Posted on | May 2, 2013 | No Comments
For our blog. New, your favourite, old ones. Captions, your comments, what the cappucino (or Nescafe) cost. Speak out. You know you want to.
Posted on | May 2, 2013 | 1 Comment
Posted on | April 28, 2013 | 1 Comment
Posted on | April 23, 2013 | No Comments
Finally, an obvious hole in the events and attractions of our happy hamlet has been filled. A mountain bike race around the farms and vineyards of the area is now a reality. Up until now Philadelphia has just been a resting point for thin and thick wheeled riders coming along the back roads from Durbanville or diverting off the established tracks around Meerendal and Nitida. And then there’s the Harley contingent swaggering into the Pepper Tree to rinse away the road dust and quench a burly biker’s appetite with hot tea (strong mind you) and cream scones.
All the land around the village is privately owned; either by the NG Kerk or private farmers so it is not easy just to ride on all the dirt you can see. Over the years I’ve managed to piece about 14km of route together and it is a treat to have some varied hills, humps and tracks right in your own backyard. Getting to know and name the landscape and its wild creatures. Cursed Corner, Rusty Rail Hill and Dead Cow Ditch. The pair of foxes, baby owls, tiny antelope and lots of guinea fowl. Now hitherto unpedalled landscape has been stitched together and made available for your self-propelled pleasure.
PHILADELPHIA 150 YEAR
Come and enjoy a completely new, challenging mountain bike route over FIVE wine farms.
Date: 27 April 2013
*Wine Route Mountain Bike Race
Route 1: 30km @ R70 (for weekend riders); Starting time: 09h00
Route 2: 55km @ R100 (only for experienced riders); Starting time: 08h30
Start/Finish: Boterberg Farm (Just off N7 and R304 adjacent to Philadelphia village), GPS S 33°39’55.32 // E 18° 33’41.20
Price money and lucky draws. Sponsors: PowerBar, Capaia Wines, Havana Hill Cellars, Boland Cellars, Nederburg Wines, Neutrog Fertilizer, Display Mania
Enquiries: Gerrit Boonstra, firstname.lastname@example.org; 021 – 972 1326 / 084 205 4315
Registration, payment and further information at:
and enter by following the link for on-line entries at www.entrytime.com
Late entries from 07h00 on race day
*Fun Run and Fun Ride
Walk, jog or ride a scenic 5 km or 8 km route @R20 (children) and R30 (adults)
Start on Church Square, Philadelphia, GPS S 33°40’00.87 / O 18° 34’51.24
Registration from 07h30, Start at 09h00
Posted on | April 4, 2013 | No Comments
A pork pie that would launch 1000 ships. The burnished pastry all crimped, crusty, chewy and rich filled with delicate and crumbly ground pork spiked with cider vinegar and garlic. Add a take away coffee to the bill and take them outside to sit on the grass under a eucalyptus or shady shrub. There’s Ludwigs Roses across from here- blooms bearing the names of infamous South African people and places brighten up the whole picnic scene. Barry Ronges, Steve Hofmeyers and Shirley Veals pose and radiate in the neighbourhoods of Eastgate Evergolds and Polokwane Pinks.
Let’s get back inside- the sit down restaurant offers good croque monsieurs and meat platters. The Sunday lunch menu looks suitably rich, hearty and imaginative. But to me the real action is out in the butchery and bakery area. Pork is Joostenberg’s bag, with the journey from piglet to bacon taking place from their adjacent farm to the in-house butchery. The traditional bangers and pork boerewors are special; how have you managed to put up with those food technology products from Woolworths for so long? Then turn the sausage appreciation knob a little louder and try the toulousse sausage: garlicky, herby and gently overpowering. And if Pig 1 and Pig 2 weren’t the greatest builders in the world their fine attributes are done justice in the Joostenberg display fridges: belly, neck and trotter, reams of bacon and ham, racks of chops and fillets.
But in the perpetual struggle between bread and meat, for me bread will always win. The centre bench has an array of crusty stuff that will please the dough-lover. Real baguettes and round sourdoughs with gently scorched surfaces. The scones are big and buttery and the spirals of the raisin danishes would make Denmark proud. Eat both whilst driving: it makes for a good journey and a car full of crumbs and pastry flakes.
And there’s Joostenberg own wine to swill it all down with. The Little J Rose for R40 is our favourite; more seriously named and dauntingly priced reds and whites will probably do a great job accompanying a fine dinner, film, bath or tax return. They have a full tasting facility to let you sip your way through any uncertainties.
All the other essentials and ingredients to stock up the pantry shelves for a while are here: dairy, fresh produce, pasta, flour, jams, cheeses, home made ice cream and desserts, fresh and locally grown fruit juices. Good local produce, imaginative and quality goods often at prices not much more than those at a supermarket. In fact if you live in the vicinity of Joostenberg ditch the supermarket altogether except for the most mundane requirements like tooth paste and washing powder. A honey producer, plant nursery and garden centre as well as an importer of Indonesian furniture and un-run-of-the-mill home decor accessories are to be found within the Joostenberg complex.
If you are in Cape Town its worth making a journey up the N1 towards Stellenbosch and taking the R304 Stellenbosch turnoff. Roughly a 45km trip and a good starting point for a wine tour of this part of Stellenbosch with names like Villiera, Mulderbosch, Simonsig, Beyerskloof and Monterosso. Not quite the usual tourist route but high standards and lots of differentiation on this shortish segment ending in Stellenbosch town.
See it at www.joostenberg.co.za
Posted on | April 2, 2013 | No Comments
The V&A Waterfront would be the ideal place for a gourmet food market. It is central, there is parking (but it is so central that a bike will work) and its the Waterfront. Lots of visitors, the working harbour with interesting boats forever docking, seals sloshing around and barking, history. There are other markets around Cape Town like the Biscuit Mill on a Saturday and the Sunday market at the Cape Quarter but what about the other week days?
The building once housed Planet Hollywood and then became a mega music warehouse. But hundreds of square metres of premium priced floor space perhaps weren’t a sustainable way of selling ever more downloadable a and v. So the Waterfront decided to go all foodie and free range with the vacant premises. Thank goodness, there are enough stalls selling arts, crafts and souvenirs. Some are ok, some would be outclassed by the merchandise at a school fête.
What’s going on then? We were at the wine shop of Vaughan Johnson, the Dorian Gray of the Waterfront, getting a bottle of his own label red of secret origin. (Go and get a bottle, under R40 but the mystery wine is at least 50% better than stuff you’ll find at Pick ‘n Pay for the same price.) He was eating a delicious looking bockwurst or bratwurst or knackwurst dog and telling us about compost and kiwi counterpoints between mouthfuls. He’d got it at the new food market, it had opened that day. Free samples, great sausage, lots to eat. In the old music warehouse.
Food to take home, food to eat now. There lots of both. There is seating upstairs and outside. Upstairs there is a big gallery and a beer counter dispensing draughts of non-SAB beers (Jack Black and something interesting from Johannesburg). There are at least 2 coffee counters with big espresso machines downstairs and a juice bar that turns fruit into juice on demand: the apple/lemon mix is good. The fresh fish counter is located at the Duncan Dry Dock exit. The fish we saw had the the genuinely startled eyes of freshly killed seafood.
At the other entrance (coming off the square with the bronze statues of Tutu and others) is a meat counter called Angus Meats selling free range flesh. The red gold of the Southern African hinterland I suppose: antelopes roaming the open savanah, sheep enhancing their edibility by nibbling on wild buchu and aromatic fynbos of the karoo. Cows just being cows and not worrying about Cyprus defaulting or being secretly teamed up with a horse in a steak pie.
Lambs chops with crispy fat, lean and rich venison sausages and the best rib eye steaks in Cape Town have all been bought here and cooked under the African sky on our American Weber.
Uncommon in Cape Town is the bunny chow: a loaf of white bread hollowed out, filled with curry with the cut out bit put back on top. Eaten by hand. They have them upstairs at Durban’s Finest Curry. On another visit 4 of us had the bean bunny chow, butter chicken with roti and a hand made pure beef burger with gherkins, cheese and bacon. Around us there were fresh oysters, sushi and samoosas getting right down to being eaten.
We’ve had some exotic dried fruit mixes (goji and cranberry); a chunk of goat milk pecorino, a bag of organic lemons and some black forest fudge chosen from a selection that seemed to have a flavour for every day of the year. Bread, chocolate, cheese, muffins, rabbits, ducks, spices, oils and teas are there to add to the confusion of what to get next.
With this market up and running on a daily basis the Waterfront is pretty close to filling that gourmet and fresh produce void that the 2 large supermarkets can’t because of the small scale and innovative nature of these market suppliers. Make an underlined note to self in that feint-ruled notebook to go and get something fresh, tasty and different at the wharf.
Posted on | March 29, 2013 | No Comments
For our blog. Old ones too. Comments, captions and costs would be great. Go on. You k now you want to.
Posted on | March 21, 2013 | 1 Comment
From Deon of ENS, one of our corporate clients-
This review elucidates my experience with Rentals Cape Town more particularly Mr. Greg Wood.
“I was seconded by my company from Johannesburg to Cape Town for a period of six months. From the initial consultation Rentals Cape Town was extremely professional, courteous and helpful. The company representative, Mr. Greg Wood, went out of his way to provide me with superior accommodation despite very short notice. I was given the greatest support by Rentals Cape Town (i.e. prompt assistance with a sudden malfunctioning air-conditioner, replacement of a malfunctioning iron, DSTV support, etc). Any issue or concern that I may have had during my stay was successfully and promptly attended to. I will definitely use this company again. They made my stay in Cape Town a very comfortable and enjoyable one. In my experience, they will go the extra mile to ensure that the customer is satisfied.”
See our Icon apartments here
Posted on | March 20, 2013 | No Comments
We’ve been here 2 or 3 times for not breakfast and not lunch. The restaurant is called Bread & Wine but there is a deli or farm grocers where you can order bread and charcuterie from the counter. It looks as if the meat is sourced and cured by the restaurant. The bacon butty (not what they call it) comes in homemade farm bread. Who needs granola? Afterwards just walk around the corner and rinse away the guilt with some wine tasting: Môreson and Miss Molly are the ranges and there is plenty of interesting facts and conversation from the tasting crew. There is an untended lemon grove adjacent to the the tasting room and restaurant and we got the green light to go picking. We took about 10 lemons but realised later that this was the opportunity to get the ingredients for a year’s worth of marmalade. Next time…
Bread & Wine on the Môreson Wine Estate, Happy Valley Rd, just off R45 about a 1km before the town coming from the Paarl side.
Posted on | March 19, 2013 | No Comments
Moving to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches
The Presidents of the United States of America
There are different degrees of country when viewed from the city that you’d like to escape. There’s the country of first principles: isolation, nature. The feeling of self sufficiency where making toast or avoiding being eaten become daily triumphs. And Franschhoek country where the wilds have been trellised, pruned, ploughed, terraced and channelled for the last 350 years. There to be admired whilst ruminating on a breakfast brioche. With chocolate, cheese or chenin this morning? Nothing like fresh Franschhoek air to enliven the liver.
The idea is to get out of Cape Town and go somewhere better for a few days. Not too far away, nice easy drive, relaxing. There’s Stellenbosch for sheer vineyard sprawl and real historic feel but its scale and maybe the university give it some hard edges.
Franschhoek is compact and has an orderly farmy opulence. The most places to eat per hectare on the African continent. Pretty scenes for camera lenses to schlurp in and digitise. Rows of luminescent lavender looking like pincushions or UFOs. Nothing like their straggly suburban relatives. Fruit trees all a-crucified. Lots of small wine farms. And a whole lot of Frenchness going on. Being just over 80kms out ouf Cape Town means only an hour’s drive but a total escape from the its urban force field. Go via the N1 and leave it at Paarl onto the R45 or along the N2 through the edges of Stellenbosch and up and over the Helshoogte Pass. Turn the hour long trip into a couple of hours by stopping off at Joostenberg Farm Stall for one of their legendry pork pies on the N1 route.
Accommodation in Franschhoek is abundant. It is feasible to expect a well priced near luxury cottage on a homestead or micro wine estate within walking distance, or a really short drive from the town centre. We’ve stayed twice at Oak Cottage and Bo La Motte . Oak Cottage is on the grounds of a grand property going up against the edge of the valley but only a few hundred metres from town. Bo La Motte has a few cottages set amongst their vineyards. They supply grapes to a few local wineries and as a bonus they put some of the wines in the cottages and charge cellar prices for them. Lynx Blanc de Noir looked rusty and tasted good. Log fires, charcoal braais (barbecues), good kitchens, nice sized baths, some satellite TV and even decent cellular reception (for mobile blogging, not checking emails or answering phone calls) makes them work for the reclusive and frazzled tourist.
La Petite Ferme – Franschhoek Pass Rd
On the pass road above the valley. Its primary function is lunches and it has a winery and accommodation. There is a big immaculate garden with vineyards below, its a perfect place for to relish the start of the weekend. A few sips of wine in the presence of the mountains and patchwork of vineyards and its a natural. progression to try and use that “panorama” setting on the digital camera. Or tentatively muse about the number of grape hectares needed to pay the monthly bills.