One has to feel just a little sorry for our neighbours to the north. They may have the fruits of the Cape winelands transported to their grocery and bottle stores but they are denied the full and glorious experience of a day spent wine tasting in centuries-old manor houses, while savouring the spectacular views that have fuelled a vast tourist industry.
To somewhat remedy the situation, the Haute Cabrière team has, after the successful 2017 debut of the concept, decided to take their slice of the Cape Winelands up north on a road trip of Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal, and the Eastern Cape. Throughout the months of July and August, chefs Nic van Wyk and Westley Muller, together with Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim, will be staging a pop-up restaurant at a constellation of beautiful venues that showcases the very best that Haute Cabrière – and the world famous Franschhoek valley – has to offer.
“Last year’s overwhelming response and support was humbling. We sold out within weeks of announcing the tour, a sign that our loyal followers outside the Western Cape are very eager to experience Haute Cabrière in their own cities,” comments marketing manager Lientjie McLachlan.
And on this blustery winter’s day in May, we had the privilege of previewing what our northerly neighbours can look forward to.
Six-course meal with wine pairing
Of all the couples in history – Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Romeo and Juliet, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, (and Mike Todd, and Michael Wilding, and Eddie Fisher, and….) – there isn’t a one that can rival the compatibility of food and wine. The deeply romantic relationship between the two is especially honoured and celebrated at Haute Cabrière, which upholds the philosophy that wine and food should always complement and never outdo each other. It’s all about harmony and balance.
Upon arrival at the restaurant, we were welcomed with a flute of Pierre Jourdan Brut and taken on an impromptu tour of the cellar by Cellar Master Takuan von Arnim who is also the farm’s second-generation wine-maker. After our behind-the-scenes peak, we sat down to embark upon our adventure through a mighty six-course meal, starting with two-day fermented bread, home-churned and salted butter, sweet quince jam, mozzarella croquettes, and smoked aioli. This was accompanied by Haute Cabrière’s second MCC, the dry and elegant Pierre Jourdan Belle Rose.
What followed was a series of absolutely gorgeous dishes, each one beautifully presented and married with a partner wine that complemented and enhanced its flavours:
A velvety, bright-green pea soup with salty nuggets of chorizo and crispy pork puffs for texture, served with the vastly popular Haute Cabrière Chardonnay Pinot Noir 2017.
Pan-fried Patagonia calamari tubes and a seared Canadian scallop in a sea of Italian tomato sauce, coloured black with squid ink, and served with a chilled glass of Haute Cabrière’s unwooded Pinot Noir 2017 (rated four stars in the Platter Guide).
Butter and thyme-basted hake with cauliflower purée, an earthy red wine braised lentil sauce, crispy ribbons of kale for texture, and a glass of the voluptuous and peachy Pierre Jourdan Tranquille (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay) to wash it down.
A creamy rosemary and bay leaf venison (Eland) ragout, served with a soft Parmesan polenta, bone marrow foam, and my absolute favourite Haute Cabrière Pinot Noir Reserve 2014: a seductive, fruity wine with an arresting ruby colour that belies the wine’s incredible power and structure.
And finally, a decadent chocolate torte with Amaretti crumbs, candied pecan nuts, and salted caramel popcorn, served with the sweet, yet punchy Pierre Jourdan Ratafia. Ratafia is actually a broad term that encompasses two types of sweet alcoholic beverage, either a fortified wine or a fruit-based beverage. Haute Cabrière’s Ratafia is of course a sweet wine fortified with brandy and they are the only estate in South Africa producing one!
This entire experience – all six-courses of it with wine – is set to cost guests R595 per person, a paltry sum for the incredible quality of this exquisite food and wine journey.
Meanwhile, back on the farm…
With Haute Cabrière’s executive team on the road for much of July and August, the obvious question is what will be happening back on the estate. Will it remain open? The good news is yes! While the upcoming pop-up restaurant road show will limit activity at Haute Cabrière, the team assures us that the Franschhoek winery and restaurant will remain open for lunch and dinner on certain days of the week and on the weekend.
They say that money doesn’t grow on trees, which may be true… but Haute Cabrière’s offerings prove that what we (or I) covet most in this life does: good food and wine. And when you take the rich produce of the Cape’s fertile soils – her orchards, vineyards, and farms – and combine that with the food and wine-making talent and traditions at Haute Cabrière, you get an experience well worthy of taking on the road to show off.
Dates and Reservations
20th to 21st July, Oubaai Hotel Golf and Spa, Herolds Bay, George
Bookings: email@example.com or 044 851 1234
7th and 13th July: Osa Restaurant at Fairmont Zimbali Resort, Ballito (Indian Inspired Menu)
Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org or 032 538 5000
10th to 12th July: Fairmont Zimbali Lodge, Ballito
Bookings: email@example.com or 032 538 5000
23rd to 27th July: Randpark Golf Club, Randburg, Johannesburg
Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 215 8600
31st July to 4th August: The Peech Boutique Hotel, Melrose, Johannesburg
Bookings: email@example.com or 011 537 9797
17th, 18th August: Bryanston Country Club, Sandton, Johannesburg
Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org or 011 706 1361
21st to 24th August: Moonshot, Menlyn, Pretoria
Bookings: email@example.com or 072 349 9569