Jonkershuis – Groot Constantia by Anthony Adams

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My culinary experience at Jonkershuis brought together good food and good company – a wonderful combination.  Situated on the historic Groot Constantia Wine Estate, Jonkershuis offers a spectacular view of the area.  With tables outside and indoors, guests have the option of enjoying the coolness of the evening amidst the beauty of nature, or the well-designed indoor area.

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Our waiter, Armandt , was extremely polite and informative, yet unobtrusive. As an entreè our party of four was served a trio of curries (lamb, chicken and Bobotie) for the table, presented with options of roti, rice, samoosas and poppadom. Dishing from the small bowls brought a sense of closeness and sharing.

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For starters we enjoyed hot smoked snoek pate, Classic French salad, black mussels in chardonnay, and roasted beets and goats cheese rocket.  The whole party pronounced the starters very tasty, although the sizeable portions got the better of the ladies.

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The mains took a while to decide on, but eventually we settled on spaghetti with extra bacon, crumbed chicken breast, sticky pork belly and beef fillet.  Again, Armandt was a welcome source of information as he also explained some chalkboard specials.  The presentation of the mains was a delight, and was also enjoyed with great relish.

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Desserts proved a challenge, because by now the culinary delights had taken its toll.  Both couples settled for the Jonkershuis dessert plate, which each came with Malva pudding and vanilla pod ice cream, cinnamon milk tart, and coconut and orange cake almond. Delicious. Despite what went before, space was created.

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The evening at Jonkershuis was a delight.  Excellent service complemented excellent food and excellent company. A great combination. A great experience.

Groot Constantia Jonkershuis

THE ESTATE TASTING PLATE oven baked bobotie | Karoo lamb curry | chicken breast curry | angry beef samosa Sultana & almond turmeric rice | oven baked cinnamon butternut | quick fried poppadum

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STARTERS

HOT SMOKED SNOEK PATE orange & pineapple marmalade | micro greens | crispy puri

LOCAL BLACK MUSSELS chardonnay | spicy masala & mango cream | coriander | baguette

CLASSIC FRENCH cos | plum tomato | onion | cucumber | mustard vinaigrette

ROASTED BEETS & GOATS CHEESE rocket | sticky sugared walnuts | reduced balsamic

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MAINS

FRESH SPAGHETTI fresh herb cream | field & exotic mushroom | parmesan Add: crispy bacon lardons

PANKO CRUMBED CHICKEN BREAST mash | summer greens | mixed mushroom sauce

HAPPY HOGS STICKY PORK BELLY butternut & pear puree | greens | sticky black lacquer

CHAR GRILLED BEEF FILLET garlicky buttered green beans | fries Choose a sauce: Classic béarnaise | mixed mushroom | green peppercorn

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THE JONKERSHUIS DESSERT PLATE

TRADITIONAL MALVA PUDDING caramel sauce | vanilla pod ice cream

CINNAMON MILKTART apricot & vanilla compote

G.F. COCONUT & ORANGE CAKE almond | orange syrup | mascarpone | nut brittle

TRE Steampunk Club, Restaurant and Bar – Anthea Bissolati

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A venue with a twist is all that can be said about this place. The name leads one to expect a sort of yuppie experience but on the contrary it’s extremely relaxed and cosy.

 

img_8207With a backdrop of couches and awesome old school family board games like tic tac toe and chess, the whole family will feel right at home.

The menu has something for everyone whether you’re a food on the run kind of person or a three course meal kind of foodie.

 

We had the opportunity to taste the entire burger menu which is extremely creative and inspired. Choose anything from a Jack Daniels burger to a gin infused burger and you’re sure to not be disappointed. Even the sides are creative with options like fries sprinkled with truffle flavours and sweet potato wedges or wasabi mash.

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The decor will definitely inspire the interior decorator in you with interesting little articles to look at all around.

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A must visit for gin fans as they are a Hendricks gin establishment but offer a wide variety of drinks nonetheless. Their house craft beer on tap is a definite winner, do not leave without trying that. All in all, a brilliant night out with good food and excellent drinks.
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Boozy Burgers

  • The Nearis Green Jack Daniels Burger
    • A sesame bun filled to the brim with a thick 220g beef patty seasoned and marinated with Jack Daniels, grilled to order, served with our handmade fresh mayonnaise and basil pesto dressing. Topped with sliced Asiago cheese, caramelized onions and avo (seasonal).
  • Feta Burger
    • With blue cheese and Hendricks gin mushroom sauce. A sesame bun filled to the brim with a thick 220g beef patty stuffed with feta, grilled to order served with our beautifully delicate blue cheese and flambéed mushrooms in a Hendricks gin sauce.
  • Johnny Bacardi Burger
    • With pineapple and cheese. A sesame bun filled to the brim with a thick 220g beef patty seasoned with Bacardi rum, grilled to order served with our beautifully delicate mild cheddar cheese & flambéed pineapple in a Bacardi syrup.
  • Eljimador Chicken and Camembert (Ovotarian)
    • With seasonal jam. A sesame bun with a thick 220g chicken fillets seasoned and marinated with tikka spiced salt grilled with tequila to till soft and juicy served with our handmade fresh seasonal preserves. Topped with slices of camembert.
  • Veggie Craft Beer Burger (Vegan,Vegetarian)
    • Crumbed and beer battered brinjal, with roasted peppers then finished off with fresh tzatziki and handmade hummus.
  • Served with a choice of sides:
    • London sweet potato wedges or Extra Oven Roasted Vegetables, Classic French fries with truffle oil and pecorino cheese, Wasabi mash or Fresh seasonal side green salad

 

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FRANSCHHOEK WINE TRAM- Bianco Burger

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A great way of experiencing the vineyards of Franschhoek is by taking the wine tram.  It’s most definitely a day well worth investing in.  On an invitation from good friends, Rene and Jason Petersen, my husband,Franklyn and I purchased tickets online for the “yellow line”.

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There are four to choose from being red, green, blue and of course as previously mentioned, the yellow lines.  These do not differ in price, only in destination of vineyards and times. It is a hop on hop off system, where you can choose to stay at any of the vineyards longer than the allocated time by enjoying the food and wine, as the tram passes by again during the course of the day.

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A well colour coded detailed brochure is handed to you at the ticket office but if you are anything like me, you would just use it as a fan and depend on the efficient tour guides…so don’t fear.

A word of warning, the tram is run punctually and if you are tardy in any way, you could be disappointed and miss out on one of the stops hoped for.  So be on time!

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I can surely say that this was a festive affair.  With strangers chatting and enjoying one another’s company along the way.  A great treat for a bride-to-be and her retinue as we discovered as well; so bridesmaids this is a really cool idea for a hen party.  Couples with kids are more than welcome, where the children enjoy the tractor rides and exploring the farms.

The Wine Tram on the yellow route offered the following destinations, in no particular order:

  1. La Bri

            Estate Tasting – R 50 & wine parings R60.00

  1. Chamonix

            5 Wines – R 60 pp

  1. Dieu Donne

            Welcoming “wine of the day” (1 glass)

  1. Leopards Leap

            5 Wines – R 25 pp

            (from Lookout and/or Classic Range)

  1. Maison

            R 10 per wine tasting

  1. Eikhof

            Welcome drink (1 glass)

            Own choice of three wines R 30 pp

  1. Rickety Bridge

            5 Wines – R 15 pp

  1. Grande Provence

            Premium Tasting – R 40 pp

 

Our party, including two teenaged girls who enjoyed themselves with refreshing beverages and cheese boards, not to mention taking panoramic pics and tons of selfies, decided to pop in at four of the eight vineyards on offer.

Rickety Bridge was our first stop.  As this is the first stop on route for all the colour coded lines, can become quite congested.  Unfortunately, I personally felt this stop to be a rushed affair and although the tour indicates an hour for each stop, it was much less.  Needless to say this stop was a bit disappointing.  The highlight though was the scenic tram and bumpy tractor ride, where we had to hold on for dear life (okay, I’m exaggerating), but it was really fun and it brings out the kid in one.

Five wines are on offer at R 15.00 per person.

Personally, I would suggest three wines at most, with the time constraints in mind.

We decided to stop off at La Brie, the view of the mountain range was breath-taking.  This experience was much more relaxed and the friendly, personal touch with clean glasses after each tasting was well noted.  The tasting room was also a lot cooler and one could relax on their cosy couches inside or sit out on the deck.

On entering, and as we passed a party of revellers, they advised us to try the Cheese Platter, which was we did and can highly recommend same, along with the “Biltong and Wine Experience”.)

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Some of their signature wines up for tasting are:

Cellar Door White (Chadonnay/Viognier) 2015

La Bri Merlot 2014

La Bri Syrah 2013 Michelangelo Gold

Cellar Door Red (Merlot/Cab/Cabfranc/Petit verdot) 2012 Ultra Value Awards Silver

La Bri Affinity (Cabernet based Bordeaux Blend) 2013 Wine spectator 90 points, AGP Top 10

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Dieu Donné, up in the mountains with a breath-taking view of the valley and surrounds and a welcome drink is worth a visit. The Vineyard is rich in history and culture, with its symbolic Croix De Lorraine cross signifying the spirit of non-conformity.  When translated, we were told that “Dieu Donne” means “gift from God”.

Dieu Donné’s wines include:  Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rosé, Méthode Cap Classique, Noble late Harvest, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Shiraz.

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Wine tasting on offer is set at R 15 = 3 wines; R 20 = 4 wines and R 30 = 6 wines

Rosé 2016                                         –          “light bodied, semi-sweet with fruity, raspberry                                                                and strawberry flavours on the palate.  Great                                                                  with fruit salad”

Sauvignon Blanc 2015                   –           “fresh fruity upfront style, with grassy, greenfig                                                                aromas”

Chardonnay 2016 (unwooded)     –           “soft and rounded, creamy, lemony                                                                                   undertones”

Chardonnay 2016 (wooded)          –           “full bodied with lemony flavours, completed by                                                                        vanilla.  Aged for twelve months in French                                                                    Oak”

A beautiful lush venue, for either a wedding or equally festive occasions.  Definitely one of my favourite stops for the day.

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Leopard’s Leap was our last stop and on first entering, it was more modern with what appeared to be a round sushi bar set up.  Instead, innovative and elegant wines were served by animated and knowledgeable young trend setters.

They have produced a diverse portfolio of wines ranging from the Culinaria Collection, specifically created to celebrate the partnership between food and wine.  In this rage, one can enjoy the Brut, Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir Chardonnay, Grand Vin, Shiraz Grenache and the blushing Culinaria Collection.

The Family Collection is exclusively made from extraordinary vintages. This limited collection currently comprises a Rhône-style blend of Shiraz, Mourvèdre and Viognier.

The elegant Classic Collection, offers a range of versatile wines, namely: Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay (unwooded), Chardonnay Viognier.  In its reds, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, Pinotage Shiraz and Shiraz. Its little blush beauty is the Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

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They have also introduced the Lookout Range, which is perfect for everyday social enjoyment.  In this range, they have the Chenin Blanc Chardonnay, the Semi-Sweet (white), Pinotage Rose and Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz.

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At Leopard’s Leap, they also offer fun cooking classes, wine tasting of course and it houses a culinary shop with delicious buffet style rotisserie lunches.

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I would definitely go back again. I simply love the wine tram journey as there is something great for everyone in the family to experience.

 

Well worth a stop and a second and third visit – Tokara Wine Farm

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At least once a month we make our way to the Franschhoek Valley, we pass through Stellenbosch and head up the Helshoogte Pass. More often than not do we take the sharp right bend and one of us says: “We really must arrange a visit to Tokara”. Finally we did, we set aside an entire afternoon to visit this little pocket of heaven on the Helshoogte Pass.

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The views are endless, the vineyards supreme, the artworks breath-taking. It’s clear to see everything on the farm is well cared for and the utmost care is taken every step of the way.

We arrived early, as we normally do 🙂 and decided to take a walk through the sculpture garden. Such a novel idea but it works so well. The smell of the herbs and curry plants was just what we needed to remind us we had a wine tasting as well as lunch to get too.

Upon entering the establishment, you are greeted by this amazing exhibition from their “Wine made Art” collection. Annually with the release of their new vintages Tokara exhibits paintings made by and up and coming artists using TOKARA red wine.

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Then it was time for our Tasting, the Tasting Room is a reasonable size and gets filled up rather quickly as true testament to the excellent wines and superb service by the very knowledgeable Tasting Room Staff.

 

One of the best Wine Tastings we’ve done 9 wine wines for only R100.

  1. TOKARA RESERVE COLLECTION 2016 SAUVIGNON BLANC.

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the aromas are fresh and opulent. Packed with notes of guava, passion fruit, quince and hints of lemon grass and dried herbs. The flavours on the palate is reminiscent of the aromas, it is full, rich and textured with a lingering dry chalky finish

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  1. TOKARA RESERVE COLLECTION 2014 CHARDONNAY

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the nose has intense aromas of lemon blossom, citrus preserve and ripe yellow fruits. Subtle oak is evident by hints of roasted almonds and fresh toast which underpin the vibrant fruit aromas

 

 

  1. TOKARA DIRECTOR’S RESERVE 2014 WHITE

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): This wine has a vibrant golden hue. The nose displays complexity with fruit notes of ripe quince and baked apples, hints of marzipan and toasted brioche with an underlying herbal note of nettles

  1. TOKARA RESERVE COLLECTION 2014 CHARDONNAY

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the nose has intense aromas of lemon blossom, citrus preserve and ripe yellow fruits. Subtle oak is evident by hints of roasted almonds and fresh toast which underpin the vibrant fruit aromas

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  1. TOKARA LIMITED RELEASE 2012 GRENACHE

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): there is abundant red berry fruit reminiscent of fruit pastilles with an underlying “garrique”, herbal note. The wine enters the mouth with beautiful juicy fruit characters and amazing vibrancy and freshness

  1. TOKARA 2014 SHIRAZ

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the nose is perfumed with hints of violets and Chinese 5 spice. There are stunning fresh aromas of blueberries and mulberries with hints of red berry fruits.

7 TOKARA RESERVE COLLECTION 2012 SYRAH

TASTING NOTES (from the website): the nose has intense dark heady notes of ripe plums, cassis and blueberries. There is a stunning perfume of violets and all spice

  1. TOKARA DIRECTOR’S RESERVE 2012 RED

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the wine has an intense deep garnet colour with stunning clarity. The aromas on the nose are classic for this style of wine. Heady notes of cassis, black berries and dark cherries

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  1. TOKARA LIMITED EDITION 2014 NOBLE LATE HARVEST

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the aromas are rich and complex with notes of dried apricot and peach. The barrel fermentation and maturation is evident in the hint of vanilla, toasted brioche and marzipan notes.

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  1. TOKARA DIRECTOR’S RESERVE 2009 POTSTILL BRANDY

    TASTING NOTES (from the website): the mellowed spirit abounds with subtle complex flavours of dried fig, peach, raisin fruits, pot-pourri, floral aroma and heady jasmine. Definite orange blossom and vanilla notes with spicy pepper and saffron overtones

We totally forgot about the time, as we were having such an awesome and relaxing time, we ended up just a few minute late for lunch, but more about that in the next blog 😉

They also do an Olive Oil Tasting which we will definitely be going back for, we also want it visit the very well-known deli.

For the full album, click here.

LE FRANSCHHOEK & MAASTRICH WINES – by Bianco Burger

Never judge a book by its cover, pounced the old adage at me after an evening of fine wine and dining at Le Franschhoek’s opulent restaurant, Dish.  The head chef, Emile Fortuin, with his relaxed smile and unassuming demeanour pulled off an amazing fete of hosting relaxed patrons whilst simultaneously attending to a private function with much aplomb.

When the focus is on and the mind is set there is no stop to what ever you want to achieve in life…..!!! #chef_emile_fortuin

With a journey that started in his family kitchen, he quickly sped through various stints with a stop off at Reuben’s and living abroad, from where he gained his Asian influence.  This young talented man is currently the head chef at Le Franschhoek’s Dish Restaurant.  Do yourself a favour and read his autobiography, it is heart-warming and gives one faith in the impossible.

As a hand’s on family unit where everyone is personally involved in the wine making process from the vineyards to their cellars, the Louw family can certainly be proud of their Maastricht brand, which is nothing but exquisite and produced on their farm in Durbanville.

With a backdrop of candlelight a journey of sheer romance that progressed with sumptuous flavours and mostly ruby reds followed.

Excellent Dishes + Exquisite Wines + Soothing Sounds = A Top-Notch Evening

Canapes
Smoked Salmon Croquettes
Venison Carpaccio
Homemade Sushi

First Course

Maastricht  Sauvignon Blanc paired with Salmon Alaska

Meringue baked salmon with citrus salsa, grated cucumber, pineapple emulsion and ginger soy

SAUVIGNON BLANC

“The nose is intense and complex with green pepper flavours combined with asparagus, gooseberries and tropical fruit.”  I found this to be a non-mischievous light wine

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Second Course 

Maastricht Pinotage paired with Roasted Beef Fillet

Galbi marinated fillet, picked kimchee cabbage, strawberries, sweet pea truffle mousse, berry

PINOTAGE

The nose shows vibrant flavours of plums, red cherries and dark chocolate. It’s complimented by the soft ripe tannins which adds depth and length to the palate.”

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Third Course

Maastricht Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Duck Breast

Cured honey roasted duck breast, apricot gel, dry aged carrot, carrot ribbons, quinoa salad, spiced duck jus

CABERNET SAUVIGNON  

“The nose shows spicy aromas, complemented by coffee, dark chocolate and cigar box notes. Dark berry fruit, cherries and      spice follow through on the palate. This is a full-bodied wine with soft, but firm tannins, giving a balanced mouth feel and long finish”

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Intermezzo

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Blueberry lemonade jelly and mint emulsion

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Fifth Course

Maastricht Shiraz paired with Peppered Kudu

Roasted peppered and boegoe kudu loin, wild garlic and white carrot puree, confit potato, broad beans and prune jus

 

SHIRAZ

“Shows spicy notes with elegant violet and fynbos aromas. Ground black pepper and ripe red fruit are evident on the palate with a complex texture. A rich classic and elegant wine, with a long lingering finish”

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Sixth Course

Maastricht Pinot Nior paired with Berry textures

White chocolate creameux, raspberry parfait, pea pistachio sponge, berry leather, strawberry sorbet, summer berry coulis and fresh berries

THE PINOT NOIR

The nose shows vibrant flavours of blackberries, red cherries and roasted nuts. It’s complimented by the soft ripe tannins which adds depth and length to the palate with a velvety finish.”

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My all-time favourite was the kudu loin prepared with boegoe, the words bold and flavoursome come to mind.  I had never tasted boegoe other than in a less than tasty brew prepared by my mother, so this was definitely a palatial adventure.  The portions were healthy so do go with a huge appetite.

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Without a doubt, this is a worthy treat of sheer indulgence.  On my top five list!

For the full album click here

 

 

 

 

 

Eagle’s Nest – November 2016

 

Eagle’s Nest is a little family gem cosily situated between Groot Constantia and Constantia Glen.  A short driveway leads one to a secretly cocooned lush garden with strategically placed tables to savour the ambiance.

The vineyard is set along a steep slope and grapes can only be handpicked.  Fascinatingly, Eagle’s Nest only started its vineyards after the fire in the year 2000 , when it was discovered that the ash was conducive to producing soil for fine wines, and fine wines it did produce with the Merlot 2012 having won gold and the Shiraz 2013 being their flagship wine.

 

Eagle’s Nest derives its name from the only breeding pair of verreaux eagles in the Western Cape, which have made Eagle’s Nest their home high above the treetops.

 

 

Even on a tight budget one can impress the love of your life on a Saturday afternoon by enjoying the very reasonably priced wine tasting menu.  Alternatively for the family orientated, Sunday afternoons can be whiled away on the lawn with a picnic basket purchased at Eagle’s Nest and the little ones frolicking safely in the nearby stream.

 

Within minutes one can leave the close proximity of suburban woes and indulge in a fantasy “holiday” for a few hours.

As Eagle’s Nest is en route to Hout Bay, the red bus passes the main entrance.  So dropping off and popping in is child’s play.

For the full album click here.