In November I was privileged to experience the 16-course Tasting Menu of the then newly opened Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock wine estate. On Friday my Parisian friend and I returned to Gåte, to experience the lunchtime Food and Wine Experience, pairing the restaurant’s homemade charcuterie and cheese dishes with the excellent wines of Quoin Rock. Continue reading →
The new words on serious diners lips are ‘Gåte’ and ‘Quoin Rock’, both not having been heard of by most, but already associated with superlative dining, on a wine estate tucked away outside Stellenbosch where no expense had been spared to create eating and drinking experiences to take one’s breath away! This is what we experienced when invited to eat at Chef Rikku O’Donnchü’s Gåte restaurant on Friday evening. I was still pinching myself over the weekend as to whether this was real, or just a dream. I invited my friend Stuart Bailey to share this experience with me. Continue reading →
* At the International Wine & Spirits Awards, South Africa did very well, with 632 awards in total, and 7 Gold Outstanding awards, of which three went to Nederburg. KWV won 22 medals. Chile won 375 awards, with one Gold Outstanding, and Argentina won 234 medals. The results were announced at The Beautiful South South Africa/South America showcase in London.
* A meeting earlier today between airline and travel agent representatives and Minister of Home Affairs Malusi Gigaba may lead to good news about the Immigration Regulations next week.
* A number of top Cape Town designers will be showcasing their work and the collective creativity of South Africa at 100% Design in London from 17 – 20 September, attended by 30000 architects, interior designers, and retailers, representing a collective buying power of £2,7 billion. Designers include Mervyn Gers Ceramics, Martin Doller, Meyer von Wielligh, and furniture designer Pierre Cronje, and the trip is sponsored by the Department of Trade & Industry. (received via media release from Wesgro)
* Opulent Living raised R2,5 million at its ‘Chefs who Share’ Gala Dinner and Auction in the City Hall last night, due to Continue reading →
I have visited almost every winery in Franschhoek, but never Rupert & Rothschild, its tastings having been by appointment only in the past ten years since we have operated Whale Cottage Franschhoek. It was a set of Facebook photographs of Hein Koegelenberg, brother-in-law of co-owner Johann Rupert, that attracted attention to the new Tasting Room, which opened on 1 July.
The farm Fredericksburg was owned by a French Huguenot, and was established in 1690, and taken over by the late Dr Anton Rupert and the late Baron Edmond Rothschild in 1997 when they established their partnership. The owners shared a commitment to preservation and conservation. Grapes are harvested by hand, and the berries are hand-sorted after destemming, to generate the best quality juice. Intervention during the wine-making process is kept to a minimum.
I popped in yesterday, and found a very elegant yet informal and friendly Tasting Room, with a beautiful setting overlooking the Simonsberg mountain and the vineyards of the wine farm. From the R45 between Klapmuts and Simondium one cannot see any buildings on the wine estate, being set back far from the road. The Tasting Room door is locked from inside, so one of the staff must go to the door to press a button to unlock it, which is not clear when one arrives, and appears unfriendly if the staff do not get to the glass door quickly enough. One enters close to the Tasting Desk, seating about 20 tasters on both sides of the desk Continue reading →
The opening function, one of two, at Leopard’s Leap last night, was a welcome indication of how the gourmet bar in Franschhoek is about to be raised, with the addition of the Liam Tomlin Food Culinary Studio. Not one of the 300 guests could have left not being impressed with the architecture and decor of the building, dominated by its beautiful new chandelier, with the generosity of the hosts, and with the excellent food, served with Leopard’s Leap wines.
I have been to Leopards Leap a number of times since it opened in November, and noticed the new chandelier immediately on arrival, after entering the building on a green carpet, being offered a choice of six welcome cocktails. Flowers in massive vases lining the entrance were by creative florists Okasie in Stellenbosch. The chandelier was designed by interior decorator Christo Barnard, and he is very chuffed with how well it was executed by Pierre Cronje. The tasting room staff collected vineyard leaves, which Christo had dye cut out of stainless steel, replicating different leaf shapes, and then spray painted them in yellow, green, and red leaf colours, making a magnificent statement over the tasting counter, and bringing the vineyards into the tasting room, the vine design looking absolutely realistic.
Guests of honour were ex-President FW de Klerk, who had addressed a lunch of 40 members of the Beijing University alumni club yesterday afternoon (a lunch that made CEO Hein Koegelenberg beam, in that he signed up R1,5 million in business during the lunch, he shared with us), and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille, who looks younger and more stylish than ever before, all due to her stylist Janine Schouw, she said. Premier Zille came to say hello, and remembered us meeting at Artscape about five years ago, which makes her such a remarkable person, and such a respected and well-loved politician. It was touching to see the Premier connect with Mr de Klerk, holding hands. The mutual respect was clear to see.
Leopard’s Leap CEO Hein Koegelenberg made a short speech to welcome the guests to the new Leopard’s Leap Vineyards, housing Leopards Leap Wines and Liam Tomlin Food. He recounted that he had created the Leopard’s Leap brand twelve years ago, and he acknowledged the work of label designer Anthony Lane in developing it into an international brand, now sold in 41 countries. It had not had a consumer interface in the past, and the neighbouring farm to La Motte was ideal for a tasting room, not only due to its location on the R45 and its proximity to La Motte, but also because the grapes on it had been planted by Hein’s father, and he still looks after the garden team on the estate. Hein said that Leopard’s Leap is the most diverse wine company in the world, focusing on diversity in sourcing grapes and producing the wines in different regions.
It was the ancient marriage between wine and food that led Hein to seek the ‘perfect pairing of wine and cuisine’ with chef Liam Tomlin, who moved from Sydney to Cape Town some years ago, consulting to La Motte when its restaurant opened, and opening his own Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School in Cape Town. Now Liam Tomlin Food offers cooking demonstration classes, upping the standard of Franschhoek’s gourmet cuisine offering. The venue was designed to blend Franschhoek’s ‘proud heritage of wine and cuisine’ with modernity and innovation, to create a world class experience for its visitors. The building was designed by architects Mokena Design Lab, Christo Barnard did the interior design (having done that of Pierneef à La Motte too), with furnishing by Pierre Cronje. The building houses offices for Leopard’s Leap Wines and Liam Tomlin Food, a state-of-the-art cooking school and demonstration area, a shop selling cooking equipment, ingredients, and utensils, a garden in which to enjoy picnics in future, and a reading lounge. Reflected in the building too is the passion the family has for the conservation of the Cape mountain leopard, which is reflected in the magnificent 9 meter high steel sculpture by Marco Cianfanelli, outside the building. Hein believes that the ‘statue will become a landmark in the Franschhoek Wine Valley’.
Chef Liam’s speech was short and sweet, and he won brownie points when he said that it was much better moving from Australia to South Africa, and not vice versa. He also said that South African wines are better than Australian ones. He told us that initially he would concentrate on establishing the cooking courses, whereafter the Food Shop will be created, eagerly awaited by locals. An organic vegetable garden has been planted, for use in his kitchen.
Different food stations were created throughout the kitchen to feed the 300 guests, a mix of food and wine writers, wine farm neighbours, and local winemakers, with trays of material serviettes and cutlery at each, and each dish labelled. Chicken roasted in the brand new rotisserie was served with a sticky soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and ginger, and a cucumber salad, its Thai basil giving it a sharp edge. There was sea bass served with delicate noodles. The pork belly served on a pancake with Hoisin sauce and spring onion probably was the most popular dish. A most interesting duck sausage was another hit, containing raisins, pistachio nuts, confit leg, and duck liver, served with a potato salad and duck jus. Chef Liam told us that they had ordered 150 ducks to make the duck sausage, and that their supplier had initially let them down badly, it costing them five days in time to get the sausage made as a result. A sweetcorn and basil veloute was served in an espresso cup. An interesting dish was a melted Raclette cheese served with steamed potato and bruschetta. Desserts were a lemon posset, and a Bailey’s Irish cream parfait with cocoa crunch. In tasting each of the delicacies, one could get a close look at the kitchen equipment, and Grande Provence owner Alex van Heeren spontaneously described the facilities as ‘world class’.
The clearing of plates and serving of drinks was organised by Aleit event company, and Aleit Swanepoel, the owner, and his team made each guest feel like a special VIP, bringing one drink after the other (a delicious berry Shiraz drink).
As if the hosts’ generosity had not been enough already, each guest received a magnificent presentation box with a thank you from Liam and Hein ‘for sharing this special celebration with us’, and containing a bottle of Leopard’s Leap Shiraz Mouvèdre Viognier 2008, as well as a pack of risotto rice, dried mushrooms, and a bottle of Black Truffle oil, with a recipe card for mushroom risotto.
La Motte and Leopard’s Leap are a new gourmet gateway to Franschhoek, and it would appear that further exciting developments are underway at both wine estates, from what was suggested to me last night.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage.
I was very impressed with the Design Indaba Expo, which was held in the Cape Town International Convention Centre last weekend, representing the best in the South African design industry, and in Cape Town specifically, 260 designers exhibiting their work. At the exhibition the latest map of the Cape Town Design Route was launched.
It is exciting to see that the Cape Town Design Route has more than doubled to 59 designers, and their work is permanently showcased at their studios, via a map that provides contact and location details of designers in the City area, in the southern and northern suburbs, on the Atlantic Seaboard, and in the Winelands and beyond.
The designers on the Cape Town Design Route 2011 are the following:
* BlueCollarWhiteCollar offers shirts, using the highest quality fabrics. Lifestyle on Kloof, 50 Kloof Street. Tel (021) 426-1921
* Cabinetworks are master kitchen and furniture makers. 229 Bree Street. Tel (021) 422-3830
* Cape Craft & Design Institute promotes Western Cape designers of homeware, jewellery, gifts, fashion and décor. 75 Harrington Street. Tel (021) 461-1488
* Carrol Boyes is well known for its pewter, stainless steel and chrome-plated alloy homeware, tableware and accessories. 43 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap. Tel (021) 424-8263
* Cupcake Country sells sewing kits so that one can make cupcakes and other craft (right). 10 A Jagersfontein Lane, Oranjezicht. Tel (021) 461-4421
* freeRange Jewels offers an alternative jewellery range. Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point. Tel (021) 418-3607
* Give it Bag designs handbags, laundry bags, and wine coolers made from recycled polypropylene bags and cotton. Canterbury Studios, 35 Wesley Street, Gardens. Tel (021) 465-9852
* Good Clothing designs simple but trendy clothing. 101 Burleigh House, 24 Barrack Street. Tel (021) 461-6599
* Indalo Project creates employment for craft artists, producing home decor, furniture, lights and gifts, 65 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap. Tel (021) 801-4775
* Inkheart Jewellery Design designs jewellery with a personal touch, inspired by childhood stories and memories. 17 Bayview Avenue, Tamboerskloof. Tel (021) 423-9571.
* Monkeybiz makes high-quality bespoke beaded designer items. 43 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap. Tel (021) 426-0145
* Pierre Cronje makes unique and timeless furniture, using the best timbers. Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point. Tel (021) 425-0374
* Projekt is a crochet and skills training project, making scarves, toys, jewellery, cushions and homeware. 6B Malan Street, Gardens. Tel (021) 422-0739
* Spilt Milk is an easy-to-wear men’s and women’s clothing range. 36 Upper Orange Street, Oranjezicht. Tel 079 358 2072
* Streetwires Artist Collective offers employment, making African wire and bead craft-art. Tel (021) 426-2475
* thisarmy builds ‘apps’. 71 Roeland Street. Tel 082 379 8180
* Township Patterns makes colourful fabrics, and fun and easy-to-wear garments. Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point. Tel (021) 418-0388
* Urbanative Jewels makes once-off jewellery pieces. Gold of Africa Museum, 96 Strand Street. Tel 082 770 9788
* Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects pursue excellence in design. 163 Bree Street. Tel (021) 423-5829.
* Woodhead’s makes leather and natural fabric products. 29 Caledon Street. Tel (021) 461-7185
* …XYZ Design has the wind-up radio as one of its design highlights. Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point. Tel (021) 421-7236
* Clementina Ceramics sell individually handmade earthenware products. Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock. Tel (021) 447-1398
* Design Afrika sells hand-woven items made from river reeds, cotton, mountain grasses and palm fibres, combined with leather, glass and plastic. 42 Hares Avenue, Woodstock. Tel (021) 448- 9761
* Firepetals makes handcrafted art jewellery with a South African flair. 59 Roodebloem Street, Woodstock. Tel (021) 447-2025
* Frieda Lühl Jewellery makes simple and elegant jewellery. 30 Roodebloem Street, Woodstock. Tel (021) 448-1408.
* Liesel Trautman makes porcelain homeware, each item individually finished. 114 Lower Main Road, Observatory. Tel 073 275 9494
* Maike Valcarcel designs Africa-inspired jewellery, using gold, pebbles, silver and felt. 30 Roodebloem Road, Woodstock. Tel (021) 790-8849
* Recreate makes furniture and lighting from discarded junk. 368 Albert Road, Woodstock. Tel (021) 447-0007.
* Sway sells comfortable and easy wearing women’s clothing. Woodstock Industrial Centre, 66 Albert Road, Woodstock. tel (021) 447-5999.
* Zizamele Ceramics makes African-inspired ceramics (right). Corner Chasmay and Kommetjie Roads, Sunnydale, Noordhoek. Tel (021 789-1491
* Chimpel makes luxury leather accessories in a classic design. 85 Sixth Avenue, Rondebosch East. Tel (021) 697-5875.
* David Krut Publishing publishes books on architecture, art and design. Montobello Design Centre, 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands. Tel (021) 685-0676
* Dear.Rae.With.Love designs jewellery using enamel, fabric, silver, wood and found objects. 12 Peak Drive. Pinelands. Tel (021) 531-2940.
* Diane Harper makes coasters and pendants. 36 Forest Drive, Pinelands. Tel ()21) 532-3758
* Emma Anne is a range of distinctive contemporary jewellery. 6 Chippenham Road, Kenilworth. Tel (021) 762-5465
* Flick Glass and My China combines ceramics and art to express her love of fynbos and small animals. 24 Dartmouth Road, Muizenberg. Tel (021) 789- 9119
* Janine Binneman Jewellers makes custom jewellery. 25 Almora Circle, Tokai. Tel (021) 715-6178
* John Bauer uses antique crochet cloth, linen and lace in his ceramics. 35 Greenwood Road, Claremont. Tel (021) 683-7851
* Matblac makes men’s leather apparel. 1 The Meadows, 12 Meadow Lane, Constantia. Tel (021) 794- 5723
* Mielie makes fun bags. 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands. Tel (021) 686-2026.
* Skermunkel Design Studio makes fun, quirky and sentimental jewellery inspired by everyday play and childhood storybooks, using enamel, silver and antique cutlery. 44 Palmer Road, Muizenberg. Tel (021) 788-8577.
* Tania Babb Ceramics makes fun sculptures (right). 39 Wolfe Street, Wynberg. Tel (021) 797-7144
* The Potters Workshop makes functional ceramic art. Toledo Close, Capricorn Park, Muizenberg. Tel (021) 709-0212
* Will Martin Projects makes handmade ceramic products. 35 Greenwood Road, Harfield Village, Claremont. Tel 079 663 0532
* Woo-Men Plush Toys makes fun toys for kids and ‘kidults’. 37 Cromer Road, Muizenberg. Tel (021) 788-8249
* IDESO is a specialist product design consultancy. Unit 4 Canal Edge, Three Tyger Waterfront, Carl Cronje Drive, Tygervalley. Tel (021) 914-8444
* Coast & Koi is a range of glamorous and comfortable shoes. 2A Vredefort, 268 Beach Road, Sea Point. tel (021) 434-7597
* Collect makes boutique jewellery. 3 Saunders Court, Saunders Road, Bantry Bay. Tel (021) 439-5262.
* Alpacafelt makes fashion and interior design items from alpaca fibre. Novello Alpaca Farm, Rietvlei, Barrydale Road, Montagu. Tel (023) 614-2674
* Elizabeth Galloway Young Designers runs a fashion design training programme. 26 Techno Road, Technopark, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 880-0775
* FACT makes a range of canvas and leather bags representing township life in visuals. Jackal River Farm, Houw Hoek, Elgin. Tel 082 491 5243
* Lady Peculiar makes sterling silver jewellery with romantic, organic, nostalgic, emotional and playful elements.
* The African Queen Studio makes chandeliers and lamps with natural materials. 1 Grewe Street, McGregor. Tel (023) 625-1843
* The Fringe Arts is a collective of the work of 70 designers. Spier, R310, Lynedoch Road, Stellenbosch. tel (021) 809-1142
* Wonki Ware makes bright and bold pottery. 42 York Street, George. Tel (044) 884-1883
Cape Town Design Route 2011: www.designindaba.com Products of the above designers can be bought online.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Yesterday I became excited about another dimension of Cape Town – I attended the Design Indaba Expo, the first time that I have attended any aspect of the Design Indaba in its 16 year history. I am so sorry that I was not better informed about this amazing event in the local newspapers or on radio, and had it not been for Twitter I would not have known about it. I was blown away by the quality and diversity of design, by mainly Cape Town based designers, in the jam-packed Cape Town International Convention Centre exhibition hall, and must congratulate Ravi Naidoo and his Design Indaba team for the excellent organisation, and leading-edge design on display. I would urge all design-lovers in Cape Town to visit the Design Indaba Expo this weekend.
There is such an overwhelming number of exhibitors, in relatively small stands, that one blindly moves from one stand to another, trying to not miss anything in the vast hall. No exhibitor map or list is provided when one buys the ticket outside the hall, and the Design Indaba Info stand is in the centre of the hall (not visible when one enters), and I only saw it near the end of my long walk through the exhibition. Here I was able to obtain a “Visitors Guide”, which lists each of the roughly 250 exhibitors, and contains the floor plan, so that one can find the exhibitors, as well as the programme for the fashion shows and film festival, forming part of the Design Indaba programme. Designers were chosen by a panel of industry experts, the Visitors Guide explains. What I did observe is that many designers are brand new at their design businesses, and rather poor at their marketing, not having business cards and/or brochures with them, or having handed all of them out during the first day of the Expo. Pierre le Roux was one of the most interesting designers at the Expo, in my opinion, but has no business card and not even a website. Pierre described his furniture as being works of art more than functional seating. To obtain further information and contact details of all the designers, one has to buy a “Buyers Guide” at R100, which I decided to do, to use at a later stage – sadly Pierre’s details are not in the Buyers’ Guide either. This information deficiency was the only flaw in the Expo that I experienced.
Near the entrance was an impactful rainbow-coloured display to attract attention to Cape Town’s bid for Design Capital of the world in 2014. Attendees were invited to sign the base of the display, to show their support for the bid. Next to it stood a five-tier cake by Charly’s Bakery, which reflected different aspects of Cape Town. in the exhibition hall one can loosely pick up a grouping of similar designers, including furniture, fashion, jewellery, craft, interior design, product design, advertising, architecture, publishing and many more design disciplines.
The furniture exhibits probably attracted the most attention, because the exhibitors required more space, and they tended to not be confined within exhibition stand walls. I was impressed by the differentness of an outdoors chair made from pipes (left), as well as the new stainless steel tub chair from the Sofa Studio in Franschhoek. Other furniture designers at the Expo include the Western Cape Furniture Initiative, Haldane Martin, Cabinetworks, Pierre Cronje, Raw Studios, Recreate, Pedersen + Lennard, …XYZ Design, and a most cleverly named Flower Power, making lamps shaped like proteas.
The 24 jewellery stands probably were the most popular in general, attracting a lot of visitors. The work exhibited was more modern and contemporary, some quirky, very creative, some art, some organic, some romantic, and all unique and non-commercialised. The University of Stellenbosch Jewellery Design department also exhibited its students’ work. Ceramic exhibitors include Liesel Trautman, Diana Ferreira, fun Zizamele Ceramics, John Bauer, The Potter’s Workshop, Tamarillo Ceramics & Design, Clementina Ceramics, Hennie Meyer Ceramics, Imiso Ceramics, Sootcookie Ceramics, Tania Babb Ceramics and Wonki Ware. Craft exhibitors include Woodhead’s, Usisi Designs, Cupcake Country, The Cape Craft & Design Institute, Phumani Paper, Design Afrika, Monkeybiz, The Letterpress Company, Nicfredman Art and Design, Molten, The Beloved, and many more. Fashion took up a lot of exhibition space, and was popular. Exhibitors include Tjerrie, Matblac, GOOD Clothing, Coast & Koi, Spilt Milk, BlueCollarWhiteCollar, Homework, Mielie, Township Patterns, DURCHZUG, FACT, Baie Nice, Continent Africa, and MeMeMe. Lifestyle designers exhibiting are Pepper Plum Designs, Yda Walt Studio, Flick Glass, Fundi Light & Living, Carrol Boyes, Chic Revolution, Tintown, Anatomy Design, and Ikhaya. Some of the names of the designer businesses are as creative as their craft!
There are two separated design areas within the Design Indaba Expo. The first is The Salon Privé, ‘focusing on the crème de la crème of South African design. The Salon Privé is independently curated and designers are encouraged to use the platform to launch a new product or product range.’ In this space the Ardmore ceramics table attracted attention, as did the Veuve Clicquot champagne bar, where I indulged in a glass of their Rosé bubbly at R99, served in a most beautiful unusual champagne glass, nothing like I have ever seen before, without a stem. Other exhibitors are architects Haldane Martin, Johannesburg-based interior designers Tonic (which one hopes will open in Cape Town too), Willowlamp, Zenzulu, Egg Designs, Ronel Jordaan, ZENZULU, and more. Close by was a collection of small stands dedicated to “Emerging Creatives”, but it is not explained in the Visitors Guide, other than that there are 60 first-time exhibitors, under the heading “New Kids on the Block”. The Department of Trade and Industry also had a conglomerate pavilion with about ten exhibitors, including Abode Designer, Veldt designers, Zan Zan décor, Drift Furniture, Keiskamma Art, Master Wires and Deesigned Beads.
For the hungry and thirsty Expo-goers, one can buy Woolworths’ coffees and rolls, or buy sandwiches and other foods from the Earth Fair Market. Grolsch has an interestingly designed stand too. Whilst I sat down at the table to have my cappuccino, I had the most wonderful experience in reconnecting with Mark Robinson, whom I had last seen twenty years ago when we both consulted to the then Colman Foods. The lady that took his seat when he left shared a background in PR and marketing with me. This was another enriching dimension of the Expo.
Alongside the Design Indaba Expo is the update of the Cape Town Design Route, and this is an exciting longer-term manifestation of Cape Town’s design wealth, in that tourists and locals can visit more than fifty designers in the city throughout the year. The Cape Town Design Route designers are all exhibiting at the Design Indaba Expo. The updated Cape Town Design Route 2011 map was lying at the entrance to the exhibition, without one being alerted to this wonderful design highlight. I had read about the Design Route by chance last year, and this is the first time that I have seen a map for it. I was so inspired about the Cape Town Design Route at the time that I wrote a blogpost about it, and will write a new one about the Cape Town Design Route 2011.
Film and fashion events take place inside the Expo throughout the exhibition days, and the programme of events is detailed in the Visitors’ Guide. Childrens’ design and art workshops are also on the programme throughout the weekend.
Last year the Design Indaba became infamous due to the spectacle Martha Stewart made of herself as the keynote speaker at the Design Indaba Conference – this year the Design Indaba will be remembered for the most wonderful showcase of design in Cape Town!
Design Indaba Expo, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town. Tel (021) 465-9966. www.designindaba.com. Today 10h00 – 20h00, Sunday 10h00 – 18h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage