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relais & chateaux

Launch of the 2010 Relais & Châteaux Guide

Last week we attended the launch of the 2010 Relais & Châteaux Guide at the always beautiful Cellars-Horenort.

2010 sees an additional 37 hotels (worldwide) added to the prestigious Relais & Châteaux Collection. One of the new inclusions, Karkloof Spa – Wellness & Wildlife Retreat, is located in South Africa. It is the only new addition, for 2010, in South Africa and it is the first Relais & Châteaux in the Pietermaritzburg area.

Both Margot and Linda have spent time at Karkloof and, according to them, it is fantastic. So if you’re planning a trip to KwaZulu-Natal then Karkloof is a definite must see.

Relais & Châteaux, of which Le Quartier Français has been a proud member since 2000, is an exclusive collection of 480 of the finest hotels and gourmet restaurants in 56 countries.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Lunch in Franschhoek

This time of year, in the Franschhoek Valley, is absolutely beautiful! Long summery days paired with spectacular sunshine make Franschhoek the ideal lunch time spot.

If you’re looking for a wonderful lazy lunch – the kind that start at 12 and end after three then you should definitely book a table at Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant on Môreson Farm. Neil Jewell’s summer 2009/2010 menu is simply inspired. New menu items have been added to the perennial favourites (never fear the risotto is still on offer) creating a tasty experience for both the regulars and the first-timers.

You’ll also have a chance to sample the new Môreson Méthode Cap Classique. The entire range has had it packaging redone and it is looking beautiful. It is absolutely classic and the cap classique in the bottle is just as delicious as always.

To book a table, and we suggest you do book, call Bread & Wine on (021)876 3692

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Happy New Year

Happy New Year! May your 2010 be absolutely fantastic.

Here’s to 2010 – a year full of great food, wonderful adventures, spectacular company and a few good surprises.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Franschhoek Champagne Festival

Just a reminder that the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is taking place in Franschhoek over this weekend.

If the last two years are anything to go by it’s going to be exceptional! An entire weekend dedicated to the magic of the bubbles – what more could any self-respecting woman (or man with amazing taste) ask for?

Pack the sunscreen, the hat, the designated driver and head on out to Franschhoek for a day or a whole weekend of sheer bubbly heaven.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Exciting things happening on the Le Quartier Français food front

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.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Le Quartier Français and Marilyn Monroe

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?

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Môreson Winemaker wins 2009 Young Winemaker of the Year

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

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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The Best of Boston Restaurants

I’m in Boston at the moment and I am having a wonderful time and I have managed, with a little help from a few friends, to scope out the Boston food scene.

Breakfast a Sofra Bakery and Cafe

Breakfast a Sofra Bakery and Cafe

There are lots of great places to eat including: Garden at the Cellar, Catch, Via Matta, Craigie on Main (for drinks and cocktails), Myers & Chang, Sofra and B&G Oysters – but there are two that I’d like to briefly chat about.

First up is Toro the Boston tapas bar. They take no bookings, and this doesn’t change no matter who you are! You’ll end up waiting at least an 1h45 for a table … and people wait – cramped and all – without complaining, they just enjoy the vibe. The Toro hostess was fantastic and with all her ‘why I deserve to skip to the top of the list‘ stories I’m sure she’ll be writing a bestseller in the near future.

Then there is Oleana. Here the food is really interesting and delicious; and they also have excellent vegetarian options which – I think – is often something lacking in most restaurants. All the steaks (non-vegetarian of course) have the farm of origin listed on the menu and the same goes for the majority of vegetables. I really enjoyed knowing exactly where my dinner had come from; and I think that going forward this going to be more than just a fad, I think it’s going to be a long term niche trend.

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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Eating at Vite

Our dinner – at Vite il ristorante di San Patrignano – was amazing; a fantastic meal in the most terrific venue. All the ingredients used, in the five course we were treated to, came from the community – the meat, the vegetables, the cheese, the mother yeast, the honey, the olive oil and the wine are all produced on the property.

Our starters included white Italian rice, smoked cheese, smoked “Mora” (a type of small pig) and a wine reduction for the farm wines. This was followed by a trio of meat: lamb (clearly not south African), guinea fowl (delicious) and more “Mora” (which was absolutely spectacular). Caramelised figs – from the farm – with three cheeses: a Pecorino, a plain and a classic; then the same cheeses aged in wooden wine-casks with hay, flowers, grass and then a Tale Gio (soft cows milk). Dessert was a pomegranate sauve with a pear cake and ice cream made from the skin of the cocoa bean.

And if dinner wasn’t mind-blowing enough they also have the most breathtaking wine cellar with a selection boasting: Château Margaux, 1900 Porto, magnums of Krug and more.

Posted by: Linda Coltart
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Gina’s New York

Gina’s recently opened on the corner of 82nd street and 2nd avenue. It’s very striking with a fabulous logo and bright pink (my favourite colour) awnings spilling out onto the road.

Ginas la fornarina

It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and it serves delicious salads and great designer pizzas. The pizzas actually reminds me a lot of Bread & Wine pizzas – more modern than traditional.

And, very on trend, they to don’t take bookings. So no need to reserve a table just hope that there is one available (unlikely), arrive and be prepared to wait. The restaurant world has definitely changed!

Posted by: Sue Huxter
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