This past weekend the Highcliffe Food and Arts Festival was held, the emphasis being on the Food, with Beverages, and gins in particular, of the New Forest area. Highcliffe is a small town down the road from Chewton Glen, the hotel at which my son works in the New Forest in southern England, an area well-known for its heathland, forest trails, and native ponies. And it surprised me at the variety of craft beverages and craft foods that were on offer to buy, in full size or as a tasting portion. Continue reading →
The secret of the Checkers Odd Bin is explained on the back label: ‘Every so often we manage to bring you the odd bin or two of wine from a famous wine farm. To be able to offer you these exceptional wines at a price far lower than what you would pay for them under their original labels, we have vowed to keep their origins a closely guarded secret. However, once the wine has been tasted, we are certain that its secret shall be revealed‘. The Odd Bin front labels look hand-made and appear hand-written, and the dominant information is the bin number.
The invitation to participate in the Twitter Tasting was received via e-mail from Checkers, the retailer having Continue reading →
Franschhoek has joined The Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World, an international network of cities promoting the benefits of culinary excellence and good food, in partnership with the Cape Winelands District Municipality.
The Délice Network has 21 member cities, including Barcelona, Madrid, Montreal, Lausanne, Milan, Copenhagen, Chicago, Gothenburg, Birmingham, Helsinki, and Brussels. It is the only city in the Continue reading →
* A Global March for Rhinos and Elephants will be held on Saturday 4 October, with South Africa, the USA, Germany, Botswana, Kenya, the United Arab Emirates, Ireland, Italy, and Mozambique being some of the countries participating. World Travel Market (WTM) Africa staff will also participate in the march in Cape Town, as one of its social responsibility projects. The march calls for a total ban on the trade of ‘wildlife body parts’. WTM Africa runs from 15 – 17 April.
* The Bureau of Economic Research quarterly survey has found a sharp drop in the expectation of business growth for the Accommodation sector in the third quarter (July – September), at 9%, compared to the previous winter period of April – June, which showed a 22% growth expectation. For the last quarter of this year, growth of 16% is expected. All other business sectors surveyed are showing negative growth expectations. The overall Western Cape business growth expectation in the second quarter was 15%, is an estimated 20% for the third quarter, and 31 % for the 4th quarter, whereas all other provinces show negative growth experience and expectations. (received via e-mail from the Bureau of Economic Research)
* Luvey ‘n Rose is offering an interesting Cigar Appreciation Evening on 7 October, with Roque, a professional cigar roller from Continue reading →
A Facebook post and a subsequent Tweet alerted me to the opening of Tamboers Winkel in De Lorentz Street in Gardens, in the space of the previous cheesecake home of Chez Chez. Owner Theo van Niekerk has opened up the kitchen for all to see his homecooking, and has created a warm homely space with excellent food to eat as ‘communal feasting’ or to take away.
The centrepoint of the smallish space is a wooden table seating ten, and the nice part is that one sits down and starts talking to someone else at the table that one may never have met before, as ‘gesellig’ as the long table at I ♥ my Laundry is. Whereas the previous interior was modern and red, the new Deli and Café is dominated by wood, with the wooden table and chairs, wooden shelving on both walls, and wooden counter tops in the shop window. They have one outside table too. The most modern part is the Deli counter, filled with delectable salads, charcuterie, and cheeses. Theo told me that Marcii Goosen had done the decor, and the styling is beautiful, especially the section with the croissants and breads, which are supplied by Manna Epicure from around the corner and displayed in an old suitcase, and the free-range eggs from Montagu, which are beautifully presented on straw. Old photographs hang overhead. On the shelving are balsamic vinegar, olive oil, mustards, a carob and nut spread, orange and black pepper salt, relishes, Deluxe coffee, and other home-made treats, all available to buy.
On my first visit Clarissa Lee was behind the counter, and served a lovely phyllo pastry chicken pie, with an apple and pea salad and nutmeg and yoghurt dressing served in a tea cup, both presented on a wooden board, gorgeous to look at before taking a bite. The cutlery looks like it comes from ouma’s kitchen, the knives having old-fashioned yellowing handles. I returned a few days later with my friend Bettie Coetzee-Lambrecht, and she loved it too. She is a photographer of note, and gave me some styling tips before I took the photograph of the chicken lasagne and butternut, feta, and couscous salad, the salad also served in a tea cup. On Friday the table was full over our lunchtime visit, just two weeks after opening.
Theo was previously the Manager of Van Hunks, Oblivion, and Carlyles. Tamboers Winkel is his first own venture. He grew up in Ficksburg, and has fond memories of his grandmother’s homely farm kitchen, which he has tried to replicate the atmosphere of. Clarissa, Theo’s right hand, is equally adept at making things happen in the kitchen behind the counter, as she was in serving us, with a very friendly nature and clearly passionate about food.
The Deli counter sells a selection of cheeses supplied by Get Stuffed, including Gorgonzola, Karoo Blue, 3 month aged Cheddar, Bocchini, Emmental, Pecorino, as well as Brie and Camembert. There is a guava preserve with vanilla and star anise, as well as a red wine and pear preserve. Salad options are a chickpea and Bocchini, the apple and pea, and butternut and feta, all at R 19, or served with the hot dishes of the day, at R40. Sandwiches range from R28 – R35, and include Black Forest and poached pear, roast chicken and aioli, and winter vegetable. A cheeseboard with crispy bread and olives costs R55. One can order free-range chicken fresh and hot off the rotisserie. Roast chicken and salad costs R 79 for a whole, R54 for half, and R44 for a quarter chicken. The charcuterie comes from Twelve Pigs, and includes coppa, pancetta and Bresaola. Breakfast is kept simple, with a choice of croissants or frittata. Everything is written onto a blackboard, which means that the menu can be updated regularly.
Its convenient location, homely interior and service, convenient opening hours, as well as its small selection of healthy foods and Deluxe coffees already have made Tamboers Winkel a popular stop in the Gardens area, just off Kloof Street, for a sit down chat or a friendly take-away service.
POSTSCRIPT 27/6: Marcii Goosen, the interior designer, was at Tamboers Winkel today, and was a delight to chat to. She was planning a shoot for the website. Clarissa baked chocolate brownies today, and cupcakes are coming next, Theo said.
POSTSCRIPT 11/7: Lovely Breakfast Frittata made by Clarissa this morning, as well as a new addition to the menu, being beautiful cupcakes. On Twitter Tamboers Winkel was described as ‘the hottest new place in Cape Town‘.
Tamboers Winkel, 3 De Lorentz Street, Gardens, Cape Town. Tel (021) 424-0521. www.tamboerswinkel.com Twitter: @TamboersWinkel Tuesday – Friday 9h00 – 18h00 (from 2 October). Saturday and Sunday 9h00 – 16h00. Can cater for private events in the evenings, by arrangement. Free wi-fi.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
In walking around Franschhoek during the Bastille Festival yesterday, I was surprised to discover Taste South Africa, the most beautiful transformation of what was previously the Le Grange decor shop in The Yard, behind the Salmon Bar, off the main road in Franschhoek. Taste South Africa belongs to Fiona Phillips of Cybercellar (“Where else can you buy virtually all your South African wine?”, her business card asks cleverly), and is the first multi-brand winetasting venue in Franschhoek.
Fiona started Cybercellar twelve years ago, having been an equity trader on both the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges. It represents more than 700 wine estates in South Africa, with deliveries of wines made by courier 3 – 5 days after purchase. Taste South Africa will function as a tasting venue not only for South African wines, but for local products too, such as olive oils, and cheeses. For the Bastille Festival, Fiona and her manager Dominic Adelbert, previously sommelier at Aubergine restaurant, have focused on twelve Franschhoek wine estates, including Chamonix, Topiary, Solms-Delta, Mont Rochelle, Vrede & Lust, Backsberg, Lynx, Boschendal, Noble Hill, La Motte, Rickety Bridge, and Holden Manz, giving them free exposure, to introduce their facility.
Not only is the concept unique for Franschhoek, but I was bowled over by the interior design by Xperiencemakers. Lots of white on the floors and walls, with neat shelving, standardised presentation of information about each wine estate, and the most impressive red lamps, which contain the word “Taste” in South Africa’s official languages, create an interior of class. A grey carpet has the following Ernest Hemingway quote printed on it: “Wine is the most civilised thing in the world”. On display too are bronze sculptures by Vincent da Silva, an architectural student. They add to the classy interior.
Wine will not be physically sold from the tasting venue, but orders can be placed via Cybercellar while one is at the tasting venue. This Bastille weekend is a dry run for Taste South Africa, and it officially opens on 1 August.
Taste South Africa is an exciting new asset of Franschhoek, and a beautiful showcase of South African wines. Exciting functions have been planned, including food and wine pairing events, bloggers’ dinners, Twitter tastings, and a live-feed Twitter screen is to be added. The next Taste South Africa tasting venue will open at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.
Taste South Africa, The Yard, off Huguenot Road, Franschhoek. Tel 021 876-2649. www.tastesouthafrica.co.za Twitter: @TastingSA
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Four food festivals in April will give food lovers something to look forward to, and will be a tourism boost to the towns in which the festivals will be taking place. Unfortunately, some of the festivals overlap, but being longer than one day each, may still attract visitors to all events.
The South African Cheese Festival takes place over the long weekend (for those taking Monday 26 April off) from 24 – 27 April at Bien Donne, outside Franschhoek. It offers Turophiles (cheese lovers) lots of cheese tasting, with artisan cheese makers displaying their special cheeses, as well as more standard supermarket ones at the Checkers Cheese Emporium. Well-known entertainer Nataniel will be one of the celebrities doing a cooking demonstration, as will Soli Philander (Cape Talk), Beyers Truter (Beyerskloof), and food editors of women’s magazines. Related products such as breads, pestos, wines, preserves and olives will also be sold. The Festival is open from 10h00 – 18h00 daily, and the entrance fee is R 110 on the weekend days and R 90 on the week days. Tickets must be bought at Computicket and Checkers, and are not available at the gate. More information: www.cheesefestival.co.za
The Lamberts Bay Crayfish and Cultural Festival runs from 22 – 25 April, and offers crayfish at R 70, which includes salad, potatoes and a choice of two sauces. Oysters will also be available at R 10 each. Paella will be served at beach restaurant Muisbosskerm. More than 100 stalls will be set up, and a new addition is the Music Festival, which includes performers such as Steve Hofmeyer, Thys die Bosveld Klong and DJ Ossewa, amongst others! Ticket prices change per day of week, and range from R 40 – R 140. More information: www.kreeffees.com
The Riebeek Valley Olive Festival takes place for the 10th year in Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West from 30 April – 2 May. Olives are prepared and presented in numerous ways, to taste and to eat, as are the excellent wines, especially shiraz and ports (Allesverloren in particular), from the region. No entry fee. More information: www.riebeekvalley.info
The Prince Albert Olive Festival is only two days long, on 30 April and 1 May, and is a celebration in honour of the Prince Albert valley and what is produced from it, focusing on olives. Entertainment is offered with the play “Dinner for one”, “antique” films will be screened, open gardens can be viewed, historical walks are offered, and a half marathon has been organised. African Relish is offering a Cookery Course. More information : www.patourism.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com