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Posted by on in Events

 

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One of the most popular of the several festivals hosted by Robertson Wine Valley every year is the Wacky Wine Weekend. This year’s three-day celebration takes place from 7 – 9 June and attracts a diversity of visitors, from wine connoisseurs to keen novices, from those wanting a country escape to families & friends travelling to this fair valley to “taste the lifestyle”.

There is so much more to do than sample and buy your favourites from the wide variety of quality wines being poured by more than 30 wineries in Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson region. Along with tours and pairings, live music and food stalls, some farms are serving impressive country cuisine while others are offering hands-on winemaking experiences with a difference.

Here are three of the many vinous highlights of this year’s WWW:

*Arendsig is a family wine farm in the Bonnievale area where Lourens van der Westhuizen makes some of the finest single vineyard wines in the Cape. Sample these including some rare older vintages along with hearty food on Friday evening or book for a gourmet dinner paired with his wines on the Saturday night.

 

*Head to McGregor where resident garagiste Ilse Schutte will pair her unique Bemind wines with delectable fare created by talented cook (and family member) Corli van Wyk on Saturday evening. The quality of both wine and fare is guaranteed! Book soon.

 

* Go  to Weltvrede estate on the Breede banks near Bonnievale to learn how to  make your own Cap Classique. This is an hour long lesson, costs R150 and requires booking. A bubbly time is guaranteed!

 

Weekend pass tickets are available at www.howler.co.at R200pp and R150pp for pensioners. Children under 18 enter for free. Visitors should go to the festival website www.wackywineweekend.com to tailormake their own itineraries.

And be proud that your tickets are helping to raise funds for the Thunderchild project, one of the most inspiring and successful charities I have ever come across .See www.thunderchild.co.za. The wine is wonderful, by the way!

 

Book accommodation soon as this is one of the most popular festivals in the country. Contact the Robertson Wine Valley office on 023 626 3167, emailadmin@robertsonwinevalley.com or visit www.robertsonwinevalley.com

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Posted by on in News

 

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Launches and celebrations at the venerable Rietvallei estate outside Robertson are always specials events, memorable for Burger hospitality at one of the valley’s most historic estates. Close family loyalties combine with a fine winemaking tradition going back six generations to 1864 and the results can be as fascinating as proven by this multi-faceted sauvignon blanc.

For many years sauvignon blanc has formed the core of the estate’s wine production, and this barrel-fermented star is the first single cultivar wine in the Esteanna range which was launched in 2009. Previous white vintages saw unwooded sauvignon blanc blended with barrel-fermented chardonnay, chenin blanc and even viognier, with the 2017 blend garnering Veritas Gold at the 2018 contest.

 

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CEO and winemaker Kobus Burger realised the potential of the 2018 harvest early and decided to add a new and wooded sauvignon blanc to the farm’s four ranges of this popular varietal. He used juice from vineyards occupying various unique locations on the estate, including alluvial soils on the Breede river banks and red calcareous soil on the south-east-facing slopes. After harvesting, free-run juice was selected and settled for three weeks before being racked and transferred to steel tanks. The must was then moved to second-fill French oak and fermented dry. After nine months and after regular batonage, the wine was stabilised , fined and bottled without filtration.

This is a big wine, presenting an array of aromas ranging from passionfruit to citrus, green fig and little green pepper. These are followed by a complexity of flavours, lent crispness from acidity and agreeable backbone from the oak. A touch of cream adds to the nice balance of a serious sauvignon, which can pair more than seafood with panache – think of classic French poultry dishes, especially rich versions like chicken with morels and cream from the Jura region.

The alcohol levels are held at just over 14% and the retail price is around R185.

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Posted by on in Events

TASTING PLEASURES IN THE SPOTLIGHT AT HERMANUS FYNARTS WINE PLUS 2019

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The sixth Wine Plus programme – now a firm favourite of the dynamic Hermanus FynArts festival – takes a few new turns this year. Although each of the seven presentations is a well-worth stand-alone, the complete series is designed to fulfil  the theme of offering instruction on enhancing the pleasure inherent in tasting a range of fine wines.

 

This year Wine Plus has a new home and date slot, the latter scheduled for Thursday to Sunday, June 13-15 taking place at The Wine Glass in Hermanus, a venue well geared to provide sustenance from their popular menu.

 

Exploring the theme - the tasting pleasures of  fine  wine – will offer those less familiar with the how and what with an introduction and guide to tasting today.

 The programme will  offer ‘snapshots’ of three of today’s newsworthy regions and three varietal wines that define our unique winelands. 

Wine Plus is curated for its sixth iteration by Melvyn Minnaar, who was honoured last year by Veritas for his contribution to SA wine. Presenters comprise some of the movers and shakers in contemporary local world of wine.

To start the series,  Master of Wine, Cathy van Zyl will share her passion, labelled “Discovering the Pleasure” on Thursday, 13th. Her choice of eight wines include both the reinvented classics and the thrill of the new.

Later that afternoon Bevan Newton Johnson of the well-known wine family will join Cathy van Zyl to present their selection of the super stars in A Snapshot of Hemel-en-Aarde. Once again expect the unusual and the well-known.

 

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Friday, 14th, sees A Snapshot of Constantia with  Boela Gerber, celebrated winemaker at Groot Constantia, and his regional colleagues Danna de Jongh of Constantia Uitsig and Brad Paton of Buitenverwachting together with  eight super wines.

 

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For A Snapshot of the Swartland, the international-acclaimed winemaking team Chris and Andrea Mullineux have selected wines from the likes of David & Nadia, JC Wickens, The Sadie Family, AA Badenhorst and their own.

Saturday, 15th, the tasting-talks focus on two of South Africa’s standout individual varietals.

Celebrating, as it turns out, International Chenin Blanc Day, A Snapshot of Chenin Blanc brings Alastair Rimmer, cellarmaster at Kleine Zalze, to the morning session. Supported by the SA Chenin Blanc Association, expect showstoppers.

 

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The latter too will feature  Mr Pinotage himself, Beyers Truter who presents A Snapshot of Pinotage in the afternoon session. Supported by the SA Pinotage Association, he will show regional styles and ageability.

Wine Plus concludes on a fitting sparkling note on Sunday morning, June 16 with the now traditional bubbly presentation. MCC master Pieter Ferreira is joined for A Snapshot of Méthode Cap Classique by Paul Gerber of Colmant to showcase the latest of the best. Supported by the Cap Classique Producers’ Association.

Bookings via www.webtickets.co.za or www.hermanusfynarts.co.za

More Information, call  0609575371 or 0283122629

            

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Posted by on in Events

As the wall calendar flips over to May, bringing a public holiday for starters and probably another on election day, winemakers look back on an odd 2019 harvest. (One farm in Tulbagh has yet to harvest its cab, a fact echoed by at least one other in Constantia). Chardonnay and Pinot Noir star in festivals both in the Cape and Gauteng, while looking ahead to June, some fun events should draw the crowds to both the Boland and the Robertson valley.

WINTER OF WANDER AT DURBANVILLE HILLS

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Durbanville Hills will be hosting a series of food and wine evenings over the winter months, where the fare of one of four countries will be matched to the cellar’s cool climate red wines from Collector’s Reserve range. France leads the way on Thursday May 9, followed by Brazil, Austria and Spain in June, July and August.

The evening includes a tutored tasting and a three-course menu with each wine of the evening. Booking is essential and tickets cost R325 per person. For more information or to book please contact Kamo Malaza on mkmalaza@durbanvillehills.co.za or 021 558 1300.

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CAB FRANC CARNIVAL CELEBRATES NICHE VARIETAL

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The 2019 Cabernet Franc Carnival takes place on Saturday, 18 May from 11am -4pm at scenic Avontuur Estate between Stellenbosch and Somerset West. Twenty of South Africa’s most passionate producers of this fascinating varietal will offer their wines for tasting and sale.

Participating wineries are: Avontuur Estate, Bushmanspad Estate, Delaire Graff Estate, Druk my Niet Wine Estate, Hillcrest Estate, Holden Manz Wine Estate, Keermont Wines, Landskroon Wines, Morgenster Wine & Olive Estate, Mulderbosch Vineyards, My Wyn, Nelson Wine Estate, Onderkloof, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, Rainbow’s End Estate, Spookfontein Wines, The Garajeest, Vrede en Lust and Whalehaven.

Good wine and food go together and delicious  food from the Avontuur Estate Restaurant is sure to be popular, while there's another option of selected fare from a food truck..

Don't miss out on the interactive tutored tastings of the Top Six finalists of the  2019 Cab Franc Challenge; These are  presented by convenor of the judging panel, Christine Rudman. Tickets cost R150pp extra and only 20seats per session are available at 11h30, 13h00 and 14h30.

Tickets:

At www.plankton.mobi .R250pp on-line and R280 at the gate. (Includes the tastings, a branded glass and R50 coupon to spend on food.)

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Wine Menu's Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Festival in Joburg

 

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The Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Festival takes place at The Crystal Room at the Killarney Country Club on Thursday, May 30, from 18h00. It includes more than 80 high-end, award-winning Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Many of these are not shown at other festivals because they are expensive and production is limited.

 
Some of those taking part this year:

  • Oak Valley (Groenlandberg Chardonnay, Tabula Rasa Chardonnay and Pinot Noir)
  • Hartenberg (Eleanor Chardonnay)
  • Jordan (Nine Yards Chardonnay)
  • Eikendal (Infused by Earth Chardonnay)
  • La Brune (Pinot Noir)
  • Groot Constantia (Chardonnay)
  • Ataraxia (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir)
  • Bouchard Finlayson (Pinot Noir)
  • Creation (Reserve Pinot and Chardonnay)
  • Thelema (Ed's Reserve Chardonnay)
  • Radford Dale (Freedom Pinot Noir)
  • Lismore (Chardonnay)
  • Almenkerk (Chardonnay)
  • Laarman (Focal Point Chardonnay)
  • Uva Mira (The Single Tree Chardonnay)
  • Springfield (Methode Ancienne Chardonnay)

Only 300 tickets are available at R250. The price includes a tasting glass and light snacks chosen to complement the styles of wine. The wines will also be on sale at discounted prices. Some are no longer available in the general marketplace.
 Booking is essential.  Tickets can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za  or from Wine Menu in Kramerville.
 

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Wine Concepts 9th exclusive Chardonnay & Pinot Noir Celebration at The Vineyard Hotel

 

 

Guests will be treated to a fine selection of charming Chardonnays and praiseworthy Pinot Noirs from a select 40 of the country’s top producers.

Some of the names you can expect to see are: Thorne & Daughters, Hamilton Russel, Tesselaarsdal, Radford Dale, Shannon, Ataraxia, Kruger Family Wines, Almenkerk, Uva Mira, Lothian, Jordan, Paul Cluver, La Bri, Chamonix, Laarman, Mulderbosch, Glen Carlou, De Grendel, Springfield

Delicious snacks that complement the styles of wine will be served throughout the evening.All the showcased wines will be available at discounted prices from Wine Concepts on the evening.

Venue:             The Vineyard Hotel, Colinton Road, Newlands,

Date:               Friday 31st May 2019

Time:               17.00 – 20.00

Cost:                R200.00 per person – includes entrance, wine glass and light snacks

 

Only 200 tickets are available and these can be purchased via www.webtickets.co.za, or at any of Wine Concepts branches. Telephone Newlands at (021) 671 9030 or Kloof Street at (021) 426-4401 or at the door on the evening subject to availability. See http://www.wineconcepts.co.za

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16th Wacky Wine Weekend is growing in size and sophistication

 

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The famed Wacky Wine Weekend takes place from 7 – 9 June 2019. The event attracts wine connoisseurs, novices and families & friends alike travelling far and wide to “taste the lifestyle”.

The programme includes products and producers from over 30 wineries and tourism establishments in the Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson region. The cellars will be opening their doors to showcase the finest vintages in the Robertson Wine Valley, Award-winning wines can be savoured through tours, pairings and interactive tastings by exceptional winemakers. Live music, food stalls with hearty country cuisine and fun activities for children complete the well-rounded entertainment experience.

Weekend pass tickets are available at www.howler.co.at R200pp and R150pp for pensioners. Children under 18 enter for free. Visitors should go to the festival website www.wackywineweekend.com to tailor-make their own itineraries..

Book accommodation soon as this is one of the most popular festivals in the country. Contact the Robertson Wine Valley office on 023 626 3167, email admin@robertsonwinevalley.com or visit www.robertsonwinevalley.com

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Franschhoek Winter Wines | 15 June 2019

 

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As the southern hemisphere heads toward midwinter, diarise Saturday June 15 and head to Franschhoek for their winter warmer festival, Franschhoek Winter Wines.

The venue is the Franschhoek Cellar, the opening times are 11am – 4pm and tickets, available from www.webtickets.co.za cost R295.

The valleys finest red wines will be there for sampling and pairing with seasonal inspired soul food.

Live music will add to the ambience . Tickets include glass, all tastings and a R20 voucher. Ticket numbers are limited, so booking is essential.

For more information contact 021 876 2861 or info@franschhoek.org.za.

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Posted by on in Food

 

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La dolce vita can be savoured anywhere in South Africa where fine Italian fare is paired with Terra del Capo wines – especially the recently released 2016 vintage of the Sangiovese.

If you drink it in Franschhoek, at the inviting tasting room that is named for the range at LOrmarins, the exquisite farm where it is produced, you will have the best of both worlds – an enjoyable wine, designed to complement food, especially Italian classics, in an historic Cape setting with its Mediterranean climate similar to that of Italys.

This Sangiovese is an accessible wine, where austerity has given way to a fruity, inviting red, the berry flavours backed by a little oak and mineral notes that add complexity while the finish has a sweetish note. The late Anthonij Rupert was the first to produce wines from Italian cultivars in South Africa, starting with Sangiovese and Nebbiolo, Today, the range consists of the Sangiovese, a Sangiovese/Merlot blend and a Pinot Grigio.

The wine matured in 500 litres French oak for 15 months before being bottled, then left to develop in bottle for another 10 months before being released. Alcohol levels are held at 14%. It is available from the farm at R85.

As one of the lighter Italian-style reds, it is a versatile food wine, happy to add enjoyment to Italian platters of olives, salami and ciabatta, to perk up a spaghetti sauced with wild mushrooms in tomato or take on classic lasagna or rigatoni with lamb ragu. For more information and to book a tasting of the Terra del Capo wines, call 021 874 9074 or email tasting@rupertwines.com

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Posted by on in Books

HOME COOKING BY Esther Malan published by Human& Rousseau, Cape Town, 2019.

 

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Drawn from You, Huisgenoot and Drum magazines, this collection of 100 recipes was created by the magazine team’s assistant food editor. It is Esther Malan’s first book and readers will surely know what sort of fare to expect, given that these magazines are among the longest-running, most popular weeklies in South Africa.

The majority are South African to the core – staples that could be Afrikaans, Dutch, British, Cape Malay, Portuguese or Italian in origin - but are now firm favourites among all races. There are a few low-carb dishes, one or two that are based on African ingredients like samp and several that owe their popularity to vendors of street food in Europe and the Americas: Think empanadas and arancini, corn dogs and patatas bravas...

Above all this is a compilation that readers can rely on, being well tried and tested, produced for keen cooks who work to a budget, but who will appreciate new ideas to spice up old favourites.

The contents are organised by the classic menu formula: Good breakfast and brunch ideas include baby marrow fritters with cottage chese, avocado and biltong, and eggs partnered with hummus and chimichurri. Among the tarts and pies you’ll find old-fashioned Marmite tart side by side with easy mini- onion and garlic tarts topped with herb drizzle. There’s a chapter of street food – the naan sandwiches filled with roast masala chicken and yoghurt look good – followed by a bunch of salads that precede a group of family classics. Here pumpkin fritters get scattered with dukkah rather than the trad cinnamon sugar, and lasagne sheets are rolled around a filling of butternut, spinach and biltong before being baked in cheese sauce.

A good selection of chicken dishes precede mostly meaty ideas under the comfort food heading: the latter includes hearty soups, oxtail stew and samp risotto. Braais are not forgotten – along with chops, ribs, steak and kebabs, fish features in the  form of mullet and sardines, the only seafood in the book.

Sweet bakes are mostly trad in nature, from pancakes to lemon meringue custard slices. Desserts make the finale, classic favourites, sometimes with a twist, including a recipe for red velvet beetroot cupcakes , which seems to have become the trendy bake that cannot be omitted.

Good full-page colour photographs contribute eye appeal and the index is comprehensive. Only niggle I have is rather slack proof-reading: in the recipe below there were both spelling errors and duplication of phrases.

Suitable for any Easter feasting is Esther’s recipe for chocolate swirl brownies, also gracing the book’s front cover. They look as good as any I’ve tried, the cheesecake filling adding a degree of decadence and extra expense, but this could be omitted – as could the chocolate sauce . Here is the recipe:

 

CHOCOLATE SWIRL BROWNIES

From Home Cooking by Esther Malan. Illustrated on front cover.

Cheesecake mixture:

1X250g tub cream cheese

60-80ml castor sugar

1 egg

Brownies:

250g butter or hard margarine, cubed

200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped

250ml light brown sugar

4 eggs

80ml cream

310ml cake flour

Half t baking powder

Pinch salt

Chocolate sauce to serve, optional

Preheat oven to 160 deg C. Line a 25cm square cake tin with baking paper and grease paper with non-stick spray.

For the cheesecake, beat all ingredients together until smooth. Set aside.

For the brownies, heat butter in saucepan until melted. Remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is melted, off the heat. Set aside.

Beat sugar and eggs together in bowl. Add a quarter of chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat well. Add remaining chocolate mixture and beat well.

Sift the cocoa, cake flour, baking powder and salt over the egg mixture. Fold the dry ingredients into the chocolate mix and then spoon mixture into prepared cake tin. Smooth the surface, then make random dents in the surface before spooning over the cheesecake mixture. Transfer to oven and bake for 35 – 40 minutes or until baked through.

Let brownies cool slightly in tin, then turn out and cut into squares. Chill until completely cooled. Serve with chocolate sauce if wanted. Makes about 45 small or 20 large brownies.

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Posted by on in News

 

Just as Robertson Winery has long upheld a reputation for honest, consistent, value-for-money wines, so does it maintain a fine tradition of top quality and well-balanced complexity for its flagship pair, the Constitution Road Range. Add to that flavourful, well-priced enjoyment and you have a description that applies to both the chardonnay and the shiraz.

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The maiden shiraz appeared in 2004, and was joined by the chardonnay some years later. Today fans eagerly await new releases which are not made annually, but when speciality winemaker Jacques Roux finds the right grapes, produces wine to his demanding standard and releases them when they are market-ready.

The latest pair have been adorned with a new label: designer Anthony Lane illustrates four pillars of the SA constitution – liberty, governance, justice and equality and provenance. Robertson Winery applies these as freedom for winemakers to innovate, knowledge shared between generations of winemakers, balance and consistency through understanding of cultivars and vineyards and a sense of place, through creating wines that express their origin.

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The 2016 chardonnay was produced from grapes at the winery’s Wandsbeck farm. Natural fermentation took place in new and second- fill French oak barrels, left on primary lees and underwent malolactic fermentation before aging for 18 months in barrel.

This is a classic chard, presenting aromas of citrus, toast and vanilla, followed by layers of fruit and butterscotch on the palate witha hint of cream and welcome freshness. It has already collected accolades from the 2018 Chardonnay du Monde, and local competitions and sells for around R150.

The 2015 shiraz is a good example of one of the finest vintages of the new century, presenting a vibrant mix of dark fruit, warm spices and a hint of chocolate. Grapes were sourced from Robertson’s Wolfkloof farm, malolactic fermentation took place in new 225 and 300 litre French oak where it matured for three years. It combines opulent complexity with accessibility, and is sure to continue offering pleasure for several years. Alcohol levels are on the high side for modern trends but that has not affected its attracting local and international accolades and four and half stars from Platter. It sells for around R220.

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Posted by on in Blog

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Tasting the wines of young and adventurous men and women who go solo is always a pleasure: No matter how difficult the marketplace, there are always those willing to take the chance and demonstrate their talent in creating a range of wines for the curious consumer.

Suzanne Coetzee is one such entrepreneur: Having gained experience at Clos Malverne in Stellenbosch, she branched out on her own with a boutique range of wines called Nuiba, which is the name of the Namibian farm on which she grew up. Her love of her family home is further expressed in the names given to the four wines, namely First, Second, Third and Fourth Posts, reflecting the farm’s cattle drinking stations.

The 2018 quartet includes one white and a rosé, and these were the ones I asked to taste, as best suited to high summer temperatures.

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The First Post is a limited edition Semillon/ Sauvignon Blanc blend, with the back label informing me that the wine is unfiltered and is wine of origin Stellenbosch. As the press release and the tasting notes on her website refer to her 2016 vintage, I had no way of knowing if the new release is also a 60/40 blend but well could be: it’s also pale yellow, offers subtle fruity aromas leading to flavours of citrus and melon on the palate with a little grassiness in the background. There’s both purity and zest discernible, balanced by a hint of cream adding up to a very enjoyable wine that differs from the usual blends where the sauvignon dominates. It sells online for R190.

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The Fourth Post is a 2018 wooded rosé where Semillon has taken on salmon hues thanks to a little Malbec. Notes apply to the 2017 vintage which is also a product of Stellenbosch grapes and the wine matured in third-fill oak. The back label informs that the wine is unfiltered and alcohol levels held at  13,5%. It a is priced at R115 and is available only online, as it the rest of the range.

The Third Post consists of a blend of Pinotage with Cabernet and Grenache. If it follows the specs of the 2016 vintage, (which is highly rated) the grapes were sourced from venerable Piekenierskloof vines, while the Second Post is a Shiraz, with the 2016 grapes coming from Paarl and Simonsberg. Neither of the reds were tasted. For more information, visit www.nuibawines.co.za.

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Posted by on in Events

 

BOOKLOVER’S ESSENTIAL WEEKEND EVENT – ESELTJIESRUS DONKEY SANCTUARY’S THREE-DAY BOOK FAIR

 

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The dates to diarise for the 2019 Giant Book Fair are May 17 – 19. The venue is, as always, the magical village of McGregor, and it’s not too early to book accommodation through the Tourism office if you require this.

From small beginnings, this hugely popular event has blossomed into one of South Africa’s major book sales of used books of every kind, plus new titles that are donated by generous publishers. There are always a few treasures – usually Africana – waiting to be snapped up by keen collectors, and the vast range of non-fiction attracts its own fans: cookbooks and gardening titles, travel and decor publications, self-help books and, of course, a wealth of biographies and autobiographies. There is always a fine collection of novels by popular overseas and local authors to browse through and the organisers keep prices very reasonable to attract buyers to this important annual fund-raiser. 

For those new to this event, it takes place in the village’s large municipal hall, from 10am to 4pm over the three days. Light refreshments are on sale in the hall.

Having done your browsing for the day, why not pay a visit to the beneficiaries at the welcoming sanctuary a few kilometres back on the Robertson road? Find out more about the amazing work the founders Annemarie and Johan van Zijl undertake to rescue and care for abused and elderly donkeys, finding foster homes for others and running an educational programme that see school children visit the sanctuary, and often adopt a donkey for a school year.

Adoptions are a wonderful source of revenue for the sanctuary, and visitors are encouraged to adopt one of the donkeys of their choice and so contribute to his or her welfare.

The sanctuary is also a great place to enjoy lunch, offering affordable, enjoyable fare, which can be accompanied by their own white, red and rosé wines or a handcrafted Saggy Stone beer from the Breede river valley.

If you have books you would like to donate, these, too, will be welcomed with open arms. Email bookfair@donkeysanctuary.co.za.

For more information, email info@donkeysanctuary.co.za. Visit their website at www.donkeysanctuary.co.za. And also log onto www.donkeysforafrica.org. an international organisation that spreads information, education and helps co-ordinate donkey projects and programmes across the continent.

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Posted by on in Reviews

A SHORT HISTORY OF MODERN ANGOLA by David Birmingham. Published by Jonathan Ball publishers, Cape Town, 2019.

 

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Did you know that a Jewish colony was nearly created in Angola in 1912 backed by the Jewish community on the Witwatersrand and those on the Congo copper belt?

Or, that in the 1840’s, in Luanda’s  small stone prison one prisoner was being held in solitary confinement: He was a royal prince who had fallen foul of the authorities through non-payment of taxes due to the Portuguese. He insisted he had been wrongly accused so he was allowed to exchange his prison rags for his full dress uniform with braids and epaulettes once a month and march to the palace where he petitioned for a reprieve. This was always turned down, so he had to return to his cell and don his convict rags once again.

These are just two of several little-known vignettes in this very readable history. First published in the UK four years ago, Birmingham’s own experiences in Angola make fascinating reading in his preface, which also offers a useful summary of its history to this western land which has seen such flows of migrant peoples. During the 19th century more than half a million Africans were taken to work the coffee estates of the newly independent Brazil and the cocoa plantations of the island-colony of Sao Tome. During the 20th century the flow was reversed as close to half a million European migrants arrived in Angola, from northern Portugal, Madeira and the Azores. After 1975 change occurred again when the white population flowed back to Europe leaving black nationalists to struggle for control of their rich economic heritage.

Birmingham starts his tale early in the 19th century when the Portuguese colony of Angola was formed as Portugal gradually replaced their former Asian empire with an African one. By 1960 Angola had become Portugal’s most treasured overseas possession. The slave trade proved profitable until the anti-slave movement in Europe saw Portugal follow other countries outlaw the trans-Atlantic trade in 1836. But labour remained the main theme of Angola’s history until after 1910.

The influence of the missionaries in Angola was important – with the Jesuits and the Franciscans taking Christianity inland. In the second half of the 19th century       a fine mix of French Catholic, British Baptist, American Methodist and Swiss Congregationalist brought religion, education and hospitals to various parts of the country.

The story of capital city of Luanda makes the subject of the second chapter - from mid-19th century when it was a picturesque market town where the wealthy households were run by armies of slaves of all ages. Along with blacks and whites the population of mixed race pointed to colonisation which had been almost exclusively male.

Life and trade in the inland areas varied immensely, with the Ambaca district, some 200 miles north of Luanda, standing out from neighbouring territories. The population considered themselves Portuguese , spoke the language, were educated , baptised as Christians and had a fine sense of dress style.

After the end of World War 2, Portugal – which had been neutral territory during the war - was debarred from joining the UN. The country and its colonies was the poorest in Europe, only Albania suffering worse poverty. In Angola life started to improve thanks to the world’s craving for coffee as planters and peasants began to meet this need. Labour practices and the rise of nationalism led to an uprising in Luanda in 1961, emphasising the the winds of change speech made by British PM Harold Macmillan. A violent outbreak followed in northern Angola weeks later, resulting in a huge conscript army being assembled in Portugal and dispatched to Angola . This saw the start of guerrilla warfare, led by Agostinho Neto in the north while in the south UNITA gained an exile base in Zambia, led by Jonas Savimbi.

After years of guerrilla warfare the coup of 1974 saw the Lisbon government overthrown mounted by young military captains in the Portuguese army. This led to a re-alignment of forces in Angola as the Portuguese prepared to leave Africa. In January 1975 an interim government was established that included Portugal, the FNLA, the MPLA and UNITA. Sadly instead of peace, a new war of foreign intervention ensued: the Congolese, Russian, Cuban, South African and American interests vied with locals in an offensive that saw South African troops invade along the coast . The extent of the horror endured by civilians and soldiers were made known, to some extent, to South Africans who had sons, brothers, uncles and friends doing their compulsory national service who were sent into Angola as part of the South African invading army.

As foreign forces withdrew, only the MPLA remained strong enough to eventually take control of Angola which had gained independence from Portugal. The fruits of freedom were not experienced by the people and a revolution took place in 1977 which was shortlived but violent. The liberation wars of liberation of the 70’s were followed by others through the 80’s with many causes – the Soviet Union, the Americans, the oil wells, Cuban support and South African destabilisation efforts among others: its intricacies and corruption make depressing reading. Worse was to come after a brief period of celebration of peace in 1991 with a civil war in late 1992 .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               After another peace accord negotiated by the UN, dos Santos became president and proceeded to develop the country into a presidential state with his power emanating from his vast palace complex.

The saga of violence and corruption is countered to some extent at the end of the text by optimism increasing in the 21st century as hope  centred around the energy and inventiveness of the women of Luanda and inland areas. They had developed giant markets which kept the city fed and clothed and inland by establishing many small scale business enterprises.

This softback contains no illustrations but there is a bibliography and an extensive index.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

 

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The South African Cheese Festival celebrates its 18th anniversary this year, taking place from Friday 26 - Sunday 28 April 2019 at Sandringham outside Stellenbosch.

To mark its value- for- money experience the organisers list 18 experiences that   your ticket includes. Here’s a brief round-up of them all:

 

  1. The Cheese Emporium: The heart of the Festival where you can taste and buy the largest variety of cheeses under one roof.
  2. The Italian Experience: A new addition created in collaboration with Food Lover's Market. Stroll through their piazza and experience Italian hospitality and gastronomy in abundance.
  3. Taste it first: Many exhibitors utilise the SA Cheese Festival as a platform to launch new products and test the market .
  4. The Tasting Room: We marry cheese with wine, beer and every new trend. Listen and taste at no extra cost ... and experience interesting combinations presented by well-known foodies.
  5. ‘Raak ‘n bietjie rustig’ day: Friday, 26 April, a working day? Never! It's pay day after all – perfect for a leisurely day out. Watch out for ‘Raak ‘n bietjie rustig’ packages for groups and discover the festival at your own pace.
  6. Meet boutique cheese makers: Come and support entrepreneurs who, despite the drought, come from far and wide to introduce their unique handmade cheeses.
  7. Cape Made:: A fresh from the farm collection of alternative products such as olives, honey and rooibos to pick and choose  ... with bargains directly from producers.
  8. The Cape Made Kitchen: Experience a taste of magic as chefs from the Private Hotel School pair cheese with bread and alternative products. As a bonus there is a free recipe book to take home!
  9. Making memories: It just gets better year after year! The SA Cheese Festival is a popular place to celebrate birthdays.
  10. Boutique is king: Support boutique producers while discovering and appreciating new taste experiences – from wine and beer to gin with honey, almond, buchu, strawberry or chai!

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  1. The Ladismith Cheese Carving Competition: A daily highlight in Blossom's Gazebo – enter for free at the festival (entries are limited). Prove your creativity, carve a cheese and win great prizes!
  2. The Music Gazebo: Kick up your heels to the rhythm of popular local artists.
  3. The Milk Factory: Visit the friendly cows and goats at the Milk Factory and show the little ones where cheese comes from.

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  1. The Gourmet Lane: Popular food stalls serve delicious dishes – with even more cheese!
  2. The Kiddies Corner: Hours of fun and entertainment for the children in a safe environment while parents relax.
  3. #SundayFamilyFunDay: Enjoy a true #SundayFunday with your whole family whilst some of the country's best cheeses and other boutique products are just a few steps away.
  4. The Connoisseurs Experience: There are only 100 tickets per day for this exclusive  experience with shaded seating, a cheeseboard,  bottle of wine and many extras
  5. Be safe: The SA Cheese Festival promotes the responsible use of alcohol. Make use of shuttle services and taxis for peace of mind.
 

DETAILS:

The festival times are  10:00 - 18:00 daily

Sandringham is  located next to the N1, Stellenbosch turn-off (exit 39), between Cape Town and Paarl.

Tickets cost R180 per person per day. Senior citizens pay R120 and children between 2 and 13 years R20. Tickets are available at Computicket. No tickets will be sold at the gates. The Connoisseurs’ Experience costs R950 per person (only persons over 18 years old) and is available from Claudine Wagner at claudine@agriexpo.co.za.

Discover more about the SA Cheese Festival's 18 year celebration at www.cheesefestival.co.za, or contact Agri-Expo at tel 021 975 4440 or admin@agriexpo.co.

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Autumn has arrived, the Cape wine harvest is largely over, and there’s a tempting  variety of festivals, markets and Easter weekend events taking place during April and into May. Our northern provinces are not left out when it comes to great wine shows.

 

GROOTE POST’S MARCH COUNTRY MARKET

 

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Join the Pentz family in the gardens at Groote Post for their Country Market on Sunday 31st March between 10h00 and 15h00.

The terrace in front of Hilda’s Kitchen will be brimming with market stalls offering delicious and attractive country offerings including artisan foods, arts and crafts, homeware, clothing, décor, gifts, jewellery, accessories, toys, fresh produce and more. Local is always lekker with a selection of Darling gourmet produceand of course Groote Post’s well-loved wines.

Visitors can relax on the lawns under the trees enjoying the popular music and entertainment. Groote Post’s award-winning restaurant, Hilda’s Kitchen, will be open as usual, but booking is essential. Kids will be kept busy with various activities: tractor rides, guided horse rides, the popular playground and more.

Dogs are welcome but must please be kept on a leash at all times.   Entry to the Groote Post Country Market is free of charge.

For further information Contact I Love Yzer: 022 451 2202 or info@iloveyzer.co.za

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THE MPUMALANGA WINE SHOW

 

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It’s their 10th show this year, taking place on April 5 and 6 at Riverside Park in Nelspruit (Mbombela) from 17h00 to 21h00.

Close to 40 exhibitors will be presenting around 250 fine wines alongside fare to complement on the side.

Bookings: Computicket.com or www.mpumalangawineshow.co.za

Ticket Prices: Early Bird R180  for bookings made by Sunday 31 March.  Thereafter and at the door, R200 (includes unlimited tastings and wine tasting glass). Emnotweni Rewards discounts apply.

Light meals will be available for sale.

For more information: Visit www.mpumalangawineshow.co.za or call +27 11 482 5936

The Shop@Show facility with Makro Nelspruit, offers an excellent reason to stock up and buy - with the advantage of show prices and the optional convenience of delivery to your door. 

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25-Year Celebratory Tastings  with Ken Forrester Wines

Ken Forrester invites friends of wine to their 25-Year Tasting Series, four themed  tastings hosted by Ken at their old barrel cellar / tasting lounge in Stellenbosch.

The first, 25 Years of Chenin Blanc takes place on 4 April at 6.30pm, where Ken will present Chenin Blanc in its various guises, following which cheese boards will be served family-style.

The remaining three tastings - aptly named 25 Years of Stellenbosch (29 May), 25 Years of Winemaking (July) and 25 Years of Inspiration (September) - will  feature wines from Stellenbosch and around the world sourced during the past 25 years.
All proceeds from the tastings  will be donated to Spark Schools, an educational institution committed to providing top-class education to the children of the Winelands. “

Each tasting costs R150 per person or R250 per couple and is limited to 30 guests. Pre-booking is essential and tickets are available at www.quicket.co.za or in the tasting room.
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STELLENBOSCH WINE FESTIVAL COMES TO CAPE TOWN

 

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Top Stellenbosch wine estates will soon be on their way to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town for the first-ever Stellenbosch Wine Festival in  Cape Town presented by Pick n Pay.

The two-day event will take place at the North Wharf at the V&A Waterfront on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 April 2019.

Winemakers and estate owners will be there to chat to visitors. Participating estates include, among others, Beyerskloof, Warwick, Ken Forrester, Kleine Zalze, Kaapzicht Estate, Le Bonheur and L’Avenir.

Of course, where there’s wine, there’s food, and Pick n Pay will have something scrumptious on offer  from good old-fashioned burgers and fish and chips, to elegant charcuterie and cheese platters.

Winelovers can also book a session at the Pick n Pay Tasting Room. Children under 18 enter free of charge.

DETAILS:

Saturday 6 April: 12 – 9pm

Sunday 7 April: 12 – 6pm

Tickets: R 150 

Tickets that include  a Pick n Pay Tasting Room experience: R 180

-          Tickets include tasting glass and 20 wine tasting tokens.

Booking:

  • Visit www.Webtickets.co.za and either book your tickets online and collect instore, book and pay online, or purchase your tickets at any Pick n Pay Supermarket or Hypermarket countrywide.

For more information:: www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za

 

 

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MIDDELVLEI FAMILY DAY | 22 APRIL 2019

 

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Middelvlei Family Day, Monday, 22 April, promises to be a fun day out for the whole family. The Easter Bunny will be popping in making the Middevlei Easter Egg Hunt extra fun. 

Adding to the day’s festivities is the line-up of Boeresport games, guaranteed to be one of the day’s highlights while parents can relax  sipping Middelvlei wine and taking in the live entertainment. An Easter inspired spitbraai lunch completes the outing The cost for the lunch is R 280 per adult and R130 per child (12 years and younger), which includes the Easter Egg Hunt.

To ensure a truly memorable experience pre-booking is advised. For bookings or more information contact the farm on 021 883 2565 or email info@middelvlei.co.za.

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Spend the Easter weekend on the Jordan estate.

 

An Easter hunt with a difference – visitors are invited to search the gardens for the renowned origami chameleons, bring one to the tasting room and collect a spot prize! The hunt takes place on Sat and Sunday April 20 and 21.

Book a wine tasting at the farm then enjoy lunch at The Bakery which will be offering a special meal along with the a la carte menu, which includes harissa-rubbed chicken quarters with mint raita, garlc baby potatoes and glazed baby carrots for R110. Book your table at www.thebakery.co.za.

 

THE 2ND CAPITAL CITY WINE SHOW

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Calling Pretoria wine lovers! The second wine show takes place on May 3 and 4 at the Capital Menlyn Maine hotel in Africa’s only ‘green city’precinct. A premium range of icon wines and new kids on the block will be presented – think Grenache, Cinsaut, Malbec and Merlot. The list of exhibitors reads like a list of the best, most popular wine producers plus some new brands and international cuvees and sparkling wines for tasting. The best on the move deli fare will be there to accompany the wines.

 

Dates: Friday 3 and Saturday 4 May 2019

Venue: The Capital Menlyn Maine, 194 Bancor Avenue, Menlyn, Pretoria

Time: 17h00 to 21h00

Ticket price and bookings: Via www.capitalcitywineshow.co.za Via webtickets.co.za from 1 April.  Early Bird tickets until 28 April cost R180 for each night, R200 thereafter and at the door.  No under 18s.

For more information:  Visit www.capitalcitywineshow.co.za for more details on exhibitors and wines on show, available by the end of April.

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2019 SHIRAZ AND CHARCUTERIE FESTIVAL

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The annual Shiraz & Charcuterie Festival, takes place once again at the picturesque Anthonij Rupert Wyne in Franschhoek on Saturday, 25 May (11am to 4pm) combining some of the country’s finest Shiraz wines paired with charcuterie from artisanal producers.

 

Taste Anthonij Rupert Wyne’s range of Shiraz which include the limited release Anthonij Rupert Syrah, the site-specific Cape of Good Hope Riebeeksrivier Shiraz and Protea Shiraz. Alongside will be 18 of the country’s top Shiraz producing estates including Thelema Mountain Vineyards, Leeu & Mullineux Family Wines, Waterford Estate, Stark-Condé Wines and Hartenberg Wine Estate.

 Pair themwith delectable local and international charcuterie on offer - featuring everything from salamis and cured hams to flavoured chorizos. Nibble on the samples, choose your favourites and purchase them to enjoy at the festival or to take home. A lavish Anthonij Rupert Wyne Harvest Table, adorned with fresh seasonal salads, homemade Truffle arancini, estate olives, jalapenos, creamy tomato soup and pulled Moroccan lamb shoulder – is a match made in culinary heaven to complement the superb wine line-up. The Macaroon Bar, featuring an assortment of decadent flavours, guarantees a perfectly sweet finish.

Pre-booking is essential as tickets are limited. Your ticket, which costs R295 per person, includes entry as well as tastings of the wines on show. Book directly via www.webtickets.co.za.

 For more information contact DnA Event Management on info@dnaevents.co.za

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It’s not just the turreted fortress design of Fort Simon’s tasting centre that differs from the traditional Stellenbosch wine farm architecture, but also the fact that the Uys family-owned winery only started producing in 1997, making them one of the “newbies” in the Bottelary district.

Their philosophy is to produce enjoyable well-made New World-style wines, and their 2018 Chardonnay is a good example of success in achieving this goal. Recently released, the estate is pleased that it attracted a score of 90 in the current Gilbert & Gaillard international sommelier contest, a challenge held in France for more than two decades. The wines are tasted blind and results featured in their wine guides - of which more than 50 editions have been published in four languages to date..

Winemaker Dirk Tredoux leans toward making “bold and luscious" wines. Using their best chardonnay berries he fermented them in oak then transferred the wine to new French oak where it matured for some 10 months before being bottled.

 

Although it is apparent that the wine is wooded, it does not follow the pattern of  over-wooded chardonnays common in the USA until recently.

While the vanilla aroma is discernible on the nose as is the flavour on the palate it shares  with wafts of citrus and melon. Flavours of citrus and butterscotch mingle on the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, fresh and uncomplicated, making an enjoyable al fresco aperitif and partnering poultry and seafood – both hot and salad creations – and creamy sauced pasta with flair.

Alcohol levels are held at 14%. The chardonnay costs R132 at cellar door.

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It’s a good start when your just-launched 2018 sauvignon blanc attracts gold and the Best of Show South Africa White award at the reputable Mundus Vini spring tasting held in Neustadt, Germany last month.

Not that this new release from the prestigious Pierneef Collection differs that much from its previous vintages: for both the 2016 and 2017 share many characteristics with the current release, a feature that many legions of fans applaud and expect.

In the 2018 Pierneef sauvignon blanc the semillon component is upped to 12% from 8% last year, a move which I think mellows flinty sauvignon blancs with a touch of honeyed, waxy richness. It is also an all-Cape South Coast wine, its grapes having been sourced in Elim and Napier, with the semillon from Elim.

Staying true to previous vintages the nose offers hints of grapefruit and gooseberry, follows with these flavours on the palate, plus some green pepper, allied to crisp freshness and backed by mineral notes. In all this elegant complexity already offers much pleasure, and will surely go on developing in bottle for years to come as cellarmaster Edmund Terblanche has  proven with previous vintages.

Alcohol levels are held to under 13% in this screwcapped bottle, adorned, as are its siblings,with a linocut of a South African scene from the Pierneef Collection.

Open a bottle of the 2016 vintage, which I did immediately after writing this, and the similarities were striking: the wine is as fresh and frisky as the latest vintage, with the semillon here sourced from Bot River. There is a waft of granadilla on the palate not noticeable in the other vintages.

In the 2017 vintage the semillon is reduced to just 8% and i think the difference is just discernible cf 2018, while the sauvignon grapes came from the same districts but the semillon originated in Elim.

Elegance is uppermost, and the Pierneef sauvignon blancs are stylish wines that present a complex blend of freshness, flavour and flint.

They make a fine aperitif ahead of a patrician menu, come into their own with most seafood creations such as La Motte Chef Eric Bulpitt’s Citrus and Fennel Franschhoek Trout and can enhance some dishes from the Far East – here advance experimentation is advisable...

The 2018 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc sells for R135 online or at cellar door. For more information on the older pair visit www.la-motte.com/collections/pierneef-collection/products.

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What a pleasure to discover a “new” chenin, and one that is quite delicious and a tad different. It’s crafted from grapes thriving in an unlikely area by a talented (and modest) cellarmaster in the heart of the Klein Karoo.

Perhaps it’s not surprising that I only got to hear about Kluisenaar 2017 by Le Sueur Wines via a roundabout route, as a recluse - as Louis van der Riet has named his creation - does not look for publicity…

But when you get a product as enjoyable as this, with a nice vineyard story to boot, the news is bound to get out…

Louis van der Riet, (le Sueur is his middle name) has been making port and other good wines for De Krans for many years. He has also long held an ambition to make his own wines – a dream that was realised in 2014 when he released his maiden vintage.

Focussing on the Swartberg where the vines deliver harvests that are used mostly for bulk blends, Louis spent much time hunting down lone vineyards of chenin blanc that are hidden among the masses. Having found a few, reclusive, promising  and unloved, he became involved with their wellbeing.  Eventually he was able to transport their harvest to De Krans where he crushed the grapes and cooled the juice before pumping to barrels: one third new French oak, the remainder older wood where it fermented naturally and undisturbed for 10 months. No added yeasts, no fining nor filtering before bottling, so Louis claims, with good reason, that this is a chenin “made from nature, by nature”

Low alcohol levels of 12,5 % feature in this limited edition of 1 550 bottles, the wine offers stone fruit and melon flavours, a hint of toffee and vanilla discernible on the palate. Dry ,with enjoyable fresh acidity, all nicely balanced in a chenin of charm and intrigue. Available from the De Krans cellar in Callitzdorp for R175. Looking at his website, I see there’s a highly rated pinotage/cinsaut blend in stock and a merlot on the way. Book at De Krans for tastings and sales.

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Posted by on in Recipes

 

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This recipe arrived  from Delheim wine estate where they enjoy wild mushroom harvests in the winter, and dry some of porcini funghi for later use. If you cannot access this ingredient, double the quantity of the fresh mushrooms. Also a good idea is to practise making gnocchi on the family first before attempting it for guests - not difficult but fiddly.

Gnocchi:

2 cups cooked mashed potato

1 cup flour

1 egg yolk

salt and pepper

1T olive oil

1T butter

Sauce:

80g dried porcini msurhooms

250g mixed mushrooms

1 onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic , minced

1 cup cream

1 cup mushroom or vegetable stock

half cup grated parmesan cheese

ground black pepper

fresh basil leaves

Make the sauce: Pour very hot stock or water over dried mushrooms and soak about 15 mins. Drain, reserve stock or water.

Heat the oil add the onion, mushrooms and drained porcini mushrooms. Cook gently until mushrooms are tender but not brown, about 5 mins. Add the garlic and cook about 2 mins. Add the cream and reserved stock or water and increase heat until mixture simmers, simmer until sauce has thickened. Season to taste. Finish with cheese when serving. 

Make the gnocchi: Mix the mash, egg yolk, flour and a little salt to form a dough that is soft and a little sticky. Generously flour a working surface and your hands, place dough on surface and form a long sausage, about 3cm thick. Cut into 2cm pieces and press each lightly with back of a fork. Bring a pot of water to the boil and place gnocchi piece gently into water, and boil until they float to the top. Can leave for another few seconds and then take out using slotted spoon. Heat the oil and butter together and gently fry the gnocchi in batches untl golden..

Serve with the mushroom sauce, top with parmesan and shredded basil leaves .

A light-bodied red wine like Delheim Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon makes a good partner.

Serves 2 hungry diners or 4 moderate appetites.

 

 

 

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Not at all surprised to read that this unpretentious red blend is Delheim’s top-selling wine. What’s not to like about a captivating ruby-hued wine, medium-bodied, aromatic and fruity, that slips down as an enjoyable aperitif? It also goes on to happily accompany a range of home-cooked favourites, from mac’n cheese to chicken pie, from vegetarian pizzas to bangers and mash. It’s a wine that takes to weekend braais with equal enthusiasm, partnering chicken sosaties, boerewors and ribbetjies and yes, will be as happy paired with burgers, with pasta, with toasted cheese and tomato...

You get the picture. But what lifts this accessible value-for-money above many competitors is that it’s been made with care, offering consumers a delicious meld of shiraz aromas, fruit and spices that are well balanced by typical characteristics of cab. It sells for R85, is vegan-friendly with moderate 13,5% alcohol levels and offers a fine choice for everyday autumn sipping as our menus start to reflect seasonal changes.

Delheim marketers suggest that it will also enhance mushroom dishes, reminding us that their famous funghi foraging days are scheduled for mid-June. Seeing that the farm doesn’t produce a pinot noir, the Delheim Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 will no doubt take on this role as well.

Delheim shared a couple of mushroom recipes with us, one of which I have featured in the food section of this website.

Cheers and bon appétit.

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Posted by on in Cookbooks

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THE SOUTH AFRICAN VEGAN COOKBOOK

By Leozette Roode, published by Human & Rousseau,  Cape Town, 2018

The first of its kind in South Africa, this compilation of vegan recipes also offers readers who may be contemplating a vegan lifestyle much information, from basic equipments, answers to common questions, vegan alternatives for everyday products and menu ingredients using locally sourced products.

Last year veganism and its advocates became more frequent on South African culinary websites along with articles on the subject in the print media. This year sees more of the same, so that – while this country is, and is likely to remain, populated by avid meat-eating urban and rural South Africans, the number of vegetarians and vegans is sure to be increasing. Probably among the younger generation, who – if they stay the pace – will mean a larger number of older folk will bring up their families without eating meat in the near future. Time will tell.

Meanwhile this is the first local vegan cookbook to appear on our book store shelves, and author Leozette is well-equipped to write it: She is an international blogger, recipe developer and demonstrator of vegan recipes and ideas and has aimed, in this book, to offer readers 100 easy-to-follow, inexpensive and quick recipes.

Her journey from meat-eating to veganism is well- described in her introduction. Here she also offers facts on why going vegan is good for the environment, citing water resources needed to raise red meat and poultry, the quantity of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere while raising animals and the huge areas of our land that are required either for grazing these animals or growing crops to feed them. She also offers a useful list of vegan-friendly alternatives to meat, dairy, confectionery and other products – including wines.

Recipes start with breakfast ideas, including some berried smoothies and chocolate granola, follow with snacks like tandoori cauliflower bites and move to lunch choices that range from simple soups like zucchini “noodle” soup and multigrain salads to chicken-style salad cups and chilli con carne using soya mince. Some of the pasta dishes will tempt non-vegan eaters as well.

In the bakes offered as teatime treats the alternative ingredients are more obvious – eggs replaced with flaxseed powder, milk by almond or soya milk, butter by coconut oil, etc. But the results – muffins, scones, cakes and sweet tarts – look very appetising in the full page colour photographs.

Recipes for supper and grander occasions complete the menu and the recipe index ends the text.

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Two enjoyable chenins came my way recently, nicely adding to the rich diversity of styles winemakers employ when transforming these versatile grapes into bottled sunshine.

From the Overhex cellars near Worcester, another label in their Survivor range, their 2018 barrel-fermented chenin blanc that is a great match for the seasonal specialties of autumn – think onion tart, butternut and Camembert soup, Mediterranean chicken bakes...

The winemakers sourced their grapes from a Swartland farm called Constantia, low-yielding blocks, that delivered full-flavoured berries. While 30% of the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks , the rest underwent barrel fermentation in first- fill 500 litre untoasted French oak where the wine spent four months before being blended and bottled.

The results are impressive: there is plenty of structure in this chenin, a good balance between wood and fruit, with stone fruit predominant, The wine is fresh but not frisky, and clearly characteristic of the Swartland with its superior ability to deliver quality, fruitiness and backbone in one delicious integrated package. Alcohol levels of 13% are in keeping. The new cellar door price, post-budget, is R120.

 

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From the north-eastern section of the Durbanville region, the vast Groot Phesantekraal farm has been releasing labels from its range  made by Etienne Louw, including this appetising summery 2018 chenin blanc, its grapes sourced from bush vines more than 50 years old. The result is fresh, fragrant and fruity, an unwooded aperitif or cheery companion to seafood and poultry salads. Unlike Durbanville sauvignon blanc which nearly always presents distinctive regional characteristics, this chenin did not identify itself – or not to me at any rate. But at R55 its a great buy and one that visitors to this sprawling farm should be sure to taste. It sports a double gold from the Michelangelo 2018 competition. (The price may have increased since the budget ).

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The name intrigues – Seasalter is, according to Nick Pentz, a mediaeval village in Kent that was engaged in salt production during the Iron Age – and transported to the Darling Hills as a moniker  for a superior sauvignon blanc. As one would expect, this is a wine that reflects Groote Post’s proximity to the Atlantic coast, with hints of kelp and saline touches between the friskiness, flint and some citrus and green fruit.

Seasalter 2018 also offers complexity, partly provided by its component of 10% Semillon and partly because half the wine matured in French oak for eight months before being blended into the rest which fermented in stainless steel tanks.

The characteristic Darling dustiness is just apparent, and the whole is a zesty, layered, distinctive sauvignon well reflecting its west coast terroir. Moderate alcohol levels of 13,5% are in keeping. Its simple white label adds an image of those white sands, the two seagulls seem to be having quite a battle with the south-easter, and turquoise touches reflect the Atlantic at its soothing best.

Earlier vintages were limited to members of the farm’s wine club, but the 2018 vintage is accessible to all, and this flagship sauvignon blanc sells for around R140.

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