Move over macarons, it’s time for mince pies

Wow, what a start to December! As our training and consulting work is winding down, so too is all the eating and writing. Whilst I do not review restaurants in the festive season, I have managed to sandwich in a few edible meeting. I’ve had breakfast at Manna Epicure in Kloof Street, Cape Town where my Palma breakfast was delicious and generous. At Mink and Trout in bustling Bree Street my lunch was the Israeli salad in a jar, which inspired me to serve my first round of Christmas lunches as a picnic on the beach!

A big beefy steak get-together at Rare Grill hit the high note for the carnivore men who raved about the quality of the meat. Cappuccino with the most scrumptious Oreo macarons at Cassis in Newlands added a kg or two to the hips the next day, but it was worth it. I am constantly asked ‘what is the difference between a macaron and macaroon’. After eating far too many in Paris in November, I feel that I can confidently answer! The sandwich-like French macaron is like a meringue cookie, getting its light, airy texture from a combination of almond flour and egg whites that have been gently folded together. The Southern coconut macaroon is more hearty, made of shredded coconut and condensed milk. Both are deliciously sweet and packed with kilojoules. Move over macarons, it is time for Christmas cake and mince pies!

Allée Bleue in Franschhoek was the perfect platform for my sister-in-law’s milestone birthday. After wine tasting we moved to the lawns where we picnicked in dappled shade under the trees watching the little offspring taking full advantage of the jumping castle. Picnic fare was well received for family from 0 to 100! This reminded me of the value of happy faces when sitting around a table groaning with good food. It’s never just about what you eat, but who you share it with. Let’s hold that sentiment as the festive season gets into full swing.

Still working, it was off to Haute Cabrière in Franschhoek to meet chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller. I interviewed them amidst lots of friendly banter, and then was whisked up the mountain by Cellarmaster Takuan von Arnim, to view the full extent of the vineyards and to get some trade secrets along the way. Whilst I was learning more about their wines and where the inspiration comes from, talented photographer Bruce Tuck was clicking wildly as Nic and Westley prepared a series of dishes for Food & Home Entertaining. Read all about this wonderful marriage of food and wine in an autumn issue of my favourite magazine in 2018. I did, admittedly, tuck into some incredible dishes whilst there, perfectly paired with Haute Cabrière wines. A few clicks of my camera to record a special day, a quick foray into the cellar to stock up for Christmas, and I was on my way back to Cape Town.

To inspire you we have uploaded a special recipe of venison under the recipes page from Nic and Westley, who both feature in the 2018 JHP Gourmet Guide™, who both love hunting and of course, cooking with venison. Watch out for the guide, coming into Woolworths stores nationwide.

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