Tag Archives: Le Jardin des Sens

Pierneef à La Motte ‘Plaisirs de France’ dîner un plaisir!

On the eve of the Plaisirs de France festival, which kicks off in Franschhoek today, Pierneef à La Motte joined forces with the Institut Paul Bocuse, in serving a 6-course dinner conceptualised by its Chef Florent Boivin on Friday.  When I saw the Pierneef à La Motte dinner on the Plaisirs de France programme, it jumped out as the highlight of the month-long French-inspired food and wine festival in Franschhoek, and I booked immediately.  The dinner combined the fresh herbs and vegetables grown on La Motte, South African produce such as springbok, and French gourmet delights such as foie gras, well paired with La Motte wines.

The six-course dinner, costing R690 for the dinner paired with a La Motte wine for each course, was prepared by Chef Florent with Pierneef à La Motte Chef Chris Erasmus. Chef Florent has cooked at a number of Michelin-star restaurants, including Maison Troisgros, Le Jardin des Sens, and Maison Decoret. He has also opened new restaurants at D’Sens in Bangkok, Raffles Hotel Restaurant in Singapore, and Héritage Hotel Restaurant in Mauritius.  Chef Chris has just returned from a three week stage at Noma, the world’s number one restaurant, based in Copenhagen.  Students from The Culinary Academy, located at Backsberg, assisted the La Motte restaurant team for the evening, and were excited by the chance in a lifetime to rub shoulders with a Michelin-star chef.

We received a taste of what was to come when we enjoyed a glass of the La Motte MCC outside under the oak trees, after entering the restaurant area on a VIP red carpet, when Chef Florent sent out sweet potato croquettes containing black truffle and white truffle oil, coated in charcoal crumbs, canapés not tasting of charcoal at all!  I sat with the delightful Jan Laubscher and Anel Grobler of Spit or Swallow, and we had a fun evening, sharing the latest blogger and industry news.  Hein Koegelenberg welcomed the French Consul, and the Institut Paul Bocuse representative Eleanor Visl, and explained that ‘Plaisirs de France’ forms part of ‘Seasons of France’, a co-operation programme between France and South Africa, for the two countries to get to know each other better, which runs in our country until November.  From May – November next year South Africa will receive exposure in France. Hein reminded the guests of the French Huguenot roots of Franschhoek, La Motte itself having been created at the time of arrival of the settlers. He said that the Plaisirs de France festival is well-suited to La Motte, as wine and cuisine are their passion.  Hein intends visiting the Institut Paul Bocuse branch in Shanghai shortly, and wants to bring all twelve the Institut Paul Bocuse branch chefs to Franschhoek. Hein impressed as the perfect host, regularly visiting our table, to check on us and our wellbeing, and requesting feedback.

A bread platter was sent to our table, with a variety of breads, served within an edible bread basket. This was accompanied by a very colourful amuse bouche of smoked salmon trout, which had been lightly steamed with beetroot jelly and sherry vinegar, and was paired with the La Motte Sauvignon Blanc 2012.  The Entrée was an amazing foie gras flan, served with grapefruit segments, a most unusual combination, as well as fava beans, and a duck consommé.  This was the highlight for most diners, especially as the dish looked like a soup, but we were not served a soup spoon.  This course was paired with the La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2012, an organic wine.

Our Poisson dish was a Confit of Cob in olive oil, with which a baby vegetable skewer was served.  This dish was my favourite, for its outstanding saffron and Sauvignon Blanc nage (an aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked). This dish was paired with La Motte Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2010.  Canon of Springbok was served for our Viande (meat) dish, Springbok fillet being wrapped in caul fat (thin membrane of fat from the intestines of a pig, cow or sheep). It was served with celeriac ravioli, a strong-tasting Wasabi-like square of spinach and mustard butter, and an unusually textured quenelle of carrot, which is described as a dumpling usually made from meat, and the word originates from the German ‘Knödel’, but tasted from its texture as if it contained couscous.  It was paired with La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.

In French style, we had a Fromage course before dessert, and they were three French cheeses: Brie de Meaux, a goat’s milk cheese Buchette de Sainte-Maure; and a sheep’s milk Ossav Iraty, which were served with a more-ish strawberry and tomato jam.  The wine pairing was La Motte Shiraz 2009. This was followed by the Dessert of delicate and fresh petit pineapple and mint canneloni served with strawberries, and paired with La Motte Noble Late Harvest 1989.  Coffee was served with a macaroon.

A lovely evening came to an end far too quickly. Sous Chef Michelle Theron told me that it had been a most exciting experience, working with Chef Florent, who was most generous in sharing his knowledge, calling the Pierneef à La Motte kitchen team together whenever he did something, true to his role as lecturer at the Institut Paul Bocuse.  It was noticeable that Chef Florent’s cuisine creativity lay less in the plating (no flowers as is vogue at the moment) and more in the complex dishes he created, yet which (deceivingly) came across as simplicity!  His food is light, focused on a combination of flavours. Two dishes had sauces poured by a chef at the table, something one no longer sees locally. Chef Florent will be involved at some of the other Plaisirs de France events, but this is not specified on the Franschhoek Wine Valley website.  It was lovely getting to know La Motte Marketing Manager Wanda Vlok-Keuler better, who had very generously comped the dinner I had booked for, when I asked for the bill.

Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte, R45, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-8000.  www.la-motte.com Twitter: @PierneefLaMotte

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

Plaisirs de France: Franschhoek Food goes French, celebrates Huguenot Heritage!

Franschhoek is about to become a whole lot more French, when the Plaisirs de France (Pleasures of France) Celebrations kick off in the village on 15 October, demonstrating its food and culinary delights, and its French Huguenot heritage, a month-long Bastille Festival judging from the programme.  A mix of Le Pique Niques, cooking demonstrations by local Franschhoek and French chefs, a weekly Country Village Market, French cheese tastings, pop-up kitchens with French-inspired lunches at art galleries, and some top class dinners form the foundation of the Festival.  The Plaisirs de France Festival is part of a larger Seasons of France cultural exchange program between South Africa and France.

The French Huguenots arrived in 1688, and were allocated land in what was originally called Oliphantshoek in 1694. The farm names La Dauphiné, Bourgogne, La Bri, Champagne, La Motte, Cabrière, La Cotte, La Terra de Luc, and La Provence still exist, and were named after the settlers’ places of birth in France.

The highlight of the month-long French celebration will be a French-inspired six-course dinner at Pierneef à La Motte, costing R690 for the dinner paired with wines, which Chef Florent Boivin of the Paul Bocuse Institute in France will cook with Chef Chris Erasmus on 12 October. Chef Florent has cooked at a number of Michelin-star restaurants, including Maison Troisgros, Le Jardin des Sens, and Maison Decoret. He has also opened new restaurants at D’Sens in Bangkok, Raffles Hotel Restaurant in Singapore, and Héritage Hotel Restaurant in Mauritius.  Chef Chris Erasmus has just returned from a three week stage at Noma, the world’s number one restaurant, based in Copenhagen.  The dinner will combine the fresh herbs and vegetables grown on La Motte, South African produce such as springbok, and French gourmet delights such as foie gras.

Other special meals on offer are the following:

*   3-course lunches at The Bistro at Allee Bleue, R195, 15 October – 15 November. Tel (021) 874-1021

*   6-course Tasting Menu dinner at Vrede & Lust’s Cotage Fromage, paired with Vrede & Lust wines, R299. Wednesdays from 17 October – 14 November.  Tel (021) 874-3991

*   Cooking French Pastries at Le Quartier Français, 20 October, 10h00 – 13h00, R795.

*   6-courses paired with wines, Le Quartier Français Dinner, 25 October, 19h00, R950.

*   6-courses dinner paired with wines at La Motte Owner’s Cottage, 18 – 20 October, R950. Tel (021) 876-8000.

*   French Tarts at Bread & Wine, 17, 24 and 31 October and 14 November, 10h00, R395. Tel (021) 876-4004.

*   French Canapés at Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa stand at the Village Market 20 and 27 October, 3 and 10 November, 9h00 – 13h00.

*   Macaroons, Meringues and Charcuterie at Bread & Wine stand at Village Market, 20 and 27 October, and 3 and 10 November,  9h00 – 13h00.

*   Le Pique Nique at Rickety Bridge: R148 per person, 24 hour booking ahead.

It appears that very few of the Franschhoek restaurants are participating in the Plaisir de France promotion!

Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte, R45, Franschhoek.  Tel (21) 876-8000. www.la-motte.com Twitter: @PierneefLaMotte

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