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Mon 16 Dec 2019

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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.

La Motte Museum exhibition pays tribute to Pierneef

Pierneef Bushveld trees (1955), La Motte Museum collection, displayed on JH Pierneef studio easel with a bronze bust of Pierneef by Coert Steynberg, DITSONG collection

A new exhibition at the La Motte Museum pays tribute to the life and work of SA artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Fittingly titled A Tribute to the life and work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) the exhibition will run for the duration of 2017. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s contribution to South African art and enhances La Motte’s permanent heritage collection with selected artworks and personal artefacts from various South African collections.

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.

A (relatively) rare sighting

The Cape Leopard Trust team show off their new t-shirts at Leopard's Leap Family Vineyards.

Spotting a leopard in the wild is a rare and special experience. A sighting apparently almost as rare is to find the entire Cape Leopard Trust (CLT) team in one place! On Thursday, 14 September, this rare occurrence actually happened, when the ten members of the Cape Leopard Trust team met at Leopard’s Leap Family Vineyards. The venue was particularly appropriate, as Leopard’s Leap is one of the Trust’s main sponsors.

The reason for this unusual gathering was to bring together the usually widely-dispersed research, education and administrative teams for a group photo, and to showcase the new t-shirt range. It was also a valuable opportunity for a catch up in person rather than via Skype, and a chance to welcome the newest team member, Ismail Wambi to the fold.  The stylish, new t-shirts are part of a new merchandise range that will shortly be available for sale on the CLT website as part of a green gifting campaign.

The Cape Leopard Trust is an active predator conservation working group with projects in Cape Town, the Boland and the Cederberg. It uses research and environmental education as a tool for empowering conservation, finding solutions to human-wildlife conflict. Since its inception in 2004 it has become an authority on predator conservation not only in the Cape, but also nationally.

www.capeleopard.org.za

North Indian delight

Marigold cuisine

Marigold, Franschhoek’s first authentic Indian cuisine restaurant, opened its doors on 8 December 2016.  The opening coincided with the launch of Heritage Square, a proud new addition to the Leeu Collection portfolio.

The brand new restaurant offers a feast of exotic flavours that will delight any gourmand. Marigold’s small-plates menu is inspired by the aromatic and spicy North Indian cuisine. Look forward to rich, fragrant curries and flavourful biryanis with succulent meat dishes that are cooked in a charcoal tandoor.

Seasoned chef Vanie Padayachee hails from Durban and was most recently a part of the Le Quartier Français culinary team. She has been integral in the opening of various restaurants as well as a cooking school in South Africa.

“My style of cooking is influenced by the rich diversity of South African culture and I have experience at tempering and blending spices,” says Vanie. “My recent visits to India to experience the culture and cuisine first-hand has broadened my knowledge-base and brings an authenticity and tangible reference of its origins to Marigold’s menu.”

To begin your meal consider a selection of Indian savoury appetisers before enjoying one of the restaurant’s signature main dishes. The layered rice Biryanis offer a delicious and complex level of flavour, while the curries offer something for everyone – delicious vegetarian options, tender chicken and slow-cooked lamb. Enjoy succulent prawns, line fish, chicken or beef kebabs cooked to perfection in the charcoal tandoor. Each dish is accompanied by a variety of traditional Indian bread, rice, salad and raita.

The interior, with its exposed brickwork, timber flooring, bold geometric wallpaper and African inspired fabrics offers banquette-style seating for 60 guests. Slatted dividers offer privacy, yet maintain the feel of a magnificent feast.

The restaurant also has seating outside in the Heritage Sqaure courtyard for a further 20 guests. Leeu Collections’ iconic signature statue of a lion by acclaimed sculptor Jop Kunneke is the focal point of the courtyard. The lion is a reference to Leeu Collection’s founder, Analjit Singh, as “Singh” means lion in Sanskrit (“leeu” in Afrikaans).

Marigold, located on Heritage Square, 9 Huguenot Street, will be open seven days a week for lunch from 12h00 to 15h00 and dinner will be served between 18h00 and 22h00 (although times might change during the quieter season).

1693 Restaurant Not Stuffy At All!

I have to say that I’m not used to having chefs throw food at me – especially at media lunches – yet that is pretty much what happened to me recently!  Happily it wasn’t done in anger and was all part of the spectacle at what was a most memorable lunch at the 1693 pop-up restaurant in the historic 1693 cellar at Bellingham Estate.

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.

Turn Your Black Friday Blue At Allée Bleue This Year!

De Wet Hugo, who is in charge of the “blue Friday” at Allée Bleue on 23 November.

“Every wine producer has a few hundred boxes of wine of various price points and styles lying around in the cellar, and when an opportunity like Black Friday comes around it’s the perfect chance to clear out some of the old stock to get the cellar ready for the 2019 harvest or just sell out on overruns of certain wines, in one go,” says De Wet Hugo, GM of wine at Franschhoek Estate Allée Bleue.

Friday, 23 November, from 10h00-16h00 will be a hive of activity at this family-owned farm as keen wine buyers will be directed to the Black Friday sales area to order, pay and collect their purchases there and then.

The wines selected include Methode Cap Classique’s, whites, reds, blends and even some multi-award winning wines with discounts of 50% and more per bottle.  “This is the perfect opportunity to stock up on quality wines for the summer and we look forward to sharing more than 10 000 bottles with the public at once-in-a-lifetime prices,” comments de Wet.

Wines are only available in 6-bottle boxes and payments have to be made on the day.  No tastings will be offered as the wine has been kept in optimum conditions in the cellar throughout.  Cash and credit cards only.

“It’s definitely first-come first-served and obviously only whilst stocks last, so it’s best to arrive early!  Make a day of it and book a picnic afterwards or have breakfast in the Bistro from 08h00 before you hit the sale,” suggests de Wet.

Seasonal Harvest Highlights Shared With Visitors To Allée Bleue

Roasted plum and smoked chicken salad.

Family-owned Allée Bleue Estate is primarily a working farm with nearly 80 hectares planted to fruit and olive trees adding to the tranquillity of the setting. The estate wines are justly famous, having won scores of awards over the years and the Allée Bleue fresh herb range is available from most large retailers in the Western Cape.

The farm produces peaches, nectarines, a variety of different plums, pears and most of the persimmons grown in South Africa. Much of the produce is exported, but locals can enjoy the fruit at selected retailers country-wide as well.

In 2019 Allée Bleue is inviting visitors to experience the seasons with them and share in the farm’s bounty as it is harvested.  Try out specially created dishes in the Bistro, buy fresh fruit at their public outlets and collect the monthly free recipe cards as they are released.

Vivino users rate Bellingham Chenin highly

Digital-savvy wine lovers have voted in the annual Vivino Wine Style Awards and reviewers have recognised Bellingham’s The Bernard Series Old Vine Chenin Blanc as one of the top 10 Chenin Blancs from South Africa.

Vivino is the world’s largest wine application (app), allowing a global wine community to buy, rate and review wines. This popular wine app has more than 20 million wine lovers, worldwide, who use the app to grow, and share, their love for wine.

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