Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wine Tasting Dinner from the Lombardy Region

Enoteca Turi - Highly recommended. If you live in the Putney area (or beyond) it is worth the trip. Mid-week Giuseppe and Pamela organise wine dinners working their way round the regions of Italy. This is our fifth.

As always, Giuseppe does his research and gives an introduction to the history and geography of the region both of which influence the cuisine of the area. The chef prepares local dishes matched with the local wines. Educational and enjoyable at the same time :-)

Tastes and flavours
Bellavista 2007 Franciacorta DOC
Trota alla certosina
Fillet of trout with mushrooms, red wine and polenta
Riesling Oltrepo Pavese DOC 2006 Conte Vistarino
Pizzocheri della Valtellina
Buckwheat pasta with cabbage, potato and toma cheese
Parsilone VDT 2005 Tenuta Maggiore
Ossobuco con risotto alla Milanese
Valgella Ca’ Morei Valtellina Superiore DOCG 2004 Fay
Valtellina Superiore Cinque Stelle DOCG 2003 Nino Negri

Formaggi della Lombardia
Selection of the region’s cheeses: Taleggio, Gorgonzola and Provolone
Carmenero VDT 2001 Ca’ del Bosco
Torta paradiso
Amaretto di Saronna

The Franciacorta was a sparkling to match a comparably priced champagne (GBP 22) but without the image it might not get the attention it deserves.

The reisling was not at all Germanic in style (nor Alsation) but more gentle New World I enjoyed it.

The Buckwheat pasta was the standout dish for me, rustic and very, very tasty.

With the Ossobuco I preferred the Fay to the Nino Negri, both alone and with the food. As the former is GBP 15.50 and the latter GBP 36.00 I could drink two for the same money, enjoy it more and still have change.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Wine tasting in South Africa

It will come as no surprise to our friends to learn that we visited a number of wineries for tastings. As always, very enjoyable to taste new wines and see new parts of the country.

Wine tasting at Morgenster
Wine tasting at Morgenster
As on previous trips we calls upon the services of Percy of to act as guide and driver while we tasted and dined. If you don't want to drink and drive and want a knowledgeable guide give him a call, +27(0)72 062 8500, or drop him a line at

Lunch at La Petite Ferme
Lunch at La Petite Ferme

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Fynbos Walk 2 - Fernkloof

The Western Cape appears well endowed with nature reserves one of which is right on our doorstep: Following on from the success of our previous guided walk (Fynbos Walk 1 - Klem and the Three Sisters) we enquired of the local Tourist Information for a Hermanus-based guide to do the same here. Which is how we came to spend two hours will Billy learning a lot about local flora and fauna.

Walk in Ferkloof - Billy
If you are interest in a guided tour contact Billy at, cell phone +27 (0) 769 673 606.

Walk in Ferkloof - Tortoises have right of way
Tortoises have right of way

Walk in Ferkloof - Mary at the crossroads
Mary at the crossroads

Walk in Ferkloof - View down to the coast
View down to the coast

We subsequently went back and walked most of the other paths ourselves and saw a fine variey of fynbos in bloom.

Ferkloof flower 1 Ferkloof flower 2 Ferkloof flower 3 Ferkloof flower 4 Ferkloof flower 4 Ferkloof flower 6 Ferkloof flower 7 Ferkloof flower 8 Ferkloof flower 9 Ferkloof flower 10 Ferkloof flower 11 Ferkloof flower 12 Ferkloof flower 13

Monday, January 12, 2009

Seven Day Forecast

If anyone wondered why we bought an apartment in South Africa look at these weather forecasts:

London 7 day forecast - rain and 7 C Hermanus 7 day forecast - sun and 26 C
London a week of rain every day; Hermanus a week of sunshine every day.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eating the zoo

The first time we went to SA we saw "trio of venison" on the menu. Although we like game we gave it a miss thinking it was deer cooked for three different ways. Only afterwards did we discover it meant three different beasts. This trip I have dined on eland pie, kudu steak, ostrich burger and the best ever springbok steak not to mention carpaccio of warthog.

warthog carpaccio
Carpaccio of Warthog

The food and wine is ludicrously good value. On our previous trip we saw a wine we knew and liked on a menu at 55 ZAR. A fair price for a glass (GBP 3.60) we thought until we realised it was for a bottle!

Between Christmas and New Year we went to the best hotel in town - the 5-star Marine Hotel and went for the tasting menu. Absolutely fantastic. Mary reckons the Springbok was the tastiest meat she has ever eaten. And all at a fraction of what is would cost in London.


Norwegian Salmon Tartare Coronet Caper Creme Fraiche, Cucumber Joup
- Villiera Tradition Brut NV

Tian of Prawn, Basil and Tomato Prawn Mousseline, Avocado Cream and Horseradish
- Southern Right Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Ballottine of Guinea Fowl and Foie Gras a la Grecque Vegetables, Pear Chutney and Brioche
- Paul Cluver Chardonnay 2007

Chicken and Shitake Mushroom Consomme Coriander Dumplings, ,Choy, Spring Onion
- Monis Medium Cream Sherry

Oven Roasted Loin of Springbok Pomme Fondant, Caramelised Onions and Cherry Venison Jus
- Beaumont Pinotage 2006

Passion Fruit Sorbet Rooibos Spoom, Lemon Jelly

Assiette of Pavilion Desserts
- Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2004

ZAR 550 (GBP 36.67) for food and wine per person!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Fynbos Walk 1 - Klem and the Three Sisters

Just back from three weeks in South Africa and catching up on some retro-blogging. The main thing we did was get to know the locality: lots of walks along the beaches and in the local nature reserves plus trying some new restaurants and wineries. Dirty job but someone has to do it.

As part of the Kleinmond Fynbos Festival they advertised a walk in the Kogelberg Nature Reserve. So we turned up and were the only takers. We did a five hour walk up 634 m (2080 ft) to the Three Sisters ably guided by Klem Dunstan.

Klem and Mary
Klem and Mary

Flowers in the Fynbos
Flowers in the Fynbos

The flora was particularly amazing plus we had the added bonus of this lizard chap.

Lizard in the Fynbos
Lizard in the Fynbos

View of Sandown Beach
View of Sandown Beach

If you are interested in a local guide Klem's contact details are:, +27 (0) 832 980 654.