Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Robertson Slow

I learnt a few things about food, wine and people this weekend well worth sharing.  Robertson Slow festival is all about getting close to the producer and understanding the source and the passion of the winemakers, and the stories that people tell about their food, farming, winemaking and families. Spending time with the winemakers allows the commercial difficulties to take a back seat and discussions to flow on tradition, heritage, wine theories and beliefs on terroir.  Our home for the 4 days was very special and very hands-on managed Mimosa Lodge in Montague.  Fida and Bernhard not only cook and provide exceptional accommodation but entertain their guests as if they are all one big family. Every detail in the gorgeous garden rooms is taken care of from the hot water bottles hiding under the pillow to a jug of sherry to start off your evening.

Simone's Salmon Rose
Our first experience was a sushi course and although many of us are able to eat sushi with some speed and lip licking, I can tell you it is slower to make than you think.  Caveau's finest Sushi chef was our teacher and we moved from California rolls to Salmon Roses.  I must say that I got 3 "very good" compliments and here are the pics to prove it.
the hardest part of preparing the Salmon
a first attempt at California Rolls
Next was Arendsig, also the winemakers for Mimosa Lodge wine.  Try their Chardonnay and you will find yourself buying a case to take home and share with friends.  Arendsig is a privately owned wine farm in the Robertson Valley. Lourens van der Westhuizen is passionate about single varietal wine making and is making his 8th Vintage with the 2011 vintage.  We were delighted to label our own bottles in the cellar and then indulge in a home cooked feast in the barn with walls made of local clay cladding.  The wines were superb and the hosts made us feel part of their farm and family.

The next day was all about Zandvliet but a special treat also awaited us that night (see next blog on Duck Press). Zandvliet was again a specially arranged lunch with the 4th generation owners.  We were honoured to be invited into their home and did not realise that we were in for a treat.  The Zandvliet Shiraz is well known and well loved and the discovery of Zandvliets' Colombard/Sauvignon Blend was exciting.  Our hosts cooked a slow roasted lamb in a very clever braai contraption made with his own hands and the highlight was the pear tart with blue cheese and sour cream paired with their chenin blanc (a bit of sugar is added to the wine) which is more of a sweet dessert wine.  The pictures tell the story:
Our Canapes of Steak Tartare on Salticrax
Starter of roasted red peppers, Anchovies and Olives
Zandvliet Home Dining Room
Delicious Pear, Custard Tart with Blue Cheese and Sour Cream
Our Hosts and Friends

Zandvliet Cabernet Sauvignon, Colombard/Sauvignon, Shiraz Rose