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Ice Cream & Wine tasting

31 Mar

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Clos Malverne – A refreshing surprise…

Clos Malverne, nestled in the Devon Valley outside Stellenbosch, turns its pairing thoughts to that favorite summer staple, homemade ice cream, paired with wines as a refreshing summer tasting offer from October till the end of February 2012. For just R45, you can stay cool with sips…


SA Cheese Festival - April 2012

28 Mar

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Start: Friday, 27 April 2012 

End: Monday, 30 April 2012

Venue: Sandringham Farm - Show on Map 
Event Type: Food and Wine FestivalIf you’re looking for the hottest new trends in all things cheese, there is no better place to be than the SA Cheese Festival, where cheese remains the jewel in the festival crown.

This foodie highlight takes cheese lovers on an unrivalled culinary journey where the remarkable assortment of artisanal cheeses, dairy and other partnering products will entice the senses.

Taste the large selection of cheese in the Checkers Cheese Emporium, enjoy a serving of gourmet heaven when Checkers once again brings a unique concept to the event with well known chefs and celebrities sharing their cooking secrets, and take a breather in the festive atmosphere of the Carnival Park.

The healthy entertainment provided in the Wilde Fruit Juice Kiddies Corner and the up-close-and-personal approach of the Santam Agriculture Milk Factory at the Waterfront, is sure to keep the little ones in high spirits.

Add to that some tips from food bloggers and cheese makers in the DStv Food Theatre and you are ready for a new approach in your own kitchen. A stroll further down the Meander and through the Absa Mall will complete your sensory expedition.

Combine a great day out in the country with an opportunity to meet and learn from an array of exciting culinary talent.

The event has settled in well at its new home, Sandringham (on the N1 halfway between Cape Town and Paarl).

The festival runs from 10:00 to 18:00 each day and 17:00 on the last day.

Strawberry Picking

22 Mar

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Stellenbosch has taken a really fun approach to picking strawberries with amusing scarecrows, giant strawberries and antique tractors decorating its picking fields. There is nothing better than a freshly picked, luscious, ripe, sun warmed strawberry, only perhaps watching little ones feasting on them and their big red strawberry juice smiles.

You can pick your own strawberries at the Mooiberg Farm Stall and the Polkadraai Farm Stall.

Mooiberg Farm Stall

Strand Road, R44, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Telephone: +27 21 881 3222. Open: 08:00 – 18:00. Prices are based per kilogram. Call to verify availability. The farm is open for strawberry picking on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, all day.

Polkadraai Farm Stall

M12 Highway, Polkadraai, South Africa. Phone: 27 +21 881 3303. Open: every day of the week from 09h30 – 16h30. Prices are based per kilogram.

Strawberry picking season starts in October to the end of December.


Coffee, Tea, Chocolate Tour

22 Mar

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We have all heard people saying things like “A cup of coffee shared with a friend is happiness tasted and time well spent” or “Each cup of tea represents an imaginary voyage” or when it gets to chocolate some people say that “A friend in need is a friend indeed, but a friend with chocolate is better” Well now you can come and join us on this Coffee, Tea and Chocolate tour and learn to appreciate coffee, tea and chocolate even more than I’m sure you already do. You’ll experience some flowering teas that will dramatically unfold in the teapot, get an insight in how to taste coffee and learn what sets a great coffee apart. You’ll also receive a 250g bag of coffee of your choice to take home and of course don’t forget the chocolate, where you will learn about the bean flavor profiles for the true connoisseur experience and taste the difference between a 56%, 71%, 85% and 95% chocolate bar.


  • A tea tasting which comprises of a selection of 2 different kinds of flowering teas that unfolds dramatically in the cup
  • A stop at the Lindt Chocolate Studio
  • A visit to a coffee shop with a cocoa inspired menu and chocolate exhibition
  • A tasting of 2 – 3 coffees
  • Insight into how to taste coffee
  • Learn what sets a great coffee apart, the effect of terroir etc
  • A 250g bag of coffee of your choice.
  • A close-up look at a chocolate factory and an explanation of the small batch roasting process
  • Sample freshly roasted organic beans from different origins
  • Learn about the bean flavor profiles for the true connoisseur experience
  • Learn to taste the difference between a 56%, 71%, 85% and 95% chocolate bar
  • Enjoy a variety of our gourmet chocolate products


  • Lunch
  • Purchases made at any of the shops

- Please book at least 5 days in advance
For more info or bookings please follow the link below…


Traditional South African Drinks

17 Mar

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Amarula Cream - a local cream liqueur, generally drunk after dinner. It’s made from the fruit of the marula tree (Sclerocarya Birrea), a favorite of elephants, baboons and monkey who are said to get drunk and party as the rotting fruit foments in the wild

Beer - South African beer is typically American-style. Castle lager is the runaway biggest seller of all, but local brewing giants, South African Breweries also produce Carling Black Label, Grolsch and various other brands.

Mampoer (mum-poo-er)/witblitz (vit-blitts, literally ‘white lightning’) – Powerful homemade brandy/firewater, similar to American moonshine, made from a range of different fruits. Astonishingly, it is usually God-fearing Afrikaans housewives who are responsible for this lethal brew. Tackle it sparingly.

Van der Hum liqueur - this wonderfully aromatic liqueur is a blend of brandy, wine, naartje (mandarin oranges/satsumas) peel and spices. It was distilled here for centuries by housewives before it was bottled officially.


Cooldrink, colddrink - any soda, such as Coca-Cola or Fanta. Soda is reserved purely for club soda. Amongst local specialities, look out for Stoney’s Ginger Beer and Schweppes Granadilla Twist (passion fruit) which are both delicious.

Mageu/mahewu/amarhewu/amahewu - the non-alcoholic version of maheu, this is a thin drinking mealie meal (maize or sorghum) porridge. Traditionally made at home the night before drinking, it is also available commercially these days.

Rock shandy - a local speciality that is a lovely thirst-quenching alternative to overly sweet sodas – half lemonade (eg Sprite), half soda water, with a dash of Angostura bitters (the ‘pink’ in pink gin), a slice of lemon and lots of ice.

Traditional South African flair...

17 Mar

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Biltong is a dried meat prepared with salt and other spices. It can be made with beek, ostrich, kudu or any game meat.

Boerwors are also a treat for carnivors! You have to taste at least a small piece of boerwors because it also means that you have experienced a braai! Boerwors is a sausage made of beef, pork and boerwors spices (difficult to know what they are!

Dried fruits are very popular in South Africa and they are declined in many fruits: peaches, apples, nectarines, kiwis but my favourites are peaches and mangoes. You can buy them simply dried or dried and rolled with sugar on it.

Pinotage is an hybrid of French varietals pinot noir and cinsault (hermitage), hence the name pinot-age. Mainly a South African grown varietals, it is now one of the top 4 varietals in South Africa, along with Cabernet Sauvignon.

Rooibos Tea is also called red tea because of the red bush leaves from what the rooibos is made of. It is said to be a great antioxidant.

Rusks is a traditional dried very dried biscuits that you are supposed to dip in your rooibos tea (!) to make it softer. Themost famous rusks is Ouma Rusks.

Koeksister When you stop at one of these small, family-owned stores, you are bound to be able to find a delicious delicacy called akoeksister. This delicious sweet cake is similar to a doughnut, but it is twisted or braided and smothered in a very sweet sugar-syrup. It is made by braiding the dough, deep-frying it in oil and then quickly dipping it in the cold sugar-syrup.


20 Interesting facts about South Africa

17 Mar

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    • South Africa is now the only country in the world to have hosted the Soccer, Cricket
       and Rugby World Cup!
    • Table Mountain in Cape Town is believed to be one of the oldest mountains in the world and one of the planet’s 12 main energy centres, radiating magnetic, electric or spiritual energy
    • The Cape Floral Kingdom is one of the world’s six floral kingdoms – and the only one which is wholly contained within a single country.
    • Some countries have deserts; some have subtropical forests, right? South Africa has: deserts, wetlands, grasslands, bush, subtropical forests, mountains and
    • South Africa’s drinking water is rated 3rd best in the world for being “safe and ready to drink”.
    • Water is not all there is to drink in this thirsty country! South Africa’s Cape Winelands have around 560 wineries and 4 400 primary producers. Included in the Cape Winelands region is Route 62, considered the longest wine route in the world. That alone is good reason to visit South Africa if you haven’t yet been!
    • What about beer? South African brewery SABMiller ranks – by volume – as the largest brewing company in the world. Saffers love their beer…but the real reason the brewery is so big? SABMiller also supplies up to 50% of China’s beer
    • South Africa is the only country in the entire world that has voluntarily abandoned its nuclear weapons programme.
    • South Africa is home to the highest commercial bungi jump in the world at 710 feet.
    • There are more than 2000 shipwrecks off the South African coast, most dating back at least 500 years.

March - Choice of the month

14 Mar

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A Saturday off… what to do?

Take a tour to some of the most amazing wineries in Stellenbosch. There are hundreds to choose from and all of them have something special to see or show. This is why it’s our staff choice of the month. Rarely going to the local spots, a few of my friends and I decided to do the “touristy” thing and taste some wines…Somewhere we’ve never been…

Holding a map and pointing to an area – off we go. Our destination was Annendale road with Stellenbosch Mountains to the one side and Helderberg Mountains to the other side. First stop was Peter Falke Winery; the exclusive winery of Peter Falke is nestled against the majestic slopes of the Helderberg Mountains in the heart of the Stellenbosch winelands. Groenvlei Farm is home to rambling magenta bougainvillea, delicate scented roses and wild lavender growing alongside carefully cultivated vineyards. 

Dating back to the 18th century, the traditional gabled Cape Dutch buildings of the wine estate belie a contrasting modernity within. The stately old homestead is partnered by a “boutique” winery, contemporary wine tasting room and luxurious outdoor lounge which have established Peter Falke Wines as the most elegant and serene sundowner retreat in the winelands.

Next stop on our list was Hidden valley winery, Although the winery is a state of the art, gravity fed cellar, it is nestled into side the slope and intended to blend back into the environment in time. The building materials, namely stone, wood and glass are purposely selected to present a contemporary yet functional structure. The cellar is surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, almond orchards and natural vegetation, each occupying an integral part of the farms’ ecosystem. Stainable agriculture is a common theme in every approach both in and outside the cellar. Tasting wine there is beautiful, the view perfect, would highly recommend this.

The next stop on our expedition was Guardian Peak Winery, The Guardian Peak brand is designed to complement those who enjoy a healthy, active, outdoor lifestyle, and the wines are crafted to be accessible and enjoyed anywhere at any time.

Lifestyle is always a priority in the Cape Winelands and the Guardian Peak range is flexible and dynamic to enhance any lifestyle activity imaginable. Guardian Peak is proud to be in the ranks of the new generation of South African wineries taking our products into the global market with confidence and ambition. Fine wine, superb food and magnificent panoramic views are the signature feature of the new Guardian Peak winery which opened in December 2005. These fruit driven wines include three red blends and three single varietal wines which embody the new-world style of wine making allowing them to be enjoyed at an early age.

Then we got hungry and decided on pizzas. Most definitely the best pizzas in town voted by our group. A small restaurant with a perfect vibe from both locals and travelers from all over, Gino’s restaurant situated in the town center with a very calm and casual vibe. This was most certainly the best way to end off a perfect day, as the pizzas are all handmade and ingredients as fresh as you get.

Written by: Tessa de Necker

Top 10 Wineries of the Cape

14 Mar

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1. Vergelegen

Somerset West. Possibly the grandest of the Old Cape estates, established by Governor Willem Adriaen van der Stel in the late 17th century. It languished as a wine producer until viticultural wizard André van Rensburg took over the cellar in the early 2000s and turned it into the most decorated winery of the Cape. His reds and whites rival the best of Bordeaux.

2. Meerlust

Eersterivier, Stellenbosch. In the Myburgh family for eight generations, this most elegent of all Cape Dutch manors is renowned for it elegent, Bordeaux-style Rubicon blend. In years when the stars do not align at Meerlust, they do not bottle a Rubicon.

3. Rust en Vrede

Helderberg, Stellenbosch. One of the oldest wineries in the Stellenbosch region (established 1694), in 1977 it was bought by Springbok rugby legend Jannie Engelbrecht. Since then it has been a consistent performer, particularly with a red Bordeaux-style blend, as well as Shiraz (Syrah) and other single varietals.

4. Kanonkop

Simonsberg, Stellenbosch. This is the flagship estate championing Pinotage, a South African hybrid created by crossing Hermitage (Cinsaut) and Pinot Noir. Because of some poor examples it’s had a bad press of late, but at its best Pinotage rivals the fruits of any noble vine.

5. Klein Constantia

Contantia, Cape Town. First made famous for its sweet Vin de Constance in the early 1800s, it is the current outstanding producer of the verdant Constantia valley. They have recreated Vin de Constance, sold in replica hand-produced bottles.

6.Hamilton Russell Vineyards

Hemel en Aarde Valley, Hermanus. Arguably the finest producer of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Cape, but also a strong cam

paigner for the local Pinotage grape.

7. Thelema Mountain Vineyards

Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch-Franschhoek. A  prolific, award-winning producer of modern classics; the avenue of eucalyptus trees lining the approach to the winery lends a subtle, most pleasant, hint of mint to the Cabernet Sauvignon. The queen (of England) apparently approved of the Sauvignon Blanc.

8. Simonsig

Simonsberg, Stellenbosch. Pioneer in and top producer of Méthode Cap Classique (sparkling wine made in the Champagne style); delivers outstanding, award-winning reds and whites. Was also a pioneer of the country’s first wine route.

9. Rustenberg

Ida’s Valley, Stellenbosch. Another of South Africa’s older wineries (established in 1682). Look out for superb examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.

10. Cederberg

Cederberg mountains, Clanwilliam. Until a few decades ago wine made here was strictly for on-site consumption – until current winemaker Dawid Nieuwoudt took control; this early 18th century property has been in the same family since its inception. At 1,000 meters above sea level, it has the highest vineyards in the Cape and produces consistently award-winning wines. Worth visiting if only for the trip through the wild Western Cape mountains north of Cape Town.


The best Burgers in town...

14 Mar

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The Farmer’s Kitchen

Try: The home-made grilled lamb burger with red onions, red pesto, feta and tzatziki.
Side: chips or salad.
Price: R68. 

Goederust Farm Kitchen
Try: the homemade beef burger on ‘roosterkoek’ topped with bacon, mature cheddar and sweet potato.
Side: hand cut regular or sweet potato chips
Price: R65

La Vigna
Try: The gourmet sirloin burger with mature Brie, bacon, red-onion chutney and slow-roasted tomatoes.
Side: French fries or salad.
Price: R78.

The Red Leaf Restaurant
Try the: Signature Pinotage Burger, a 250g beef patty served with Pinotage onion marmalade.
Side: Chips or salad.
Price: R85.