We stayed at Leipzig Country House for the weekend, and I must say I really enjoy making the transition from the city to the countryside the pace tangibly slowing down. Our weekend officially started with a laid back dinner at Leipzig.
- Our first course consisted of Smoke pork loin with butternut textures, a delicious dish I just love smokey dishes.
- Next to follow was a perfectly prepared sirloin with wilted greens, honey glazed carrots, café de paris butter and burnt aubergine puree. I am not a huge fan of aubergines, but who knew that if you burnt it and pureed it, that it could be that delicious. WOW! Going forward I will insist that all aubergines be burnt for my taste!!!
- Finally the dessert was a deconstructed Pavlova, not my favourite course, but then I don’t really have a sweet tooth so I may be slightly biased.
After dinner it was off to the “honesty” bar for a nightcap. It was a cold night, so we blazed up the fireplace and were intrigued by all excitement in air as everyone was preparing for the next day’s activities.
The Nuy Valley Feast is a food, wine tasting, music and activity festival featuring four wine farms in the area. Patrons pay R80 per adult and R40 per child, which gives you access to the festival, a lovely branded wineglass, essential for tasting of course, and tractor rides between farms.
We were first to collect our passes and first in line for the tractor ride, excited !
Conradie Penhill was the first adjoining farm. When we arrived, we were greeted by smiling friendly faces and scattered bales of hay acting as makeshift seats. Sand art, face painting, jumping castles and pony rides were available as well as plenty of knickknacks and “Tuisnyweruid”. After sampling some of their fine wines, it was off to the next farm.
Willow Creek Olive Estate our next stop. Sensory overload was the order of the day at Willow Creek. The food stalls ranged from boerie rolls to breyani, spring rolls as well bacon and eggs wafting in the air, jumping castles for the kids and tons of cyclists who partook in the Willow Creek /Computer Mania MTB Challenge.
Next stop is perhaps one of my favourite venues in the area, Nuy on the Hill. It’s quite dramatic as it’s built, as the name implies, on top of a hill and affords the visitor a 360 degree view of the surrounds. The wine was fantastic especially the Muscat Sparkling wine. Locally made craft beer, Mountain Brewing Co. was on site with complimentary beer tasting. I loved the Copper Dawn Lager, a traditional Austrian style Lager. My only regret is that it’s not distributed in Cape Town and surrounds as yet.
Now this might sound a bit like an oxymoron, but “The Duchess” is the brand name for a locally produced sugar-free and alcohol free Gin and Tonic. Yes, you read it correctly. The process apparently involves re-distilling the gin and allowing the alcohol to evaporate, but I will assure it tastes like the real thing and is quite refreshing. There was a wide range of fast foods on offer from Artisan pizza to delicious burgers and Sushi.
We finally made our way back to our home base amongst the jovial revellers who clearly thoroughly enjoyed the tractor rides and wine tasting judging by the noise levels. Leipzig was abuzz with live music, kids running around jumping castles and miniature tractor rides for the little ones. There were food stalls where one could enjoy a Belgian waffle with all its toppings or a half a metre bratwurst hotdog with sauerkraut. One cannot help but feel that this is the pace that live should be lived at…unhurried and laid back, where kids are allowed to be kids and there is not a PSP or Tablet in sight, I love that.
After all the festivities had ceased and the cleanup operations were coming to an end we made our way back to Willow Creek or better yet Willow “Greek” as it’s being called for a Greek-style dinner.
We enjoyed tapas as a starter with some of the locally produced olive fare on offer, the chilli and olive paste was a winner at our table.
The main course consisted of a generous portion of Lamb shank and roasted potatoes. The dessert consisted of Baklava. But no doubt, the highlight of the evening was the traditional breaking of the plates, my goodness talk about bringing out one’s inner child. Beaming smiles all around, as turns were taken to smash plates, with such gusto at times that it made me cringe. A lovely evening was had by all at the end of a busy day.
I definitely plan to come back next year if only to see how this festival evolves and just to enjoy a very relaxing time out with good food, good wine and good people.
Nuy Valley Feast Enquiries
Nelene Marais: (071) 2056694
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Written for JAR PHOTOGRAPHY – Mario Arendse
Photos for JAR PHOTOGRAPHY – Jason Dubbz Petersen