Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Food Shopping and a Grand Chef

I have been doing a lot of eating in the last few days and have been through inspired to excited.
Firstly I think the Christmas fare in Woolworths has improved on last year. I was very happy to see fresh (not frozen)Turkeys and the selection of gammons, hams and tongue is very good. Would be nice to see these all as free range next year. I was a bit irritated that the precooked whole tongue price has gone up a lot for the season. 

The best range to stretch your credit card on is the range Woolies has launched with Luke Dale-Roberts from the Test Kitchen. I bought the pork and duck Christmas stuffing sausages and did them on the weber. They were succulent and a hit with my guests.

Other products include a porkbelly trimmed to a small wedge which goes with a delicious selection of relishes. 

The Rooibos tea infused Salmon also looks delicious but all of these will set u back a pretty penny.  However should you want quality and premium at least you are able to get it. The dumbing down to affordable can be very boring.  I also liked the topped camemberts but the downside of this is that you need to go to the big stores and fight the malls to get a hold of these lines as the smaller stores don't get stock. Very irritating indeed.

In terms of chocolate, Valrhona has entered the country and I love their huge selection of gift formats and bar formats and the tasting boxes give you a chance to taste them all and find your favorite without too much investment - Lindt could learn from this.

Now to fine dining -
The Chef: Peter Templehof has been awarded the title of Grand Chef Relais & Chateaux and we managed to get a booking for dinner

The Venue: The Greenhouse at Cellars-Hohenhort. I really liked the clean decor and real daylight feel. It does not feel stuffy at all and since fine dining is coming to the end of an era, I think The Greenhouse is a refreshing change in which to experience fine dining.

The Food: a playful trio of toadstools started us off to our 4 course tasting Menu with Wine Pairing and a breadbasket with lavache, cheese bread sticks and other delectable slices. The nasturtium pate with mini leaves was not only terribly pretty but delicious.

The first and second course showed off exceptional flavor combinations, use of liquid nitrogen, and other molecular gastronomy marvels. The main course was more traditional cuisine and the flavours of the ingredients celebrated and  intensified.  My dessert of fennel panna cotta was superb and a perfect balance of savory and sweet.

The Wine: a good pairing but I felt that I had too many Sauvignon Blancs and would have liked the Sommelier to have been a bit more daring. The other guests had the Yardstick Pinot Noir which was superb!

Beware the cost of the evening was R2500 for three of us! But...well worth an experience.

1 comment:

  1. excellent blog! i hope you have time to keep on writing! eben