What to do in Robertson Wine Valley

Robertson Wine Valley

Everyone thinks that Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are the best wine areas in Cape Town. Now don’t get me wrong, they are amazing!!! (#firstworldproblems) but if you happen to want for a new adventure, Robertson is the place for you.
I recently took a shot left and ventured out to the Robertson wine valley. Firstly, can we have a moment for the beautiful drive? If you haven’t done it before, you should. It really is a drive that is breathtaking. If you leave early, the morning light hits the mountains in a way that will make you see them with new eyes!

Once in Robertson there are so many activities and exciting places to stay, that I simply had to share them. The wonderful thing is that a few of them are children friendly and pet friendly so the whole family can join in on the fun!

Rietvallei
Rietvallei

One of my first experiences in Robertson was something a little different. You have all heard of a braai (a South African BBQ) and you have all heard of a fondue. Well, combine the two and you have one awesome lunch spot at Rietvallei Wines.  A family run business filled with a passion for wines to the point that most of them are named after family members! I am all about being a proudly South African girl when it comes to a great braai. The meat was beautiful and the awesome thing is that it all came from local farmers. So one could say, a true farm to table experience. It definitely left me pondering about the point of rather than meat free Monday, we should eat less meat and actually support local free-range farmer. Food for thought. Bookings are essential.

de wetshof
de wetshof
de wetshof
de wetshof
de wetshof
de wetshof

With my stomach full and my thirst for wine not quiet satisfied (I am slightly wine obsessed) I ventured off to a magnificent estate, De Wetshof. I was treated to a walking tour of the estate and a site specific Chardonnay tasting in the vineyards. It was one of the most beautiful wine tastings I have ever had. The splendid cheese and charcuterie platters were delectable and the crisp wine was perfect to wash it all down.  I really enjoyed watching the sunset while sitting between the vineyards that had produced the amazing wine I was drinking! It was something unique and I would definitely book the experience again!

Robertson Wine Valley
Robertson Wine Valley
Robertson Wine Valley
Robertson Wine Valley
Robertson Wine Valley

My first night in the area I stayed at one of my favourite spots. I actually did a blog post on them specifically not too long ago that you can read here. The country lodge is called Jan Harms Gat and it is filled with history and charm.  It is a five star establishment that offers not only their own amazing wine but also a food pairing that is scrumptious and homey.  Waking up in the mist to a farm style breakfast and hot coffee is something I will never get tired of.

What would a trip into wine country be with out bubbles? No not champagne but MCC. A proudly South African Methode Cap Classique and my host, Graham Beck Wines. I was treated to an educational and fascinating side to the widely enjoyed MCC. To see the hours of labour and love that go into every bottle was amazing! It made me realize that next time you want to complain about the price of your wine, you should think about the months of labour and love that go into each bottle! It was mind blowing to see. The tasting session of still wines as well as their prized MCC left me wanting more. I was so impressed with their still wines that I walked away (proudly) with four bottles in hand and slightly tipsy because I wasn’t going to pour it out after each tasting!

graham beck
graham beck
graham beck
graham beck
Robertson Wine Valley

I popped into Springfield Wines for a tasting and I was stunned with their beautiful grounds! A pet friendly spot (which I love) Springfield offers the option to pack your own picnic basket and spend the day basking on their lawn whilst sipping on their five star wines! Not a bad option if you want to get away from the humdrum of the city! The views are incredible and the ambiance is relaxing!

Springfield wine
Springfield wine
Springfield wine

After having my lion’s share of wine I visited the vibey and rustic Olive farm Marbrin. They produce some of South Africa’s top olive oil and walked me through the process of making it. I loved tasting the variants that were earthy and bold but I must admit, it was terribly hard to not get distracted by their cute collie that kept asking for his stick to be thrown. I was brought back to reality when cheese tasting was mentioned. If you know me, I am ALL about the cheese. La Mont cheese had put together a mouth-watering cheese tasting that included fried Halloumi and cream cheese with focaccia. They supply some cheese to Woolworths including their Halloumi. With home made Limoncello (made on the farm) to end off the day it made for a memorable experience.

olive oil
olive oil

Mo & Rose was my lodging for my final nights stay in Robertson. I love this guesthouse and highly recommend it if you are passing by or looking for great four-star accommodation in Robertson. The décor is simplistic with a european flair and the bedrooms have fireplaces, a major plus when the sun goes down, as the area can get very cold in winter. It used to be a cactus nursery in the 1950’s and was bought over by Axil and Mo. She had a vision and transformed the magnificent garden into what it is today. Some of her cacti are 60 years and older! There are gardens tours for in house guest (booking in advance is essential.) The food menu is simple but it is done well and at the end of the day that is what it is all about.  With friendly service and a peaceful atmosphere Mo & Rose ranks as one of my top experiences in Robertson. Even if you were passing by I would stop for a cup of coffee and a walk through the succulents!

mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose
mo & rose

If you haven’t done a wine and chocolate pairing before it is really something you have to try! Robertson Winery does a wonderful one! Bookings are essential, as you don’t want to miss out and be disappointed. I was treated to a tasting in their cellars that are 75 years old! It was a great experience. With locally sourced chocolate that has been perfectly matched to their wines, I really enjoyed the education I received on the nuances of the flavours I was experiencing! I mean chocolate and wine! What’s not to love?

robertson wine
robertson wine
robertson wine
robertson wine

A great lunch spot and my final destination in Robertson was the Van Loveren Wine estate. I opted for a garden tour, as I am a geek for history and nature! I loved learning about the towering trees and soaking up the energy that they give out as you walk the estate. With great wines to match the beauty of the property I settled down for lunch. The food was delicious, hearty and left me content. Not only with lunch and wine but also a wonderful weekend getaway.

robertson wine
robertson wine
van loveren
van loveren
van loveren
van loveren

So next time you want to experience Cape Town's wine culture at its finest, take a drive out to Robertson Wine Valley!

-Melissa

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/what-to-do-in-robertson

Nomad winelands Stellenbosch

nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch
nomad vegan restaurant stellenbosch

Do you guys know the Star Fish Story? Well here is the long and short of it. 

A wise man was walking along the beach and came across a young man throwing star fish back into the ocean. He asked the young man why he was doing so. The young man replied, 'the tide is going out an the sun is up. If I don't do it they will die.' The old man responded that he couldn't possibly make a difference as there is miles and miles of coast line covered with star fish. The young man picked up a star fish and threw it back in the ocean. As it hit the water he replied, "It made a difference to that one!" 

I guess that is what it is all about. I recently adopted this attitude and became flexitarian. I try to eat vegetarian as much as possible and save meat for special occasions. This attitude, combined with my thirst for trying new places, lead me to Nomad in Stellenbosch. Owned by Keri Bainborough, a passionate vegan, this little spot boasts a menu with that would satisfy the hungriest of farmers with a meaty option, but also - for a change - inspire and delight a vegan who hungers for a delicious food experience! The interior is modern but warm with a beautiful pizza oven as the main feature. We decided to sit out on the balcony over looking the dam. 

The order of the day for me was to have a three course vegan meal. I can safely say that every course was simply delicious and inspired. I had the sweet potato gnocchi served with crispy greens, sweet potato crisps and tomato broth – R75 to start and my mom had the Red quinoa falafel with pepper purée, confit cherry tomato, rocket and toasted pine nuts – R75. I cannot say no to a sweet potato! For mains I had the vegan burger with grilled aubergine, Moroccan olive pesto and vegan mozzarella – R95. My mom had the vegan curry which boasted full on coconut flavour and was really good! For my sweet tooth I had the vegan cheesecake served with blueberry compote and homemade ice cream - R60. The menu reminded me that with a little creativity and thought I could create amazing meals at home that didn't contain any animal by product! It really can be a bit of a trip if you think about it. Most people have the response of "all they eat is bunny food" but Nomad is proving that this is not the case. I even had vegan cheesecake and ice cream. 

So next time you find yourself in the area pop in and try something vegan. Make a difference to that one star fish. 

Here are the details if you want to make a booking: 
Call: 0218652456
Email: info@nomadrestaurant.co.za

-Melissa

Visiting Vergenoegd Wine Estate

vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate
vergenoegd wine estate

Our wine country here in the Cape is filled with history. The sad thing is that not everyone appreciates it or even honours it. I recently got around to visiting Vergenoegd Wine Estate and I was blown away by the experience and their respect for its history and buildings. The farm is filled with stories and activities for the whole family. But before I get into that, let us talk ducks!

The farm has almost 800 Indian Runner ducks that are let out every morning to graze on the snails and bugs that threaten the vineyards. The ducks are an eco-friendly solution for the farm and to be honest, they are possibly one of the cutest creatures I have ever seen! If you find yourself visiting the estate then I would recommend arriving  before 09:45 to see them go to work in their duck parade. Or catch them at the end of a hard day’s work at 15:30 daily! The sounds and sites of these feathered friends running into the vineyards is a must see! They are also part of the reason why Vergenoegd proudly carries the WWF biodiversity certificate.

The Estate is bustling with activities such as wine, coffee, tea and olive oil blending. I decided to opt for the olive oil blending as it was something different to what I’ve done before and I must admit that I was happy with my choice! Being educated on olive oils and the blends was fascinating! And the best part? I received a labelled bottle of my olive oil blend!

Sitting in the old buildings, I was able to take in the history of the Estate, and I think it is really special that they work so hard to preserve it. There is something to be said for those who honour the past and remember where they come from and I truly got that feeling at Vergenoegd!

The chef, Ryan Shell, has put together a picnic menu of epic proportions. Coming from a background of working with Chris Erasmus (one of my favourite chefs) I knew I was going to be blown away! With freshly baked bread and scrumptious salads, you can’t go wrong! Each picnic basket is accompanied with a fantastic bottle of Runner Duck wine. The white wine is crisp and fresh - the perfect pairing to a summer’s picnic! Booking is essential for all the activities on the farm and Vergenoegd ‘s site is also a hive of information! Give them a visit next time you want to wonder out to wine country! You will not be disappointed!

-Melissa

Cheese fondue at Delheim, Cape Town

Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim
Cheese fondue at delheim

There is something to be said for true friendship. I above all, value this the most. I often think to myself where would I be without my friends? I am sure you know what I am talking about. Those friends that you have that have stood by you when the chips were down, when you felt your life was falling apart or simply those friends that come over with a great bottle of wine, settle down and chat the night away with you. They know where you keep things in your kitchen because they are part of the furniture, even better, part of the family.

I must say I am a lucky girl and I count my blessings everyday when it comes to my friendships. 

I recently took a drive with one such friend and my family to a wine estate called Delheim. We chose this particular one because, cheese. Well more than cheese, a whole melting pot of cheese. Cheese fondue to be precise. Delheim does the cheese fondue on the weekend and I must admit, it’s the closest I have gotten to the real thing in South Africa. It’s fantastic and will leave you in a cheese coma. I mean how could it not be? It’s cheese. Again cheese. The other perk is their wine isn't too bad either, in fact, its award winning wine. 

So the scene is simply really, great company, melting cheese, fantastic wines, beautifully sweet desserts all the while with cool jazz playing in the background. 

It’s a winter thing and you will need to call and book but trust me, its worth it. If you can't get around to it, then here is an old family recipe of mine for cheese fondue.  


Serves: 6

Ingredients: 

  • 600 grams shredded cheese-I use ½ gruyere, ½ emmentaler,
  • 1 clove garlic, split
  • 1 ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 shots of kirsch
  • ground pepper and nutmeg to taste
  • 1 sour dough loaf cut into bite size pieces 
  • 300 grams of blanched mixed veg for the table, you can use broccoli, baby potato (cooked), cauliflower, rose tomatoes (raw) and carrots. 

Instructions:

Rub a heavy saucepan or heatproof clay fondue pot with the split garlic clove.  

Dissolve the cornstarch in the kirsch.

Put the cheese and wine into the pan and slowly bring to boil, stirring constantly. 

When the cheese is completely melted, add the kirsch and cornstarch mixture, stirring vigorously. 

Continue to cook. 

Season with pepper and nutmeg.

Serve over an alcohol lamp.  

The cooking should continue on a low heat.  

Stir constantly with small pieces of bread or veg speared on a fondue fork.

As a variety you can also only use Gruyere cheese only at different ripeness.

In Geneva three kinds of cheese are used; Gruyere, Emmentaler and a vaudois cheese. (a semi-hard cheese, whose unique flavour is a result of the addition of Chasselas wine and ageing with crushed walnuts.)  Then sautéed chopped morels (fresh or dried and pre-soaked) or diced tomatoes are added.

Fondue aficionados dunk their bread in kirsch before dipping in into the cheese.  Don’t forget: whoever loses his bread in the pan must pay for a round of beer or a bottle of wine.  If it happens to a lady she must kiss the man sitting next to her! 

-Melissa 

 

Source: www.thetrufflejournal.com/cheese-fondue-at-delheim-cape-town