Congratulations to Zevenwacht Wine Estate!

A huge congratulations to my friends at Zevenwacht Wine Estate in Cape Town! Their 2015 Chardonnay was recently included on the prestigious wine list at La Promenade in the Loire Valley, France. The South African wine is the first non-French wine ever to be included on the Michelin star restaurant’s list. Read the rest of the details in the press release below.

I became acquainted with Zevenwacht Wine Estate on our African Culinary and Wildlife Adventure through Le Calabash. The estate is host to accommodations and Le Calabash’s teaching kitchen during the culinary portion of the tour. It’s a tour that I highly recommend from personal experience.

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Michelin Star Restaurant La Promenade of France offers the 2015 Chardonnay from Zevenwacht Wine Estate of South Africa on Prestigious Wine List

Zevenwacht Wine Estate of Stellenbosch, South Africa announces that Michelin star restaurant La Promenade Maison Dallais in the Le Petit-Pressigny, France now offers their 2015 Chardonnay as part of the restaurant’s wine list. This is the first non-French produced wine ever included on the 30-year old Loire Valley restaurant’s wine list.

“The Zevenwacht Chardonnay is a refreshing change to the Chardonnays we have on our wine list – it is subtly woodsy, crisp, and delicately fruity,” says Xavier Fortin, sommelier at La Promenade. “It’s an excellent choice to go with our ‘Racan’ Chicken dish as well as a great choice with a white fish dish. The wine would even pair well with a chocolate or pear dish from La Promenade’s dessert menu.”

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“We at Zevenwacht are ecstatic with this result. Being the only non-French wine on the list makes it so much more of an achievement,” says Denise Johnson, Director of Zevenwacht Wine Estate.

The wine is produced from 100% Chardonnay grapes that were hand harvested in January of 2015, a month earlier than normal. The grapes come from two different vineyards on the historic Zevenwacht Wine Estate in the Polkadraai Hills of Stellenbosch, South Africa. The winemaker planted both vineyards in 2005 on southwest facing slopes between 200-320 meters above sea level. The elevated slopes lend a natural acidity to the wine, which results in a pleasant pungency and longevity. The open canopies of the vineyards help produce a wine that is rich and full-bodied, and the decomposed granite soil adds a flinty minerality. The Chardonnay was finished in oak barrels at a blend of 20% first fill, 60% second fill, and 20% third fill in French oak barrels.

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Le Calabash Petit Conservatoire de la Cuisine, located in Yzeures-sur-Creuse, France, partners with both La Promenade and Zevenwacht on its culinary tourism programs. La Promenade hosts the farewell dinner for Le Calabash’s French Culinary Adventure. Le Calabash also offers an African Culinary and Wildlife Adventure in South Africa and utilizes Zevenwacht for both accommodations and the site of Le Calabash’s teaching kitchen.

Chef Sidney Bond of Le Calabash is excited to see La Promenade and Zevenwacht work together. “Both the chef and the sommelier at La Promenade are highly respected in the Loire Valley, and the fact that they have chosen this wine is really important to us at Le Calabash as we just opened our cookery school at Zevenwacht Wine Estate. There is a lot of interest in Cape Town’s wines and food now. As a friend and fellow South African, I am proud of Jacques Viljoen, the cellar master and wine maker, and of Zevenwacht Wine Estate.”

Bryan Richards is a craft beer, food, and travel writer. When he’s not following his taste buds around the globe, he enjoys exploring the local craft beer scene in Charlotte, experimenting in the kitchen with his wife, and spending time with his one-year old son. His writing has appeared in Craft Beer, TripIt, and Charlotte Parent. The Wandering Gourmand provides a behind the scenes look at his craft beer and food explorations.

An African Culinary, Wildlife and Fly-in Safari Adventure with le Calabash

On this incredible trip, you will embark on a Culinary and Wildlife experience second to none with two award-winning chefs, Alison and Sidney.

Discover the breath-taking beauty of Cape Town, visit some of the finest wine estates in Stellenbosch, Franschoek and enjoy traditional Cape Malay Cuisine. Experience hands on cooking classes in our new kitchen on the award winning ‘Zevenwacht Wine Estate’ near Cape Town. Home to soaring Table Mountain, golden beaches and bountiful vineyards, Cape Town is sure to capture your heart.

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We fly into the wonder of Namibia where we stay at prime wildlife locations at some of the world’s finest game reserves where we will enjoy game drives and have the opportunity to see many of Africa’s incredible animals including, The Big Five. You will track cheetah on foot, cook under the African stars with local chefs and meet local tribes. You will be staying in luxurious lodge accommodation.

If you are eager for an even deeper and exhilarating experience, come on our extended trip and enjoy the additional Fly-In Safari that focuses on the Namib Desert, one of the oldest deserts in the world. This scenic flight in Namibia guarantees to be one of the highlights of your trip ! No part of the desert is more stunning than Sossusvlei, with its monumentally high dunes, their sinuous crests and warm colours changing as the day waxes and wanes. You will be mesmerised by the incredible views.

An African Culinary Adventure

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This was our first le Calabash ‘An African Culinary Adventure’ group and since then we have taken nine groups on this adventure to Cape Town? South Africa and Namibia, where we Cook with Local Chefs, over the coals and under the African Stars. We visit the world’s most natural Game Reserve, Etosha, track Cheetah on foot and enjoy the local culture and culinary offering. All four adventures to Africa are fully booked and we are about to publish our 2017 dates.

The 2017 itinerary will be extended by two days and a Fly-in Safari to Sossusvlie and Seriem Canyon


Sossusvlei has monumentally high dunes; their sinuous crests and warm colours changing as the day waxes and wanes. These gigantic star-shaped mountains of sand are formed by strong multi-directional winds; they are at their highest and most spectacular where the west-flowing Tsauchab River empties itself into the Vlei.

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The warm tints of the sand, ranging from apricot to orange, red and maroon, contrast vividly with the dazzling white surfaces of the large deflationary clay pans at their bases. When it has rained sufficiently in the interior for the Tsauchab River to come down and fill the main pan, flamingos and other aquatic birds are drawn to the area.


SESRIEM CANYON

At the park entrance to Sossusvlei is Sesriem Canyon, where centuries of erosion have incised a narrow gorge about 1 km in length. At the foot of the gorge, which plunges down 30 to 40 m, are pools that become replenished after good rains. Sesriem derives its name from the time when early pioneers tied six lengths of rawhide thongs together to draw water from the pools.

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Pumpkin Fritters

As we have Thanksgiving on our doorstep, we thought it would be nice for us to share a classic South African favorite with our American friends. South Africans love Pumpkin and Butternut Squash. Here is a le Calabash favorite and Happy Thanksgiving to all our American Culinary Adventurers.

Pumpkin Fritters
This is a classic Cape Malay dish with sweetness and spice.
Really nice with Lamb, Venison and East Asian Fish Dishes.

It is important to ensure the pumpkin is well drained of all its excess liquid, dry out in a sauce pan by cooking over a low heat without a lid.

A Non-stick pan will work wonders when preparing this dish

Ingredients

• 2 cup cooked pumpkin
• ½ cup flour
• ½ tsp salt

• 1 tsp ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 2tbsp caster sugar
• 2 large eggs
• sunflower oil, for frying
• cinnamon sugar for dusting (75% sugar-25% ground cinnamon)

Method

1. Place all ingredients, except eggs in a mixing bowl with paddle and place on slow speed.
2. Add eggs one by one and mix till you have a thick batter. The batter should hold its shape when spooned.
If the batter is too stiff, add a little milk, or if to runny, add a little flour
3. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
4. Scoop a heaped tbsp of batter and drop into pan, but ensure they do not touch.
5. Fry until firm and golden brown, flip over and fry.
6. The fritters will puff up slightly, but deflate a bit as you take them out of the pan. To test, press lightly on the fritters and they will tend to spring back up when done
7. Serve hot with plenty of dusted cinnamon sugar.

Experiencing an African Culinary Adventure with Le Calabash, by Bryan Richards

It’s funny how a bowl of fried mopane worms can make a dinner table full of adults giggle like schoolchildren. As the bowl passed around the table at Xwama, a restaurant in Windhoek, Namibia featuring traditional dishes, taunts of “you eat one” were followed by retorts of “no, you eat one.” It seemed like everyone had succumbed to playground antics of daring one another to stick their tongues on a metal flagpole. I think that I even heard a, “I double dog dare you…”

When the bowl finally made its way to me, there was no hesitation. No taunt was necessary. I quickly popped one of the worms into my mouth and bit down. It was crunchy, chewy, and spicy all at once. While this was by far the most outlandish thing that we ate on our African Culinary Adventure with Le Calabash, it highlighted why we had chosen more of a food focused vacation for our African odyssey. We desired a tour that offered not only safari related activities but also a cultural experience.

African Culinary Adventure

Majestic in the best word I can think of to describe the vineyards surrounding Cape Town, which is where we spent the first three nights of our African Culinary Adventure. I couldn’t help but to pass countless hours on our hotel room terrace at Zevenwacht Wine Estate looking out at the lush, green vineyards as they rolled up to the faded mountains in the distance and onto the bright blue sky. I find a peace in vineyards much like others find peace through the crashing ocean surf. Of course, a glass of Cape Town’s famed Pinotage does help to achieve that sense of nirvana…

Table Mountain, Cape Town

The natural abundance of the fair cape and the various cultures that influence her have cultivated a cuisine that is both diverse and world class. Chefs Sidney and Alison Bond who lead the tour make sure that you try it all from the welcome dinner of a traditional South African Braai to classic French and Dutch cuisines found in Franschhoek.

The tour also includes stops at some of Cape Town’s top attractions like Table Mountain and the V&A Waterfront. There are also plenty of winery visits along the way to sample the best of the growing viticulture region.

Zevenwacht Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa

The Journey Continues with a Safari in Namibia

Words can’t describe the experience of a safari, which is why once you go on one you know it won’t be your last. From the first giraffe you spot on the ride to Etosha National Park to the pride of lions stalking their prey, you develop a deep-rooted addiction to see and experience more. A favorite experience was watching a pack of over fifty elephants descend upon a watering hole. We watched for over an hour as both children and adults alike splashed in their afternoon refreshment.

Elephants at a Watering Hole in Etosha National Park

An African Culinary Adventure also visits the Africat Foundation. Africat’s mission is to “strive towards the long term survival of Namibia’s predators in their natural habitat.” Here, you’ll get so see some of the harder to spot big cats like cheetahs and leopards as they are rehabilitated for release back into the wild.

Leopard at Play at AfriCat

All the excitement works up an appetite that finishes in a lesson on how to cook wild game. It’s the perfect conclusion to an African Culinary Adventure and the journey of a lifetime.

Bryan Richards is a food, travel, and craft beer writer. He has a passion for exploring regional food and drink and enjoys encouraging readers to discover new places and tastes in a way that inspires curiosity and motivation. For more info, please visit The Wandering Gourmand.