Archive for November, 2009

The Franschhoek Champagne Festival

Monday, November 30th, 2009

The Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival will be taking place over the weekend of 4th, 5th and 6th of December. If the last few years are anything to go by it’s going to be phenomenal!

The Magic of Bubbles is the most vivacious festival in the Franschhoek Festival Calendar. Here the best South African Méthode Cap Classique and French Champagne flow freely and excellent cuisine – prepared by top local restaurants (including us and Bread & Wine) – keeps the hunger at bay.

The Franschhoek Champagne Festival is a great opportunity to see what the local méthode cap classique producers are up to. One of our favourites – Môreson – will be launching something really exciting. We can’t wait for the festival to arrive!

Exciting things happening on the Le Quartier Français food front

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

2009 has seen us introduce our Culinary Concierge programme, including our Mrs. Ndaba initiative, which has met with phenomenal reviews and support both locally and internationally. So far this has been an amazing experience for everyone involved and we plan on ensuring that it continues to be just that. In fact, if you’re interested in experiencing the Culinary Concierge for yourself we have a South African Flavours programme running on Thursday the 10th of December 2009 and a Dessert Me programme running on Thursday the 17th of December 2009.

Margot has continued to impress diners from across the globe with her unique cuisine. She, along with Neil Jewell (Bread & Wine Head Chef and Charcuterie King), Annemarie Steenkamp (the Le Quartier Français Culinary Concierge) and Linda Coltart our exceptional General Manager spent a week wowing palates at the South African pavilion – TTG Plus Sudafrika workshop in Rimini.

The 1st of December sees the launch of Margot’s Business Class KLM menu. This foray into airline cuisine is a very exciting step, both for Margot and for Le Quartier Français, and the official South African launch takes place at Le Quartier on Friday the 27th of November 2009. It’s the only time you’ll ever find an airplane serving trolley anywhere near Margot’s kitchen!

One of Margots Tasting Room Desserts

One of Margot's Tasting Room Desserts

The food related excitement doesn’t stop there because Margot will be preparing the menu she designed specifically for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup draw at the South African Dutch Embassy. It’s going to be a star-studded event (with both local and international celebrities) and Margot’s planned menu is exceptional, quirky and positively unforgettable. We obviously can’t share it now, that would ruin the surprise for guests. But – following the event – we’ll post the menu, along with the inspiration behind the culturally inspired dishes and (of course) pictures.

Le Quartier Français in 2009 Eat Out top 10

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Le Quartier Français has once again been included in the Prudential Eat Out top 10 restaurants and we’re not alone. Grande Provence, another Franschhoek Restaurant, also placed in the top 10. Congratulation Grande Provence!

Other Franschhoek restaurants that placed in the top 20 were Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant – home of Neil’s delicious charcuterie – and Reubens.

This year’s Eat Out awards saw a female chef, Chantel Dartnall from Mosaic Restaurant in Pretoria, win the title of Prudential Eat Out Chef of the Year. We’re big fans to female chefs (obviously) so well done Chantel!

New Le Quartier Français Winelist

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

The new Le Quartier Français winelist is set for release on the 1st of December 2009.

At Le Quartier Français our goal – regarding the new winelist – was to create a winelist experience as phenomenal as our other experiences.

We’ve worked at changing our approach to wine selection and I’ve started to place a greater emphasis on terroir, and it’s effect on the various wines I’ve selected for the new Le Quartier Français winelist. If you have a look, through the new winelist, you’ll find a really spectacular selection of great terroir-reflecting wines.

What’s more our new wine list also offers  an even more extensive range of wines-by-the-glass than before.

Picture courtesy of Rennett Stowe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint/2616557989/)

Picture courtesy of Rennett Stowe (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tomsaint/2616557989/)

The Marmite Store

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

It’s impossible to be ambivalent about Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. When it comes to Marmite there is simply no inbetween.

I myself am not a Marmite fan but I really enjoyed my recent visit to their popup store in London on Regent Street.

The Marmite Store stocks over 100 different Marmite items, some of which are exclusive to the Marmite Store! If you’re in London, over the next few months, and you’re a Marmite lover or a Marmite hater take some time to visit the Marmite Store.

Image courtesy of Life in LDN (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mycreativecorner/4111370079/)

Image courtesy of Life in LDN (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mycreativecorner/4111370079/)

2009 Pure Life Experiences in Morocco

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

I’m in Marrakech Morocco attending the 2009 Pure Life Experiences.

The Pure Life Experiences tag line is life enriching global travel trade show and I think that Le Quartier Français – with our world-renowned gastronomy offering, our beautiful Franschhoek hotel, the new Culinary Concierge experience, The Screening Room, Touches and Tastes, the Treatment Room and so much more – is definitely a life enriching experience.

Marrakech is itself a life changing experience and, if you haven’t been, you need go!

The spices in Marrakech.

The spices in Marrakech.

Fragrant herbs.

Fragrant herbs.

An olive seller. Just look at the selection.

An olive seller. Just look at the selection.

The Marrakech Market Square at Night. Best food in Marrakech - its delicious!

The Marrakech Market Square at Night. Best food in Marrakech - it's delicious!

Mrs Ndaba Video

Friday, November 13th, 2009

So many people have expressed an interest in the Le Quartier Français Culinary Concierge Mrs. Ndaba programme that we thought we’d put together a video clip of the Friday Muffin Magic.

If you haven’t had a chance to experience the fabulous Mrs. Ndaba don’t despair, you can still do some good and – at the same time – feel great by joining us on any Friday morning.

For more information about Mrs. Ndaba and the other Culinary Concierge Menu Items please visit the Le Quartier Français website.

Eben Sadie

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

Margot and I recently took part in an invitation only tasting with Eben Sadie. He only does four a year – at the family farm so – it’s not the type of invite any wine lover says no to!

Eben Sadie is a man overflowing with amazing oenological philosophies and remarkable commitment to producing exceptional wines that are both honest and pure. In fact, in this regard, Eben Sadie’s wines take after him.

During the tasting – overlooking the Swartland and Paardeberg – we learned about soils and terroir, both of which are the not-so-secret ingredients of Eben’s magic.

To illustrate the importance of terrior Eben had us taste three Shirazs. All three were farmed using the same methods, same vines and same oak. The only difference was the soil.

The three Shiraz’s were all totally different – everything from their colour to their flavour and texture was unique to that particular wine. This was the first time that I’ve really experienced the differentiating effects terroir can have on a wine.

Another first – for me – were Eben’s concrete egg tanks which he imported exlusively for fementing his award-winning Palladuis.  These egg tanks apparently maintain the minerality and the concrete – being natural – keeps the purity in the wine.

Eben, I soon discovered, does not believe in spreadsheets, he dislikes producing “oak soup” and his wines never see a machine. He believes in “capturing a place and locking up time” – which is what he does with his wine.

We got to sample this time capsule wine and my new favourite is the Columella 2006. Here each berry is hand-selected then basket pressed. The beautiful colour, a gorgeous purple hue, and the layers of texture and flavours created a smooth and oh so subtle wine. Phenomenal!

Le Quartier Français and Marilyn Monroe

Monday, November 9th, 2009

When I was in America – on this last trip – I not only ate in some amazing restaurants, met some phenomenal people and caught up with some old Le Quartier Français friends and associates.

I also stayed in some interesting rooms. The most interesting of which had a chair that the beautiful Marilyn Monroe had sat in.

On a previous trip – to the USA – I slept in a bed that George W. Bush also slept in … obviously not at the same time.

Only in America?

Môreson Winemaker wins 2009 Young Winemaker of the Year

Friday, November 6th, 2009

Clayton Reabow – the Môreson Winemaker – has been awarded the coveted title of 2009 Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year. The Môreson 2007 Premium Chardonnay – already a Gold award winner at the 2009 Chardonnay du Monde Competition – clinched this year’s title for Clayton and Môreson.

The Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year award aims to encourage young winemakers (under 30) – in South Africa – in their quest to produce wines of ever-increasing quality and innovation. The judges select the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year winner using the winemaker’s entry into the year specific wine category. This year the category was Dry White (unfortified) wine and the 2009 category winner was the 2007 Môreson Premium Chardonnay.

Congratulations Clayton. We are all very proud of you and what you’ve achieved