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Bellingham Bernard Series Wines

Bellingham have just released their The Bernard Series and I was lucky enough to be led through a full tasting by, none other than, Niël. What an honour!

I tried the whole range and every one is unique and, for lack of more formal terminology, very yummy. The Bernard Series is real food wine; which is such a pleasure and something I hope more wine farms start working into their offerings.

Obviously I had to have a favourite, and my favourite is their Oaked Sauvignon Blanc – Two Thousand & Seven. They actually write out the vintage and I think that this just adds to the label’s overall class. I unfortunately couldn’t find a picture of my favourite so I’ve used the Bernard Series Viognier bottleshot instead. This should give you an idea what to expect from a packaging point of view.

The Bernard Series Sauvignon Blanc grapes are all from one of the oldest single bush vine vineyard blocks, which is situated in Darling.

The first whiff – of the Bernard Series Oaked Sauvignon Blanc – made me go back for a second and third. I really could not get enough of the nose! All grilled asparagus, just like Margot prepares on the braai for us to enjoy our days off. Delicious!

The Bernard Series Oaked Sauvignon Blanc has been in the barrel for a year and the bottle for an additional year. So – hopefully – you can imagine the intense mouth feel, with layer upon layer of fruit and just a subtle touch of vanilla.

Posted by: Linda Coltart
Posted in: Wine,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Le Quartier Français in October

Today I head off to the USA where I will be visiting Le Quartier Français friends and contacts; I’ll also be investigating new and emerging trends in the hotel and restaurant world. It promises to be a very exciting trip and I’m going to try keep everyone updated, through this blog, throughout my travels.

On the home front, the weekend of the 10th and 11th of October sees the valley play host to the third annual Franschhoek Uncorked festival. The majority of Franschhoek wine farms use this event to showcase their latest vintages; often choosing to release these vintages at Uncorked. This tradition makes for a tasty weekend!

At Môreson and Bread & Wine Neil Jewell, head chef and South African Charcuterie King, is going to be whipping up a food market of note; and I can guarantee that his famous mussels will definitely be on offer. On the wine front Môreson will be officially introducing their new range Miss Molly wines to the South African public.

Neil enjoying an after work beer.

Neil enjoying an after work beer.

Then – come mid-October – Linda Coltart, Margot Janse, Annemarie Steenkamp (the Culinary Concierge) and Neil Jewell are going to be visiting Italy. They will be taking part in the TTG INCONRTI PADIGLIONE B1. So you can expect some lovely updates and perhaps (cross your fingers) a few video clips showcasing their adventures.

October 2009, in the Le Quartier Français family, really looks like it’s set to be a delicious month!

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Experience, Festival, Food, Travel, Wine,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Mr Tuesday’s Chicken

Yesterday was Mrs. Ndaba’s first Tuesday’s chicken. It went incredibly well and we thought we’d share a few pictures with you.

Hanging out with Mrs, Ndaba before lunch is served

Hanging out with Mrs. Ndaba before lunch is served.

Mrs. Ndaba and Tuesday's Chicken

Mrs. Ndaba and Tuesday's Chicken.

Mmm lunch.

Mmm lunch ...

Thanks Mr Tuesday! It looks like everyone loved their meal and without your generosity this would not have been possible.

Posted by: Linda Coltart
Posted in: Community,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

The Grande Rooms are Oui.Oui.Oui

I just love this advert:

Our Grande Rooms are definitely Oui.Oui.Oui!

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Happiness is: a Grande Room’s wallpaper

Room 7, at Le Quartier Français, is one of the three original Auberge Rooms we recently extended, renovated and converted into a Grande Room.

We’ve just completed wallpapering the wall, behind the over-sized headboard, and it’s looking positively scrumptious!

The French Wallpaper

French Wallpaper. Looks good enough to eat.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Hotel, Inspiration,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

Wine Watch: Barista Coffee Pinotage

I love wine. I love sniffing it, I love drinking it, I love putting together my own tasting notes … as I said: I love wine!

In fact, five years ago, I made some of my own wine. Two barrels of a Petit Verdot called Solo; but that’s another exciting story for another exceptional day.

Today I’m going to talk about Winex, which I recently visited.

It’s usually on the top of the industry to-do list (because that’s what we, in the industry, do – we go to shows and taste) but – when the time comes to actually go – I can think of at least a hundred excuses not to. These include but aren’t limited to: it’s too far do drive, it’s too big a show, it’s too busy a show, it’s too much for one night of tasting etc. This year, however, Winex was a last minute decision – one I couldn’t avoid because I had someone to go with which meant I didn’t have to drive – my best excuses were useless!

This year one wine, Barista, really got the better of my curiosity. Barista is Bertus Fourie’s new Pinotage offering and definitely spiked some interest. Bertus (also known as Starbucks) really made his name with the famous Chocolate and Coffee Diemersfontein Pinotage; and it’s great to see him still adding sexiness to this previously maligned cultivar.

I found the Barista offering intriguing – even before I’d tasted it. Both the name and the label effectively align this Pinotage with the concept of a Barista (someone who has an exceptional level of skill when it comes to espresso-based coffee drinks).

Then there is Barista’s aroma and palate. Barista was packed full of those coffee, mocha, espresso aromas and – possibly – a little too much wood for me, but still delicious. The flavours were ripe mulberry, plum and most noticeably coffee.

This is not one of those jammy-type Pinotages. It doesn’t have to be chilled to enjoy and while I was tasting it I kept thinking how delicious it would be with a warthog dish or a souvide lamb neck. For lack of a better word, YUM!

Image courtesy of www.baristawine.co.za

Image courtesy of www.baristawine.co.za

Posted by: Linda Coltart
Posted in: Wine,
comment-notesComments:


  

Le Quartier Français is heading to the USA

In a little over a week I’m heading off to the USA. One of the major reasons behind this adventure is to visit Le Quartier Français friends, contacts and a few of our former employees. What can I say, we love keeping in touch!

Another reason, for this trip, is to give me the opportunity to investigate trends in the USA hotel and restaurant world. This promises to be very exciting as there are some restaurants, in the USA, that are doing to most spectacular theatrical things with food!

These types of trips are important because I believe that a huge component – in the continued success of our hotel (like any other business) – is relationships. Not just the development of new relationships but also the maintenance and growth of our existing relationships.

In developing and maintaining these relationships we work on keeping things interesting for all concerned. As Margot mentioned, in her post about our new Culinary Concierge program, we’re constantly evolving. And this evolution keeps things exciting for everyone, including ourselves.

We always try visit with something new, an exciting addition to the Le Quartier offering. Just because it’s new doesn’t mean it has to be huge; it can be as simple as a menu change or a room update. It just needs to show that as a destination, and an experience, we’re still exciting – we’re still growing and changing.

This year we’ll be visiting with our two new rooms categories: the Grande Rooms and the Petite Garden Suites; a redone Tasting Room, a new Tasting Room menu and the Culinary Concierge. Yes, it promises to be a very exciting expedition indeed!

Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Hotel, Travel,
comment-notesComments: 1


  

Mrs Ndaba’s Friday

We’re very big on community improvement and upliftment. We believe that giving back, supporting and teaching in the local community are core to our success. We have developed our own in-house training program, we invest in our surrounding society and recently we’ve added Mrs Ndaba Friday’s to our Culinary Concierge program.

Mrs Ndaba – who we also mentioned in our previous newsletter – is an amazing woman. She’s 68 years old and she – without any assistance or funding – has started this daycare for toddlers. She now looks after 65 children unaided. Unbelievable!

Every Friday we, with the help of our Culinary Concierge guests, bake nutrient rich muffins (which were designed, with a dietician, specifically for Mrs Ndaba and her children) and then deliver them. It’s an incredibly rewarding process because it truly feels great to do something good for another person.

So far those that have participated in Mrs Ndaba’s Friday have given back far more than just their time and muffins. One individual purchased Mrs Ndaba’s Tuesdays for a whole year! This means that Mrs Ndaba’s children will have a guaranteed meal on both Fridays and Tuesdays. Our end goal is to ensure these children have a meal everyday of the week and, with some help from some very generous people, we hopeful that we’ll get there.

If you want to be part of this, or you’re looking for something that adds a little perspective and joy to your life, join us for a Mrs Ndaba Friday.

Mrs Ndaba and Mr Tuesday.

Mrs Ndaba and Mr Tuesday.

Posted by: Linda Coltart
Posted in: Community, Experience,
comment-notesComments: 10»


  

New Rooms at Le Quartier Français

If you receive our newsletter you’ll already know that we’ve upgraded five of our Luxury Auberge Rooms. Three of these are now Grande Rooms and the remaining two are our Petite Garden Suites.

In typical Le Quartier Français fashion these rooms have been individually decorated. We’re a small boutique hotel and this means that we don’t have to be uniform in our approach to décor which is both exciting and challenging. It’s harder than you think to be unique. But if you like the sound of an exquisite, refreshing and individual room or suite then we’re definitely the place for you.

In the new Grande Rooms and Petite Garden Suites we’ve used beautiful fabrics – luxurious silks, textured weaves and fresh cottons – to create a rich, almost sensual, experience for guests. The furniture is tasteful, not overwhelming and most importantly it is so comfortable that guests will invent reasons to stay put.

We’ve modernised the bathrooms and, over and above all the expected five star fittings and amenities, we’ve included some terrific soft-touches.

At Le Quartier we aim to create a well-rounded experience – one that interacts with all the senses – and our new room additions definitely add another memorable element to our story.

If you click on any of the individually cropped-photos below they enlarge and give you a much better idea of what to expect.


Posted by: Sue Huxter
Posted in: Hotel,
comment-notesComments: 0


  

The Culinary Concierge

At Le Quartier Français we evolve, move forward and pride ourselves on thinking out of the box. We tweak, add and remove aspects of our offering; keeping it fresh and exciting.

After months of brain-storming we have come up with a new (and we think very exciting) concept – our Culinary Concierge program – where we offer participants the opportunity to take part in unique and inspiring culinary experiences.

Annemarie Steenkamp, my former Sous Chef (in the Tasting Room), proved to be the perfect chef to lead our Culinary Concierge program. Her role includes leading guests on culinary excursions, teaching them aspects of what we do and how we do it and introducing them to the Franschhoek Valley and its many delights.

Annemarie and I have designed a series of interesting, and unusual, hands-on cooking courses and experiences that are showcased on our culinary concierge set menu.

Shorter get-togethers will be introduced soon. These will include tastings, appreciations and comparisons of anything from salt, coffee and olive oil to buchu and Pinotage. These – shorter get-togethers – form part of our regularly changing culinary concierge à la carte menu.

We plan on introducing personalised culinary adventures – perfect for those wanting something more exclusive – later in the year.

The Culinary Concierge program is not just about learning new cooking techniques, it’s about leading participants on unforgettable and inspiring culinary adventures; ones that they will still talk about 20 years from now.

The ultimate tart.

The ultimate tart; created during the Dessert Me course. Image courtesy of Sarah Blake: www.littlepinchofsalt.com

Posted by: Margot Janse
Posted in: Experience, Food,
comment-notesComments:


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