Entries tagged with “Dalewood Fromage”.


imageAllée Bleue has new heads of wine and hospitality, and I met with them yesterday to find out about their proposed changes at the estate, which is on the outskirts of Franschhoek.  The dedication of the new managers is giving new energy to Allée Bleue. (more…)

imageFor the first time I was invited to assist in the judging of the 2016 SA Dairy Championships, 72 judges evaluating 895 dairy products entered by 85 producers, both record numbers. A total of 23 products received a Qualité Award, and one of these was named as the South African Dairy Product of the Year 2016, namely Dalewood Fromage Huguenot 12 months matured. (more…)

imageI have driven past Dalewood Farm for many years on my way to and from Franschhoek, but had read that one could only enter by invitation. Yesterday a blackboard on the R45 invited me onto the farm, and the surprise Cheesery Shop, a Factory shop offering the cheese range  at reduced prices to the public.

Dalewood Fromage is owned by Rob and Petrina Visser, who keep a very low profile. The Dalewood cheeses are made from Jersey milk from the farm’s own herd. Their pasture is bio-dynamically managed, and the herd is not treated with antibiotics air hormones. Dalewood cheeses do not contain preservatives, flavorants, or colourants.

A friendly sales lady greeted me, and allowed me to taste their Boland (more…)

Dairy Champiuonships MarcelsThe winner of the 2015 SA Dairy Championships is Marcel’s Frozen Yoghurt, which was named South African Dairy Product of the Year for its Woolworths Tropical Fruit Frozen Yoghurt.

Organisers of the Championships Agri-Expo said that it is the first time in the history of the dairy product competition that a frozen yoghurt has won the SA Dairy Championships, against a total of close to 900 dairy product entries received from 80 dairy producers, judged by 61 judges, including chefs and food writers.  A total of 95 dairy products were named South African Champions, and (more…)

Grande Provence Tasting Room Whale CottageI was invited to try the new Tapas Menu at Grande Provence yesterday, a day after it was introduced in the attractive industrial steel-decorated Tasting Room on the wine estate in Franschhoek.  While The Restaurant at Grande Provence may be perceived to be on the expensive side, the Tapas Menu is excellent value for money, and in a class of its own, compared to very average offerings generally available.
The Tasting Room was buzzing at the counter made of steel, with its funky bar stools for which the seats are made to resemble tractor seats, very comfortable and stable seating.  A group of about twenty filled the Tasting Room, having arrived with the Franschhoek Wine Tram, it being their fifth stop of winetasting.  They are fetched from the Wine Tram railway line stop and taken to the Tasting Room by trailer linked to a tractor.  The driver told me that Grande Provence Wine Tram guests Whale Cottagethey are very busy due to the Wine Tram on weekends.
I sat at the only table in the far corner of the Tasting Room, and Chef Zayne Grobler (deputy to Executive Chef Darren Badenhorst who was out of town for the weekend) came to greet me, and talked me through the new Tapas menu.  There is a big board on the right hand wall as one enters, listing the Tapas items and the prices, and a mobile one, which was brought to the table.  As Chef Zayne and I went through the menu,  we noticed some spelling errors, (more…)

Schoon de Companje interior Whale Cottage PortfolioWhilst in Stellenbosch yesterday, I popped in at the new Schoon De Companje, the expanded De Oude Bank Bakkerij which opened three years ago and which is now a collection of mini artisanal ‘shops’ under one roof, whilst retaining its cosy restaurant section at the back of the restaurant.

The entrance is now on the corner of Bird and Church Street, where the Dylan Lewis art studio used to be, and opens into the market style space, with different section, each branded separately, most on a Dutch theme. A mat on the floor says ‘Die Kaap is weer Hollands’, reflecting the Schoon family’s Dutch roots.  One of the staff told us proudly said that owner Fritz Schoon’s mother Jenny had planned the old-world character wood-dominant interior, and has done an excellent job, not being an interior designer.  Design quirks Schoon de Companje Jan van Riebeeck Whale Cottage Portfolioattract attention, like a picture of Jan van Riebeeck in the upstairs seating area.  The menu introduces the thinking behind De Companje:  ‘Schoon means beautiful in Dutch. It is a fitting description for what we do here, the way we do it, where we are and our opinion of you, the people we do it for.  De Companje is a collaboration of artisans in the (more…)

Wordsworth Cheese Book 2The Wordsworth launch lunch of Agri-Expo Dairy Manager Kobus Mulder’s book ‘Cheeses of South Africa’ at Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town yesterday was most enjoyable, with great company, good food and wine, a charming hotel ambassador, and entertaining author/speaker.

Gorry Bowes-Taylor has been organising book launch lunches for Wordsworth for years, and will be a comedian in a next life, not being the most diplomatic lunch hostess, but is loved for making her guests laugh, and for finding new venues at which to hold the book launches.   As I have written before, the lunches have a cult following by some of her regulars, who are not really interested in the subject of the book or the author, but who find value in the R225 three course launch lunch, excellent quality wines, the chance of making new friends at the table, the chance of winning a prize in the lucky draw, and for being entertained by Gorry and the author/speaker. She did not disappoint with her lunch organisation yesterday. Wordsworth sets up a table to sell the discounted launch book at such a function. (more…)

One can commend Franschhoek Wine Valley tourism for constantly finding new ways to attract visitors to its gourmet food and wine village. Now it has launched the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route, attracting attention to the diversity of 21 hand-made high quality small quantity food producers in the valley, with more to be added.

The little A5 Franschhoek Wine Valley leaflet about the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route does not do justice to the quality of the food artisans on the Route, and one wonders why they skimped to keep the map so small, when the Wine and Restaurant map is A3 in size!  The result is that the detail provided is minimal, just three lines per food artisan, with the exception of La Motte’s entry.  The Franschhoek Artisan Food Route will be launched to the media later this week.  Many of the food artisans on the Route have operated in the valley for years.  Not all the listed artisanal outlets seem true to the definition provided in the Route map: ‘Artisan producers understand and respect the raw materials with which they work. They know where these materials come from and what is particularly good about them’! A number of artisanal producers have been left off the list, (more…)

Franschhoek has shown its quality of winemaking, by having two of its vignerons (Boekenhoutskloof and Chamonix) being named the top winery by Platter in the past two years.  Now the Winelands village is the Cheese Capital of South Africa too, in that Dalewood Fromage has been awarded the 2013 Dairy Product of the Year, for its six month matured Huguenot cheese, at the DuPont Qualité Awards dinner of the SA Dairy Championships.

Dalewood Fromage is located on the outskirts of Franschhoek, and is known for its excellent quality cheeses.  Its Huguenot cheese is the largest wheel of cheese made in our country, has a semi-hard brushed rind, and is slowly matured for six months.  It has an intense flavour, with nutty nuances.  Cheesemaker Rob Visser developed the cheese ten years ago.  SA Dairy Championships’ chief judge Kobus Mulder said of the cheese: ‘If this cheese should be available in the Haute Savoie region of France, those discerning cheese experts would appreciate it no end’.

Twelve dairy products were awarded the Qualité mark of dairy excellence:  Simonsberg Matured Gouda, Woolworths Mild Cheddar White, Woolworths Salted Butter (all three produced by Parmalat), Klein River Grana, Klein River SA Gruyere, Clover Processed cheese slices, Dalewood Fromage six month matured Huguenot cheese, Woolworths Magical Mousse Swirls (made by Fair Cape Dairies), Fairview Chevin with Garlic and Herbs, Woolworths plain fat free smooth cottage cheese (made by Lancewood), Langbaken Karoo Cheese’s Karoo Crumble, and Rhodes Food Group’s Fior di Latte.  Interesting is the domination of the Woolworths brand on this list, although their products were made by three different suppliers!  An additional 95 dairy products were awarded SA Champions, out of the total of about 800 dairy products entered by 69 artisanal and commercial producers.  A team of 59 judges, including dairy specialists and food writers, evaluated the top dairy products.

The SA Dairy Championships results reflect the passion and quality that goes into the making of dairy products, not only by artisanal producers, but also by the large dairy companies.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfoilio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Last week I popped in at Oldenburg Vineyards in the Banhoek Valley, at the foot of the Helshoogte Pass, and the very friendly Sales and Marketing Manager Ina Basson told me that the bulk of their wines are sold in Germany generally, and in Oldenburg (near Bremen) specifically!

The farm previously consisted of Rondekop (after the hill with this name) and Ivy Know, and its previous German owner Helmut Hohman amalgamated the two farms and gave them the name Oldenburg,  in honour of the town in which he had a stake in a printing business.  As it is a regional name, the name cannot be registered locally.

The farm was bought in 2003 by Adrian Vanderspuy, a local lad who had been brought up in Australia, and who had initially dismissed the quality of South African wines, until he tasted Thelema’s Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, which he regarded to be excellent.  Both his grandmothers had past connections to the farm (Una van der Spuy, the well-known horticulturist, is one of them). The Oldenburg property was for sale, and before he made an offer, he had extensive soil tests done to evaluate the potential of the terroir.  He had the vines completely replanted in 2004, and in 2010 their first vintage was bottled. The emphasis is purely on quality, and three times a year wine maker and viticulturist Simon Thomson (previously with Tokara and Muratie) and his staff of 18 cut out the grapes that are not needed, giving them 3 – 8 tons per hectare compared to the more usual average of about 10 tons per hectare, Ina told me.  The property’s terroir is ideal for wine growing, being 300 – 450 meters above sea level, and its cooler climate due this height gives it a later harvest time compared to the neighbouring farms. Ina told me that their ‘Bio Viticulture’ approach to wine-making is a combination of Biodiversity, organic, and sustainability.  They work with what nature gave them, and try to intervene as little as possible, she said.

The winery has won a number of international awards, including a Gold at the International Wine Challenge 2011 for the Chenin Blanc, and a Gold at the Syrah Du Monde 2011 for the Syrah 2008.

The Tasting Room only opened three months ago, and was designed by architect Simon Beerstecher, a Stellenboscher now living in the United Kingdom, and who has also designed the Glen Carlou and Rustenburg buildings. The brief to the architect was to design a building focused on the view surrounding it, and not to overshadow the view. The interior decor was designed by Kelly Hoppen, a local from Cape Town who now lives in the UK.  Minimalism rules inside, with two artworks, of rhinos and elephants, by Nic Brandt. All decor items are sourced locally, and colours are natural and neutral. Chairs are made from leather, around a large tasting table, with a tasting counter and striking back-lit shelving displaying the wines.

In addition to tasting the wines, one can order Dalewood Fromage cheese platters, at R40 for one (150 gram) or R75 for two persons (250 gram), containing a selection of five of their cheeses, including Camembert, Brie and Huguenot.  The wines are not inexpensive, at R118 for the Chenin Blanc 2011 and Chardonnay 2010. Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Cabernet Franc 2009, and Syrah 2009 cost R182.  I am a Shiraz lover, but the Oldenburg Cabernet Franc had the smokiness I love in older-style Syrahs.   There has been no marketing to date of Oldenburg’s wines, but a small sign on the Helshoogte Pass road is attracting German tasters to the farm, said Ina.  Agents are selling Oldenburg Wines in Germany, Bulgaria, and the United Kingdom in the main.

Oldenburg Vineyards, Zevenrivieren Road, Banhoek, Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 885-1618.  www.oldenburgvineyards.com Twitter:@OldenburgWines Monday – Friday, and on Saturdays and public holidays by appointment.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage