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(Cutting) EDGE African at Tapasco

Left: Wood fire roasted cabbage, poached mussels, zamalek broth, with apple & dill. Right: Chef Vusi Ndlovu

Before dinner I wondered whether Chef Vusi Ndlovu, whose surname means elephant, knew that Franschhoek was first known as Oliphantshoek (Elephants Corner). He did. Anyway, I digress before I’ve properly started… I missed his restaurant’s residency at Pasarene earlier this year, so was happy to finally fit in a visit to EDGE in mid-May.

Vusi attained chef stardom by placed as one of Top 7 in the San Pellegrino Young Chef Grand Finale in 2018 and being awarded best chef in Africa and Middle East. Bucking his mother’s wishes to study for an engineering degree he started his culinary journey at the Sheraton Hotel in Pretoria. Hard work and passion saw him working under the likes of Peter Tempelhoff, David Higgs and Luke Dale Roberts. After a stint in Belgium at the highly-acclaimed ‘In de Wulf’ and heading up kitchens at The Saxon and the trendy The Marabi Club, it was time to be master of his own domain. The result, in collaboration with siblings Absie and Mandla Pantshwa, was EDGE – “a holistic celebration of Africa” and a most welcome addition to the Franschhoek culinary scene.

IN MEMORIAM

The CCMC pays homage to two South African Composers

The Cape Chamber Music Collective, in collaboration with the renowned Amici Quartet, celebrates two Cape Town based and South African composers who both died last year – Thomas Rajna and Allan Stephenson.

This programme is the fifth offering by the CCMC this year in a series of concerts in and around Cape Town:

Franschhoek: Friday 27 May 19:00 at the NG Kerk. Tickets are R140, including a free glass of wine.

Thomas Rajna was born in Budapest and settled in South Africa in 1970, where he held the position of professor of piano at the South African College of Music and also lead a very active career as a composer.

Allan Stephenson left England in 1973 to take up the position of sub-principal cellist with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra. He was a prolific composer with in excess of 100 works to his name.

Stephenson’s Miniature String Quartet and Rajna’s String Quartet No.2 are reminiscent of their major compositional influences:  for Stephenson, his love of African and Jazz rhythms; and for Rajna, his Hungarian heritage.

Puccini’s short Crisantemi/Chrysanthemums is very apt since chrysanthemums are associated with funerals in Italy. Parts of it were reworked by Puccini for some of the most poignant moments in Acts III and IV of his opera Manon Lescaut.

The programme concludes with Ravel’s String Quartet in F maj. This was Ravel’s first substantial multi-movement work and displays influences from Debussy’s quartet, composed ten years earlier. The work demonstrates Ravel’s skillful ability to use classical form and structure to present unified melodies and themes, complex rhythmic patterns, and a wide range of tone colours and textures.

Student tickets available at the door for half of the full price on the day of the performance.

www.capechambercollective.com

Cape Chamber Music Collective in Franschhoek

This month the Cape Chamber Music Collective (CCMC) welcomes some of our most best known musicians, pianist Francois du Toit and violinist Farida Bacharova. Together with exciting young instrumentalists, David Pinoit (cello), Bonolo Kgaile (violin) and Uliana Alekseev (viola), they will perform Dvořák’s chamber masterpiece, the Piano Quintet No.2 in A major. Rarely performed works by Shostakovich and Kodály complete the line-up for this concert.

Shostakovitch’s Five Pieces for Two Violins and Piano, is a compilation and arrangement by Lev Atovmyan of  film and ballet music which Shostakovich was forced to compose during the period when he was out of favour with the Soviet authorities and was desperatey in need of an income.

Second on the programme is the Duo for Violin and Cello by Kodály, which has a distinct gypsy feel that draws inspiration from Hungarian folk music; Kodaly was passionate about the music of his homeland and he proceeded to record and catalogue as much of this music as possible. The programme concludes with Dvořák’s masterpiece, the Piano Quintet No. 2 in A major where the composer combines his affection for Bohemian folk music with his own seductive and lyrical charm.

This programme is the fourth offering by the CCMC this year in a series of concerts in and around Cape Town. The Franschhoek Concert takes place on Friday, 8 April, 19:00 at the NG Kerk. Tickets are R140.

The Cape Chamber Music Collective (CCMC) is a unique and innovative initiative with the aim of bringing high-class chamber music to established audiences and also to introduce classical music to new audiences.

Furthermore the CCMC supports local musicians, devising programmes that give young musicians the opportunity to perform alongside established professionals and also providing all performers with competitive fees.

The programming is aimed at mixing standard repertoire with lesser known works and also promotes and commissions works by South African composers.

60 concerts are planned for the year 2022 – five performances of each programme at various venues with the explicit aim of making the performances available to a larger audience.

All tickets can be booked on Quicket via the CCMC website at www.capechambercollective.com.

Louis Jansen van Vuuren Art Exhibition

FLTR: Louis Jansen van Vuuren, Ilse Schermers, Laurent Alberti.

Louis Jansen van Vuuren and friends staged an art exhibition at the Huguenot Memorial Museum. The exhibition was curated by Ilse Schermers of IS Art and opened on 13 March 2022 by Laurent Alberti, the French Consul General in Cape Town.

Bridge House Mile

Bridge House Mile
The Bridge House Mile took place on Saturday, 12 March, at the Berg River Dam. Eight hundred swimmers took to the pristine waters in glorious weather. (Photo: Barbara Cole)

A Little Something French

During March French culture is celebrated worldwide. For the first time Franschhoek is part of the Festival Francophonie. Get out your beret and do something with French flair on the Human Rights Day long weekend.

La Motte Harvest Experience – You’re Invited!

La Motte Harvest Experience
The La Motte Harvest Experience is a Winelands treat

Harvest time is the most important time on a wine farm, but it is also a time to celebrate the season’s special tastes and traditions. After a beautiful cold and wet winter and relative cool start to summer, quality expectations are high and the La Motte winemaking team invites visitors to share in the excitement of harvest time in the Winelands. Enjoy a tour of the vineyards and cellar, try fermenting grape juice from the tanks, taste the estate’s latest vintages and linger for lunch in the garden with a special harvest platter.

For the La Motte team, harvest is also a time of thanksgiving. When booking for the Harvest Experience, you are invited to join them by sharing what you are grateful for on a complimentary tag that you can hang in the vineyards.

What you can expect from the La Motte Harvest Experience:

One of the estate’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable wine tasting ambassadors will guide you on this celebration of unique harvest traditions:

·       In the vineyard – enjoy an introduction to the various varietals, harvest processes and the estate’s biologic farming practices. Spot the differences between the various varieties and taste the sweetness of the ripe berries. Write and hang your tag in the vineyard.

·       In the cellar – experience the hand-sorting of grapes, crush, pump-overs and other cellar activities, concluded with a tasting of grape must (fermenting grape juice) from a fermentation tank.

·       In the tasting room – sit down to a tasting of La Motte’s award-winning collection of wines – six wines from the La Motte Collection as well as the two wines from the estate’s renowned Pierneef Collection.

·       In the shade of the age-old oaks – relax in the calm ambience of the estate gardens and enjoy Chef Eric Bulpitt’s special Harvest Plate – with a glass of wine of course!

The Harvest Experience at R120 per person includes the vineyard and cellar tour as well as wine tasting. It takes about 90 minutes and happens hourly from Tuesdays to Sundays, between 10h00 and 15h00 during February and March.

A Harvest Plate is additional and optional and is available at R220 per person. This nostalgic platter of Winelands favourites includes a sausage roll, cured meats, boerenkaas, pickles, chutney, curried eggs, farm-baked bread with butter and hummus, grapes and crudités as well as the popular La Motte mosbolletjie!

The Harvest Experience takes place outside and in the spacious cellar and tasting room where social distancing as well as all other Covid protocol are in place.

Reservations are recommended and can be made with the La Motte Tasting Room: T +27 (0)21 876 8820 or E tasting@la-motte.co.za

La Motte’s renowned harvest-time mosbolletjies are also available at the La Motte Farm Shop for the duration of harvest. They sell like hot cakes, so to avoid disappointment, order yours in advance: T +27 (0)21 876 8840 or E farmshop@la-motte.co.za

New Cape Music Collective Inaugurates With a South African Première

Four members of the Cape Chamber Music Collective premières a new South African classical composition at its five inaugural concerts in Cape Town and the Boland from 19 to 23 January. They are violinist Jeffrey Armstrong, pianist Tertia Visser, viola player Stéphanie Lawrenson and Cellist Graham du Plessis.

A brand new South African classical composition premières the inaugural five concerts by the Cape Chamber Music Collective (CCMC).  Conveniently for locals one of the concerts is in Franschhoek.

SA’s Richest Street Mile to Be Held in the Valley of Dreams

Johan Fourie and Zach Moolman
Huguenot descendent, athletics coach and former star mile runner, Johan Fourie, joined Môreson viticulturist Zach Moolman in front of the iconic Huguenot Memorial to toast the launch of the Franschhoek Street Mile with Miss Molly Blanc de Blancs 2015 – Winemag.co.za’s best MCC for 2021. The race, that is set to be South Africa’s richest street mile, will take place in November 2022.

The inaugural Franschhoek Street Mile will take place in November 2022, in this prestigious Cape Winelands village.  Located in South Africa’s Valley of Dreams, the village is positioning itself and its breath-taking surroundings as a centre of sporting excellence.

The route takes in the historic heart of the village, amongst others Huguenot Street with the iconic Huguenot Memorial at its terminus. The day’s slate of events will include a Men’s Invitational race that promises to attract the cream of South Africa’s mile talent, a Ladies Open race and a Sport Celebrity Race.

Favourable feedback has already been received from top trainers and former elite athletes, such as Johan Fourie and Elana Meyer about the Men’s and Ladies Races.  Confirmed entries in the Sport Celebrity Race will be announced in due course.

Runners will compete for the richest pot of all South Africa’s Street Miles. Equal prize money is offered for the Men’s Invitational and Ladies Open Races.

Snow and Misdemeanours

Snow igloo
Caption: The igloo Wilroux Ackermann and friends built in the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.

A late winter storm at the end of August led to the heaviest snow falls the valley had seen in at least 20 years.  As villagers know by now snow on the mountains means a busy weekend for those in the tourism sector.

While main road businesses benefitted from the visitor influx, most visitors were here for one reason: to get as close to the snow as they could. That meant a bumper weekend for the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve at the top of the Franschhoek Pass.

Cars were already streaming up the pass at dawn on the Saturday morning. By midmorning the parking area in the reserve was overflowing and visitors were parking along the pass for more than a kilometre from the reserve’s gate.

According to a spokesperson for the reserve most visitors were well-behaved and kept to the rules – in particular the requirement to stick to the footpaths. Where people strayed off the footpaths significant damage was done to the fynbos, which is particularly brittle under very cold conditions. Paths also suffered under the heavy foot traffic. Reserve management has already undertaken remedial work to the footpaths and is exploring ways to encourage the trampled fynbos to recuperate.

In a novel incident a helicopter owner offered flights into the mountains for those who didn’t feel like hiking to the snow. These were however unauthorised – no landings are allowed in protected nature areas – and were reported to the aviation authorities.

While snowball fights and snowmen were the order of the day, one group of friends went the extra mile and built an igloo. This impressive, though technically illegal activity, garnered Wilroux Ackerman and his friends a fair bit of media attention.

Wilroux and his friends used a plastic container to make the ‘bricks’ for their igloo which they constructed on the Perdekop trail near the Wemmershoek lookout. They started work at 10h00 and completed their project around 5 hours and 366 ‘bricks’ later. His helpers were his sister, Lenchen-Marié Ackermann, Donovan Oliveros, Nicol Oliveros and Richard Smith.

Text: Editorial Desk  Image: Wilroux Ackermann

NOTE: The management of the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve wish to inform the public that they no longer accept cash payments at the reserve entrance. The public are requested to either pre-buy their permits via webtickets.co.za or bring a credit / debit card along.

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