The Sweet Service Award goes to the Dalewood Fromage factory shop and its Manager Tracey Falconer. I was in Franschhoek and wanted to stop by the shop in Klapmuts, but was running late from a lunch. I called to find out at what time they close. Tracey told me that they close at 16h00, but that she had to do some admin work, and would still be there until 16h45, which suited me perfectly. Not only did I buy their fabulous Camembert and Brie cheeses, but fresher than fresh same-day laid eggs too. Continue reading →
Allée 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. Continue reading →
For 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. Continue reading →
I 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 Continue reading →
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 Continue reading →
Whilst 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 attract 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 Continue reading →
The 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. Continue reading →
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, Continue reading →
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