Monday, 28 January 2013

Grape stomping: always a firm favourite during harvest
Grape stomping: always a firm favourite during harvest

I am a huge fan of this time of year...Harvest Season! And if you are in the Western Cape there is plenty to keep you busy! Here is an article I found to keep you in the loop...


Stellenbosch Wine Festival celebrates harvest

25 January – 3 February
The Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Route will be kicking off harvest season with the Stellenbosch Wine Festival. The festival will start with a Blessing of the Harvest and a Harvest Parade on Saturday, 26 January. Enjoy watching the farm workers parade the streets with their tractors and farm animals. There will also be church services across town to bless the harvest.
Over 150 wineries will be taking part! Estate restaurants will be offering wine and food pairing menus, unique tours and tasting programmes as a part of the festival’s “Wine & Dine” sensation. Other offerings include the inaugural charity gala, a ten-day promotion at many of the restaurants, special cultivar evenings and wine farm tours. Throughout the festival the town will be hosting events, art exhibitions and musical concerts.
The Wine Expo will take place from the 1st to 3rd February on Die Braak, the grassy town centre of Stellenbosch, with over 130 wine and gourmet food producers participating.
For more information on individual farm offerings, visit: or phone (021) 886-4310.

Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration

3 March
Families enjoy Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration
Families enjoy Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration
Laid-back weekend vibes meet family fun on the farm at Eikendal’s Weintaufe Harvest Celebration. Eikendal is known for its fine Chardonnay and superb flagship reds and visitors will get to taste the cellar’s first wine of the 2013 harvest – straight from the barrel, after the baptism of the new wine. Other attractions include live music, craft stalls, lucky draws, vineyard tractor rides, fly fishing, barrel stomping, pony rides and lots of activities for the little ones.
Delicious food and wine will be on sale, so bring your friends, family and picnic blanket and claim your spot at the water’s edge for the perfect ending to your weekend.
Tickets cost R60 per person (includes a complimentary glass and barrel tasting of the 2013 Chardonnay for adults), children under the age of 12 get in for free. Tickets available on the farm from now or at the gates on the day. Event starts at 10h00.
For more info phone (021) 855-1422 or email

Muratie Harvest Festival

23 February
Muratie celebrates harvest with a family event that includes good food, fine wine, great company, live music, and lots of fun stomping the newly harvested grapes, all starting at 11h30. From 14h30 enjoy music, antics and comedy by The Rites (who offer something for everyone).
There is no entrance fee, plus visitors receive a complimentary glass of wine on arrival. Wine (by the glass or bottle) and cold drinks will be on sale as well as food from Muratie’s delicious new summer menu. Hamburgers and cheese platters will also be available. A vertical wine tasting for 20x people will be on offer at 12h00 at R50 per head.
For further information or to pre-book any of the above events, contact Thalia Alberts on (021) 865-2330 or


Feast of the Grape

2 – 3 March
Harvesting the bounty of the vineyards is regarded as one of the most important moments in the making of good wine.  Wineries from the Durbanville Wine Valley celebrate the harvest season at its annual Feast of the Grape, which takes place at the Durbanville Race Course over the weekend of 2nd and 3rd March from 12pm to 5pm daily.  This event marks the end of the grape harvest and the arrival of autumn with a weekend feast filled with an array of activities and an abundance of seasonal wines to taste.
This festival offers visitors the complete package. Old school games will keep young and old entertained throughout the day, and kids can look forward to a jumping castle, face painting and so much more. Adults can sip and sample superb wines from the 11 wineries on show. Try your hand at grape stomping, milking a dairy cow, be amazed at the latest and greatest on offer at the tractor exhibition or simply browse the stalls for delectable local produce on offer. Local restaurants will ensure you’re kept well fed throughout the day.
Tickets cost R100 for adults and R50 for children, which can be booked directly through Your ticket allows you access to the venue, as well as a complimentary tasting glass and tasting coupons. Additional coupons can be purchased throughout the day.
For more information visit or phone 083 310 1228.


Hanepoot grape picking at De Krans

13 February – 10 March
Grape picking
Grape picking
De Krans Wine Cellar will once again offer visitors the opportunity to pick deliciously sweet Hanepoot grapes. This experience can be enjoyed every day (except Sundays) from 08h00 until 16h00 during the above mentioned dates. Grapes cost R5.40/kg and visitors are welcome to bring their own containers. Containers can also be purchased at De Krans. The Vygieshof Home for the Aged will be offering delicious braaivleis meals on Wednesdays and Saturdays, between 11h00 and 14h00 (booking is essential). You will also have the opportunity to sample De Krans’ range of award-winning wines (such as their Cape Tawny Port and Pink Port).
For bookings and further enquiries contact Helet or Bessie at the farm on (044) 213-3314 or e-mail


Hands-On-Harvest in the Robertson Wine Valley

22-24 February
Harvest market at Robertson's Hands-On-Harvest
Harvest market at Robertson’s Hands-On-Harvest
The fourth Hands-On-Harvest Festival offers visitors a chance to partake in: grape picking, bunch sorting, stomping your own grapes, grape vs. wine tasting, a harvest market, vineyard tractor trips, a wine blending experience, wine tasting by horse cart‚. and  much more. The group sizes for activities are kept small to ensure that you have the very best hands-on experience. All activities need to be pre-booked by 20 February. We suggest that you visit Robertson for the weekend and book as many activities as you can – there are so many exciting things to do, you don’t want to miss out. Check out the extensive program here.
For bookings and more information you can phone (023) 626 3167 or visit


Grande Provence Harvest Festival

23 February
The day, which promises a great deal of fun and laughter, starts at 09h00 with coffee and fresh muffins followed by a tractor ride to the vineyard for grape picking. At 10h30 arrive back to the cellar for a short tour, wine tasting and a talk by the winegrower. This is followed by the fun part – stomping the grapes in the barrels, with a hose down of your feet afterwards! From 11h15 gather in the garden under the old oak tree for a scrumptious braai, accompanied by live musical entertainment.
Cost for the day is R295 per adult & R130 for children under 12. Included in the price, is one bottle of Angels Tears wine per adult, to be collected from the event organiser on your departure. The Harvest Festival is highly recommended as a excellent team building activity, special rates will be given to groups of 10 guests or more.
For more info or to book contact Nicole on (021) 876- 8600 or

ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees

23 March
Celebration time at Franschhoek's Oesfees
Celebration time at Franschhoek’s Oesfees
The ATKV Franschhoek Oesfees at Solms-Delta Wine Estate, now in its sixth year, is one of the highlight events of the winelands. The festival gives thanks for the end of the wine harvest and celebrates the real music and culture of the Boland, with rural music, lekker Kaapsekos and good cheer.
Artists who will be performing include Mango Groove’s Claire Johnston, Emo Adams, Die Heuwels Fantasties, Radio Kalahari Orkes, Hot Water, Tribal Echo, Tidal Waves, Hannes Coetzee and Valiant Swart and Solms-Delta’s very own musicians, the talented performers from the Music van de Caab project.
Kaapsekos favourites like chicken breyani, venison pie, beef afval curry and Cape-style braaivleis will be on sale with Solms-Delta wines.A kiddies area will host carnival games, a circus craft table, face painting, balloon animals and many more.
Tickets cost R95 for early birds during January, R120 per person if pre-booked at the farm or online from or on Pre-booking is strongly advised to avoid disappointment. A limited number of tickets will be available at the gate for R140. R20 for Children under 12 years, which includes access to the kiddie’s area. Tickets exclude food and beverage coupons, which are available for purchase at the event.
For more info visit, phone (021) 874-3937 or email


Darling Cellars Crush Day

2 March
Typical of harvest, the best time to be busy is before the heat sets in. Arrive at 7am for a breakfast of local breads, cheeses and jams. Take a tractor-ride into the vineyards where you can hand-pick your own grapes and then onto the fun part: grape stomping. The fun doesn’t stop here! Get the creative juices flowing in the label design competition. After all that hard work enjoy a Traditional West Coast Seafood Potjie or Chicken Sosaties. And don’t forget to taste the existing wines on the farm.
Tickets: Adults R220 p/p, Teenagers (13 -17) R150 p/p, Children (12 & under) R80 p/p.


Paarl OmmiBerg ‘Round the Rock’ Festival

9 March
Kick off your sandals and hike up your shorts for the unfiltered wine fest around the Paarl rock in celebration of harvest.  Grab a partner and stomp your way through a half-barrel filled with grapes, taste sweet juice in various stages of pre-wine fermentation, and chomp your way through a crisp ciabata filled with soft cheeses and deli-style meats.
Lie in the shade while tapping your foot to the tunes of a live band. Try your hand at a master class, or sample some gourmet pairings at Nederburg, the official home of MasterChef SA.
Kids’ attractions will include jumping castles and slip n slides, face painting and pony rides, with tasty child-friendly treats to eat from hotdogs to freshly picked grapes.
Pre-paid tickets cost R80 from, or R100 at the gate. Included in the price is access to live bands, a wine tasting glass, part-fermented wine, and Zweibelk├╝chen or onion tart where available from participating estates. Accompanied minors enter for free, while special events such as master class tastings should be booked in advance, and are payable separately.
For more info and a list of participating farms visit, email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or phone Annelize Stroebel on 082 787 4118.


Wellington Wine Harvest Festival

16 -17 March (tbc)
Wellington celebrates the bounty of their harvest with the 7th Wine Harvest Festival. Spend the day or better yet make a wine-filled weekend of it with family and friends. You can book your accommodation for the weekend here. The full programme and list of participating farms has not yet been confirmed but keep a close eye on the festival’s website for the latest developments.
Visit, email or phone (021) 864-2479.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

  1/4 cup sesame oil
  2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  640g fresh tuna
1/4 cup finely chopped coriander
1 teaspoon finely chopped chilli
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 tablespoon finely chopped spring onion (usually 3 whole ones)
1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice, plus half a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tomato—peeled, seeded and cut into small dices
1 avo, finely chopped. (optional)
Micro greens
Soya Sauce
Melba toast
  1. In a bowl, combine the sesame oil and ginger and let stand at room temperature for at least 2 hours. Strain the oil.
  2. With a very sharp knife, cut the tuna into small dices. In a large bowl, combine the tuna with 2 tablespoons of the ginger oil, 3 tablespoons of the coriander and the chilli sesame seeds, spring onion and lemon juice. Mix gently and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Stand a small round mold or a biscuit cutter in the center of a salad plate. Fill the mold with tuna tartare, pressing gently. Lift off the mold. (or use the bottom of a whiskey tumbler-fill with mixture and turn out on a plate) Repeat with the remaining tartare.
  4. Drizzle the remaining ginger oil around each tartare and sprinkle with the tomato, the remaining tablespoon of coriander, micro greens and a squeeze of lemon juice. Spoon a layer of the diced avo over the top. Serve immediately. I like to serve the soya sauce on the side and some crunchy melba toast from woolies!

    Goes down a treat with a crisp Sauvignon Blanc- I served this with the Steenberg 'Rattlesnake' 2012

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

 I am more than a bit obsessed with quinoa. 

So you can imagine my shock and surprise that something BETTER and HEALTHIER exists. Wait for it... Introducing the hot new super food...


Freekeh (pronounced free-ka) is a new super food and ingredient. It is 'roasted green grains.' Freekeh is a process and not the name of a grain variety.
"Freekeh is 100% natural. The grains are harvested while still soft, young and green, then parched, roasted and dried.  The process captures and more importantly retains the grains at the state of peak taste and nutrition. Green grains are very different in properties to mature grains. The entire process is natural and only uses fire and air. No additives or preservatives are used."
What are the benefits of eating Greenwheat Freekeh?

  • Its low in carbohydrates and high in fiber (up to four times the fiber of brown rice) 
  • Acts as a prebiotic. (keeping our intestines healthy) 
  • Rich in lutein and zeaxathin — important phytonutrients for eye health and implicated in the prevention of age-related muscular degeneration 
  • Increases concentration and excretion of butyrate which is associated with diminishing the risk of developing colorectal cancer. 
  • Good for general bowel health.
How to cook with Freekeh...
  • as a side dish (prepared and served like rice)
  • as an ingredient in soups and stuffings
  • served with greens and dressing as a salad
  • to make vegetarian burgers
  • Freekeh flour, semolina, and bran make fantastic breads, pastries, and pastas
So pretty much you can get creative!!

Here is a recipe I have tried-

Freekeh salad with blackberries and pistachios

for the blackberry vinaigrette:
  • 1/3 cup blackberries
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 small clove garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
for the salad:
  • 1 cup freekeh
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 bulb fennel 
  • 4 cups mixed salad greens
  • 1/4 cup chopped pistachios
For the vinaigrette:
Combine all the ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.  Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.  The flavors should be a nice balance of salty and sweet, feel free to adjust the amount of vinegar or honey.  You may need to add a little bit more water if the dressing is too thick.
For the salad:
Prepare the freekeh by bringing 5 cups of cold water and the tablespoon of salt to a boil and cook uncovered until the freekeh is tender but still retains some bite, about 45 mintutes.  Drain the freekeh and toss with 2 tablespoons of the dressing and set aside to let the flavors develop while you finish the salad.  Thinly slice the fennel with a mandoline reserving the fronds for garnish.  To serve gently toss the greens, fennel and blackberries with the freekeh adding a little extra dressing to lightly coat everything, sprinkle with the pistachios and fennel fronds and serve.



Monday, 7 January 2013

 We are so lucky here in the Constantia valley to be surrounded by such beautiful wine estates. From the larger, more commercial tourist spot, Groot Constantia, to the smaller, more boutique wineries and of course my very favourite spot in the valley, Constantia Glen. For those of you that haven't yet visited this charming wine farm, do yourselves a favour and put it on your to do list! Its definitely one of Constantia's best kept secrets!

Its more of an experience than a wine tasting.  As soon as you arrive you are made to feel at home, and the staff go out of their way to ensure that you have the very best wine tasting experience possible. They are incredibly knowledgeable and very passionate about their wines. Home to the Constantia Glen range as well as their second label, Constantia Saddle, there is a wine for everybody. The cherry on top of the entire experience is the selection of tasty cheese and charcuterie platters perfectly designed to compliment the wines.

First wine to try is the Constantia Glen Sauvignon Blanc. This is by far my favourite! The 2012 is a typical Constantia Sauvignon Blanc - a lot of tropical fruit, and flinty minerality. Its intensely pleasant with a lingering follow through.
Next on the list is the Constantia Glen Two. Currently unavailable for tasting at the tasting room but do yourself a favour and grab a bottle to drink at home with a good prawn risotto or grilled salmon (both tried and tested!). Its a luxurious blend of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, barrel fermented, with both fruit and minerality components. Drink now (like me) or keep for a few years.

On to the reds, starting with the Constantia Glen Three. This is a classic Constantia blend of the three most revered Bordeaux varieties:Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. This is a lovely cool climate red, full of flavour and delicious with a fillet steak on the braai!

The final wine in the Constantia Glen range is the Five. This is their flagship wine and its not hard to see (taste!) why. By far my very favourite South African Bordeaux style red, it contains all five of the archetypal Bordeaux varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Its smooth, smokey and simply divine. Enjoy this bottle with a lamb stew or a good blue cheese!

Constantia Glen tasting room is open weekdays from 10h00 - 17h00. Saturdays and Sundays from 10h00 - 16h00.
Tel: +27 (0)21 795 5639