Tag Archives: Schalk Opperman

‘Cook Franschhoek’ to spice up local master chefs!

The Franschhoek Wine Valley tourism organisation is celebrating the cooking talents of its top restaurant chefs and its award-winning wines by pairing them in ‘Cook Franschhoek‘, a festival of cooking running over this coming long weekend, from 14 – 16 June.

Taking the form of cooking demonstrations in the chefs’ restaurant kitchens, food and wine lovers will be shown how to prepare the chefs’ special dishes, and will be taken through wine tastings, with a Franschhoek winery paired with each restaurant.  The cost of demonstrations ranges from R85 – R2100 each.

Participating restaurants are :

*   Antonij Rupert Tasting Room/L’Omarins – guided tour of culinary and medicinal herb garden with glass of L’Omarins sparkling wine, olive oil tasting, and a goodie bag. Friday 9h30 -11h00 and 15h00 – 16h30, Saturday 9h30 – 11h00 and 15h00 – 16h30,  Sunday 9h30 – 11h00 and 15h00 – 16h30, R85 each.

*   Le Quartier Français/Môreson – Tandoori chicken demo and tasting by Chef Vanie Padayachee. Friday 10h00 and Saturday 10h00, R370 each.

*   Leopard’s Leap Rotisserie/Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards – Chef Pieter de Jager will demonstrate making a salt meringue Santer on garlic brochette, paired with Leopard’s Leap Culinary Pinot Noir, introduced by Eugene van Zyl.  Friday 10h30;  Breakfast Tart demo, paired with Leopard’s Leap Culinary Methodé Cap Classique, Saturday 9h30,  R110 each.

*   Terra del Capo Tasting Room – Chef HW Pieterse will host an Italian food and Italian wine variety pairing at Antonij Rupert. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday 11h00 – 12h00, R85 each.

*   Ryan’s Kitchen/Rickety Bridge – Chef Ryan Smith will demonstrate the making of a guava and vanilla soufflé with a Tennis Biscuit ice cream, and serve a 2 course meal, paired with Rickety Bridge Paulina Reserve Chenin Blanc by winemaker Danie de Bruyn. Friday 12h00, R300;  Chicken and crab curry lunch paired with Paulina Reserve Semillon, and includes 2 course meal. Saturday 12h00, R300.

*   Franschhoek Kitchen/Holden Manz Winery – Chef Maryna Frederiksen will demonstrate the use of fresh herbs in creative ways, and a light lunch will be served, winemaker Schalk Opperman introducing  their 2012 Chardonnay and 2010 Merlot. Friday 12h30 and at 16h00, Saturday 12h00, R220 each.

*   Café BonBon/Haut Espoir – Chef Tijn Hahndiek will demonstrate the making of Butter chicken curry and basmati rice. One course lunch and gift. Friday 14h00, R220; Eggs Benedict demo, inclusive of breakfast and gift, Saturday 10h30, R110;  Home-made pasta demo with one course lunch and gift, Saturday 14h00, R220.

*   Allora/Rickety Bridge – Chef Roaan Erasmus will demonstrate making gnocchi and folded pasta, paired with Rickety Bridge wines by winemaker Danie de Bruyn. Lunch included. Friday 15h00, Saturday 12h00, R220 each.

*   SalmonBar/Haut Espoir – owner Gregg Stubbs will demonstrate how to debone and fillet trout, and tasting of cold smoked, hot smoked, cured, marinated, and grilled salmon.  Friday 17h00, R250; sustainability talk and salmon tasting, Saturday 17h00, R250.

*   Haute Cabrière/Pierre Jourdan – 6 course Pinot Noir winter Tasting Menu prepared by Chef Ryan Shell and presented with Takuan von Arnim, Friday and Saturday at 19h00, R655 each.

*   Bread & Wine/Môreson – Chef Neil Jewell will demonstrate Wagyu beef three ways, with winemaker Clayton Reabow pouring the wine. Saturday 10h00, R110.

*   Paulina’s at Rickety Bridge/Rickety Bridge Winery – Chef Melissa Bruyns will demonstrate making seafood risotto, paired with a tasting of Chenin Blanc by winemaker Wynand Grobler. Saturday and Sunday 11h00, R180 each.

*   Fyndraai/Solms-Delta – Chef Shaun Schoeman will demonstrate the use of culinary fynbos flowers, with a 3-course meal and wine pairing by Joan Heatlie of The Vastrap Chenin Blend and The Hiervandaan Shiraz Blend, Saturday and Sunday 12h00, R320.

*   Pierneef à La Motte/La Motte – Chef Chris Erasmus will demonstrate making classic pâté and terrines, paired with La Motte wines by Michael Langenhoven, Saturday 17h00, R165.

*   Reuben’s/L’Omarins – Chef Reuben Riffel will take attendees to Antonij Rupert Wines, to taste their sparkling wine and to see the culinary and medicinal herb garden, followed by lunch at Chef Reuben’s home, winemaker Dawie Botha pouring L’Omarins wines, with a gift pack and herb bouquet, Sunday 12h00 – 15h00, R2100.

Cook Franschhoek, 14 – 16 June. www.cookfranschhoek.co.za. Tel (021) 876 2861.  www.webtickets.co.za

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

Holden Manz Merlot Magic at Winemakers’ Dinner!

Holden Manz has introduced an unusual series of Winemakers’ Dinners, showcasing its own wines against some of the best per variety, each winemaker’s wine paired with a special dish created by new Executive Chef Cheyne Morrisby.  Last night was a magical evening, not only with Merlot being the focus, but also because it was a catch-up Mother’s Day dinner with my hospitality son, who spoilt other moms on Sunday.

Kicking off on a very high note was the 2008 Meerlust Merlot, which was introduced by its winemaker Chris Williams.  He described the wine estate as ‘one of the most iconic‘, awarded in the 1690’s to its first German owner Henning Huysen. He named it Meerlust, meaning ‘love of the sea’, given its close location to False Bay, which impacts on the way that the Meerlust wines are made.  The wine cellar was built in 1694.  The Myburgh family took over the farm in 1756, and its current owner Hannes Myburgh is the eighth generation of the family living on the wine estate, ‘the longest run family business in South Africa‘.    For the first time Meerlust has used grapes from a new vineyard with 25 year old vines next door for its Merlot, with 10% Cabernet Franc added for structure and its ageing ability. He said the result is a wine that is ‘unashamedly classic’, giving a sense of place, developing with age, and pairs well with foods without overpowering them. I loved the old style smokiness of it, and it was my favourite of all the wines we tasted. Chef Cheyne paired this gorgeous wine with a Shiitake mushroom and coconut cream risotto, an excellent combination, which can be ordered in R50/R90 portion sizes on the new Winter menu.

The second wine was made by highly regarded Rianie Strydom, the General Manager and winemaker at Haskell Vineyards, making both Haskell and Dombeya wines at the highest point on the Annandale Road outside Stellenbosch.  Preston Haskell bought the property in 2002, and she joined the farm in 2005, located in what she called the ‘jewel part of Stellenbosch‘.  Dombeya wines were made from 2005 onwards, and Haskell wines from 2007.  The first vines were planted in 1990. She praised the terroir of the farm.  She has created a unique character for each of the two wine brands, Dombeya being an introduction to wine, being for old and young, a lifestyle wine.  It can be drunk now, but can also be aged for six years.  The Haskell wines have her own stamp, are more single vineyard driven, and have lots of tannin, she said.  Her taste for Merlot was developed when she worked with winemaker Jean Daneel at Morgenhof. She said that Merlot is a difficult wine to make, it being a challenge to create a good one.  There are no shortcuts in making it.  It ‘needs love and passion’.  It is fruit-driven, gentle, has elegance, femininity, and structure. She said that not everyone in South Africa likes Merlot, mainly because locals are drinking it too young. Chef Cheyne paired the 2008 Dombeya Merlot with Beef tataki, mustard and mirrin to which sugar had been added, white and black sesame seeds, and micro herbs, a delicious starter which costs R60.

Winemaker Rudi Schulz introduced his 2009 Thelema Merlot Reserve, made from grapes grown on what was previously a fruit farm. The Merlot was first planted in 1988, and a sorting system was brought in, due to the uneven ripening of the Merlot grapes. They have used aerial photography combined with software to identify the perfect areas for picking, going back into a block six times. This means that they cancel out the ‘averaging effect’ in making the wine, and that they can pinpoint ‘pockets of excellence‘.  The 2009 vintage came from a 1,5 hectare block, and they limit the production to ’12 barrel bottling’ for the Merlot Reserve. Holden Manz Sales and Marketing Manager Karl Lambour added that 2009 was one of the best vintages ever. Chef Cheyne paired seared crispy duck breast, a sweet potato and miso pureé, star anise syrup, and watermelon jelly (R155) with this special Merlot.

The 2008 Holden Manz Merlot was paired with Karoo lamb, French trimmed, served with kimchi (a fermented Korean dish made from vegetables and seasoning, according to Wikipedia), and potato dauphinoise (R160 on the menu). The wine was introduced by winemaker Schalk Opperman, who came from Rust en Vrede earlier this year, saying that their Merlot is in ‘showing mould’ already, and that the farm has great potential for Merlot. Schalk and farm manager Thys use technology to pick the best grapes, with aerial photography, but nothing beats ‘walking the fields’ to find the best grapes. The Merlot is well structured, and has good berry fruit.

For the dessert Holden Manz served its new port 2009 Good Sport, which is made 100% from Shiraz.  Schalk used the oldest barrels, and it was aged for 18 – 24 months.  Jeanre-Tine van Zyl also attended the dinner, and it was said that an announcement will be made about the port on 30 May – could it relate to the recent Old Mutual Trophy judging?  The dessert was a deconstructed 70% Belgian chocolate pot, served with pistachio nuts, salted caramel, and honeycomb, having a Christmas look and feel to it. On the new Winter menu it costs R48.

What made the dinner special too was that the owners Gerard Holden (having flown in especially from a meeting in India) and Migo Manz were present, and took a lot of time to network with the diners.  Mr Holden is larger than life, with a very sharp eye, and has been described by Mining Weekly as ‘one of Africa mining’s best-known bankers’. He is an avid Twitter reader, and is well-informed about its political dramas! The politics in Franschhoek do not phase him at all. He was recently invited by wine writer Neil Pendock to join the local Commanderie de Bordeaux, and he proudly wore his lapel pin. No surprise then is that the next Holden Manz Winemakers’ Dinner in July will focus on Bordeaux Blends.

We have written previously about the impact that Chef Cheyne has made in his six weeks at Holden Manz, based on his Sunday tapas menu.  Last night’s Winemakers’ Dinner was an opportunity to try a larger selection of his dishes, with flavours of the Orient and a Pacific Rim twist, all on his new Winter Menu.  Chef Cheyne is a strong character, on the edge, creating some of the best cuisine in Franschhoek now.  The Winemakers’ Dinner offered excellent value last night, with five courses and five wines costing R300.

Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-2729.  www.holdenmanz.com Twitter: @HoldenManz  Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner.

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

Holden Manz’s Franschhoek Kitchen has an energetic new Chef Cheyne Morrisby

Yesterday I met new The Franschhoek Kitchen Chef Cheyne Morrisby at Holden Manz in Franschhoek for the first time, not having had the opportunity to do so when he owned Cheyne’s in Bree Street before closing it down last year. I was very impressed with the tapas he prepared for lunch yesterday, and their exceptional value for money.  I also chatted to new winemaker Schalk Opperman and to Karl Lambour, the new Holden Manz wine production, marketing and sales director.

Chef Cheyne started at the Franschhoek Kitchen last Tuesday, and was busy making the tapas when I arrived. He told me that they will vary the tapas menu every week, depending on what they have available, and what the clients enjoy.  The tapas feedback will help him to develop his own menu over time, retaining those dishes that have been a particular hit at The Franschhoek Kitchen, which was started by his predecessor Chef Bjorn Dingemans. One senses that he wants to spoil his clients, and the three item tapas portions, at a mere R35, is unbelievable value.  He said that ‘the more one can enjoy, the better’, the policy he wants to offer his clients! Chef Cheyne is Cape Town born, worked at Blues for two years, and a planned one year job in London became an eleven year one, working at the Conran Group restaurants. In this time he cooked for Kate Moss, Kylie Mynogue, and Robbie Williams.  He travelled to the East, including Thailand and Indonesia, and he said that his cooking style is that of the Pacific Rim.  He loves their cooking methods, their simple approach to ingredients, and keeping food simple, fresh, clean and uncomplicated. They use base flavours to give food a good foundation.  He decided to return to Cape Town with his family, wanting them to ‘feel’ Africa, and also wanting to give back to his home country. He set up Cheyne’s on Bree Street, with a R 1½ million Miele kitchen, and one table of 20 seats, around which all his clients enjoyed his cooking.  In retrospect he is happy that he did not open a restaurant in Hout Bay, a difficult suburb in which to make restaurants survive.  He had come to scout a wedding venue for his brother, and looked at Holden Manz.  A week later he came back for an interview, and a week later he started the job.  Chef Cheyne is a very confident and energetic person, not taking any nonsense from anybody he said, and seemed at home in his new kitchen already.   Chef Cheyne lives in Hout Bay, but will spend six days a week on the wine estate to settle in.

Chef Cheyne is working with the existing kitchen team, and he will be allowing each of his chefs to develop their own signature dishes over time. The tapas menu offers six options, written up on a blackboard.  It was hard to choose between the tapas dishes, and each one was beautifully presented.  I started with a prawn tempura, with nice plump prawns, and pea risotto, delicious but a little too salty for my taste.  I had to double check with GM Wayne Buckley if the price quoted at R35 was correct for the three item tapas dish, and he confirmed it.  The beef tataki was served with Asian salad and wasabi mayo, the beef delicately rare, contrasted with the bite of the mayonnaise. The seared duck was served with a honey soy reduction and chilled watermelon, a most unusual combination. Other tapas choices were pork belly served with pea puree and topped with mange tout tempura, chilli salt squid with ponzu mayo, linefish with cucumber noodles and soy, and lamb and sushi rice balls with sesame.  Even though I had already eaten enough, I couldn’t resist trying out the chocolate brownie tapas, small slices topped with a strawberry, and served with an unusual ginger and caramel sauce.

Karl Lambour and I had been trying to meet for a while, and it was luck that he was at the restaurant too.  He lives in Camps Bay, and has a holiday home in Greyton to which he was heading back. He was excited by Chef Cheyne’s positive influence and energy.  Karl was the cellarmaster at Constantia Glen for five years, and worked at Fleur du Cap’s Bergkelder for two years prior to that.  His vision for Holden Manz is to express what the farm is capable of, in using predominantly their Franschhoek grapes and to make Franschhoek a region that becomes synonymous with excellent wines again.  He wants to focus on Holden Manz’s red wine varieties of Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Franc. They will develop their iconic wine Big G even further, adding small amounts of Malbec and Petit Verdot to make the wine a true Bordeaux blend. The new Rosé is doing well. Karl is proud of their terroir, shared with their neighbours La Bri, Boekenhoutskloof, and Stoney Brook, the stony soil giving their wines complexity.  The mountain nearby stops the wind and cools down the temperature compared to other parts of Fanschhoek, where temperatures can exceed 40°C in summer.  They are also looking at what they can do differently in the restaurant, with a Shiraz-themed winemakers’ dinner planned for Wednesday, serving four courses, each paired with a Holden Manz, Mullineux, Eagle’s Nest, and AA Badenhorst Shiraz.  This is the second winemakers’ dinner they have organised.  Karl said that while he is not the winemaker, he is making two wines – a Chardonnay for which he is buying in grapes, and a special Shiraz blend.

Schalk Opperman apologised for his beard and moustache, saying that he is a member of the Franschhoek Moustache Association,  winemaker members having decided to not shave from the first day of their harvest until yesterday.  The competition was won by Jean Smit of Boekenhoutskloof, having grown the biggest moustache in this time.  He said that he originally had mixed feelings about moving to Holden Manz from Rust en Vrede, where he had a secure job for six years, but stood in the shadow of the winemaker. He was pleasantly surprised about the role which he can play in improving the grapes at Holden Manz, having a good structure, and he is working on developing the Holden Manz brand as wines to be reckoned with.   He is a Shiraz maker first and foremost, but sees making blends as a far bigger challenge for a winemaker.  He complimented Karl for his skills in wine marketing and brand building, and is happy that Karl leaves the winemaking to him, but is available to him as a sounding board. They will use their own grapes in winemaking only, only buying in a small quantity of Malbec and Petit Verdot to improve the Big G. They will use barrel fermentation in future, which was not done before, keeping the wine in the barrel for a year and in the bottle for another year.  In two years time the Holden Manz wines will show the effect of the new winemaking production techniques and winemaker, Schalk said.

It was a busy restaurant at The Franschhoek Kitchen yesterday, and the energy generated from Chef Cheyne was reflected by Karl, Schalk, Wayne and the serving staff too. Having been at the Franschhoek Kitchen a week ago, it was incredible what a change the new chef at Holden Manz has made! There is a promise of great things to come, given that this has only been Chef Cheyne’s first week.

The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-2729. www.holdenmanz.com Twitter:@HoldenManz01

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