MasterchefSA hard-man Pete Goffe-Wood (below with Ross Douglas) summed up Food|Wine|Design last night with a typical pithy comment. “There’s nothing like it in Cape Town. It’s better than any Cape Town show.” Setting up a delicious irony on the eve of the Eat Out Awards in the Muther City tonight.
The roof of the Hyde Park shopping centre is a trendy termite mound today as designers and trendoids prepare their stands for the Food|Wine|Design Fair that opens tonight for Sanlam policy holders and Pete Goffe-Wood groupies and the hoi polloi tomorrow at noon. Here is Mynhardt Joubert assembling the Dim.Sum.Vin stand as legions of Cape Legends lovelies jet up from the Cape, bringing terroir tipples to match Mynie’s delicious dim sums. Anyone for Plaisir de Merle and blackbird siu mai?
When you bear more than a passing resemblance to the heir to the British throne, as Tulbagh bubbly royalty Luke Krone (below) does, hosting an annual Summer Elegance Festival on the family farm is a no-brainer. This year, prompted by Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei on the cover of The New Statesman magazine perhaps, Luke has contracted the dim sum duo of Mynhardt Joubert and Eugene Nortje to offer dim sum with a twist at this year’s Festival on Twee Jonge Gezellen on December 8; eight being the most auspicious number on the Chinese calendar. The twist will be naked dim sum with recipes tweaked to account for summer conditions plus the abundance of bare flesh sipping fizz on the day.
Today’s winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, Mo Yan (below), is a man Johann Rupert can work with. Shown puffing away merrily, Mo is the author of The Republic of Wine which has all the ingredients for an SA best seller/cellar: Yu Yichi a dwarf hotelier, a lady truck driver (no truck strikes in the People’s Republic!) and Li Yidou or “one-pint Li” a PhD candidate in liquor studies at Brewers College in Liquorland. Mo is clearly a man after Johann’s heart as the Rupert family fortune was founded on cigarettes while the closest SA comes to a Republic of Wine is Franschhoek, where the Ruperts are uncrowned royalty.
The darling of French philosophy, Alain Badiou, declared back in 1977 “there is only one great philosopher of our time: Mao Zedong.” Mao is most famous for three things: the declaration of the People’s Republic of China on 1 October 1949; the cultural revolution and as the subject of an Andy Warhol portrait (below). Mynhardt Joubert, the chef who revolutionized Swartland cuisine at Bar Bar Black Sheep has managed to wittily combine all three elements in CROC - Cultural Revolution on Kasteel. This croc is a Sunday dim sum lunch in De Oude Kerk in Riebeek-Kasteel on 30 September (the day before China’s national day) along with Swartland wines carefully matched to local ingredients following a blind tasting of 80-odd Swartland W.O. terroir wines last month for our Neil Pendock’s Winelands Guide 2013.
What a great name for a food writer: Dine van Zyl. So much better than poor Martin Crummy, who does wine reportage for The Drinks Business. Let’s hope Dine gets to join Judge Jay (UK foodie Jay Rayner) who fevered rumour reports is handling the judging for the controversial Eat Out Awards this year. I’m reliably informed Louis Vuitton developed a special Titanic travelling trunk to accommodate his ego. Be that as it may, the coming of Judge Jay frees up a previous incumbent to consult to restaurants that were conspicuously absent from last year’s Eat Out Awards! This does not work on so many levels, like farting in a lift. But then as they say in the Middle Kingdom “the foreign moon is always rounder.”
Has Ross Douglas, the Joseph Duveen of Jozi de nos jours, sold out? Two spirit stands at his spirited Food|Wine|Design Fair on the roof of the Hyde Park Shopping Centre bring the titanic struggle between artisan and corporate behemoth into stark focus.
In the grey corner, international super brand Grey Goose vodka are paying Ross R20K for a spot of brand activation. Mixologists whip up sexy cocktails while around the corner in delightful domestic confusion, Roger Jorgenson is punting his Primitiv vodka made from a Bronze Age wheat called spelt while rhapsodizing on the necessity of horseradish in a Bloody Mary made with heirloom organic tomatoes grown by Magic Steve in Porterville.Read More…
At dinner last night in the garden of a hotel clinging to the rocks above the crashing Atlantic Ocean – real Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil stuff – I wondered where it all went wrong for SA brandy. We’d ordered a round of Boplaas CWG brandies and they arrived in crystal sherry copitas. Beautiful but inappropriate. When we requested snifters, the waitron explained that those were for Cognac. Indeed we had some trouble even ordering brandy, while of Cognacs and Armagnacs there were plenty to be had.
France has a stranglehold on Champagne and fine brandy and no matter how hard SA producers try, little progress seems to be made. The Fundi Project to train 2010 sommeliers in time for the World Cup seems to have failed utterly, with much marketing moolah squandered. So where should hoteliers send their staff for training? Next weekend’s Fine Brandy Festival at the Roundhouse is as good a place as any to start. After all, the place is home to Joakim Hansi Blackadder, SA’s top sommelier, who would never serve brandy in a sherry copita, even if it was made by Riedel.
James Gleick has written a new book on bits (The Information: a History, a Theory, a Flood; Fourth Estate 2011) which secured him an interview in the New Statesman earlier this month.
NS: Is the internet changing the way we think?
JG: Of course it is. Everything changes the way we think. If we wake up in the morning and a tree falls 50 yards away, that changes the way we think. Our brains are plastic. Our consciousness is plastic. There’s no question that a human being who knows how to tweet is a very different kind of creature from a human being who doesn’t.
So what are the plastic pundits tweeting about? David Higgs, superchef from Rust en Vrede who upsticksed last week for an undisclosed hotel in that culinary car park (pace Nic Dawes, editor of the Mail & Guardian, the larousse gastronomique de nos jours) of Johannesburg. It felt like James’s tree had fallen on my head after being bombarded by all those smartphone microwaves at lunch at the Mount Nelson today as tweets about David and his destination ricocheted around the room. “Definitely not the Saxon.” “Definitely the Saxon, I’ve had it from two different authorities.”Read More…
How much? R170 @ Bar Bar Blacksheep;
Where? Lammershoek farm in Aprilskloof, Paardeberg 27 (0) 22 482-2835;
Why? This Chenin/Chardonnay/Viognier, Clairette, Grenache Blanc white blend from the Paardeberg is a benchmark of this rich, fruit-driven style that has taken SA restaurants by storm. The intense flavours of the wine can cope with the rusticly spiced dishes from purveyors of avant garde Boerekos like Mynhardt Joubert at Bar Bar Black Sheep in Riebeek-Kasteel and the wine is dense enough to accommodate the odd ice cube.