Mad March in the Cape

The “Flavours of the Cape” cookery demo was a resounding success, and I was delighted that the bulk of the cooking was mastered magnificently by our attendees. We are hosting repeat classes, ideal for those visiting our beautiful Cape and wanting to know all about the bounty that the Mother City boasts. The sessions are jam-packed with tips, techniques and tricks and plenty of useful nutrition info. Each guest leaves after a three-course lunch armed with recipes, a gift bag and two lists – one for shopping and the other that outlines what you prepare when, making your entertaining completely effortless. Whilst there is a course fee of R690, the fun comes absolutely free! If you are interested please contact Natalie for details and dates on rsvp@jhpr.co.za.

Back home I celebrated a friend’s milestone birthday by taking her to her latest find, the Reverie Social Table in Obs. A communal table that seats 16, we were sandwiched between the young and trendy, and the friendly atmosphere was conducive to eating not only scrumptious specials of the day, but sharing snippets of animated conversation with our neighbours too. The Moroccan steak salad and Brie with home-made marmalade were memorable. Owner Julie offers her warm and intimate venue for special occasions.

Being a cat-lover, it was not for the six dogs that I headed to Worcester. Six Dogs artisanal gin is named after a collection of much-loved farm dogs that range from Great Danes to a little rascal called Flea. Charles and Marie-Louise Bryant launched their world-class gin in December 2016 by making good use of the flavours that grow abundantly on and around their six-hectare farm. I was inspired by their passion and my man by the technical expertise required. Family and friends have worked hard to help, and they claim that their success is based on their support, oh and of course the inspiration from six dog. This friendly, hard-working couple are always happy to meet new friends – simply contact them and they will host you for a tasting. You will touch, see and smell the 12 botanicals used – juniper berries, citrus, cassia and angelica expanded with lemon buchu, limes, coriander seeds, Acacia Karoo, wild lavender and other unique, native Karoo flavours. I know now how to drink my gin like a connoisseur, in a stemmed glass on a large block of ice, with only the rind of a lime, ensuring that the tonic is poured slowly into the glass. I’m taking a bottle with me to Morocco, my husband is taking a bottle to Kilimanjaro, so together we feel like we are taking Six Dogs on a trip around the world! The full stories (of Six Dogs and Morocco) will appear in a future edition of Food & Home Entertaining. Definitely gets my vote as product of the month.

When my husband and I celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary, many moons ago, he started the day badly, having forgotten to write in my card the night before. That night, still grumpy, we set off for Maria’s Greek Café and Restaurant in Dunkley Square in driving rain. Fortunately, the food made us feel as if we were sunning ourselves in Greece, and my sense of humour was restored when he jumped over a puddle to open my car door and landed in water up to his knees! Having not returned in all these years, we were delighted that the food is as good as all reports received over the years. Their signature lamb makes it worth a visit.

Food is unashamedly my love language, so what better way to celebrate friendships that span four continents and more than 50 years than with lunch at La Colombe. In spite of being rated number 76 in the world and having received two plates in the JHP Gourmet Guide™ 2016/17, there is an ambiance of understated elegance and unpretentious yet attentive service. Each morsel hit a high note and we were unhurried in our joy of each course. We always seem to linger long enough to see set-up for the next service – herein lies the attention to detail. When tearing ourselves away from the beautiful vineyard views the friendly security guard in the car park insisted on taking a group photograph for us. He led us to the garden for what felt like a wedding set-up, then lined us up behind the wall for more, instructing us when to look at him and when to face one another.  Suffice to say that each and every staff member here lives the brand, and that everyone from uber-talented chef Scot Kirton and team in the kitchen to the security guard, are part of their marketing stream?

 

Local is lekker. I have a friend who for every birthday gives me an experience. We have enjoyed day trips to watch whales, meandered mountain tracks and surrendered to many a masseuse. Each treat is accompanied by a meal. This year I chose to join the throngs visiting Cape Town in a Bo-Kaap walking tour. Leaving Long Street at 4.15pm, we wandered down to Greenmarket Square for our official welcome and photograph, and then set off towards the colourful Bo-Kaap area. The juxtaposition of quaint buildings with modern interventions such as the Hilton Hotel make for constant visual contrast. We were urged to greet people whose homes we were walking past, and I was buoyed by our friendly group who hailed from all over the world. Our first photo opportunity was at the oldest mosque in the country. I found myself clicking as much as the visitors whilst our tour guide shared some historical gems. We debated whether the vibrantly coloured houses were originally painted a particular colour for the occupant, eg the local doctor got pink, the tailor blue, but many decided that the hardware shop sold brighter hues at lower prices! After the sun had set we returned to the area to eat dinner at Biesmillah traditional Cape Malay restaurant. Mrs Osman, who served us, was hospitable and informative. Starters that included chilli bites and samosas, followed by butter chicken and a pungent lamb curry with roti and sambals. The milk tart and koeksuster (pronounced without the second k), were a fitting finish to a nostalgic afternoon.

I’m constantly asked about my favourite restaurants and foodie experiences. The joy of food lies in the sharing. I rely on my epicurean circle to inspire me. So, whilst I am away feeding my appetite for fun and adventure with Relais & Châteaux in Morocco (yes, I lead a tortured existence), I am relying on friend and PR guru Ian Manley to guide you. He represents some of the finest chefs and restaurants in SA. Here is a list of his food-related what-to-do’s:

Avondale proprietor Johnathan Grieve and Faber chef-patron Eric Bulpitt are teaming up to introduce a new concept to the world of winelands dining, with the launch of a range of innovative ‘Field to Feast’ luncheons starting on Sunday, 26th March 2017, for the Autumn Feast. I was super-impressed with Faber when I lunched there as they opened, so sure this will be equally wonderful.

1

Whilst La Parada del Mar on Camps Bay’s seafront is not far from home from me, I must confess I have not yet been there, but walked past many times when accompanying my husband on his Kilimanjaro training walks. On my must-do list for when I return, for breakfast, lunch, sundowners or dinner.

la-parada

Beautiful Neethlingshof wine estate is a perennial favourite. They are now offering a ‘wine’ down – the chance to relax and listen to live music performed by popular acoustic guitarists this winter on Wednesdays, folk to rock, from 17:30 until 20:30, from 5th April until 27th September. Their Wine Tasting Centre menu offers a variety of hearty winter warmers ranging from R65 – R175, with wood fire pizzas.

neethlinghof

The Manley Communications PR machine has managed to secure some great stories about Bosjes Kombuis on a family-owned fruit and protea farm that boasts an 18th-century Cape Dutch Manor House. Sounds well worth an hour’s drive to Worcester, and just the visual aspects have whet my appetite.  Combine it with a visit to the Six Dogs artisanal gin distillery nearby – call Charles in advance to book a gin tasting and you too will become an artisanal gin connoisseur.

bosjes

Bon voyage on these Cape journeys.

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