Christmas is in the air with Nespresso

Okay, I’ll admit it. The fairy lights and Christmas carols around every corner are some of the things that brighten up my day this time of the year. Not the kitsch Santa toys, bright red and green decorations and one-line Christmas jingles – the more sophisticated kind of Christmas things. I mean, have you seen the beautiful decor items at @Home this year? Even Santa’s Warehouse has a few more sophisticated wooden Christmas items among all the brightly coloured and flickering lights.

And, have you seen what Nespresso has to offer for the Season? They’ve got a few options to choose from too:

Parisian-Inspired Coffee and Petit Fours

There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the Festive Season that tantalises our senses and heightens our expectations, so why not up the ante and treat your loved ones to Parisian-inspired coffee and petit fours? Nespresso has launched their annual Limited Edition Variations coffees, made with Parisian treats in mind. These coffees, inspired by the traditional French flavours of Parisian patisseries, including Macaron and Praliné, are the crème de la crème of decadent delight. These treats are perfect for any summer soiree.

Try this recipe:

Paris Praliné Indulgence

1 Capsule Variations Paris Praline, brewed as an espresso

100 ml Milk

1 tsp Hazelnut Crumbs

1 tsp Dark Chocolate Shavings

2 tsp Chocolate Spread

How to: 

Pour 2 tsp of chocolate spread into a cup. Extract the coffee over it. Froth your milk and pour on top of the coffee. Sprinkle some hazelnut crumbs and dark chocolate shavings on top.

Enjoy!

Picnic with Iced Coffee

A tip for your iced coffee: Infuse ice cubes with interesting flavoured syrups. As the day gets warmer and the ice melts, your drink will slowly, but surely change flavour.

Road Trip!

Appreciate what our country has to offer and take on the open road with a great playlist, good company and a couple of charged Nespresso travel mugs with your favourite brew.

Pool Plunger

Who said you can’t have coffee by the pool? A refreshing iced coffee cocktail sounds like the way to go. Here is a recipe to try:

Variations Paris Macaron with Almond Milk

1 capsule Variations Paris Macaron, brewed as Espresso

30 ml Almond Milk

10 ml Almond Syrup

4 Ice cubes

How to:

Pour the almond syrup into a cup. Place 4 big ice cubes in the glass. Pour in the almond milk. Extract the coffee over it. Add the remaining two ice cubes and mix.

There you have it. A coffee-filled Christmas – two of my favourites at once. Bam!

Buy these Variations at Nespresso Boutiques and Booths nationwide, from The Nespresso Club on 0800 637773 or online at https://www.buynespresso.com/ 

 

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V&A Waterfront gets a stylish addition

One of Cape Town’s most glamorous shopping, socialising and dining destinations is getting a suitably stylish new addition this month.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of the city’s most popular spots. It is a magnet for both local and international style mavens, thanks to the plethora of diverse offerings, its infectious buzz and of course the magnificent Table Bay harbour and Table Mountain views.

The Harbour House Group is well versed in responding to the diverse tastes of South Africa’s socialites and foodies alike and the news that La Parada V&A Waterfront is opening is perfectly timed for the summer months, when tourists pour into the city. Featuring two beautifully dressed floors of dining and cocktail spaces, La Parada V&A Waterfront is a polished destination that marries thoughtfully conceived and on-trend surrounds with their much loved contemporary tapas menu.

Traditionally served in Spanish wine bars, at La Parada V&A Waterfront the tapas concept has evolved from the traditional two-bite snack experience to a more modern shared-plated offering. La Parada V&A Waterfront Brand Chef, Roche Rossouw, says:

“We serve everything from smart, snack style choices like prawn croquettes to more robust offerings like our famous crispy Pork Belly or our grilled cheese with ham and truffle – we cater for every level of appetite. The La Parada offering works for any time of the day and suits the brand’s diverse mix of guests.” Whether people are popping in for a cheeky glass of wine and enjoying sharing plates or are planning to linger longer, there’s something on the menu that matches any food mood”.

La Parada V&A Waterfront joins its sister eateries at Constantia Nek and Bree Street and like its popular predecessors, there is no doubt this convivial dining concept will fill a niche.

“La Parada is a really stylish space but the style of food makes it unpretentious too – it’s the kind of spot that’s perfect for after work drinks or to host your birthday party”, says Harbour House Group Marketing Manager, Tahlia Bester.

A new addition to La Parada V&A Waterfront is the inclusion of an upstairs private area in the design. The lounge, dining and bar concept is tucked away from the main restaurant and is a discreet, thoughtfully conceived space for guests to meet, eat and drink. A dedicated hospitality team and additional whisky bar concept will add to the exclusive ambiance of this stylish space.

“It’s all part of the brand tapping into what people want – our research shows that guests want to be part of the main restaurant mix but they like the option of a more private space too,” says Tahlia.

An eye catching palette of wood, exposed brick, marble and tropical touches reveal a nod to current trends and the eatery’s Spanish influences while detailed patterning, lush greenery and touches of metallic are timeless additions that add more visual layers to the mix. Add the extraordinary views of the harbour and you have a winning combination that’s sure to lure a cosmopolitan, fun loving and food focused crowd.

La Parada V&A Waterfront opens early in November, situated at 1 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

www.laparada.co.za

MSC Cruises brings a Cuban Experience

In just over a month from now MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and leading cruise line in Europe and South America, will be introducing MSC Armonia to Miami for the first time.

From December 10th this year, MSC Armonia will offer unique 7-night Caribbean sailings departing from Miami, calling at Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, staying overnight. MSC Cruises’ 7-night programme to Cuba will include two days in the bustling city of Havana over the weekend.

Guests can expect not only a brand new attractive itinerary, but also a variety of enhancements to make the MSC Armonia experience that much more memorable. On board, guests will delight in fresh entertainment and new gourmet culinary choices, while ashore, an overnight stay in Havana will allow guests the full experience of this culturally vibrant city.

Highlights of the Cuba cruise include a new, mouth-watering specialty restaurant, a Havana-inspired Mojito Bar, an enhanced pub menu and new complimentary treats to the cruise experience.

The cruise will also include some new entertainment concepts, including the addition of local Cuban music while in port in Cuba. Various musicians – straight from the city of Havana – will join guests on board to play the best local Cuban music during the Saturday evening of the ship’s overnight stay in Havana.

The overnight stay in the buzzing capital of Cuba, allows for MSC Armonia’s guests to fully enjoy all that the city has to offer. Cruisers will be able to immerse themselves in many aspects of Cuban culture, both during the day and in the evening, through a variety of unique excursions to choose from. Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. You will be able to ride in vintage American cars, sip on local rum and classic Habanos cigars and dance at Havana’s largest nightclub.

The MSC Armonia has been tailored with a wide range of amenities and services for families, including a brand new splash park for children, varied dining offerings, all-hours entertainment, a broad choice of relaxation and wellness options and more.

New Summer Dishes at Grande Provence

Chef Guy Bennett of The Restaurant, a landmark Franschhoek eatery at Grande Provence, has tweaked his summer dishes with his signature modern South African flair by introducing a couple of new, seasonal flavours and lighter textures.

Unfettered by the notion of a fixed restaurant menu, Chef Guy champions an ever evolving and dynamic menu, allowing for new creations to make their appearance.

“We change our dishes constantly, incorporating new ingredients and produce that become available as the seasons change,” says Chef Guy.

His passion for local produce is evident in his new starter of Gin and Citrus cured Franschhoek Trout, adorned with a Fresh Salad of Pak Choi, Radish and Sour Cream. His new Yellow Fin Tuna starter has a flavourful oriental twist of Tataki, Daikon, barbecued Jalapeňo and Avocado Cream.

For his main course, Chef Guy has introduced a new Cured Duck Leg Confit served with Sweet Potato Dumplings, Saltana and Chinese Cabbage, and a refreshing Apple Chutney to lift the flavours.

His chosen addition to the summer dessert line-up is a dreamy, light Valrhona Éclair and Macadamia Crumble served with a dollop of Rooibos Ice Cream.

reservations@grandeprovence.co.za

 

Image credit: Supplied

Contemporary Dining at Idiom

With two years trading under its belt, the Idiom Restaurant & Tasting Centre has fast become a must-visit destination for those seeking a vineyard setting with 180 degree panoramic views of both sea and mountain with spectacular cuisine and a wide range of top wines to match.

Situated near Sir Lowry’s Pass, Idiom is one of the southern-most vineyards in the Stellenbosch appellation with a positioning on the upper slopes of the Helderberg Basin. The elevated vantage point offers a unique coastal perspective of the full profile of the Cape Peninsula across False Bay whilst having the green, windswept vineyards and rugged, fynbos-covered mountainside as a backdrop to this unique Cape Winelands’ destination.

The restaurant space acts as a space from where the beautiful landscape can be observed in its different moods. The interior design is reserved in its almost Scandinavian simplicity, offering a calming, sheltered place to taste Idiom’s superb range of wines and enjoy a leisurely afternoon with friends and family. The dining experience continues to ensure that clients get a wonderful balance of flavours, with visual presentation showcasing the impeccable technique and the young talent being developed in the kitchen.

“Our focus is on contemporary cuisine bringing to life a fusion of our family’s Italian heritage as well as modern flavours and textures of the­ Cape. We have seventeen different grapes varieties from all over the world planted at Idiom, giving us plenty of scope for inspiration”, notes Roberto Bottega, who has headed up the project of developing the signature Idiom Tasting Centre. “Over the last two years, we have been working to establish the identity and desired direction of our Restaurant and Tasting Centre. Our main trading window is lunch, to take advantage of the views. Our primary goal is to create a top class food offering to match the scenery and complement and showcase our Idiom wines. We offer a Contemporary Dining experience, which is a 2- and 3-course seasonal menu, with a recommended wine pairing for each dish. We want customers to have a memorable visit to Idiom.”

“Each Idiom wine has its own unique character and flavour profile and we actively try and express those characters in the culinary offering, often using the colour spectrum as a guide,” adds Bottega. “Our current team in the kitchen, under the leadership of Calum Anderson, has a good understanding of this concept. The cured trout starter paired with Idiom Viognier and the lamb ragu paccheri paired with Idiom Zinfandel are two of my current favourites on our chef’s new menu.”

Guests can also request older vintages from Idiom’s library and enjoy wines at close to cellar door prices – an added benefit compared to dining at other top end establishments.

The owners

The Idiom project is run by the Bottega Family. Family patriarch, Alberto, was born in Italy and immigrated to the Cape in the 1950s. After a successful career upcountry in computer programming, banking and finance, he returned to Cape Town to retire to the Cape Winelands. In 1999 the first vines were planted from scratch on his Da Capo Vineyards farm and the first commercial vintage of Idiom was made in 2004.

Alberto’ son, Roberto, joined Idiom after 12 years of trading financial markets in London and Johannesburg. He has spearheaded the development of the Tasting Centre and manages global sales for Bottega Family Wines. He has developed a passion for Italian wines and is also the co-founder of a specialist wine import and distribution project called Vinotria, which he manages together with Pedro Estrada Belli. Vinotria’s portfolio includes wines from internationally acclaimed wineries such as Donnafugata in Sicily, Ornellaia in Tuscany, and Livio Felluga in Friuli, to name a few.

The Chef

Calum Anderson is an established head chef with 17 years’ experience of working in top-end restaurants, hotels and game lodges in South Africa, England and Australia. He has worked at leading hotels including The Cape Grace and Singita. During his career he has worked under some extremely gifted chefs including Gareth Collins, Giles Thompson, Chris Galvin, Peter Gordan, Bruce Robertson, Charles Le Febvre and Reuben Riffel. As a chef, Anderson has cooked for celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, the British royal family, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Sheikha Al Mayassa of Qatar, Brad Pitt, Andrea Bocelli, Michel Roux Snr, Fran Drescher and William Shatner.

Anderson’s food philosophy is to ensure the integrity of the elements is upheld, that dishes are full of flavour, interesting and unusual.

“Visually, dishes should be natural and beautiful to the eye but not overly complicated as I believe this is my expression of how I see and feel about food.”

He is assisted at Idiom by talented sous chefs Donovan Christian and Bronwyn Solomon, who also heads up the pastry section.

Explore Italy at Idiom

Besides the contemporary dining offering at Idiom, there are other simpler Italian-inspired options to enjoy. Antipasto platters, with a selection of freshly sliced Italian cold meats such as prosciutto and salami, as well as cheese boards, with Italian and local soft and hard cheeses, are popular choices. The regional Italian pizza menu combines light thin crust bases with carefully chosen toppings using ingredients that transmit the tastes of the different regions of Italy.

“The regional pizzas are the first step to creating a dedicated Italian food offering, which in time, may require its own separate space,” says Bottega. “Regional Italian pastas are also being added to complement the pizzas. We are planning a rotating regional Italian degustation menu in order to showcase the fantastic regional wines we import with appropriate food. Italian wines are designed for food, and we hope to have this concept ready for the end of the year.”

Idiom is one of the leading producers of Italian varietal wines in South Africa, so it makes perfect sense for us to expand and take ownership of the Italian wine space in the country,” continues Bottega. “Visitors can taste Idiom’s locally produced Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Primitivo (Zinfandel) wines at the wine bar or in the restaurant. We supply a number of leading Italian restaurants with both our locally made Idiom and imported Vinotria portfolio of Italian wines. Having access to the imported wines as reference points has been very important. Firstly, we have learnt a tremendous amount about the wines of Italy, and it has allowed us to monitor the progress, quality and style of the Italian varietal wines we produce locally, and to better understand the potential of our Cape terroir,” adds Bottega.

Did you know?

Idiom – currently the VIP Winelands Lunch Choice of local operator, Cape Town Helicopters – is now accessible by helicopter for those who want to take a spectacular trip to the Cape Winelands along the coast. The 4-hour VIP aerial adventure and Winelands Culinary experience departs from the Waterfront and takes in parts of the Cape Peninsula before arriving at Idiom.

http://idiom.co.za/

Staycation – Ways to be a tourist in your own town

Feeling like you never get to go away on a special holiday? You don’t need to travel far to do some sightseeing, relax, and get an exhilarating feel of adventure. Here’s how to be a tourist in your hometown and see your city with new eyes:

Show foreigners around

Take foreigners around your area – be it friends from another part of the country, family or an exchange student from Finland. Think of places that are usually branded as “too touristy” and try to enjoy the experience just as much as your guests do.

Take a bus tour

Do you know the history behind the buildings seen in your hometown? Do you understand how and why your city was founded?

Take a bus tour that is usually meant for tourists to gain some local history knowledge. Engage yourself with the tourists on the bus to see what they find interesting – you might be fascinated about a few things you forgot your city has to offer. City Sightseeing‘s hop-on hop-off bus includes all major Cape Town, Jo’burg and Soweto tourist attractions.

Stay in a hotel or guesthouse

To set yourself in a mood for exploring and travelling, book into your town’s favourite hotel or guesthouse. Jo’burgers can indulge in a staycation at the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa, which should tick all the boxes. (See our recent post about their bubbly bar here). Being away from home for the evening will add to the touristy feeling you’re after.

The Fairlawns Treehouse Studio

Schedule time for those “one day” places

We all have places that we pass regularly in our town or city that we plan on visiting one day. It will never happen if you don’t actually decide on a date to go. While busy, look at recommendations and tourist brochures of activities in your area and create a schedule of the things you want to do.

Go on a taste adventure at the most touristy restaurant in town

Go to the most touristy restaurant in town and eat the meals they specialise in. Look at coffee shops and restaurants you usually don’t go to and try various cuisines. Stepping out of your comfort zone when it comes to restaurants, is exhilarating and refreshing. If staying in Pretoria, why not visit the Monument Restaurant and experience authentic Afrikaner food.

Cheer on a local sports team

To get a feel for the spirit in your city, go to a stadium near you and watch a sports game with passionate locals and tourists.

Do something that only your city can offer

Most towns and cities are well known for an outdoor adventure like no other. Go out and explore your town’s most fun activity. If you’re from Cape Town, head to Table Mountain and experience the Aerial Cableway.

Glide into vacation-mode

When leaving the office for your staycation, leave all your worries behind and settle in for your well-deserved holiday. Put on some music, open a bottle of wine, relax and get ready for your holiday at home.

Written by: Katrien Nel

Images: Supplied

Festive Feasting with Stellenbosch’s Street Soirees

Toast with the locals when the ever-popular Stellenbosch Street Soirees return to the streets of the City of Oaks. Festive feasting and laid back mingling with fellow food and wine lovers is what you can look forward to this summer.

Presented by the Stellenbosch Wine Routes, the first soiree of the season will take place on 28 November. Stellies will share its vibrant street culture, enviable lifestyle and cosmopolitan charm – all blended with cool tunes, sizzling street food and superb wines.

The Stellenbosch Street Soirees take place once a month on a #WineWednesday and all the traffic-stopping entertainment goes down in the centrally located Drostdy Street. It’s there where cars make way for young and old to savour unique dishes by prominent eateries and food vendors, while wine farms offer delicious vintages to wash away those mid-week blues.

“Who does not like a good street party and it is a great way to get to know your neighbours. With the Stellenbosch Wine Routes one is always in good company, so why not come and unwind with us after work?” shares Elmarie Rabe, Manager of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.

Each Stellenbosch Street Soiree features a different selection of cellars and street fare caterers with an entry fee of R100 per person which includes a glass and 12 wine tasting tokens. Food dishes are priced individually by vendors. These communal parties are from 6PM until 8PM and children are welcome.

Mark these down in your calendar:

28 November

12 December 2018*

16 & 30 January

13 & 27 February

13 & 27 March 2019*

*weather permitting

www.wineroute.co.za