Thursday 13 December 2018

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Leeu Estates Named SA’s Leading Wine Country Hotel by World Travel Awards

Leeu Estates is located between the Franschhoek River and Dassenberg.

For the second year running, World Travel Awards has named Leeu Estates, the Leeu Collection’s flagship property in Franschhoek, as South Africa’s Leading Wine Country Hotel. The award was announced at the lack-tie gala that celebrated all the African winners in Durban, on 6 October 2018.

Coffee man

Coffee roaster Jommo Nkunika shows off another finely roasted batch.

Walking towards the entrance of the Big Dog Café the same thought always pops into my head: I wish that aroma could be bottled! The aroma in question varies a bit; sometimes it’s a bit fruitier and sometimes more chocolatey, but it’s always enticing. Regulars will know that the source of the aroma is the Terbodore Coffee Roastery that one passes on the way to the café. The roastery is the domain of head roaster Jommo Nkunika. The Tatler paid him a visit to find out a little about what he does.

Jommo, who seems to wear a permanent smile, has been with Terbodore Coffee Roasters for five years.  He started in the production team doing things like loading and offloading and packaging. Like cream, he rose to the top and was soon training as a roaster, before eventually becoming head roaster. It is clearly a role he relishes.

Terbodore hand roasts all their coffee; nothing is automated. This means Jommo has to keep a sharp eye on what’s happening to the beans in the roaster and keep meticulous records to maintain consistency between batches and ‘vintages’. As a wino, I was struck by the similarities between blending coffees and wine. Like grapes, coffee beans vary based on the varietal, their origin and the particular harvest’s growing conditions.  All these factors and even the ambient temperature and humidity in the roastery have to be considered to ensure that any particular blend tastes the same from one year to the next.

Like winemaking, coffee roasting is part science and part art. It is clear from watching Jommo control the roaster that he has successfully mastered both parts.  There is no time for slacking.  Between feeding the hot belly of the roaster with a fresh batch of beans; controlling the temperature; visually inspecting the roasting beans; listening to and interpreting the crackling of the beans; emptying the roaster; cooling the beans and writing down every detail in a log book there is barely time for, well, even a coffee!

The coffee-drinking public will be happy to know that they can share in Jommo’s coffee wisdom by making a booking for Terbodore’s “Cupping Experience” on Friday afternoons at 15h00. (Reservations essential, max 8 pax)

Jommo may have been raised on a Malawian tea plantation, but today he’s truly a coffee man.

Text & Image: Editor

Old vines a special feature of the South African wine industry

Basil Landau’s Semillon block, planted in 1905, is one of SA’s oldest vineyards.

“An increased focus on South Africa’s old vines has elicited world-wide interest in the country’s wine heritage and the industry itself, with wines made from fruit sourced from these heritage vines proving their mettle,” says André Morgenthal of the Old Vine Project (OVP).

He says that membership of the OVP has grown from 10 members late last year, to over 40 now, including a number of cooperative producers, with over 80% of old-vine wines represented within these systems.  The rising interest in the OVP has also been seen at tastings in London and Canada, supported and organised by Wines of South Africa (WOSA), as well as locally at Klein Karoo Klassique and the US Woordfees.

Unwind with a country picnic

Settle down to a country picnic at Grande Provence this summer.

Grande Provence Heritage Wine Estate is tempting visitors with scrumptious country-style picnics until April 2019.

Packed to the brim with delicious artisanal foods, the Grande Country Picnic baskets include free range chicken, estate-made hummus, local cheeses and preserves, heirloom garden salad, smoked snoek pâté, olives, charcuterie and crusty farm-baked bread. The decadent rocky road Valrhona chocolate bar will satisfy any sweet tooth. The picnic basket comes with a bottle of Grande Provence’s popular Angels Tears wine of your choice as well as still or sparkling water. Vegetarian baskets are available on request.

The Grande Country Picnic is available at R650 for two people sharing or R325 for a single basket. Baskets have to be booked a day in advance and a limited number are available daily.

restaurant@grandeprovence.co.za | 021 876 8600

Text: Editorial Desk | Image: Grande Provence

2018 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge

When the results of the 2018 Standard Bank Chenin Blanc Top 10 Challenge were announced Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards were delighted to learn that their Culinaria Chenin Blanc made the Top 10 for the third year in a row.

“Chenin has come of age,” said chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association, Ken Forrester. “No longer just a niche grape loved by of the wine fraternity, it is acquiring a mainstream following.  More and more people are believing in it, buying it, drinking it and talking about it,” he said referring to the record number of entries in this year’s challenge, the growth in sales of Chenin Blanc this year, and the global reach of a recent social media campaign.

“The versatility of Chenin, its diversity of wine styles and its great food-friendliness, all point towards its rising acceptance among local consumers.  This is in line with the growing international interest in the grape, increasingly seen abroad as South Africa’s calling card.”

The challenge drew 113 wooded and 46 unwooded entries, all tasted blind by the five-member panel, with 27 wines shortlisted for the final top ten line-up.

Cathy van Zyl MW, the chairman of the judges, said that the winning wines were largely sourced from older vineyards. “While one of the winners comes from 12-year old vines, the others come from vines that are older than 27 years. Indeed, the oldest vineyard in the line-up is 65-years old.”

Fruit for the winning wines was sourced from as far afield as the Cederberg, Stellenbosch including Bottelary and Faure, Darling, Elgin, Durbanville, the Swartland, specifically Voor-Paardeberg, Perdeberg, Malmesbury, Tygerberg, Slanghoek, Wellington and Bot River.

UK wine consultant Simon Field MW, a specialist on wines from the Loire in France, where Chenin originates and the only foreign judge on the panel, was impressed with the line-up of what he called very polished, palatable and professional wines and their multiplicity of expression.  “A definitively South African Chenin style was apparent to me – riper, more fruit-forward and floral, with qualities of nectarine and other yellow fruit, some beeswax and honey. The whole experience gave me a fascinating new perspective on Chenin.”

Pointing to the availability of Chenin excellence at accessible prices, Willie du Plessis, Standard Bank SA’s executive head of business banking for the Western Cape, noted that the average price of the top 10 wines was R200. “These world-class wines offer outstanding value, with winners retailing at R70, R90, R120 before rising to the highest price of R375.”

He confirmed a prize of R25 000 for each of the winning wines. The money would need “to reinforce economic and social benefits in the workplace”, in accordance with the conditions of the challenge.  “We believe the honour of making it onto the Top Ten list should extend to the workers as well as the brand owners.”

The winning wines (listed alphabetically) are: Cederberg Private Cellar Five Generations Chenin Blanc 2016, DeMorgenzon Reserve Chenin Blanc 2017, Jean Daneel Wines Signature Chenin Blanc 2016 (debut), Leopard’s Leap Culinaria Chenin Blanc 2016, Mulderbosch Vineyards Chenin Blanc Steen op Hout 2017 (debut), Slanghoek Wynkelder Legends Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2016 (debut), Spier Wines 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2017, Stellenrust ‘53’ Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2017, Wellington Wines La Cave Chenin Blanc 2016 (debut) and Wildekrans Barrel Select Chenin Blanc Reserve 2017 (debut).

Test: Editorial Desk | Image: Supplied

www.leopardsleap.co.za | 021 876 8002

Your name on a wall for a good cause

Superfluous parquet floor tiles like the one in the photo are being ‘sold’ at R500 each to bring the Franschhoek Theatre project to completion.

If you haven’t yet bought a wooden parquet tile in support of the Franschhoek Theatre Project at Franschhoek High School your time could be running out. The project team says that sales are brisk and an ever-decreasing number remain to be sold.

As part of the final fundraising push a limited number of teak parquet tiles are being sold. The tiles, original to the historic building, are superfluous to the theatre’s flooring needs as some previously parqueted areas are being carpeted. Some of these superfluous parquet tiles are being ‘sold’ at R500 each to finance the final touches to the theatre.

Everyone who ‘buys’ a parquet tile will have their name, or that of someone they nominate, inscribed on the tile which will then be installed on a feature wall in the theatre as an everlasting sign of gratitude. (Please note that inscriptions are limited to 32 characters, including spaces.

Payment details are as follows:

Full Swing Trading 598 t/a Rose Cottages

Standard Bank, Franschhoek 051001

Account No 200880012

As reference, please use F Theatre, your initial and surname.

To ease administration, the funds will be collected and ring-fenced in this account before being paid into the school account.

Send your name, the number of tiles you wish to ‘buy’ and the name(s) you wish to have inscribed on the tile(s) to Ronelle who is administering the project. Her email is admin@lascaris.co.za.

Text & Image: Editorial Desk

Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne celebrates its first decade

2006 was the year NASA launched its New Horizons space probe mission to Pluto. It was also the year in which conservationist Steve Irwin fatally tangled with a sting ray, violent protests were sparked by satirical cartoons published in a Danish publication and Google snapped up YouTube for $1.65 billion.

Meanwhile, in Franschhoek, Belgian couple Jean-Phillipe (JP) and Isabelle Colmant undertook the first harvest at the smallholding they relocated to in 2002.

Kusasa Stars return from Sweden to heroes’ welcome

The Kusasa Stars were proud ambassadors for both Franschhoek and South Africa.

Franschhoek’s Kusasa Stars returned home on 26 July from a life-changing trip to the Gothia Cup 2018 in Sweden.

Emotional family reunions were the order of the day, while the boys’ schools also celebrated their efforts in Sweden.

The following day the team paraded triumphantly through Franschhoek on BuildIt’s open-back lorry with a huge soccer ball and were celebrated by residents and visitors alike as they arrived at Sacred Ground for a celebratory lunch. The Kusasa Stars were truly treated as returning heroes!

Franschhoek Theatre: There is light in construction tunnel

Franschhoek High School head boy Luvo Gcuku ceremonially received a cheque towards the Franschhoek Theatre project from Uncorked band members (FLTR) Nick Davies, Rowan Smith and Reg Lascaris.

The Franschhoek Theatre at Franschhoek High School is steadily becoming a reality. Construction has practically been completed and interior fit-out is progressing at a pace. A very welcome R12 000 donation towards the project was received last month from local band Uncorked. It was their performance fee from the Bastille Festival and the generous band members passed it on to facilitate the completion of the project. They ceremonially handed a cheque to the school’s head boy, Luvo Gcuku, at the theatre on the school grounds.

In another theatre-related happening there was great excitement among the Grade 11 learners at Franschhoek High School when their tourism teacher, Miss Steynberg, took them for a look-see to the building site on the school grounds where their archive was being transformed into the Franschhoek Theatre.

They loved being so close to the construction action and strictly followed building site safety measures. Some of them had spent time in the building when it housed the library and others had been to the old Screening Room at Le Quartier Français. All of them were excited about the idea of movie screenings and other entertainment right there in this familiar, but repurposed building.

R210 000 raised at Rock in White Party

Guests, attired in white, mingled before the start of the 'Rock in White' party.

On Friday, 27 July, friends and supporters of the Franschhoek Hospitality Academy came together for a sensational evening at the academy’s ‘Rock in White’ fundraiser held at ROCA Restaurant.

ROCA’s team were phenomenal from the start, working closely with To-Netts Décor to add beautiful touches to the venue, which only enhanced its already eye-catching ambiance. Guests arrived in white and were ready to dance the night away with the Uncorked Band, who stole the show and put on an exceptional performance which was enjoyed by everyone in attendance.

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