Claremont’s best kept secret – Starlings Café

As a little deviation from the world of wine, Id like to introduce to you Tamsyn Clark and her blog: thesweetestlittlething. Lets face it as much as we all love wine little compares to a warm cup of tea and a sweet treat especially during these rainy days. So if you looking for a classy location to satisfy your sweet tooth give this delicious blog a read! 🙂

thesweetestlittlething

Tucked away behind a hedge, at number 94, on busy and bustling Belvedere road, lies the cosiest little café – Starlings. This hidden gem is not easily stumbled upon so having inside knowledge is key to its existence. Known only by locals, Starlings really is Claremont’s best kept secret. All that being said, one would think that it wouldn’t be so busy – but it is always crammed with lovely food loving, tea drinking people. Tables are scattered throughout this beautifully restored Victorian cottage, and in warmer months patrons spill out onto a beautiful courtyard outside.

The first time I was fortunate enough to dine at Starlings Café was for my darling friend Cesca’s 21st birthday brunch. I walked in late (this getting lost thing is becoming a habit) to find a bunch of mostly unfamiliar faces gathered around a large table, with a few other people I know…

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A French Affair at Diemersdal Wine Estate

Ever since day one of my blogging adventure, I’ve been dying to share this absolute piece of wine and dining perfection with you.  I think almost by default Diemersdal secured a top spot on my wine list as this farm was where I did my first legal, official wine tasting and ever since that experience has been impossible to beat!

Diemersdal is located roughly 3km from central Durbanville and conveniently only 2km away from me! The premise of this wine estate is breath taking with their vintage buildings and lushes green lawn overlooking a beautiful lake and vineyards. Diemersdal will now continue to hold a very special and sentimental place in my heart as; this piece of gold is where I choose to celebrate my 21st birthday “A French Affair” just last weekend (7 September 2013).

My family all dressed out for a night in Paris

My family all dressed out for a night in Paris

Once I had chosen Diemersdal as my venue, I didn’t take much convincing to get 11 of my family members to take off work and travel all the way from PE to join us. Whenever anyone has come to visit us from out of town, the first item on the agenda is a wine tasting out on the lawn at “Diemers” and needless to say our wine rack at home is filled with Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc.

Me with my fav wine :)

Me with my fav wine 🙂

Their award winning white wine range consists of five different Sauvignon Blanc’s and two Chardonnays, and their Red wine list offers a much wider variety which includes wines such as Grenache, Pinotage Reserve and their Private collection which has won the awards: Top 100 SA wines and Best Red Blend in Durbanville.

Diemersdal is also renowned for their amazing restaurant and their unique menu, which is customized everyday. After dinning here a few times the stand out dishes were definitely their pork spring rolls and steak and chips with béarnaise sauce which was what I chose as the two dishes for my party.

Pork spring rolls to die for!

Pork spring rolls to die for!

Amazing steak, chips and salad!

Amazing steak, chips and salad!

Diemersdal is the perfect setting to enjoy a special celebration with family and friends. It spoils you with a choice of stunning backdrops for photographs from the sun setting over the vineyards to vintage buildings and special indoor memories.

Cheers to 21 years!

Cheers to 21 years (sunset on the lawns with some welcome drinks)

Inside photo booth

Inside photo booth

On a sunny day the lawn is ideal for welcome drinks of chilled Diemersdal Sauv Blanc before moving inside into a cosy antic atmosphere in anticipation of a warm delicious meal.  Once your tummy is more than satisfied, this venue (when hired for private functions) allows you to kick of your shoes and let your hair down and dance the night away.

I can without a doubt guarantee you that this wine farm will live up to any expectation. Whether it’s pouring with rain or sunny, Diemersdal is sure to provide your family of all ages with a flawless experience of the best wine in Durbanville and the most amazing food to ever hit your taste buds!

Special birthday gift from my boyfriend... My fav wine customized just for me :)

Special birthday gift from my boyfriend… My fav wine customized just for me 🙂

If you haven’t tried Diemersdal wine farm out yet, please do me the honor and put it on the top of your to do list, and once you have been… Please try and leave some wine behind for the rest of us 🙂

To experience this treat contact:

Tel: +2721 976 3361
Fax: +2786 514 5577

Or visit:

http://www.diemersdal.co.za

Operating hours: 

Monday-Friday: 09:00-17:00
Saturdays: 09:00-15:00
Sundays: 10:00-15:00

A real Blast ~ Signal Gun (Ke Monate)

The view...

The AWESOME view…

Signal Gun is a hidden treasure known mostly only to the fortunate Durbanville locals. This proud Durbanville wonder can be found slightly off the beaten track just off Vissershok Road.  The Signal Gun is generally not just stumbled upon by passing traffic, as it requires you to embark on a rather adventurous journey to the top of the hill to find it. If it is your first time visiting the farm, I wouldn’t be surprised if halfway you find yourself asking: “Where on earth am I going.” However I can guarantee you that once you lay eyes on this beaut you will NOT be disappointed.  Despite the location being so secretive, the Signal Gun restaurant Ke Monate is almost always fully booked.

Signal Gun is the non-traditional latest addition to the Durbanville wine valley. It offers wine lovers a modern experience to appreciate fine wine. The wine cellar is found below what is most certainly THE most scenic restaurant in Durbanville, Ke Monate. This wine tasting venue doesn’t only allow you to taste the finest Signal Gun wines inside a  beautifully set out cellar, but it also provides you with a selection of unique boutique wines from the Boutique Wine Society of Durbanville.

Over the past couple of years Signal Gun has expanded their range of wine to now include The Signal Gun: Merlot, WRM Shiraz Reserve, Shiraz, Chardonnay, Sea Smoke Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Rose.

Ke Monte

Signal Guns Restaurant: Ke Monte

Although I haven’t been exposed to many of these wines as such, the vibe and atmosphere of the farm keeps me coming back for more. Whether it be for birthday dinners, family lunches, romantic dates or any celebration… Ke Monate and Signal Gun have never disappointed me, instead they have always assisted in capturing the best memories.  My family is definitely considered regulars to this piece of paradise.  We have a deal that everyone will keep at least one night a week open so that we can enjoy either a Wednesday Pasta evening or a Thursday/Friday Mexican Fiesta festivity together. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is perfected to the tee and the wine is ice cold!!

Family breakfast

Family lunch with some amazing Signal Gun Rose

On a summers day this location is perfect for families to enjoy a picnic in the beautiful garden.  The thing that attracts the most visitors on a summer’s afternoon over a weekend is the firing of the 300-year-old cannon over the beautiful hills and vineyards. This activity creates SO much excitement in everyone no matter what your age. I have experienced this many times and yet I still kept a close eye on the dates and times that they fire the cannon and I try my best never to miss it!! 🙂

Mother dear and Gran enjoy some wine on a Summers day!

Mother dear and Gran enjoy some wine on a Summer’s day!

Ke Monate means “Dis Lekker” in Sotho and there is no doubting my mind that once you have tasted their wine and dined with loved ones… These words will be on the tip of your tongue while you are arranging when everyone is free to meet up at Signal Gun again.

Hope to see you all there soon! (Just remember to book!!) 🙂

Signal Gun wine tasting hours:

Tuesdays to Saturdays 09h00 – 17h00
Sundays and Public Holidays 09h30 – 16h00

Contact:

021 976 7343

wine@signalgun.com

Chill out and enjoy the beauty of Cape Town at De Grendel Wine Estate

DeGrendel

Finally I can sit down to blog after what could only be described as THE longest week in history. Given the week I’ve had of non-stop work and not to mention the bumper bash to my car, I thought what better way to kick back than to share with you the most relaxing wine farm in the Durbanville wine valley.

Semi off the beaten track of the typical Durbanville wine route lies the wonders of De Grendel wines on top of Tygerberg Hill, only 20 minutes from the Cape Town city bowl.

On a summers day early 2

Breath taking scenery

The reason I refer to this farm as being the most tranquil is because it is one of the only, if not the only wine estate that allows you to soak up the summer sun on lushes green grass while spoilt with the view of Table Mountain, the city centre and the scope of the Blouberg ocean from a single location. And let’s not forget the crisp blue lake with a huge foundation in the middle to entertain you and your family.

De Grendel offers the full package. Once you have been welcomed by friendly staff and signed into the farm you then continue along an adventurous gravel path surrounded by tall over hanging trees. This little drive creates much excitement and anticipation as you approach the beautifully kept wine house.

One of my many favourite features of the farm, which makes it stand out from all the rest, is their open wine process cellar. The public is welcomed to take a tour around the machinery that they use to produce their top quality wines and admire the procedure used to create the thing we all love so dearly!

The wine cellar

The wine cellar

Their wine tasting allows you to experience the full range of their prized wines while sitting either inside the tasting room or on the balcony overlooking the beautiful scenery. These wines range from my favourite: the De Grendel Rose to their MCC Brut. Their Rose is especially appealing to the ladies as it’s a very pretty light pink coloured wine that explodes with strawberries, red berries and watermelon. They have a large variety of wines, which includes their unique Winifred and Koetshuis! Both very different and exciting!

Sipping on the amazing Rose. The expression just describes how amazing it is !

Sipping on the amazing Rose. The expression just describes how amazing it is!

De Grendel completes your delightful experience to the farm with their elegant restaurant. I was extremely fortunate enough to select the amazing free-range pork fillet with baby potatoes and bordelaise off their menu. These flavors accompanied by the Rose were just the perfect way to end off a day of pure bliss and exciting memories.

This wine farm is perfect for large groups of people whether it be with your friends, family or both! Its also ideal for young families who wish to enjoy some peace as their large lawns, lake and ducks are enough to keep the kiddies busy. The only downfall to the farm is that you need to have plenty hours on hand, because with the vibrant atmosphere and ice cold wine it is very, very difficult to leave!

Relaxation at its VERY best!

Relaxation at its VERY best!

For more information and to book to experience this treat contact:

021 558 6280

or
info@degrendel.co.za

Tasting Hours

Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm;
Saturday 10am – 4pm;
Sunday 10am – 4pm

Quote of the week

Quote of the week

What a beautiful Creation!

Roughly an hour and a half outside of the mother city lays a somewhat hidden treasure. Creation Wine Estate is situated in the heart of the Hemel-en Aarde wine valley along side the Babylon Toren Mountains, just outside Hermanus on route to Caledon. This farm is one of the latest additions to the Western Cape wine scene as they only began producing fine wine during 2002.

The Creation wine farms amazing location

The Creation wine farms amazing location

Creation Wine Estate is an elegant, yet cosy farm staffed by young enthusiastic and very friendly people. I was introduced to this little piece of Heaven earlier this year when attending a 50th birthday celebration. I was amazed to see the crisp and modern finishes throughout the farm, as this is very different to the typical vintage wine farms that I visit regularly in the Durbanville area.

This unique farm offers several activities to ensure that your visit is most definitely an unforgettable one. The one that we were lucky enough to experience was the “Experience the perfect food and wine pairing.” For me this was the ultimate treasure, being able to explore and taste their award winning wines while nibbling on tasty treats and overlooking a range of stunning mountains and vineyards.

To kick-start the food and wine pairing the table was set with a complementary chilled glass of Creation Sauvignon Blanc and bread platter. This was the perfect treat to ease us in while they prepared the delicious dishes that followed.

Bread and butter starter

Bread and butter starter

The pairing consisted of eight flawless combinations of canapés and the finest Creation wines. The combinations can be seen in the picture below:

Combinations of canapes and wine.

Combinations of canapés and wine.

These combinations created an explosion of joy in my month and the pairing was matched to a tee. The wine enhanced and unlocked magical flavours within the perfectly portioned canapés. The wine servings were also very generous which went down extremely well with everyone around the table. Although all the pairings left us almost speechless, the Chicken Laksa and Creation Viognier was most definitely the overall winner. Throughout our pairing we were accompanied by a lovely bubbly lady who informed us as to why these specific pairs were created and she provided us with interesting and insightful history behind the wines and the farm. One of the facts that she  mentioned was that the name “Creation” was given to the farm in tribute to Mother Nature for the wonders she provided for the farm. These wines were very earthy and easy drinking. The Sauvignon Blanc, which is my absolute favourite wine was one of the smoothest I’ve tasted, and leaving the farm with a couple of bottles was a clear indication that I loved it!

creation 3

Perfectly prepared mouthfuls of delight

Massive wine glass and delicious foods

Massive wine glass and delicious foods

After our amazing experience on the farm we continued onto the Caledon hot springs were we relaxed and reflected back on the memorable afternoon spent on the farm. This location and festivities makes for the ideal holiday with family and friends with many adventures to ensure you keep coming back for more.

If you are a wine lover, up for adventure and appreciate the wonders of Mother Nature… take the time out for your busy lives and tick this stunning farm that offers pure bliss off of your wine list.

Creation Wine Estate also offers the following experiences not to be missed:

  • Discover Creation on foot
  • Create your own blend
  • Indulge in our wine and Eclat De Chocolat Pairing
  • Share in our secret wine and food pairing.
Sharing the experience together...

Sharing the experience together…

Creation contact information:

 Hemel en Aarde Road, Hermanus South Africa

 Tel: +27 28 212 1107

Fax: +27 28 212 1127

info@creationwines.com