Tuesday 12 December 2017

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Where the big dogs are

The interior of the Big Dog Cafe shows off industrial materials.

As I walk through the glass doors of the café on a wintry July morning, droplets pattering on the paved walkway, I feel as though I have strolled into something very, very special.  On entering I am greeted by the dark, alluring scent of freshly ground coffee beans, with wisps of vanilla silking through the air.  At the counter to my left a barista is bustling, working magic.  Water droplets condense on a carafe with lemon water.  The smell of something decadent from the kitchen.  In the garden a willow tree blows listlessly in the wind.  But inside, it is warm, welcoming and friendly. Michael, the owner, is even more so.

Roll out the barrels!

Barrel rolling champions Marchelle Johnson and Keanu Rhode in action at the DSTV Franschhoek Bastille Festival.

The DStv Franschhoek Bastille Festival on 15 and 16 July, was Franschhoek’s 24th Bastille Festival. On the Saturday the weather was wet and wintery and although the village stalls were poorly patronised, rain did not stop play at the marquee.

Rickety Bridge’s Foundation Stone Range

This experimental craft range, which winemaker Wynand Grobler particularly enjoys making, is adorned with a creative, eye-catching label reflecting Wynand’s innovative approach to the three wines. The blends are constantly evolving, being tweaked by Wynand every year. Although they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, the intricate label, designed by the talented Fanakalo team, may make you wonder at what’s within. Chances are that you’ll like what you find!

Boschendal white wine best in SA

Boschendal’s Appellation Series – Elgin 2015 Chardonnay has been awarded the Best Elgin Chardonnay Trophy, Best Chardonnay Trophy and ultimately the Best White Wine of South Africa Trophy at the 2017 International Wine Challenge (IWC).  Additionally, Boschendal was awarded Gold for its Elgin Pinot Noir 2015 at the IWC and to add to these impressive awards – it was also announced that Boschendal has garnered Gold at the prestigious Decanter World Wine Awards (DWWA) for its Boschendal Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2016 and Boschendal 1685 Shiraz 2015.

La Petite Colombe set to open soon

La Petite Colombe promises a surprise or two...

As one era ends another commences.  With The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français having closed recently La Petite Colombe will take its place from 1 August.  La Petite Colombe is a new partnership between the Leeu Collection and the proprietor chefs of La Colombe, Scot Kirton (Eat Out Chef of the Year 2015) and James Gaag.

Thumbs up for Tracey’s Hoedown

Hoedown host, Tracey Kirsten, with members of the Uncorked band.

Tracey’s Hoedown on 13 May was a sell-out success. Generous Franschhoekers and their friends took up all the seats at the fund-raising barn dance held to raise funds for the Franschhoek Theatre. This theatre will open in the renovated and re-purposed Centenary Library of Franschhoek High School and will serve as a multi-purpose venue, including movie screenings and day conferences, while also housing the school archive. 

Franschhoek wine labels shine

Haut Espoir’s Cloudfall 2016 and Gentle Giant 2010 received a bronze award at the third annual Wine Label Design Awards in the Wines in a Series category.

A number of Franschhoek wineries were recognised for the excellence of their wine labels at the third annual Wine Label Design Awards – sponsored by self-adhesive label supplier Rotolabel and convened by Winemag.co.za.

Wines were judged in four categories: (1) R80 a bottle or under; (2) over R80 a bottle; (3) R500 a bottle and over and (4) labels forming a series. Judging criteria included originality of concept, execution, shelf appeal and effectiveness as a piece of communication.

In the over R80 per bottle category bronze awards were bestowed on: Single wine Babylonstoren Babel 2015 (Designer: Karen Roos), Babylonstoren Mourvèdre Rosé 2016 (Designer: Karen Roos) and La Bri 1045 Bottles Syrah 2013 (Design firm: Rob Taylor Design). In the Wines in a Series category a bronze ward was bestowed on Haut Espoir for their Cloudfall 2016 and Gentle Giant 2010 (Design firm: Fanakalo).

The five judges were: Christian Eedes, editor of Winemag.co.za; Rebecca Constable, product developer for wine at Woolworths; Sean Harrison, executive creative director of Whitespace Creative; Margot Janse, outgoing executive chef at Le Quartier Français Hotel; and Carla Kreuser, a creative director at The Jupiter Drawing Room.

La Bri and Haut Espoir also excelled at the 2017 10 Year Old Wine Awards.  La Bri’s 2007 Chardonnay received 90 out of 100 points while Haut Espoir’s 2007 Shiraz was awarded 91 points.

Franschhoek about to become famous for… beer!

FLTR: Franschhoek Beer Company partners Alex McCormack, Frank Rodriguez and Reuben Riffel.

What started out as friendly banter between two friends on a golf course, quickly turned into a dynamic partnership when celebrity chef Reuben Riffel bought into Franschhoek businessman Alex McCormack’s vision to produce a world-class range of handcrafted beers, bearing the name of the town – known as the country’s culinary capital.

La Motte Millennium – new vintage, new award

The latest (2015) vintage of La Motte’s acclaimed Bordeaux-style red wine, La Motte Millennium, was recognised as the Best of Show South African Red at the Spring Tasting of the Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Awards.

Nearly 200 international wine experts from 44 countries, comprising oenologists, winemakers, professional wine traders, sommeliers and wine journalists made the selection from almost 6 200 wines from more than 150 wine growing regions all over the word.

Margot has left the building…

Chef Margot Janse

She joined the restaurant 21 years ago, she trained a team to work in it, created food for it, won awards with it and now it’s time to move on. Margot Janse, executive chef at The Tasting Room and Le Quartier Français, has left and The Tasting Room is closing down. All is not lost for the restaurant space at Le Quartier Français however, as La Colombe will be opening a new restaurant there later this year.

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