For collection or delivery?

Due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, Stanford’s selection of fabulous restaurants have only been able to either home deliver your meal order, or, more recently, make your take-away order available for collection. And the senses cannot but be tempted with the delights and variations of fresh produce meals on offer. Not only that, Stanford’s gorgeous cool climate wine route has been littered with specials …

Table 13 – Pizza Delivery/Take-Aways – 082 344 7012

Jolly Rooster – Delivery/Take-Aways PLUS spirit range on days/times permitted – 076 320 3092

Mosaic Lagoon Lodge – Family size meal deliveries – 072 172 9545

Zesty Lemon – Delivery/Take-Aways – 082 405 1280

 

Misty Mountains Estate – Pizza Take-Aways PLUS gin and wine range on days/times permitted – info@mistymountains.co.za or 082 973 5943

Madre’s Restaurant – early morning coffee and other delicious treat take-aways from the restaurant stoep – 082 901 4254

Ou Meul – Take-Away Bootlegger Coffees, baked breads and other favourites – stanford@oumeul.co.za or 028 341 0101

Stanford Valley Farm Manor House Restaurant – Take-Away contemporary country meal, or make yourself at home anywhere on our 480-hectare farm for lunch with a view – info@stanfordvalley.co.za or 072 198 0862

The Tasting Room, Stanford Hills Estate – Take-Away morning coffee and breakfast and lunch menu including door to door flower delivery – 072 603 3521

Martin’s Deli – Martin’s Deli on the R43, Stanford remained open during lock-down as an essential food supplier offering Stanford locals ongoing supply of their favourite deli meats, spices, nuts, seeds and fresh produce, flowers and more from surrounding farm producers – 028 341 0337

Klein River Cheese – You can now order Klein River Cheese online for national delivery! www.kleinrivercheese.co.za or 028 341 0693

Food4Thought Community Project – Deliveries of Fresh Produce Boxes – 072 866 8685

 

Wine Estate specials in the Stanford area

Stanford Hills – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ cellar@stanfordhills.co.za or 072 603 3521

Walker Bay Estate and Birkenhead Brewery – Winery and Brewery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Currently running a promotional case special. Order @ admin@birkenhead.co.za or 028 341 0183

 

Raka Wine Estate – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ info@rakawine.co.z or visit www.rakashop.co.za

Lomond – Winery open Mon-Thurs 10-4pm. Also participated in virtual event 5-part series with Marine Big 5. Order @ info@lomond.co.za or visit https://www.lomond.co.za/shop/

Giant Periwinkle – Free deliveries nationwide and winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ info@giantperiwinkle or visit https://giantperiwinkle.co.za/order-wine

Welgesind Wine Estate – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Contact Chris @ 082 572 5856 or Amanda @ 082 536 0062

Misty Mountain Wine Estate – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ info@mistymountains.co.za

Vaalvlei Wines – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ info@vaalvlei.co.za

Springfontein Wine Estate – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ info@springfontein.co.za or https://www.springfontein.co.za/shop/

Boschrivier Wines – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ drnjtdevilliers@mweb.co.za or https://www.boschrivierwines.co.za/order/

Sir Robert Stanford Estate – Winery open Mon-Thurs 9-5pm. Order @ info@robertstanford.co.za

The Stanford Wine Route’s Harvest in Pictures

It’s #Harvest2020 time and the members of the Stanford Wine Route have been hard at work harvesting their yields to make more of the amazing cool climate wines visitors to our region have come to love.

Did you know that South Africa ranks 9th amongst the biggest wine producing countries in the world? (source) It goes without saying that wine tourism is an integral part of the South African Experience for visitors – and the 8 members of the Stanford Wine Route are certainly playing their part in delivering some innovative and award winning wines into the mix. Along with the wines themselves, tasting experiences coupled with country restaurants and kid-friendly facilities at many of the venues adds to the appeal of the still fledgling route, now entering its 5th year.

“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures.”

– Michael Broadbent, British wine writer (1927–)

Let’s take a peek behind the scenes at this year’s harvest via Instagram:

 

Come for the day, stay for the weekend, explore during school holidays or pool your leave for Christmas – it’s not a question of “if” you need to come stay and explore the Stanford Wine Route, but “when”. Cheers!

Do you have a favourite Stanford wine? Tag us on Facebook or Instagram the next time you open a bottle of Stanford’s best – #visitstanford

“With wine and hope, anything is possible.

– Spanish proverb

Find out more about the Stanford Wine Route < HERE >

 

 

 

Mead and the Medieval Feast

Stanford’s Home of Mead and the Harvest Kitchen celebrated the revelry of the Middle Ages

Noble knights and their lovely ladies descended upon Stanford Harvest on Friday, 27 July, for the launch of a ‘Meadieval’ Feast during the Blood Moon eclipse. The decor consisted of flags, shields and weapons, and long wooden tables decked with earthenware, goblets and candles. Outside, the fire pits, stocks and banners transformed the restaurant and surrounds into a magical, medieval setting filled with magic and excitement.

Going Medieval at Stanford Harvest

Young maidens welcomed the noble guests with song and dance on the lawns, whilst wandering minstrels serenaded the handsome crowd. All enjoyed the sunset whilst sipping Athol McOnie’s centuries-old, family recipe for Mead, described as the Drink of Gods.

The staff of Stanford Harvest together with Viv & Athol looked striking in their cloaks, masks, tights and hats. Raucous laughter could be heard as more people arrived, dressed in magnificent costumes, wearing crowns and jesters’ colourful, pointy hats. The mood for revelry was set!

And then the Vikings arrived! Outrageous and strapping men carrying long staffs with horns, and sexy warrior women, rolled in looking like they stepped off the set of Game of Thrones.

The Vikings arrived

Royal trumpet fanfare announced the arrival of King Peter & Queen Jami from Castle Herriot descent as they made their way to the top table, lording it over the wenches and lackeys.

Queen Jami and King Peter from Castle Herriott

Viv McOnie and her kitchen team spoilt everyone with a magnificent spread of four courses – most would gladly pay double for that meal. Athol kept the mead flowing, made from bee hives kept on the farm.

Belly dancer, Alyssa Bellingan, and troubadours, Jerry Fourie and John Gnodde, entertained throughout the evening. Guests took home prizes for best dressed, best morale, best cleavage, best limerick, scariest outfit and cutest couple.

Revelry and shenanigans

Stanford Harvest knows how to throw a bash that will live on in the memory books. Book now for birthdays, stag nights, bachelorette parties and end-of-year functions. The Stanford Harvest Team will work its magic to conjure up the most fun you can have in one place. Contact us on 083 409 8126

Words by Janet Marshall and Phil Murray

Watershed rocking the Hills

Watershed started their ‘short, and very sweet’ April Road Tour on the lawn of the Tasting Room at Stanford Hills Estate on Easter Sunday. Easter is traditionally a day spent with family; in my family, we don’t go beyond the garden perimeter which is scoured for chocolate in the early hours, and casually rescanned throughout the day for any escapee eggs. This year, Easter Sunday also fell on April Fools Day. These factors might have made a live performance, in the late afternoon, a fairly hard sell for a live concert. Was it all a joke? We know Sunday concerts work in Kirstenbosch, but life slows down when you come to Stanford, even more than it does when you pop out of the city bustle, and into the Mother City’s botanical gardens. And over the Easter long weekend, would anyone make it out of pyjamas by mid-afternoon in Stanford, let alone into a car and up to a wine farm with sugared-up kids?

Watershed frontman, Craig Hinds, admitted to being unsure whether a Sunday was going to work in Stanford. But luckily for us, it worked a charm and hoards of people turned up to listen to the dulcet tones of one of South Africa’s favourite acoustic bands that has been weaving magic since 2000. Bedouin tents provided shade as people lolled and lounged on picnic blankets and deckchairs, and kids cavorted on the jumping castle and paddled around the waterlily dam. It couldn’t have looked more idyllic – a ‘perfect day, with perfect people,’ Hinds called it. A neighbouring farmer pulled up in a tractor loaded with couches, kids perched on the top of the sturdy swing, and I hastened to spread out my blanky in one of the last remaining central spots. I quickly realised the reason why it was still available was because some early birds had marked out their spots with camping chairs, and were going to partially block my view. But my heart was filled with good vibes and an overriding sense of South African good will – nothing a gentleman’s Panama hat could obscure.

My goodwill faltered when I saw the length of the beer queue, but the peppy team of Stanford Hills barmaids made quick work of it, keeping my good mood intact. And the food trucks handled the crowds with ease, serving tornado-tatoes and other delicious festival-style food.

Watershed kicked off their performance with ‘Close my eyes’ – a solid favourite from the 2006 Mosaic album. Everyone was swept away with the melody, singing along and swaying to the familiar tune. The 1000 strong audience was made up of a delightful mixture of young and old, glamourous and casual,  and the band engaged warmly with the crowd, getting cheers from those from Hermanus, Cape Town, Stanford and even a contingent from the middle of the Free State.

The line-up included a sprinkling of original songs from all the Watershed albums, including Watch the Rain, My love is gone, Nothing about you is the same and Letters, glittering and perfect on a balmy afternoon. And as it was Easter Sunday, a pucker Watershed rendition of Leonard Cohen’s epic Hallelujah seemed fitting. A rhythmic cover of the Waterboys’ Fisherman’s Blues and Counting Crow’s Mr Jones nailed the brief as those audience members who came of age in the 90s sang along. A few couples were spotted busting out some langarm moves on the bank of the dam – always a good sign.

The variety of instruments from the bass and acoustic guitars, drum and violin to the ukelele, tambourine, and harmonica, along with resonant lyrics is what has earned Watershed wide respect and a loyal following across generations. Guest artist Renata Riedemann’s violin added a sound reminiscent of Irish moor mists as well as the jaunty sound of a fiddle. And they saved their first hit, Indigo Girl (2000) for last, delivering it loud and true to the fans. What a superb Sunday afternoon! Step aside Kirstenbosch Summer Concerts because Stanford Hills Estate delivers a top notch open air concert. And we have it on good authority that the team from the Hills is going to keep building their live music line-up, keeping it fresh, proudly South African and strictly full of good vibes.

Thank you to Stellenbrau, sponsors of this Watershed April Road Tour. The beer and the gees was lekker.

Words by Phil Murray

The Stanford River Festival 2018 – plenty of water in the Klein River

If you missed it last year, you’ll be happy to know that the Stanford River Festival is back, hosted in the beautiful village of Stanford by the Grootbos Foundation and the Stanford Canoe Club. The Klein River, while little, is full of water and ready to offer cool respite to our friends and family from the drier regions of the Western Cape. Come on down to the riverfront at the bottom of King Street from 16 – 18 March and join in the paddling fun.

The weekend will kick off with a cruise on the Friday at 17:00 to ‘blow out the cobwebs’ in preparation for the main action on the Saturday. Saturday offers events of 5km, 10km, 15km and guppy (juniors) races, open to all– SUPs, K1s, K2s, K3s, sea kayaks, Indian canoes, surf skis and guppies. Registration starts at 07:30 at the bottom of King Street.

2017 Stanford River Festival

The program includes a WCCU President’s Trophy event, in which a number of current and former Springbok canoeists take part and special categories for Surf Ski and SUP participants have been accommodated for.

2017 Stanford River Festival

The event will be supported by a selection of food stalls, a face painting stall to keep children entertained and a local craft beer and wine tent showcasing the local wines and beers of the region. A selection of covetable raffle prizes will be on offer. Be sure to enter for your chance to win. The support market offers plenty of fun, food and music for spectators so slap on some sun-cream, and come and lounge on the lush lawn of the Wandelpad while you cheer in the paddlers.

2017 Stanford River Festival

All proceeds of the event support the ‘Rock the Boat’ Stanford Canoe Development Academy which supports local children accessing the sport of canoeing. This programme has grown to include training three times a week and access to regional regattas.  Watch for the academy juniors participating in the races – you should recognize them by their turquoise T-shirts!

We look forward to seeing you all on the picturesque banks of the Klein River of the Stanford Village!

For further information, contact: Wilien Van Zyl, Stanford Canoeing Academy, Email: vanzylwilien@gmail.com

Or follow the event on Facebook here

Valentine’s plans

What’s cooking, good looking? Are you dazzling your date with a homecooked meal, making a homemade card, and decorating your lounge with tea lights and rose petals? For those of you who are all thumbs when it comes to crafts, more boerie-on-the-braai than fillet steak, and are about as romantic as a beige pair of secret socks, we have some suggestions to help you surprise your Valentine.

To book for a comedy evening with Mary Steward at the Tasting Room at Stanford Hills Estate, and enjoy this midweek Valentine’s Day with Date Night for the whole family, click here. A blackboard menu and local wines will put hearts in your eyes.

Feel like a romantic meal for just two people, in the restaurant or courtyard at Coffee Corner? Enjoy the welcome bubbly and 3 intimate courses click here.

An al fresco picnic basket packed with lovely treats and a waiter on hand as your recline on the bank of the lily pond will fill your heart with pleasure at Zesty Lemon at Sir Robert Stanford Estate. For more information or to book, click here

For something a little more on the wild side, why not book a special Valentine Sunset Visit at Panthera Africa and feel the deep rumbling roaring of the big cats at sunset? For more information or to book, click here.

Klein River Cheese has decided to stretch Valentine’s Day right from 14-17 February, so if a basket brimming with cheesey treats and a blanket thrown open on a lush lawn sounds like heaven to you, make sure you extend your Valentine time to include this.

You can pack your own picnic basket with charcuterie from Erwin or Martin’s Deli, mature cheeses from Klein River Cheese and buttery bakes from Ou Meul. The Fynbos Distillery sells delicious grappa-based liqueurs, and Stanford Harvest has a wine shop with beautifully labelled wines that will knock your socks off. The Stanford Wine Route has some specials so pop in to one of the 9 boutique farms and choose your favourite. Welgesind has a special offer on their Romanse Blanc de Noir and Boschrivier is offering a cheese platter and bottle of wine at a show-stopping price!

If fresh flowers are the best way to your Valentine’s heart, why not keep them local and ditch the long-stem roses? Fresh bunches of fynbos are available in the village from OK MiniMark and the Village Emporium. Ou Meul has some beautiful wild olive saplings for the gift that will bear fruit year after year. And for an exquisite orchid grown right here in Stanford at Eikenhoff Nursery, call Debra to make an appointment and surprise your love with one of these beauties!

Antjie’s Handmade Naturals are available from the shop on the stoep of the Stanford Hotel – sprinkle some of the Rose Geranium bath salts into a semi-shallow waterwise bath, balance a glass of Cap Classique from one of the local Stanford Wine Route farms on the edge of the bath, and let the evening follow its own path.

And if you are single, footloose and fancy-free this Valentine’s Day, we strongly recommend the bath with bubbly anyway!

Words by Phil Murray, Stanford Tourism 028 341 0340

Having lunch at Havercroft’s

If you like the idea of a sitdown Sunday lunch, soaking up winter sunbeams outside in a sunny courtyard, or inside next to the crackling fireplace, then Havercroft’s is the perfect cottage restaurant to be. The simple white-washed walls and cotton table cloths, with unpretentious clay water jugs, and even a bit of peely paint, allow guests to linger and feel quite at home. Innes welcomes guests in her brusque but warm way, throwing a few jokes and witty comments their way to make sure they unwind and loosen their collars. Havercroft’s is about good food, relaxed chatter, loud laughter and warmth, and Innes’ unique brand of humour and sarcasm is meant to put people at ease. She proclaims she is an unwilling waitress but she is attentive and alert, topping up every sipped wine glass and drained water jug. Her anecdotes and impromptu poetry performances make her part of the experience as she works the floor effortlessly.

The chalk board menu is short and simple, but don’t assume that will make your choice any easier. Innes says she has not been able to take the starter of Devilled Lamb Kidneys off the menu in 15 years so we had to try them. The kidneys kickstarted the meal with a clout of red wine and paprika, served on a crispy, savoury  rosti of potato and parsley – packed with flavour and a sensory mixture of textures. We also ordered the creamy cauliflower soup which came with nubs of strong blue cheese and buttery cheese straws shaped like paddles, perfect for swirling through the velvety velouté!

The main course was equally difficult to choose so we settled on trying the Chicken Ballotine and the Pork Belly. The chicken was soft and tender, and the stuffing – sweet and savoury with onions, garlic and dates. A pomme dauphine of choux and mashed potato whipped together to form a quenelle was served along with a mustard cream sauce – quite exquisite! The belly of pork was an enormously generous serving, served with  nutty lentils, winter veggies, beetroot and apple chutney, and two spears of flawless crackling – a sensory experience.

We were certainly sated after mains but it is not every day one gets to eat Brydon’s food, so we put good manners aside and dived into the chocolate brownie with vanilla ice-cream and nutty brittle sprinkles. It made us sigh with pleasure.

Brydon packs full flavour into every dish. He and Innes work hard and are proud of their cottage restaurant. They share their best food, favourite local wines and their energy with their guests, and the experience of eating at Havercroft’s is an intimate one. People leave with bellies full of great food, and warm chuckles.

 

By Phil Murray

 

Winter Long Table at Beloftebos

The Winter Long Table and Wine Pairing at Beloftebos was a magical night that saw 150 guests seated under twinkling lights, enjoying an elegant meal that was full of surprises. The rain beat down on the soft top of the ivory bedouin tent while the wind battered the wall of glass windows reminiscent of London’s Crystal Palace at the turn of the last century. Sparks flew from crackling braziers creating a natural fireworks display in oak tree garden, and inside, guests were toasty and relaxed, warmed by the enormous fireplace, gas heaters and smooth local wines.

Chef Corneli pulled out all the stops as guests were greeted at sundown with glasses of Hermanuspietersfontein Bloos, Raka Sauvignon Blanc and trays of canapes around the braziers. Smoked salmon served on cucumber discs, bobotie springrolls, and amuse bouches of braised beef got the juices flowing before guests were invited inside to a table cleverly laid with bite-sized roosterkoek, Klein River cheeses, local honey and preserves.

Three long tables of raw sanded wood were simply set with an array of simple vases and fynbos, and guests slowly found their way to their places, each lovingly labelled by hand with a simple sprig of rosemary. Andries de Villiers welcomed everyone in his warm, relaxed and cheerful manner, thanking his wife and the close family team at Beloftebos. The local Stanford Mill cut all the local wood for the venue renovation, while Grant Anderson helped with the architectural drawings. Beloftebos is now an all-weather venue which can comfortably accommodate weddings, conferences, and parties all year round.

And you feel like family when you go to Beloftebos. The venue and decor has captured country chic at its best without any rustic stumblings and rusty excuses. The sense of simplicity and beauty is visible everywhere from the outdoor and indoor lighting and garden pathways, to the bathrooms. The warm easy smiles and laughter of the staff, and comfortable couches put everyone at ease. The band played an excellent line-up of fresh covers, and the vocals and harmonica added quality to the two guitars.

Four courses which cleverly mixed salty, sweet and savoury tastes of modern South African cuisine showed off the wines, grown by neighbours and friends of the de Villiers family, Hermanuspieterfontein and Raka. The guinea fowl risotto was a first for many, while the orange and ginger glazed and roasted patats were a triumph in themselves. The snoek samoosas would have impressed Marco Pierre White himself, but Chef Corneli had one more surprise for everyone after the 4th plated course. Wooden boards laden with little espresso cups of Crème brûlée with glazed oranges and chocolate brownies were set down the middle of the tables and completely stole the show!

The Winter Long Table and Wine Pairing was an utterly delightful evening filled with sensory spoils. Beloftebos is the perfect venue for all seasons.

 

by Phil Murray

 

Lunch with Neill Anthony

Neill Anthony breezed into Stanford, cool as a cucumber. His casual T-shirt and jeans, and easy smile made him seem right at home at Haesfarm in the creative home of architect Harry Poortman and Steyn Jacobs. Guests were greeted by the cat on the driveway before gathering on the lawn which overlooks the Klein River Mountains and the Stanford valley. Harry and Steyn kept the champagne flutes filled with Wildekrans MCC as the small group made our introductions, got to know each other, and played with the dog, Ginger.

champagne-small

Haesfarm

And then it was time for us to go inside. The bright spaces inside the crisp and yet comfortable home are quite breathtaking as enormous glass windows show off the best views of the valley. The seams between inside and outside are barely there as wood, mortar and glass blend into the fynbos. The understated art collection and modern house music played by djtessprins instantly captured the imagination of the guests, as we chose our seats at the tables set with tall glass beakers of fresh spring water flavoured with springs of rosemary and fresh ginger root. This was not going to be an intimate lunch for couples, but rather an experience shared by a group of relative strangers who found ourselves caught in an incredible moment. Our excited smiles gave away how thrilled we all were to be there, despite the effort everyone had made to dress down, wear sandals and tousle our hairstyles.

the-crowd

Harry and Steyn’s home

Chef Neill’s menu was a line-up of eleven courses! How does anyone really eat eleven courses? Well, I’ll tell you how…with relish! We were in for a treat in which our senses would be indulged. From the get-go, we were put at ease when the first course to be served arrived on the tables. It was announced as the bread course, and wasn’t even on the menu. Crusty hunks of warm sour dough bread were placed on the table alongside frying pans of nut brown butter and wild sage. Usually a sneaky treat reserved only for the cook in the house, we were encouraged to break off pieces of bread and dunk them into the melted herby butter. There is no way one can do this with a knife and fork, or remain elegant, so we rolled up our sleeves, dunked with gusto and relaxed for the rest of the adventure.

The second course arrived in little nests of marjoram and wild flower petals. Crispy slim cigars of phyllo pastry filled with cool, nutty humus and fragranced with cumin were the second cutlery-free course. We were getting the hang of the meal, and getting into the spirit of sharing, laughing and delighting in the show that Chef Neill had cooked up, which stimulated not just the sense of sight, but also of smell and taste.

cigars-small

Chickpea cigars

Neill’s third course was called Tuna Taco. While this sounds like an understated name, the course showed off great ingredients, and great ideas. This plated course was delicate and witty, playing on our misconceptions of what Mexican food looks like. The raw, semi-translucent tuna was placed on and inside miniature tacos, next to plump dollops of silky avocado and funky chipotle mayo – no grated cheese or lumpy guacamole in sight! Messy Mexican became modern in the hands of Neill Anthony, and the Hermanuspietersfontein Bartho Sauvignon blanc/ semillion blend, with its smokey minerality was a delicious compliment to the fish. Make no mistake, we all licked our fingers and mopped up every smudge of taste from our plates.

Tuna

Tuna

Yellowtail

Yellowtail

Course number 4 was Cured Yellowtail. This was a triumph of flavours from bold, sharp fish and sweet red onions to brilliantly green yet nutty broad beans and punchy aubergine puree perked up with sumac. I did not think this taste sensation could be beaten, not even by this private chef who was clearly on a roll, and I was torn between tasting each individual flavour independently or together, as a symphony. Springfontein Terroir Selection Chenin Blanc 2012 was the perfect accompaniment.

Plate number 5 was an enticing plate of emerald broccoli puree and a decadently crispy, nutty ever-so-slightly salted sprout of tempura broccoli sprinkled with miso crumbs. The miso crumbs were a knock out, and transformed the green earthy flavours into something exotic and Asian.

broccoli-small

Tempura broccoli

DJTess got a giggle when she said she would match her music to each course, but she seemed to pull off some kind of wonderful magic. Her cool house tunes skipped seamlessly from sounds reminiscent of the pings of underwater submarines to the whirring of wind and keening of whales, all to the rhythm of chic city loft parties.

djtessprins

djtessprins

The next plate arrived looking like a party on a plate. Smoked ham was shredded and served with gently boiled quale eggs, pea puree, jewels of roughly chopped peas, grain mustard and a confetti of pink and white corn flowers. The pork was deeply and decadently smoked and salty, and yet the slightly sour taste of the flowers were a perfect match. Another perfect match was the smooth plummy Walker Bay Amesteca 2015 with its lingering cigar box flavour.

Chef Neill Anthony

Chef Neill Anthony

ham-small

Smoked ham

Course number seven made us sit up and rethink some traditional dishes. Chef Neill served mixed grains which included lentils and barley with mushroom ketchup and parmesan chips, a generous sprinkling of salty grated parmesan and purple flowers. A wonderful nuttiness filled our mouths and noses, and the textures and richness outstripped even the most authentic risotto. And that mushroom ketchup far surpassed tomato ketchup as we know it. Neil explained that mushroom ketchup actually precedes tomato sauces and has partially fallen out of modern consciousness…well, not any more. The mixture of earthy mushroom with acidic vinegar, salt and sugar made this a truly exciting relish to accompany this clever course.

grains-small

Mixed grains

The quail was served like a Jackson Pollock painting on a plate of cobalt blue. Slivers of kolrabi, turnipy in taste, and hazel nuts joined an avalanche of olive oil snow which turned the meaty, almost sweet roasted quail into a heady treat. The bitter celeriac puree, sweet roasted celeriac and sour wild sorrel meant that every taste note was on the plate. And the olive oil snow was as exciting as the first snow fall before Christmas. What a fun dish this was to eat.

quail-small

Quail

harry-pouring-wine-smallThe nineth course was a brainteaser. It looked like a dessert but smelt like baked potatoes. The delicate sea bass and crispy skin which smacked of the minerals of the sea were placed on a light creamy pillow of baked potato puree, spicey tomato fondu, sprinkled with savoury potato skin dust and a bloom of blue cornflowers. Chef Neill had only just begun to show us the diversity of his tricks and kitchen gadgets, and his syphon gun was a show stopper. Springfontein Daredevil Drum Chardonnay Juices Untamed accompanied this magic act perfectly.

sea-bass-small

Sea bass

Chef Neill then served a little surprise called Carrot. This simple plate showed off a sweet and mellow sticky roasted carrot in a carrot and orange sauce with paper thin slices of black radish. This whimsical dish redefined carrot as simultaneously sweet and also savoury, reminiscent of the sweetness of peanut brittle but with a gentle warm spiciness from the radish. It would have been impolite to lick our plates, but everyone found a discreet way to slurp up as much of that delicious golden sauce.

Carrot

Carrot

intercourse-stretch-small

Overlooking Stanford Valley

Course eleven was rich shredded beef cheek, grilled nutty and bitter cauliflower, sweetly roasted onion and a sharp, fiery herbaceous relish of parsley, capers and chilli. The relish cut through the deep indulgence of the beef cheek perfectly and the little wedge of sweet, irony beetroot heightened the taste experience.

beef-cheek-small

Beef cheek

Chef Neill was not yet finished as he charged his syphon gun for the ginger Espuma with honeycomb. This course was a show in itself, served in rock ‘n roll bowls which danced on the table. The cloud of light creamy foam which pulsed with the heat of fresh root ginger, and the sweet shards of honeycomb had everyone speechless with wonder. What a triumph, just when we thought we could not eat another thing.

ginger-pudding-small

Ginger espuma

Next up: almond olive oil cake which was aerated by the syphon gun before being cooked and served with dollops of tart, buttery yellow lemon curd and a caramelised pear. By this stage, guests were requesting extra lashings of the lemon curd, unable to resist the hedonism of the food.

Almond and olive oil cake

Almond and olive oil cake

And finally, the fourteenth course was a perfectly neat square of baked custard served with a sweet and heady nectarine poached in rose geranium syrup and served with fresh flowers and cream. This visually striking course, packed with flavour and scent made a perfect finale to a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Baked custard

Baked custard

intercourse-view-small

The view from the balcony

Fynbos Distillery grappa

Fynbos Distillery grappa

Sir Robert Stanford Fynbos Distillery brought a selection of grappa-based liqueurs to round off the modern, country chic South African Sunday. The food, wine, music and view made this a series of magical moments stolen out of real life. Harry and Steyn made everyone feel truly welcome in their own home and we all knew exactly what they meant when they said, ‘We know everyone thinks we are crazy, but we like to do crazy things in spectacular places.’ What a perfect day to be able to share with them, Chef Neill Anthony and Jeanae, and what a stellar showcase of local talent and local flavours.

Words by Phil Murray

Chef Neill Anthony

Chef Neill Anthony

Winter Wonder Winelands in Stanford

The Stanford Wine Route was recently launched, and there is no shortage of wines and entertainment on this fantastic little route. There are 8 wine farms on this route, and while they are close enough together to complete in one go, I would really recommend taking more time! I recently took the opportunity to explore the different wine farms on this route to see how they are in winter. Many of the wine farms have wonderful welcoming log fires, pleasant restaurants and spectacular views, and there are lots to do for kids on some of these wonderful farms. I’m certainly not a wine connoisseur, but it was definitely an experience to taste some of the outstanding wines that are made in this region! Here I discuss the estates and what they have to offer in the order in which I visited them over a period of two days.

Boschrivier Wine EstateBoschrivier compile

Set at the foot of the Klein River Mountain range and about 17 km from Stanford on the R326, this picturesque wine estate belongs to Dr NJT De Villiers and his family. The estate bottles between 5 000 and 6 000 bottles per season. 6 Hectares are used for Cabernet, and 3 hectares of Shiraz is grown on some of the finest terroirs in the area. Wine consultant Mike Dobrovic and his able support team ensure that the grapes are always of the highest quality and that Boschrivier is a true competitor in the Overberg wine industry. This relaxing wine farm also provides a restored charming, luxurious 4-bedroom farmhouse with a spacious stoep from where the surrounding vistas can be taken in with a glass of Boschrivier Shiraz, while soaking up the stunning Overberg winter sunset.

What we loved: The small home kitchen provides outstanding toasted sandwiches and is the perfect place to stop for a rest. The shop sells crafts, jams and other produce home made by the local residents, and these are all top notch! The spacious yet cosy farmhouse is the perfect place for a luxurious country winter break with the family.

Raka WinesRaka Wine Farm

About 14 kilometres outside Stanford you will find the statuesque Raka wine estate.  Here, 16 different wines are created from 70 hectares of vines. The farm is a huge 600 hectares but they also plant wheat and other produce here. Piet Dreyer’s first love is the sea, and when he bought this farm he named it after his black fishing vessel. Now, his son, Josef Dreyer, is the winemaker, and he has made some serious inroads in the wine making industry over the last few years. I tasted five of the wines which included the 2 flagship wines – the Bordeaux and the Shiraz. With prizes being awarded and a mention in the Platters 2016 wine guide, these are some of the best wines on the route. The estate itself is picturesque and welcoming, and even though there is no restaurant here, it is possible to purchase a range of snacks and nuts to go with the wine tasting.

What we loved:  The place is beautiful and views of the vineyards nestled in the value are charming. Melanie, the hostess, is super friendly and knowledgeable about the wine and the estate, and her wine tasting was enjoyable and interesting. The wines are also superb!

Walker Bay WineWalker Bay

Walker Bay Wine Estate is situated at the beautiful Birkenhead Brewery, and here I was lucky enough to be given a personal wine tour and tasting by Reinhard Odendaal, the winemaker. In addition to the tasty beer created here at the brewery, they also produce 5 outstanding reds and 3 white wines, and I believe they now have a bubbly in the pipeline, which I’m looking forward to! I found it very interesting to learn how the different wine making methods and the different yeasts they use create exceptional flavours and textures in the wine, and I had a chance to taste wine from the tanks in various stages of maturation. I was fascinated to learn that a Merlot could be stressed or relaxed! Reinhard believes in drinking his Cabernet only after 5 – 6 years, whereas other winemakers tend to sip and sell them earlier. I tend to agree with Reinhard.

What we loved: While the wine is great, you should also do a beer tasting for some exceptional artisanal tastes. Birkenhead has a lovely bar with a huge fireplace – perfect for winter! They also serve a basic bar menu with delicious food which is reasonably priced, and if it is sunny enough it is a pleasure to dine outside to admire the magnificent views while the kids run about.

Springfontein Wine EstateSpringfontein Wine Estate

A wine tasting in Stanford is simply not complete without a visit to Springfontein! Dr Johst Weber started out here with virgin soil in 1994, and realised his dream of creating a wine estate that involved, in his own words, “a combination of nature and human craftsmanship”.  Here, the wine is matured in Hungarian, French or American wood barrels, and the elegant flavours developed here are something to behold. Only 28 hectares of vines are planted, and these grapes are minded and pressed with all the love in the world to create wines that are truly exceptional. Winemaker Tariro Masayiti hails from Zimbabwe and is one of the jewels in Springfontein’s crown – his passion for winemaking is intoxicating and evident in everything he does – and it shows in the bottles produced at this wine estate! Many of the wines are imaginatively titled by Jennifer Weber, the marketing Director and co-owner, and the names echo her and Johst’s love for rock music. Here you can find the ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ and a ‘Whole Lotta Love’ in a bottle!

But Springfontein is not just known for fascinating wines. Springfontein Eats is a gastronomic experience on a grand scale, and if you are a fan of locavore food, with a hint of molecular gastronomy and fascinating imported wines, this is the place to eat! Then there is also the informal Springfontein Barn where they host wine tastings and serve hearty German fare or cheese platters in front of a crackling fire in the cosy, rustic barn. Simply divine for winter!

What we loved: The fine food and wonderful country atmosphere of the Barn is hard to beat on a cold winter’s day. They also have stunning cottages that have been lovingly renovated with all the mod-cons and romantic fireplaces for the perfect winter country break. And the food rocks!

Sir Robert StanfordRobert Stanford

With about 120 hectares of vines, this is one of the biggest wine estates in the Overberg, and is also a biodiversity site. Here you will find 4 Cutters Cove and 2 Sir Robert Stanford wines, and these are created off-site by the expert winemakers at Kleine Zalze Wine Estate. Their market is mainly local, and is a firm favourite amongst visitors and locals alike. Named after Sir Robert Stanford who founded the village of Stanford, this estate has a long history and manages to produce inviting flavours from their excellent terroir. For those who are hungry, their Royal Oke restaurant next to the tasting room is the perfect place to enjoy fabulous family country fare in a stunning setting. There is also plenty of space and a playpark for the kids. The Grappa distillery stokes an interesting range of Grappa and Witblits, and a visit to this wine estate would not be completed without a Stokehouse tasting. At the large gated entrance of the estate you can also find the brightly coloured candy-striped Padstal, a farm stall that stocks everything from biltong to home-made produce, as well as organic vegetables from the estate and locally-grown fruit.

What we loved: This is a great place for kids! Lots of space to run around, a pond, ducks, fish, trampoline, and wonderful food for old and young. Kids can learn to squeeze their own orange juice up the road at Die Padstal. For adults there is a roaring outside fire, a cosy seating area and the Grappa is the Greatest!

Vaalvlei Vaalvlei compile

When the Terblanche family moved here to purchase this small estate in 2005, they quickly realised how special the varied soils on the farm were. As a result they were able to produce some outstanding white and red varietals that are more classic than modern. Vaalvlei, the smallest wine estate on the route, it consists of only 3 hectares, which gives the wine made here a real boutique feel. Only 2000 bottles of white and 3000 bottles of Shiraz are produced by Naas Terblanche, and they are the only wine farm on the route that produces their own version of Port – which is special indeed! The rest of the farm is dedicated to the two cottages and numerous fly fishing dams where guests can angle for bass and trout. Naas is an avid student of frogs and is the resident expert on all the species of frogs that can be found in the area. He also knows practically everything about the endangered Western Leopard Toad and other rare species of Western Cape.

What we loved: The port is exceptional in winter! And do take the time to go through the fascinating presentation about the frogs in the area – it includes clear photos, frog call sounds and lots of interesting information. Kids love it. Vaalvlei has two rustic farm cottages for guests and their pets, and if you are looking for a rural country getaway with some fishing, country vibes and good wine, this is the place to be. In addition to this there is also a wonderful variety of Bonsai trees that are for sale.

Misty Mountainsmisty mountains compile

Set on the R43 between Hermanus and Stanford, Misty Mountains is 46 hectare estate produces about 5 hectares of grapes, and most of the rest is dedicated to olives and also honey. All the reds are created in French Oak barrels, and the rich, mature taste appeals to the huge Chinese market to which most of these are exported. Other wines like the Sauvignon Blanc are very popular with the UK market. Tastings are free and done in a spacious and stylish tasting room/ladies bar by the estate manager Robert Davis, and delicious cheese platters are for sale to go along with the tasting. Winemaker Neil Patterson ensures that all the wines coming from this estate are well balanced and creates a delicious French style Rosé – it is light in colour with a fruity nose, yet divinely dry. They are currently working on producing their first MCC which is very exciting.  You will also find a variety of olives for sale here, and the honey from this estate is out of this world!

What we loved: They create a very unique product called Vino Cotto, which is basically a concentrated grape reduction with the most distinctive flavour! It can be used in savoury or sweet dishes, as a cordial, in cocktails, for marinades and salad dressings, and it is so popular that they simply cannot keep up with demand. Get your hands on a bottle if you can!

Stanford Hills Wine FarmStanford hills compile

Stanford Hills was well known for excellent Jacksons Pinotage which was initially made in small quantities, but since Peter and Jami Kastner bought it, this estate has grown exponentially to produce more award winning stuff. They now make an additional two whites, an excellent rosé, a saucy Shiraz and a firm local favourite – the Veldfire range under the Stanford Hills label. They have also recently come up with the most fabulous MCC, which my friends fondly describe as ‘biscuity’. A tasting here takes place in the Tasting Room, which was initially just a small little tasting area but has exploded over the last 3 years to become one of the most popular eating spots around. It is immensely family friendly, and on cold winter days warm fires provide a cosy atmosphere in the basic but very comfortable restaurant. The magnificent views are very hard to beat, and during the autumn and early winter there are often one or two hand-fed orphan lambs running around, and bottle feeding them brings great joy to any city kid. The outstanding wine, together with great food, happy kids and a warm and welcoming atmosphere makes this one of the best seasonal wine locations. There are also several rustic cottages and a magnificent manor house to choose from for the perfect, romantic midwinter break. And they grow the most awesome Proteas for export and the local market.

What we love: One of the best wine farms around for children during the winter. A well-equipped play park, super hiking trails, horse riding, rowing on the dam, lots of space, great views, kid-friendly menu, good food, roaring fires and great wine all help to keep everyone superbly satisfied. And the very friendly, hands-on hosts and staff are delightful!

The Stanford wine Route is popular all year round, and it is really worth a visit any time you are in the Overberg!