Doing the food route

2012-07-16 08:49

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Being taken out on media trip centred around food, is nothing short of knowledge wrapped in indulgence.

A winelands trip with DonValley and the Cape Winelands District Municipality opened up the itinerary possibilities of the small town communities of McGregor, Montagu and Robertson.

Here's my food for thought:

The Only thing missing from your super sandwich is jam

Want to make everyone of your sandwiches a super sandwich?

Well you need to get your hands on a Kerkstraat 22 Konfyte product in the form of Roscherr's jam.

Originally established in the early 1980's in the fruit basket of the Western Cape Montagu, it continues to produce a high-end product cored with family value. We're given greater insight about what actually goes on in the jam-making process by way of tour and circulating the factory from one production point to the next, eventually getting to the much anticipated tasting.

While we only expect to be given tastes of the run of mill flavours; apricot, cranberry, gooseberry, and peach...The Roscherr family instead, have another trick up their sleeve: the unanticipated savory jams garlic and onion, sundried tomato and chili. While the sweet jams were consumed by the others, another cohort and I stood finishing the savory garlic and oinion tasters, which have in turn changed my sandwich making ways for the better.

The company also has a community drive that they run. A fig tree planting initiative where they incentivize local communities to plant trees and pay them for the fruit that their trees bare. Last year alone they ended up paying out between R70 - R80 000 and taking in up to 115kg's of the fruit.

Continental Lunch, wine and Cheese

While our visit to Roscherr's had whet the palate, lunch along with a cheese and wine tasting was at hand. At the foot of the Langeberg Moutains sits La Montanara cheese factory. It's a rather traditional affair with the cheese and wine. Nothing to be faulted in it, but it is indeed over- shadowed by the gourmet continental lunch offered. This includes a variety of cheeses, haloumi sticks, baked bread and rolls topped off with Salmon. Any skepticism on how filling continental lunches can actually be will be deliciously obliterated, by what should feel like a heavy rock lodged at the bottom of your stomach.

Blend Your Own Wine

It's time to blend our own wines at Excelsior Wine estate! An exercise that will afford you bragging rights amongst any plebiscite friends. The choices of which wines to blend are in the forms of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Being a meat and potatoes kind of guy and not being deeply knowledgeable about wine I quite heavily tip my scale in the favour of Merlot. The blend ends up being a 70 to 30 percentage mix with the Cabernet Sauvignon.

The entire process is left to you from the measuring of the wines, to pouring, corking, sealing the plastic, labeling and naming. It feels like quite the accomplishment once done. The fruit of your labour, so to speak. The label has the words "My Own Creation" on the front to make sure people believe your claim. On the back of the bottle you get to write down the name chosen for your wine. I decided to go with "Baby Toe Riddles". This confused the group as much as it did me. If you figure it out, please let me know. Contact them and blend your own wine and call it something more sensible.

Wine and chocolate

Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat is an unassuming building from the outside. It takes walking through the doors for the mood and look to change. It transforms from a somewhat bland and underwhelming exterior, to an austere and awe-inspiring inside. Not just a winery, Rosendal is also a restaurant, guest house retreat and spa.

Struck by full tummies and the scene's serenity we descend the stairs into a lounge, guided by low playing smooth jazz. We're ready to have a relaxed wine and chocolate tasting. Our tasting establishes a relationship between Lindt chocolate and Rosendal Wine, but stillness has overcome my taste buds and I merely follow instructions rather than attentively taste. That is until the rapport between chili chocolate and Shiraz. The slow release of the chili through the sweet dark chocolate and sharpness of the Shiraz leave me wanting to savour the taste.

The property is situated at the edge of a pond and also has an infinity pool! Personally that makes it a great destination spot to me!. Check out your getaway options.

McGregor Hipsters, Dinner at Karoux

Hipsters: Obscure, intellectual art enthusiasts who like all things unpopular. Should the things they like gain popular appeal they stop liking them.

Does that make any sense? No? Good. Cause true hipsters don't even know what hipsters are and will deny being hipsters with every bit of fight they can muster in their sometimes vegan bones.

Who knew small towns had these kind of people running around. Not to be mean about small towns or anything but I always assumed these kind of aloof characteristics were solely reserved for people  at coffee shops in big cities, where they could attend art exhibitions. Instead Chefs Andre and Kurt Middleton-Le Roux run a small restaurant adorned with retro paraphernalia. Old school fridges and cupboards that have one of my companions pointing to each item exclaiming that they exactly resembled the ones she had back on the farm where she grew up. The place had been opened for us specifically that night and the warm atmosphere, mouth watering food, wine, company and music leave me thinking that I should probably change my generalized perception about hipsters. I mean they were playing Billie Holiday... Should you find yourself seated in the restaurant you should be prepared to have your food expectations exceeded. Take a drive out and book a meal.

The pork melted in my mouth but I wish it had stayed.

Day 2 walk the Olive Route

After breakfast we hit the dirt road towards the Rheebokskraal Olive Estate. We're greeted by a middle aged, spritely lady dressed in a green hat and scarf with turquoise pants and jacket. She smiles greatly and is eager to get into the details of the olive, the process it goes through in order to become a product and the history of the farm. Taking her in, I can't help but wonder if she may have actually been an olive in her past life.

The story of how the Annalien van der Colff and her husband came to own the Olive Farm in McGregor is one of pure romance.

They were spending time on holiday away from the fast city living of Johannesburg and decided to drive through the countryside. When they had briefly stopped somewhere to take a look around they were approached by an old man who asked them:

"Don't you want to buy some land around here?"

Her husband replied in jest "Only if there's a Cape Dutch Victorian house, 2 kilometers outside the village with a vineyard. Then we'll be interested."

Straight faced the man replied "I've got the place."

The rest was history.

The farm house is a national monument as it is the last marriage between the Cape Dutch gable and the Victorian house. Rheebokskraal Olive Estate produces any olive product you would care to imagine. The passion behind Annalien's drive to farm olives is evident in the wide range of products the farm produces.

From olives in garlic and herb, to those in brine or pates, chutneys and fruit juices there is very little that Rheebokskraal have not done and experimented with.

Are you an olive fan? Look up recipes and the availability of all products olive.

Passionate About Pesto

If you have a vague appreciation for Pesto then you should definitely taste some of Passionate about Pesto's products. Rachelle Anderson took what she used to do for pure enjoyment and turned it into a blossoming brand. She quit her corporate life in the pursuit of making pesto out of her home. She has participated in an array of Western Cape markets and one in Gauteng. Her pesto is something that should never leave ones lips. The tasting she holds for us brings silence to the table, except for the clashing of fork and plate; followed by the for hums of pleasure.

Passionate about Pesto have participated in festivals such as the: Wacky Wine Weekend, Regional Food Market, The Gauteng Festival at Mulderdrift and Wine on the River. The spread of Rachelle's product might not be moving on a grand business scale but it's steady pace means that with time and experience it can only get better, though it would be a wonder as to how she could improve on something already so delicious.

For more about the product visit Passionate about Pesto.

Lunch at Rooiberg Wine Tasting

The educational comes to an end with a final lunch at Rooiberg Winery. After such an extensive food trip one can't help but feel like a light snack is what is in order, so as not to be too gluttonous. Instead I end up opting for the a simple ham and cheese sandwich. We sit in the valley and talk everything from politics to sport anticipating the moment that we don't want to approach. The eventual end of the trip, that means no more indulgence. The setting is accommodating, the place feels like more a coffee spot than restaurant and the warm and relaxed atmosphere gives way to open and free flowing conversation, without bothering the regulars. The final meal brings this food and wine trip to a close. Something I see myself doing again very soon.

Read more on:    winelands  |  travel south africa

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