JAN the JOURNAL has published its second volume of 2018, just before the year closed. It has taken me almost two months to look at it after buying a copy at Woolworths, the 297 page manuscript of The Jan Hendrik Group (PTY) Limited being more than intimidating in thickness, and time required to do it justice in reading it. Despite having an editor for the publication, one wonders how Chef Jan-Hendrik manages to find the time to collate such a heavy-weight Journal in his role as Editor-in-Chief, given his commitment as chef to his one Michelin star restaurant JAN in Nice, and his regular trips to Cape Town and SA. Continue reading →
The Christoffel Hazenwinkel range of Hazendal wines launched earlier this month pays tribute to the first owner of the Stellenbosch wine estate, and its rich history. The labels for the wine range recently won a Gold Award at the 2017 Winemag Wine Label Design Awards. Continue reading →
# La Mouette, Sea Point: 6-course dinner R645. Tel (021) 433-0856
# La Colombe, Constantia: Dinner R1350. Tel (021) 795-0125. Continue reading →
* La Mouette, Cape Town: 6-course dinner R445. Tel (021) 433-0856
* Savour, African Pride 15 on Orange, Cape Town: 5-courses R450. Tel (021) 469-8000
* The Conservatory at Cellars Hohenhort, Cape Town: 6-course dinner R 750 p.p. Tel (021) 794-5535
* Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Cape Town: 4-course R955 plus eggnog. Tel (021) 437-9000
* Makaron at Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner R 55o p.p. Tel (021) 880-1550
* Bosman’s at Grande Roche, Paarl: 5-course dinner with pianist R1395 p.p. Tel (021) 863-5100 Continue reading →
* The Penny Ferry is to be reintroduced in the V&A Waterfront on 1 November, connecting the main shopping centre side to the more commercial and business side at the Clocktower. The ride will cost R5. The ferry stopped opening in 1997 when the swing bridge was constructed. The Penny Ferry service was officially relaunched by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom earlier this week.
* The judging for the 2014 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year has been completed, and the winners of the 34th annual competition will be announced next month. In evaluating the nominees, it was ‘the heart and soul of the winemakers that stood out strongly‘, dominating the quality of the wines they made. The Winemaker of the Year entered in this year’s theme category of White Blends, while the Young Winemaker of the Year was evaluated on any red wine. Judges included Dave Hughes (panel chairman), Beatriz Machado from Portugal, retailer Carrie Adams, Nomonde Kubheka (wine judge and educator), Christine Rudman (wine judge), Colin Frith (GM of Hazendal), and Margaret Fry (Director of Cape Wine Academy). (received via media release from African Sky Media)
* The Pinot Noir producers in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley are hosting their second Hemel-en-Aarde Pinot Noir Celebration at Bona Dea Estate on 30 and 31 January, with only 150 tickets available for the event. The key-note dinner speaker will be Norman Hardie, regarded as Canada’s best Pinot Noir producer. (received via e-mail from Hamilton Russell Vineyards)
* South Africa has the lowest transport costs compared to 50 other countries, according to GoEuro’s Transportation Price Index. For air travel our country ranked third cheapest, while our costs of train travel ranked cheapest of all countries.
* La Motte is hosting a talk on ‘Shiraz and all its facets‘ with a tasting on Thursday at 18h30 – 20h45. (received via newsletter from La Motte)
*Justin Bonello is launching his new book ‘Roads Less Travelled‘ in conjunction with his The Ultimate Braai Master judges Bertus Basson and Marthinus Ferreira in November. Unsurprisingly the book sizzles with the stories and experiences of the TV reality show, and the journey on the backroads of our country in testing the best of our country’s braaiers.
* New York restaurant Eat has prohibited talking by its diners during their 4-course meals!
* A new tourism region has been created, called the Vanilla Islands, consisting of Seychelles, Mauritius, Reunion, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mayotte, and Maldives.
* La Motte is participating in the Franschhoek Art in Clay Festival, and Continue reading →
At the Bouchard Finlayson tasting at the Twelve Apostles Hotel last week ‘Wine Tourism Handbook’ publisher Monika Elias gave me a copy of her 2012 edition. It is a very handy guide to the wine estates of the Western Cape in particular, but also in the Northern Cape and Kwa-Zulu Natal. It is ideal for tourists wishing to get a quick overview of our wine routes and regions, and for staff working in the hospitality industry.
‘The Wine Tourism Handbook‘ introduces the topic by painting a picture of the 350 year history of South African wine, as well as the making of the first wines in the world up to 10000 years ago! It tells the story of South African wine-making by Jan van Riebeeck, in February 1659 for the first time, the establishment of the KWV in 1918, the creation of Pinotage in 1941, and the launch of the first wine route, in Stellenbosch, in 1971. From these early beginnings South Africa has become the 7th largest wine producer in the world. It addresses equitable issues of winemaking via Fairtrade, which promotes ‘greater equity for small producers in the international trading arena. The ethos of their work is that trading partnerships should be based on transparency, respect and a sustainable and ethical system of production and purchase’. The growing trend to sustainability led to the development of the Biodiversity & Wine Initiative, with land of wine farms set aside for conservation, eradicating alien vegetation, and protecting endangered species such as the Cape Leopard, Geometric tortoise, the Cape Leopard toad, and the Riverine Rabbit.
A chapter is dedicated to winemaking, starting with viticulture, and describing the white and red wine making processes. The value of the label, in communicating the region and farm from which the wine comes, the alcohol content, the vintage, the variety, the origin of the grapes is explained. Details about the origin, cultivar and vintage are certified by a seal from the Wine and Spirit Board. Just more than half of vines planted are for white wine production, and Chenin Blanc is the single largest varietal, at 20% of planting. The methods used to make Fortified wines, Rosés, and sparkling wines are also described. A ‘South African Bubbly Route’ lists 69 producers of MCC sparkling wine. The best way to store wine is shared, and companies through which one can order South African wines in other countries are listed.
Brandy production is addressed separately to wine production, and the types of brandy, and tasting it, is covered. Two Brandy Routes are described – the R62 Brandy Route, and the one including Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington, and Elgin. Twenty brandy producers are listed.
Most of the book is dedicated to the wine routes of the Western Cape, categorised as Central Region, Inland, East Coast, and West Coast. The Central Region consists of Cape Town wine production in Constantia and Durbanville, and also in Franschhoek, Paarl, Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch Berg, Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Valley, Tulbagh and Wellington. Advice is provided on getting around on the wine routes, and drinking and driving is strongly advised against. Tour guides specialising in wine are recommended. A Top 10 ‘Things to do’ list is presented, which includes lunch at Jordan wine estae, Staying in a tented camp at Clara Anna Fontein Game Reserve, seeing a show and eating at Die Boer Theatre Restaurant, viewing the Hess Collection at the Glen Carlou art gallery, tasting Jorgensen Distillery’s ‘artisanal drinks’, visiting the first biodynamic farm Bloublommetjieskloof, making wine at Stellenrust, enjoying a braai at Midddelvlei, and going on a game drive at Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary.
Highlights of the Constantia Region include Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitenverwachting, Eagle’s Nest, Constantia Glen, Constantia Uitsig, Steenberg, and Cape Point Vineyards, and the restaurants La Colombe, Bistro Sixteen82, and Buitenverwachting. Some top Durbanville wine estates include De Grendel, Durbanville Hills, Meerendal, and Nitida. The Franschhoek wine route includes Allée Bleue, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal, Cape Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Morena, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, Haute Cabrière, Holden Manz, La Motte, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, Stony Brook and Vrede en Lust. Restaurants on this Route include Pierneef à La Motte, Fyndraai, Haute Cabrière Cellar Restaurant, and Babel. The Paarl wine route includes Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Fairview, Glen Carlou, KWV Wine Emporium, Laborie, Landskroon, Nederburg, Noble Hill Wines, Perdeberg Winery, Scali, Veenwouden, Val de Vie, and Vondeling.
Stellenbosch is the oldest and largest wine region, and has a number oif wine routes. Some of the best known estates on these routes include Waterford, Blaauwklippen, De Trafford, Flagstone, Kleine Zalze, Neil Ellis, Stark-Condé, Beyerskloof, Hartenberg, Hazendal, Villiera, Delaire Graff, De Meye, Bartinney, Kanonkop, Mont Destin, Rustenberg, Slaley, Thelema, Tokara, Uitkyk, Warwick, Alto, Dombeya/Haskell, Graceland, Ken Forrester, Longridge, Rust en Vrede, Vergelegen, Waterkloof, De Toren, Dalla Cia, Jordan, Meerlust, Spier, and Vilafonté. Recommended restaurants are the Postcard Café, Terroir, Delaire Graff, Towerbosch, Overture, and Jordan Restaurant by George Jardine.
The Inland region consists of the Breedekloof, Klein Karoo (Boplaas is one of the best known), Swartland, Robertson (dominated by Graham Beck, but also with Zandvliet, De Wetshof, and Van Loveren being better known) and Worcester wine routes. The Swartland wine route is growing in stature, and very fine wines are being made in this region, including Mullineux, Sadie, AA Badenhorst, and Allesverloren.
Agulhas and Elim (Jean Daneel and Raka are best known), Bot River (Beaumont is best known), Elgin (a wine route with increasing recognition for Almenkerk, Paul Cluver, Shannon, and Iona), and Walker Bay are the wine routes classified under East Coast in the book. The new Hermanus Wine Route has excellent wineries, including Creation, Hermanuspietersfontein, Ataraxia, Bouchard Finlayson, and Hamilton Russell.
The West Coast region consists of the Darling (Cloof is best known) and Olifants River (Cederberg and Stellar better known) wine routes. The Garden Route is not well-known as a wine region, and Bramon makes an organic sparkling wine in Plettenberg Bay. In KwaZulu-Natal Abingdon and Meander wines are made.
Twenty-seven wine-related festivals are also listed, with dates for the year ahead.
The Wine Tourism Handbook is a wealth of wine information, and should ideally be given to all tourists arriving in Cape Town, as compulsory reading about the excellent and extensive wine range on its doorstep.
Wine Tourism Handbook 2012: Enjoying Wine at the Source, World Focus Media, Tel 083 631 3393 www.winetourismhandbook.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
I rarely go to the Tableview and Blouberg area. When I received an invitation from Nikki Dumas to join her at Blowfish Restaurant for an early dinner, prior to seeing a preview of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’, it seemed an appropriate ‘starter’ to a must-see movie.
Nikki is a wine consultant to Blowfish, and has won a coveted Diamond Award from Diner’s Club International for the winelist she has created for Blowfish for the past two years, as well as a Wine Spectator Award. She is a passionate wine lover, and uses the word ‘swirl’ a lot. She came to Cape Town to open Vilamoura in Camps Bay, and then joined the Slick restaurant group when Vilamoura closed down. She worked at both Balducci and Belthazar, on the wine side, and became Deputy General Manager. She has been a wine consultant for over a year now, her Winestyle consultancy offering waiter training, winetastings, and she compiles winelists.
Blowfish belongs to the Singer Group, which has a number of hospitality interests. I recognised Oliver Wing, the Operations Manager, when I arrived. He used to be a manager at Haiku and Bukhara, and was sent to London to open Haiku there. The restaurant is located in the Dolphin Beach Hotel in Blouberg, and is a large space, seating about 180 guests. The restaurant has a view onto the Atlantic Ocean, over the roofs of hotel rooms below. It is a large open-plan room, with a sushi bar with conveyor belt, a bar, and upstairs there is a TV/smoking room, as well as the wine cellar, in which functions are hosted, including workshops on how to make sushi. The chairs are Greek-style, all in white, and white is the dominant colour in terms of furniture and fittings, except for beige plastic table cloths.
Blowfish uses a cute illustration of a blowfish on every page of its menu and on the winelist, creating good synergy between the two documents. The pay-off line is ‘Seafood Sushi Sunset’, it being rare for a restaurant to have one.
There is a fish counter (as per Codfather in Camps Bay), from which one can order a selection of fish and shellfish, in the size of one’s choice, which is then weighed and charged. The fish types on offer at Blowfish are angelfish, bluefish, butterfish, calamari, Cape salmon, Dorado, kingklip, monkfish, Norwegian Salmon, cob, sole, swordfish, tuna (yellowfin), yellowtail, sardines, Cape rock lobster, king prawns, langoustines, Tiger medium prawns, Tiger giant prawns and oysters. I was impressed that the cost per gram was shown per fish type. Soon a similar meat counter will be introduced.
What impressed me tremendously was the depiction on the menu of each of the ‘green’ fishes on the SASSI list, which are those that are in good supply. A whole page of the menu is dedicated to the restaurant’s “Green Values”, the first time I have seen this on a menu. It states that the restaurant is a “SASSI Aware” participant, to “promote and offer you sustainable seafood choices from legal sources in an effort to help improve the conservation status of over-exploited seafood species.” Contact details of the Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative are provided. Near the fish counter a SASSI poster has been put up, showing the different green, orange and red fish and shellfish types. I would have loved to see them show the orange symbols on the other fish dishes (e.g. prawns and kingklip) on the menu, to be absolutely correct, allowing their customers to choose whether they want to order ‘orange’ fish. By implication, the non-marked fish dishes on the menu would be orange.
The Blowfish menu is very extensive in offering sushi, salads, soup, platters, combinations of meat and fish, and the fish ordered from the counter. Starters range in price from R40 – R55, and include a bacon and seafood skewer, bushveld sushi made with crocodile, trio of salmon, Thai-style fishcakes, king calamari, Wok beef, and mussels. The sushi choice is vast, covering two pages of the menu, including Fresh rolls, Cooked rolls, Traditional Maki rolls, Inside Out rolls, platters (ranging from a 12-piece Nigiri at R125 to a 60-piece Chef’s Speciality platter at R550), sushi salads and hot sushi. The cost for smaller portions of sushi depends on its ingredients, roughly ranging from R25 for three to R45 for four pieces. The Chef’s Recommendation section has a selection of dishes, ranging from R 95 for the kingklip to SQ for the crayfish curry. One can also order duck, Fillet Mignon, lamb rack, and the Chef’s signature dish, being Seafood Espetada. Platters cost as little as R99, for the Blouberg platter (kingklip, calamari, and prawn skewer), up to R 220 for the Kite-Boarders platter (mussels, calamari, linefish and rock lobster). A selection of stir-fry dishes is also available, from R65 upwards.
I love a prawn and avo handroll, and that at Blowfish was the best I’ve had, being more moist than recent ones I have tasted, with mayonnaise added, very reasonably priced at R40. It was hard to choose what to order from the menu, and therefore I chose a piece of kingklip, some calamari and a tiger prawn from the fish counter, to be grilled and served with Basmati rice. The selected fish and shellfish is prepared with the “fishmonger’s” seasoned ‘signature Blowfish spices’, and one has a choice of four sauces: lemon butter, garlic butter, sweet and sour, and peri peri.
As the movie started at 8 pm, and I had to drive to the Waterfront to see it, I had to eat quickly when the main course arrived, to make it back to the city in time. I could not finish all of the food, as it was far too large a serving. It was excellent, the massive prawn being a highlight. I missed out on the desserts, but could have ordered a Lindt chocolate brownie, Croque en Bouche, baked cheesecake, chocolate banana spring rolls and more, at a most reasonable cost of R25 – R 35. A cheese platter is also available at R75.
Nikki has created two winelists for Blowfish, one just focused on imported wines, and the other on local wines. She is very proudly South African when it comes to her wine recommendations, and she has included about 140 local wines on the winelist. She describes each variety, indicating the colour one should expect, and the flavours they should have. The region of origin of each wine is indicated, and the wines are listed from lowest to highest price per variety, the perfect winelist! The Sauvignon Blanc section is the largest, with 24 options, and the prices of all the brands are very reasonable, ranging from R 90 for Hazendal to R240 for Neil Ellis. MCC’s start at R90 for Pieter Cruythoff Brut, which Nikki says comes from the Swartland, to R428 for Constantia Uitsig. White wines sell better than red wines at Blowfish, but Nikki has a good selection of red wines too. Ten Shiraz wines are offered, the Landskroon and Porcupine Ridge being most reasonably priced at R105, to R 260 for Grande Provence. Corkage is the lowest I have seen, at R20 for the first two bottles, and increases to R50 per bottle thereafter. The winelist also proudly records the awards it has won.
While Blowfish is too far for me to travel to from the Atlantic Seaboard, I know where to eat when I next go to that area. I could see how popular the restaurant is amongst locals – from being the first to arrive at 18h00, the restaurant was close to full with locals, bringing their children and babies in prams, when I left two hours later.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage