It was my birthday this weekend and I would like to share some of the ways I celebrated which gave me a grin that would of made the Cheshire Cat look like he was frowning. Please follow these 11 steps to find weekend contentment:
1. Have a leisurely glass of bubbly after work on a Friday to let the traffic dissipate.
2. Drive up to Stellenbosch and have dinner at Terroir Restaurant at Kleine Zalze. I suggest getting a bottle of Beaumont’s Hope Marguerite 2008, my favourite South African Chenin. I had last tasted it about 8 months ago, and it is getting better. There is a lovely roundness to the palate, rich yet fine and pure, the oaking is, for me, judged to perfection. It is complex, delicate, slightly chalky with that fantastic straw-like character I love in Chenin. It paired with the Confit duck perfectly. The acidity keeps everything tidy and the finish is longer than a Rapunzellian follicle.
3. Find a place to stay in Stellenbsch to make the most of your Saturday. We stayed at a back packers called Banghoek Place, a lovely setup, clean with excellent facilities.
4. Have a lazy breakfast on a shady tree lined avenue somewhere in Stellenbosch. We chose ‘something-or-other” @ The Culinary Institute; it was pretty poor which is probably why I can’t remember the name. The espressos were americanos in small cups, and the bacon I ordered with my scrambled eggs turned into salmon. The waiter also lacked a sense of humour; when I mentioned that I thought the bacon a little fishy, he said it wasn’t bacon but salmon. It was too nice a day to complain.
5. Pop by the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market for a few glasses of bubbly and couple oysters; it was too hot for us to do anything else. Get some nougat from the lady who sells the bubbly for later.
6. Then slowly make your way to Riebeek Kasteel visiting some farms on the way; we only stopped at Hartenberg as the pool at our next guesthouse was calling. Hartenberg makes excellent wines, but they need a bit of time to develop true interest I think. The Eleanor 2008 Chardonnay was my favourite, despite it still being quite tight; it felt angular and jaunty, as if it was wearing its had slightly askew.
7. Lounge about the pool, sipping Chenin and maybe take a nap. Now, you have to make sure you book a place that has a pool. Very important. We stayed in Hermon, just down the road from Riebeek Kasteel, at a place called Hermon Guest House, but also Vark Paleis. Great name, but I didn’t see a single pig while we were there. Check out the awesome Hermon wit in the second pic. No, not me the “hoggs and kisses” bit.
8. Have a few G & T’s on the veranda of the Royal Hotel as the sun sets and you lazily kill time waiting for dinner.
Yes thanks, I’ll have the longest G&T this side of the equator, with lime not lemon.
9. Find your table at Bar Bar Black Sheep, my favourite restaurant in and around Cape Town. Rustic and flavourful. The dish that had me almost crying with delight was the lamb heart; take my advice and order it if you can. It was lovingly prepared over 6 hours with ginger, cinnamon and I can’t remember what else other than I almost ordered it again for dessert. To drink there was the Santa Cecelia Chenin Blanc 2008, this barrel fermented Chenin was made by the owners. You gotta love the gargiste vibe. It might have been a touch flabby, but I enjoyed the crisp green apple that came through just under the oak. It paired up well with the Snoek fish cakes, sweet potato relish and pineapple salsa. With my fillet I had some Lammershoek Roulette Rouge 2006 which is a taught dusty little sour cherry of a wine, have enjoyed every bottle I have had, which is quite a few.
You can also check out Bar Bar’s Facebook page here
10. Retire back to your guesthouse, and partake in a midnight swim with a last glass of wine (Eikboom Chenin, not bad for R30, but not great in general).
11. Buy the Sunday papers and peruse them over a big fry up. Take a last dip in the pool before heading back to Cape Town for a couple G & T’s watching the sun set.
I promise if you follow my example your weekends will improve.