The July Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting, held at What’s On Eatery on Wednesday, was a bubbly affair, with Batonage bloggers Maggie Mostert and Hennie Coetzee sharing their passion for the good things in life, being eating out and drinking wine, and then blogging about it. Siris Vintners kept things bubbly too, by taking the bloggers through a tasting of five Moreson sparkling wines. It was the first Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting to be sold-out the day before the event.
Batonage is made up of two very passionate foodies and wine lovers, says its Blog introduction: “Together we decided to create a record of our adventures in food and wine, something we indulge in almost daily. We are avid wine hunters, always on the lookout for something new and unique to talk, write and spread the word about. When it comes to food we consider ourselves adventurous eaters, scavenging the latest food and wine pairing at the best eateries, but equally happy to indulge in uncomplicated fare at our local bistro. The focus will be on visiting wine farms and restaurants, both old and new, and telling you dear reader, of our experiences there. Every attempt will be made to make the information relevant and we might even make you smile once in a while”.
What makes Hennie and Maggie interesting and unique is that their day job is far removed from their food and wine blogging, and that they write about both wine and food on the same Blog. Hennie developed a love for wine whilst studying at Stellenbosch University, moving from financial management to wine sales, and ultimately, as sommelier at Singita, a leader in the accommodation industry. To become a sommelier, one must drink a lot of wine, he said, and he completed courses at the Cape Wine Academy. While he learnt a lot about excellence in food, wine and service, the hospitality hours were not for him, so he has returned to the financial industry. Maggie studied Accounting at the University of Stellenbosch, worked as a waitress at the Spur in Stellenbosch and did her articles, before setting up her own practice. Her past experience as a waitress and her accountant’s perspective gives her a unique evaluation of restaurants and wineries. She advised bloggers to be honest ‘nicely’, and to write what they would be prepared to tell someone to their face. Photographs and writing should not be ‘ho hum’, and one must spellcheck. She advised newer bloggers to attend functions, to eat out and drink a cross-spectrum of wine, and to discover new things. Hennie advocated the drinking of sparkling wine on more than just special occasions, and even Champagne, when the occasion calls for it.
Terence van der Walt is a wine merchant at Siris Vintners, a company established by Nigel Cattermole, and Willeen and Philip Burdell. Terence took the bloggers through the Môreson MCC tasting. Môreson was established in 1986, and first wines were bottled in 1994. Clayton Reabow was appointed the winemaker in 2007, after studying at Stellenbosch University, and working at Grande Provence, Distell, Laroche L’Avenir, Vrede & Lust, Chateau de Fleur du Bouard, and in Zell. We started with Miss Molly 100 % Chardonnay MCC Non Vintage, named after the Weimeraner at Môreson, and captures her personality and passion for life. The wine label has braille on it, saying “I’m delicious”, and a portion of the sales is donated to the Guide Dog Association. Solitaire MCC Non Vintage is a new release, with 24 month maturation. Its palate is a fine mousse with well-balanced acidity complimented by biscuit and marzipan aromas. Gala MCC Non Vintage has a balanced fruit-forward palate with good structured acidity, made from Pinotage (70%) and Chenin Blanc (30%) grapes, has a sweeter taste, and has matured for 24 months. The One is Môreson’s first Vintage (2007) MCC made from Pinot Noir (60%) and Chardonnay (40%), matured for 36 months in bottle, and described as ‘extra brut’. It can only be bought from the farm, at R160 a bottle. Pink MCC Non Vintage has strawberries and cream aroma and palate, is made 100% from Pinotage, and was matured for 12 months.
To demonstrate the principles of food and wine pairing, Maggie and Hennie had asked Trevor Jordaan of What’s On Eatery to prepare snacks that would pair well, and some that did not pair at all. Hennie told us that food and wine pairing is not an exact science, but one’s evaluation of it is a subjective opinion. It helps to know the acidity of the wine, and that of food, when deciding on a good pairing match. He explained that sparkling wine is segmented into Brut (very dry), Sec (dry), Demi-sec (semi-sweet) and Doux (sweet). The acidity in a sparkling wine prevents it from having too sweet a taste, Hennie said. Some would advocate pairing an acidic dish with a bitter wine, or vice versa, but Hennie disagreed with this approach. Neither of the two should dominate, and we smiled when Hennie said that food is masculine and wine is feminine. The Tempura prawns on avocado and papaya salsa, and smoked salmon and cream cheese wrap paired well with the Môreson MCC Miss Molly, good value in only costing around R25 a glass in restaurants. The truffle infused cream on parmesan tuille was not regarded as a good pairing, the parmesan being too dominant.
The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines. Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others. The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity. Each of the two bloggers talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging. The Club gives fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others. Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers. The Club meetings are informal and fun.
Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:
* 17 August: Nikki Dumas of Swirl Blog, and Matt Allison of I’m no Jamie Oliver Blog, Den Anker venue, Jordan wines
* 21 September: Chef Brad Ball of Bistro 1682, and wine speaker from Steenberg, at Steenberg
* 19 October: Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery and Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street.
* 12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek
Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker. Snacks are served by the restaurant.
Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at email@example.com. The cost of attendance is R100.