en die terroir-gehalte wat in elke Gabriëlskloof Syrah vasgevang is, is. Die gesegde, Que Sera, Sera, het in die 1950s met ‘n Doris Day-liedjie bekend geraak.

Gabriëlskloof is net buite Botrivier geleë – ’n streek wat van die land se beste Syrah-wyn produseer. Die grootste deel van die landgoed lê onder Syrah aanplantings, wat die inspirasie agter Gabriëlskloof se twee Landscape Syrahs, wat die diversiteit van die terroir uitlig, was.

28 Julie se Che Syrah, Syrah sal ’n intieme kykie na Gabriëlskloof se Syrah evolusie – van beide stilistiese- en terroir perspektiewe, asook van die ouskool-dae van die Swartrivier Shiraz tot die ontluiking van die Landscape Syrahs bied. Die geleentheid bring hulde aan uitstekende wyne wat ’n totale en verrassende ommeswaai in styl ervaar het: van dig en eikehout-gedrewe, tot verfyn en terroir-gedrewe.

“Dit gaan oor ons reis om die beste plekke en die beste klone op die plaas te vind en watter kombinasie van hierdie twee die beste wyn sal lewer,” sê Gabriëlskloof se wingerdboukundige en algemene bestuurder, Barry Anderson. “Dit wentel om die leerproses van hoe om met die land te boer; om na balans tussen die groei en die vrug te kyk; en oor die verfyning wat ons uiteindelik na die beste wyne vir ons Landscape-reeks gelei het.”

Tydens die Che Syrah, Syrah geleentheid sal gaste om 11:00 met ’n wynproe van die ouer wyne verwelkom word, waartydens ’n paar internasionale skatte en ook van Gabriëlskloof se vorige-, huidige- en toekomstige aanbiedinge waardeer kan word. Dit sal ook eerstehandse insigte tydens ’n wandeling deur die Landskapskelder insluit. Die toer sal deur die eienaar, Bernard Heyns, keldermeester, Peter-Allan Finlayson, en die wynmaker, Donovan Ackermann, gelei word. Daarna sal gaste ‘n heilsame fees, wat deur Gabriëlskloof Restaurant se sjef, Frans Groenewald, voorberei word kan geniet. Dit gaan natuurlik ook met Syrah in menigte vorms en geure gepaard. Tussen die watertand keuses van tuisgemaakte soppe en heerlike nageregte, sal die ster van die dag ’n heerlike lamsbredie, getrou aan sy Overbergse wortels, wees.

 

Kaartjies is van Juniemaand af teen R450 per persoon beskikbaar en sluit die Syrah-proe in die Landskapskelder en die wintersmiddagete met gepaardgaande wyne in. Besoek Gabriëlskloof se webwerf of kontak 028 284 9865 / info@gabrielskloof.co.za vir meer besonderhede.

The Test Kitchen to ‘wow’ diners with a pop-up restaurant in Mauritius

Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa, Mauritius is excited about their new culinary partnership with The Test Kitchen, an internationally acclaimed fine dining destination based in Cape Town. Set to further cement the resort’s position as Mauritius’ leading dining hotspot, Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa will host The Test Kitchen for six weeks – from 12 April to 26 May 2018 – at the Republik Beach Club & Grill.

Guests will be invited to experience a unique culinary journey curated by The Test Kitchen’s award-winning Chef-Patron, Luke Dale Roberts, during the partnership. Synonymous with the finest, most creative and innovative food in Africa, Roberts will be bringing outstanding gourmet experiences to the shores of Shangri-La’s Le Tousserok Resort & Spa with a tapas menu and a five course menu, of which two variations will be available at different dates. The menus will reflect his journey around the world and will be specially curated to showcase Mauritian spices and flavours at their best. The pristine white beaches of Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa will provide a stunning backdrop for this once in a lifetime experience, which will see Roberts and his stellar team of 17 share their expert techniques and passion for flavour alongside the resort’s chefs. To further heighten this gourmet experience, guests will also be treated to tableside cocktail blending.

Described as a “world class dining destination that is worthy of a flight” by the prestigious JHP Gourmet Guide and awarded both “Best Restaurant in Africa” as well as “22nd Best Restaurant in the World” in the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in 2016, The Test Kitchen definitely has an international appeal. Diners from across the globe travel to South Africa to experience Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’s unique and innovative culinary journey of 21 courses, presented on a Food Map. This April, for the first time, the restaurant is taking its gastronomic adventure to new heights, by launching its first ever international outpost, The Test Kitchen Mauritius, at Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa. The special collaboration will give food lovers the chance to sample The Test Kitchen’s famed cuisine in paradise – the shores of this iconic Mauritian property.

Opened by award-winning Chef Luke Dale Roberts in 2010, The Test Kitchen consists of a Dark Room and a Light Room, both only open for dinner. Dining at this restaurant is a true culinary journey, commencing in The Dark Room with a snack menu paired with curated cocktails, followed by a 5-course gourmet menu in The Light Room. It is within The Dark Room that guests are presented with a Food Map on a parchment scroll informing them of the culinary treasures they are about to taste, followed by the arrival of the first of five Dark Room dishes. The Light Room is an airier and more formal room with a menu that reflects Chef Luke Dale Roberts’s journey around the world. Signature dishes include the Peruvian ceviche, harking back to the months Roberts spent travelling through South America, as well as a Billionaire’s Shortbread as a nod to the chef’s love of Scotland. To echo The Test Kitchen’s Dark Room and Light Room, guests will start their evening at the Republik Bar area to enjoy the tapas menu with cocktails as associated with the Dark Room. They will then continue their gastronomic journey at the beachfront restaurant, for a five-course gourmet menu in tribute to the iconic restaurant’s Light Room.

In addition to Republik Beach Club & Grill, Shangri-La’s Le Touessrok Resort & Spa is also home to six other trendy restaurants and bars with cutting-edge dining concepts, vibrant atmospheres and artistic collaborations. The hotel also boasts two swimming pools, an 18-hole par 72 championship golf course, a kids’ club and CHI, The Spa focusing on indigenous and holistic wellness. The resort features Ilot Mangénie, a private island exclusively accessible to resort’s guests, as well as three iconic beach villas which come replete with dedicated teams of staff.

The Test Kitchen Mauritius experience is priced at MUR 3500 (about R 1250) per person, including the Dark Room’s snack menu of four dishes, served tapas style, and the Light Room’s five-course gourmet menu.

For more information and reservations: Tel: 0800 028 3337, sltr@shangri-la.com.  

www.shangri-la.com/mauritius