Ever felt like Alice in Winederland?

Wine is surely one of the most common denominators apart from oxygen when you think about being social and spending time with friends.  Come to think of it, the whole food and beverage industry rapidly erupted in NOT JUST food and wine, but age old institutions that are bringing forward hundreds of years of tradition in their wine and for some, they are experimenting with new techniques and products.  Standing back, you do realise that this is truly something beauteous that is happening.  Even the better part, we are living in a time where we are able to enjoy the pendulum of this, where tradition and innovation meets occasionally and we are the “Alices” in  wine wonderland.

The City of Tshwane was home this weekend to the SPAR at TOPS Winederland Show in collaboration with the Pretoria News, at Menlyn Shopping Centre here in Pretoria and man, did they pull out all the stops.  This was no ‘run of the mill’ wine show, this was most probably one of the best wine shows I experienced this year.  Their processing systems for guests were smooth, the setting was aesthetically pleasing and the vibe was electric.  Arriving at the central square of the new Menlyn Mall, my senses were invaded with energy, sound and light.  Being a VIP guest, I received my wristband and proceeded to get my glass and goodie bag.  This was going to be utterly pristine!

First stop, the Lindt stall.  Yes, the chocolate stall.  They had amazing pairings on offer, all their sultry chocolate from caramel goodness to salty and citrus were paired with premium wines.  My favourite? Their smooth citrus chocolate with the Rust and Vrede Viognier, Shiraz and Grenache.  It was beautiful!  I then proceeded to what the rest of the evening and this Winederland had to offer.  Wine estates were there in full force.  Delheim, KWV, Durbanville Hills, Hermanuspietersfontein, Arniston Bay, Van Loveren, JC Le Roux, lots of other great wineries and off course some French Champagne from the Tops stall to top things off.  A lovely Champagne, Brut from Pierre Mignon was ever so appropriate. Oh and don’t forget Wilderer Gin, love them.

The VIP lounge was to my disposal and I did make use of it.  Was I impressed? It didn’t score points for me as the food was left in the open and obviously their dough offerings were hard and tough to work through, but the whole “VIP LOUNGE” in itself, is a good thing, makes one feel special.  Did I buy wine that evening? Yes.  Did I have an awesome time? Yes.  Did I do a lot of networking? Yes.  Did I learn a few new things about my favourite thing (wine for those who did not know by now)? Absolutely!  Tasting wine is one thing, but being open to learn and experience really gives shows like the TOPS at SPAR Wine Show credibility as an event that truly offer it’s patrons more than just a wine tasting.  It’s a true wine wonderland or #Winederland, that would make even Alice sorry that she missed it.  Thank you Spar and The Pretoria News for an outstanding event.  Cheers!  

PS. The name Alice don’t suit me very well….. 🙂

 

Braai is not just braai!

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Yes, there are a few crucial things about being South African.  Having a braai is surely one of them.  Ask any South African about their favourite way of having a braai and you will most surely hear that this is almost a syndrome of elements to having the perfect braai.

Here it is not just about the meat (which is the most important part of any braai), but it’s about snacks, ambience, music, friends and off course…. the fire.  Not being a “pro” braaier (for our English friends, the word “braai” can be translated to “bbq”), I always tend to sit back and observe all the different styles and processes involved when attending a braai with friends.  My experience taught me that there are 4 distinct owners of a braai

1. The novice:

Here the person will set everything up, doing a rush job and we end up wondering whether we are ever going to get to grilling our meat eventually.  By God’s graces, the fire gets going, meat is on the grill and the braai is under way.  (a sigh of relief).

2.  The Pro:

The Pro is literally the professional here, having access to the latest trends, gadgets, firestarters and an outfit to match.  Usually here, I steer clear of ownership or assistance because they have got everything covered.  You will have your meat, bbq’d to perfection and the pro will be the talk of the braai-town for days waaaay after.

3.  The ADHD:

My brother, (love him to bits…. and sorry Stef) is a great example of an ADHD braaier.  He is all amped up, stacking the fire (very efficiently I might add), but somewhere along the line he get’s pulled into conversation and well, looking at the fire turning into an orphan, someone jumps in and takes responsibility.  No hostile takeovers on this side you know, just a small contingency! LOL!

And then we get to my type…

4.   The “let’s braai and take things as they come” guy:

I have no recipes for stacking the perfect fire, but, it’s my fire.  There will be enough heat and when everything is ready, I invite everyone to take their tongs and do their own thing.  (you see, everyone do their OWN thing, braai tongs provided).  No complaints about meat being under or overdone, because they braaied their own meat and after that, all is well in the braai-world of my life.

This past weekend I was fortunate to tackle a quick weekend away and manning the braai both evenings.  It went well and so we braaied on Saturday lunch as well.  My friend had this awesome brunch dish she prepared and I became a fan instantly.  So if you are looking for something else to put on the grill, give the “bosveld pizza” a go.  You will not be disappointed.

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You will need the following:

1. A medium hot fire.

2. Ingredients like butter, onions, , mushrooms, leftover meat (sausage works best), tomato & onion relish, eggs, foil and lots of cheese.

3. A large frying skillet or shallow pan.

4.  Here goes:  Heat the pan or skillet.  Fry your onions & mushrooms in butter and spice to taste, add leftover meat, tomato & onion relish and let it cook until it starts bubbling.  (your fire should be hot enough for it to cook/bubble).  Stir and fry till it’s all nice and heated up.  Spread the mix out evenly in the pan and make little holes in the mix.  Break an egg in each hole (depending on how many people are about to enjoy this).  Spice with black pepper and evenly top it off with lots of cheese.  Cover with foil and wait until your eggs are no longer translucent.

5.  Dish to your heart’s content!!!  And it is yummmma-yummmmmmmmaaaaa!

I love to braai and will use every opportunity especially in warmer months to have friends over, some red wine, good music, good conversation and good food on the grill. I’m always open to learning new ways and discovering new tricks when it comes to the flaming of food (ok, that was just lame).   Do you have any great braai ideas you wish to share?  Share them below or send them to itsfoodoo@gmail.com.  Would love to hear from you.

ItsFoodoo regards

Janthinus