Howzit? How are you? Kunjani?

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Nestled in Devon Vale, Stellenbosch you take the turn on Blumberg Drive taking you up to Kunjani Wines.  This little place boasts a huge heart and I cannot help wondering where I should start, doing justice to my experience at Kunjani.  First of all, their contemporary look that boasts deep greys and vibrant reds is an oxymoron in itself.  The region is known for its established, old, premier wine farms and estates that speaks of yesteryear splendour and luxury and then there is this new kid on the block.  Well, THIS kid is not one that should be underestimated.

Walking up the steps you get why they chose the name Kunjani.  Their greeting and heartfelt hospitality translates from the first smile at reception, “Hi, How are you?”.  Chris and the team quickly showed us (Stefan Schrage @Steffmerlot and Zelda @rhubarb_riesling) around and the decor and setting was a precursor to what was to be expected. Seated outside on the balcony, the surrounding vista flooded our sights with greens, ambers and reds emulating from the small vineyard in front.  It’s almost winter after all.

Kunjani’s goal to your dining experience, is to make it a fun dining experience rather than a fine dining experience.  Their food is whimsically prepared, tastefully plated and their variety is beautifully selected especially for their patrons.  Take note that you can have each order expertly paired with one of the Kunjani wines.  Enough with the shilly-shally and let’s talk about the good stuff. Their awesome wine!

We quickly were introduced to lovely baked bread-bites with savoury cream and beetroot-butter.  A good entrance to what was to come and I was already salivating.  We opted for à la carte dining and I started off with a lovely ensemble of West Coast style fresh Mussels prepared in a fragrant Portuguese sauce.  To match this course Kunjani Chenin Blanc 2017 was the perfect companion.  Tropical nose of Papaya and Lime that is fruity and fresh.

Main course consisted of a beautifully prepared “Stolen” Chicken Curry.  A lovely red curry prepared with chilli & ginger served with fragrant rice, sambals and papadums.  The “Stolen Chicken” Pia-noir was the perfect varietal of Rosé, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot, an absolute joy to taste and enjoy with notes of berries and apple.  Furthermore the Sauvignon Blanc was not standing back at all with crisp freshness, cucumber and coriander. 

Moving over to their prime red selection we enjoyed their ready to drink Shiraz that exhibited remarkable notes of spice, red fruit and plums.  My personal favourite you might ask?  The Kunjani Red Blend, an easy and multi-dimensional red with 46% Cabernet Franc, 46% Merlot and 8% Malbec. This beautiful blend was my ultimate favourite and it contributed well to the stunning sunset over the mountains and vineyards.

Being a very young winery and only established in November 2017, Kunjani is surprising.  Surprising in the way that their wines speak to your palate, their food speak to your eyes but even more so, their story of love, passion and friendship (old and new) that makes every visitor and wine-lover feel they entered a place where they can be at ease, breathe and enjoy.  To Pia and Paul, thank you for an experience that will stay imprinted for a long time and Chris for your hospitality that was unmatched and off course. Dear Gracie, who so passionately made our experience around the table one that seriously need to be repeated.  To you all, I say: “I am well thank you!”.

PS.  Make sure you check out the Kunjani Cottages you can book to make your experience even more memorable.

Same same, but different … itsfoodoo

 

It’s truly rare when you get to share a journey of life with a significant other.  Well, in our case, it started since the day of conception (thanks mom & dad).  The womb started our journey to self discovery, but also a sense of kin-ness of being twins and many years later that kin-ness just grew to a lot of craziness.

Apparently Stef was first to pop his head out and then it was me.  (Well, so they say).  “They”, being my mom and older sisters.  I’m sure we got mixed up a few times along the way and if I should make a call with regards to who the responsible adult is currently……. it’s me.  You see, our duo is tight.  We love food, we are passionate about wine and throw in a extraordinary experience and we are there…… like sister claire!

Being able to live our passion and experience tastes, smells, adventures and off course, a few challenges, makes this twin-ness of ours a special one.  Albeit not ours only.  We share this with our 4 other siblings, family, precious friends and off course, our social media followers whether they be facebookers, instagrammers or tweeters of note. (The whole snapchat thing is not quite working for us…….. well yet in any case).

It’sfoodoo is a dream.  It’s a vehicle.  It’s a “let’s see where this journey takes us” kind of thing and we are enjoying it every step, taste and sip along the way.  We invite you to journey with us and share some of our moments and stories.  Please take a moment to share yours with us and enrich our foodoo passion.

Yours in taste, wine and all that is good!

Janthinus (see I’m first…. LOL!) & Stef (the evil twin buaahahahaha!).

Fermier for more!

fullsizeoutput_4f21There is a saying that  states:  “Good food is equal to a good mood” and I’m a true believer that a love for food is both in the art of preparing it, but also in enjoying it.  In recent years Pretoria have seen a plethora of gastronomic experiences peek out from under the kitchen counters and we, the citizens of this great city, are reaping the ever-tasty rewards.

Award winning Fermier (Farmer in French) is unique in every sense of the word.  They pride themselves on being a self-sustainable restaurant where they incorporate everything around them, from the ground used to build their restaurant, to the garden that offers fresh produce, to the pottery shop on the premises that makes the beautiful vessels to serve delicious meals in.  Everything works together to make the Fermier experience one to remember .  Adriaan Maree chef and founder has got quite the reputation when it comes to good food and brings not only local, but also International experience to the table.  He sure raised the bar in Pretoria, when Fermier opened it’s doors not so long ago.

Arriving at Fermier, I was greeted by a lovely young lady when I parked my car.  I walked up the foot path and it felt like I was leaving the city every step I took in the dark.  Dimly lit lanterns showed the way and I arrived at a contemporary structure that resembled a barn.  It was rustic, yet classy, old charm, yet with a modern twist.  Ambience were created by perfectly chosen lighting and no more than a dozen tables nestled perfectly in the cozy space.  Clearly the space and layout were carefully planned and designed.

First things first and I had to glance over their very impressive wine list and menu that offered 9 set courses for the evening.  One thing is for sure, you are not going to get Butternut & Spinach on the sides.  (ok, I chuckled at myself when I wrote this).

 

After a glass of bubbly, we enjoyed a lovely Elands Rivier, 2014 Pinot Noir.  Delicate, with berries and rose notes with a beautiful garnet colour.  This was a good start to the evening. The menu boasted surprise, esthetic enthrall and bursts of flavour.  The food was the entertainment and the line up was impressive.

First course saw an introduction with freshly baked bread, with Duck liver parfait and canapes.  Beautiful and tasty!

 

Second course in line, was a bundle of Kingklip with black radish and smoked tomato coulis/sauce.

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Third saw an ensemble of Mussels, Squid Sea Vegetables and a light foam. perfectly prepared. (Could’ve sworn I was at the beach with every bite).

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4th Course offered Tuna on a bed of Almonds, Grapefruit, Black Garlic and Olives.

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Course 5 was surprising with Pork Neck with Summer Apple, Celeriac and Samphire.  Soft, oozing flavour and I wanted a second plate (just kidding, 4 more courses to come).

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We enjoyed Duck for our 6th course with Turnips, Verjus and Grapes.

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Lucky number 7 arrived and Springbok, tender and sliced perfectly with Porcini mushrooms, Cauliflower, Daikon and honey.  The balance between savoury and sweet was a dance of perfection.

 

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Course 8 was lighter with an good selection of fine cheeses.  Huguenot, Karoo Crumble and various fruits to compliment.

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The last course rounded things off beautifully with White chocolate and Miso. Sweet and everything you can hope for after 8 courses of utter gastronomic bliss!

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So there we have it fellow food fans! Do not be fooled, although the portions are small, they pack a punch when it comes to flavour.  Adriaan Maree and his team, don’t prepare food, they create art that is absolutely super sensory!  I would seriously recommend you make this spot, one of your top ones as it’s a game-changer when it comes to haute cuisine here in Pretoria.  Their menu also change from time to time, so it will be great to see what’s on the menu in a few month’s time.  Be sure to book your table since they offer limited seating. I believe this enables them to pay careful attention to detail and give you the best experience possible.

I will most certainly go back to Fermier, for more!

Market @ the Sheds… a day of beauty!

One of the stigmas our South African city centres, especially in Gauteng suffers from, is that they tend to be negative.  People tend to think about grey, hard and unfriendly structures and can so easily tag the city centre of Pretoria as a “dangerous” place.  I work in the city centre of Pretoria and I can by personal experience say, it is definitely NOT a “dangerous” place.  It is rather a place filled with rhythm, people awesome food and lots of beauty.

The Market @ the Sheds is one of those jewels that you will not find, if you don’t look for it.  So, my fellow readers, be brave enough, put on your big girl tights and brave a trip to the city centre.  This “dangerous” place may just surprise you in ways you least expect it.  Colour and taste awaits the moment you set foot in the heart of our capital city.  Parking is available at the 012 precinct but can be a bit of a challenge. With overflow and easy access to the parking lot at The State Theatre, makes a short walk (300m) to The Market @ The Sheds a comfortable one. 

Urban rejuvenation saw a lot of new initiatives pop up to beautify, artify (if there is such a word) and magnify the beauty we so often don’t think exists in the city centre of Pretoria.  Market at The Sheds is surely one of them!  Taking place usually every last Saturday of the month, this exciting event draws crowds from near and far and caters for young and old. 

Market @ the Sheds is a hub oozing food, colour, art, rhythm, fashion and more. Explore your culinary side with pulled pork burgers, Mexican cuisine, divine confectionery and so the list goes on.  Fine wines, craft beer and even cocktails are available and the only problem you’ll have, is choosing the right treat to your tastebuds.

Shopping is a joy as you have access to local fashion designers, jewellers, leather products and lots more to jazz up your fashion portfolio.  Enjoy the live entertainment and experience tones and tunes from jazz, pop and even a bit of opera if you find yourself in the right spot at the right time.  I want to urge you to explore your city.  Pulling an Indiana Jones isn’t necessary at all, but as Confucius says: “everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it”.  Come experience the beauty of the city centre and why not start your first adventure, at The Market @ the Sheds.   Go check out their website here and go follow them on social media to stay up to date with the latest events and opportunities and ready yourself, to be amazed.  Go! Now!

The Centurion Hotel… a landmark!

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The good thing about living in the capital city of South Africa, is that you are always just an arms-length from almost any and everything you might need.  Joburg is a mere hour’s drive away, so is the bush veld, lodges, most food spots and shopping malls.  One spot that is certainly going to capture the attention of young and old, is the formerly known, Centurion Lake Hotel.  Now, boasting a new name, The Centurion Hotel, is a landmark to everyone who frequent Centurion.

The Centurion Hotel forms part of The Legacy Group of hotels and resorts.  Not only is The Legacy Group the leading hospitality group in South Africa, but is also renowned for their presence in more than 6 countries world wide, with numerous world class resorts, hotels and bush-lodges that fits connoisseur and families alike.

I was fortunate to receive an invitation to attend the relaunch of this gem in the heart of Centurion and I must say, I was pleasantly surprised.  Their rooms, interior and hospitality were par excellence, their vibe is trendy and the energy was contagious.  Raymond Kodisang, the General Manager of the Centurion Hotel passionately shared their plan and dreams for Centurion and the greater City of Tshwane with us.  All I can say Gautengers, is ready yourselves for promotions that will make any weekday one to remember.

From their Crunch Lunch promotion weekdays at only R59,00, to their Quiz Night on Tuesdays will have young and old enjoy themselves at this very central hotspot.  Did I mention they have date-night on Wednesdays?  Sport lovers can make themselves comfy in front of a big screen every Saturday with kiddies entertainment being provided.  Make a point of visiting them when you have the chance and when you reach those dreaded Sundays, why not go for sundowners at their infinity pool and take pictures to your heart’s content.  Keep up to date with all they have to offer on their social media page via Facebook, The Centurion Hotel.  Being a Pretoria resident myself, I can not wait to see what’s in store next for this great Centurion landmark. There we have it people, all I can say is…. go visit them!  Now!

Silver Orange Bistro Bliss! Almost :)

Silver Orange Bistro! What a surprise!  The word “bistro” mostly refers to a small eatery that serves simple food, but in this case, it’s a small place that packs a huge punch.  Silver Orange Bistro found its feet in the early 2000’s and is situated in the Hartebeespoortdam region just a 30 minute drive from the capital Pretoria or a 50 minute drive from Johannesburg.  Nestled in between the bushveld and orchards  (yes you read right) surroundings, you almost feel like you have just arrived at your mini holiday.

The setting is very laid back and relaxed, and with adequate seating that offers you inside and outside dining, you can take your pick where to enjoy your meal.  One thing is certain, please book before you drive all the way out to Hartebeespoortdam as Silver Orange Bistro is quite popular and you don’t want to be turned away on arrival.  (so be clever – BOOK!).

They have a lovely menu that offers you culinary delights with European and African influences.  Be sure to ask them about their special offerings.  My favourite?  I enjoyed their Pork Belly with Balsamic Mash potatoes and roast peppers and aubergine.  It was well prepared and executive chef Leon Nel sure knows how to balance his flavours and marrying your palate to visual presentation.  Please visit Silver Orange Bistro’s website, to see what their standard menu offers.  Take note that they updated their menu, so you might find more items when you open their menu on arrival.

Now for the Almost part…. (yes, you thought I was going to be impolite?)  Almost Orange is just a short walk or rather stroll down the orchards just beyond the Bistro.  You are greeted by a scene I can swear is straight out of Tuscany!  Platters, Tapas and premium drinks your thing?  Then this is the place for you.  Where the Bistro offers you a great setting that suits families and individuals alike, Almost Orange caters more for adult patrons and children under 16 is not allowed.  Once again, book your spot well in advance.

So! If you find yourself looking for an adventure outside the hustle and bustle of the city perimeter, then jump in your wagon and take a drive to Harties and experience a wide selection of Gin, MCC, craft beer, wine, etc while enjoying superb food.  Well done Silver Orange Bistro and Almost Orange, this was an excellent experience.

Ok, so what about my YES, NO & MAYBE? Here goes:

YES – They offer a unique experience, good food and well rounded relaxed dining with a killer (and award-winning wine list).

NO – The service was a bit slow to my liking, but as always, when the food is good, I’ll tolerate some ‘slowness’ to my experience.

MAYBE – It gets quite hot during the summer season, so if you find the heat unbearable, please book your spot inside.  The road to Silver Orange Bistro is not in good condition and maybe you should take it slow driving there, you don’t want to ‘not arrive’ at your reservation and leave a bit earlier.

All an all, I was impressed, they will most certainly see me again.  Well done Silver Orange team! Itsfoodoo likes you a lot, no, we love you!

 

Freestate beauty in Clarens!

South Africa is most probably the best country to live in when it comes to scenery, beauty and places to visit.  (Yes, I am South African and might be a little bit biased, but bare with me).  It can be very vast when traveling by car, but all special and popular cities, places of interest and holiday spots are easily accessible by a 2 hour flight (and tickets can be bought at a bargain when your timing is right).  We have deserts, the Karoo, the Bushveld, Game Reserves, tropical beaches, mountain ranges that takes your breath away and then there is the Freestate.   A very VERY underrated and unappreciated patch of earth, smack bang in the middle of our country.

Being born in the Freestate I do know that there is little happening, apart from agriculture and farming, but there are a few gems that’s just waiting to be discovered.  Clarens is most certainly one of them.  I have visited this quaint little town quite a few times and every time, I feel like I’m greeting an old friend and also learning something new with every time I set foot in this booming town.  Only 3 hours (by car) away from the capital Pretoria, this town sees a lot of weekend visitors from mostly Johannesburg, Pretoria and surrounds.  It’s just a beautiful place to spend a weekend and plentiful options for accommodation.  December last year, a few friends and I  took a trip down and we enjoyed every moment of it.

Take note that winter times can be very VERY cold and you should plan for possible snow, but in warmer months, you can have lots of fund river rafting, hiking in the Golden Gate Nature Reserve or just spending time in the town shopping.  I would like to share my top picks of Clarens with you.

1.  Accommodation

The choice is yours to stay outside of the town or in the town itself and it really comes down to what tickles your fancy.  This time around, we opted to stay in town at the Golden View Luxury Self Catering in their Oak on Church unit that’s got a view to die for!  Tastefully decorated and affordable, it’s close to town and a quick walk will take you right to the square, where all the action takes place.

2.  Dining at Clarens

When it comes to dining, the options are endless.  Breakfast spots that you should give a go, is The Post House, The Courtyard and Artists Cafe.  My personal favourite?  The Courtyard.  Their fresh baked artisan breads are pure dough magic and tastes amazing. (Don’t forget to check out their bakery section, sweet tooth heaven!).

Lunch time is always a great treat when visiting the Clarens Brewery, they’ve got amazing beer tastings, gin offerings and charcuterie, cheese and bread platters that is a killer lunch pick.  Make sure to visit the RED STONE GIN distillery when you are there.  Love it!

Dinner in Clarens offers you a variety of options, from the local Pizza spot, to Pub dining or you can take a turn and head off to Clementines and enjoy amazing food, prepared well and never disappoints.

3.  So? What to do in Clarens?

Art Galleries in Clarens are quite bespoke and when you set foot into one of them, you can see why.  Art and artists alike find their spot there and paint on canvas is not in short supply.  The art is quite high-end and beautiful!

Shopping isn’t getting the backseat as I like to take a few souvenirs home.  Anything from lamps, doorknobs (the artistic ones), carpets, jewellery, pastas, pickled goods and jams are to your disposal.  They even have an Eco friendly shop that sells functional items, go check them out.

Do you see yourself as an extreme sports junky?  Then horse riding, biking, hiking and river rafting might be added to your list.  You can even go dinosaur hunting (take note, they are extinct and you will be chasing fossils and bones LOL!).

Ok, so this town is exceptional and you just have to make time to get yourself to visit Clarens whenever you can.  They have numerous wedding and function venues as well and the mountainous backdrop creates magical photoshoots.

Ok, so my YES, NO or MAYBE for Clarens are the following:

YES?  This town is an awesome experience and I will go back there again…. and again but do so in warmer months as the cold can sometimes be a bit of a mood damper.

NO?  The roads around the town is not in the best shape and if you aren’t careful, you  might loose a tyre in one of those gigantic potholes.

MAYBE? Check their online calendar for town events.  If there is a MTB race or Beer festival or some big event, KNOW that the town is going to be very busy, so plan your trip well if you are not much of a social animal and rather book outside their peak times.  Visit the Clarens website here to plan your visit.

Now there you have it! I do hope you visit Clarens soon and I look forward to hearing from you and your experiences in the beautiful and picturesque town in the Freesate!  The gem is waiting for you!