IMG_0914

The spectacular view from The Restaurant at Newton Johnson.

The Overberg region boasts some of the finest restaurants in the whole of South Africa and number 2 in this area (Mariana’s at Stanford is no1!!), is The Restaurant at Newton Johnson Vineyards.

IMG_0904

to munch with your aperitif – humus and a largish bread stick.

An annual pilgrimage – the good news is that standards have not dropped one iota; the bad news is that Eric Bulpitt and his whole team are decamping to Avondale farm in Paarl and a new team moves in at the end of August. They have a lot to live up to, but as the Newton johnson family are not known for accepting second best, The Restaurant should still be an essential stop on any Overberg trip.

IMG_0909

Chalmar beef starter – delicious!

 

 

Hermanus Golf Club

Hermanus Golf Club

One of the gems of the golfing circuit – Hermanus Golf Club. We were privileged to have quite a few rounds there over the past week. Beautiful layout; spectacular scenery; herds of Springbok grazing; wetlands; birdlife; superb caddies and the golf …..

006

The blurb….

Hermanus, on the Cape South Coast, is a charming fishing village famous for the whales that come here annually to calve. It is popular with Capetonians as a weekend getaway and during the Christmas and Easter holidays the resident population of 8000 swells to over 40000. Due to this influx, the Hermanus Golf Club has always experienced heavy traffic at certain times of the year. Despite this, the club, blessed with a dedicated and professional management has over many years deservedly gained a reputation for excellent year round standards.

In 2006, this classic country course has undergone a major overhaul with the introduction of nine new holes, based around a new real estate component, and the charming and gentle layout of the past has been replaced with modern classically designed holes, that have added much to both the visual and challenging aspects of the course, without losing any sense of its former tradition. This tradition, created by original designer Bob Grimsdell, which was based around the gentle mountain surrounds, sea views and country hospitality, and though those ingredients remain, this golfing venue has truly reached a new level. This is not surprising, as South Africa’s foremost golf course architect, Peter Matkovich, was retained to infuse his special brand of flair and experience to maximise the potential on this scenic and gentle landscape. The flair is immediately noticeable in the use of new water and rocky features, as well as the introduction of visually pleasant grassy mounds adding definition and shape to the holes.

 

007

 

Superb new greens and bunkering have been introduced to the course that has been considerably lengthened. The upgrade and redesign are in conjunction with the introduction of real estate pockets that have been cleverly interspersed into this environment without impacting on the original charm of the golfing experience. The new residents on the estate and regular visitors will tell the first time visitor that the popularity of the area has in recent years been augmented by international visitors, who have discovered that Hermanus has the best land-based whale-watching in the world. The Hermanus Whale Festival, held annually, has become one of the Cape’s most attended events and the Southern Right whales are pleased to entertain us while they return to calve in this delightful part of the Cape.

004

As my golf partner said, “It does not get any better than this!”

 

 

What more can you say? A glorious winter's evening in Camps Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Crack open the can, pull the cork, screw off the cap.

What more can you say? A glorious winter’s evening in Camps Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Crack open the can, pull the cork, screw off the cap.

IMG_0885

Expertly cooked, our local fisherman laid them out to cool off and dry.

A local – and international – delicacy…. Crayfish or Cape Rock Lobster. We were lucky enough to be given some….

There’s something incredibly delicious about eating food from the sea. Whether it’s fresh oysters eaten au naturel, or with a splash of lemon juice and a tickle of Tabasco® sauce; prawns barbequed on the braai, then slathered in garlicky lemon-butter and dunked into piri-piri, or more-ish mussels in a creamy white wine sauce.

The ultimate indulgence though has to be freshly caught Cape rock lobster; especially when it’s cooked over an open fire and daubed with lemon or parsley butter.

South African seafood lovers and fishermen often erroneously speak of crayfish, when in fact they mean lobster. Many restaurants also incorrectly list crayfish instead of lobster on their menus.

The major difference is that crayfish (also called crawfish) are mostly found off the US coast, and live in fresh water, whereas rock lobsters (also called spiny lobsters) live in the Atlantic Ocean, and are found predominantly off the coasts of Southern Africa and Australia.

Whereas crayfish are prized for their meaty claws (and tail), it’s the sickle of almost-sweet, soft, delicate white meat in the rock lobster’s tail that gets seafood lovers salivating.

The ultimate indulgence though has to be freshly caught Cape rock lobster; especially when it’s cooked over an open fire and daubed with lemon or parsley butter.

Of South Africa’s rock lobster species, West Coast and South Coast rock lobsters can be sustainably consumed and are therefore commercially harvested. Natal deep-sea rock lobster, though legal, is vulnerable to depletion. East Coast rock lobster is a red list species and may only be hand collected.

Madame's purchases - at Blaauklippen Market in Stellenbosch. These artis work from Onrus and can also be seen at the Hermanus Saturday craft market near the High School.

Madame’s purchases – at Blaauklippen Market in Stellenbosch. These artists work from Onrus and can also be seen at the Hermanus Saturday craft market near the High School.

Lovely display of metal animal heads at Blaauklippen Market in Stellenbosch (Sundays only).

Lovely display of metal animal heads at Blaauklippen Market in Stellenbosch (Sundays only).

IMG_0694

 

We visited Overture restaurant – not to eat but to ‘sticky beak’. Beautiful location high up on the Helderberg mountains and within the Hidden Valley wine farm.

However, we loved this quirky table – pine? olive? Not sure.

 

The 'back' of the imposing homestead

The ‘back’ of the imposing homestead

Founded on 1 February 1700, Vergelegen (meaning “situated far away”), has been under the ownership of some of the world’s great explorers and visionaries, each of whom, in their own way, have helped shape Vergelegen to what it is today: a world-class Estate.

The 'front' with one of the famous camphor trees on the left.

The ‘front’ with one of the famous camphor trees on the left.

When Willem Adriaan succeeded his father, Simon van der Stel, as governor of the Cape in 1700, it didn’t take long before he claimed a modest 30,000 hectare piece of land for himself just as his father had done in his time at Constantia. It took three days by ox-wagon to reach Willem Adriaan’s farm on the slopes of the Hottentots Holland mountain range overlooking the Atlantic Ocean; hence its name ‘Vergelegen’, meaning ‘situated far away’.

IMG_0554
Six years after he started planting vines, Willem Adriaan had half a million vine stocks. He laid out fruit orchards and orange groves, planted camphor and oak trees, and established eighteen cattle stations with 1000 cattle and 1800 sheep. Willem Adriaan also built reservoirs and dug irrigation canals. He built himself a beautiful Cape Dutch homestead, added a corn mill and many other subsidiary buildings.

Subsequently, the farm passed through the hands of the Phillips and Barlow families before being purchased by the Anglo-American Corporation in 1987. Anglo still own the property and have developed it into an award-winning wine farm, function centre and two excellent restaurants.

Some of the famous trees (see below)

Some of the famous trees (see below)

As well as extensive gardens, Vergelegen is home to many significant trees, the most important of which are:
*Five historic camphor trees, “guarding” the historic Vergelegen Homestead, believed to have been planted in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel and declared National Monuments in 1942; the other camphor trees on the Estate are all seedlings from these five magnificent specimens;
*Old English Oak, over 300 years old and believed to be the oldest living oak tree in Africa;
*White Mulberry (Morus Alba) dates back to 1700 and the only surviving relic of van der Stel’s attempt to start a silk industry in the Cape;
*The “Royal” Oak, planted in 1928 from an acorn originating from the last of King Alfred’s oak trees at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.

A camphor tree.

A camphor tree.

More modern additions out near the Bistro restaurant.

More modern additions out near the Bistro restaurant.

Morning mist over Camps Bay with the Twelve Apostles behind.

Morning mist over Camps Bay with the Twelve Apostles behind.

 

Popular V&A WAterfront watering hole and restaurant, Den Anker has their own range of craft beer - the latest with a label deisnged and produced by prominent Cape Town artist, Peter Southworth.

Popular V&A WAterfront watering hole and restaurant, Den Anker has their own range of craft beer – the latest with a label deisnged and produced by prominent Cape Town artist, Peter Southworth.

The international business press reported when the merger between SAB Miller and Anheuser-Buschwas announced, that one of the rationales was the ‘upsurge in craft beers’ and the ‘need for a huge beer giant to protect their market shares’. Believe that if you will, but the Financial Times seemed to.

However, what is a reality, especially here at the foot of Africa is the continuation of a phenomenon which has swept through the USA over the past five years – creative, hand made, exceptionally tasty, craft beers.

‘Brewery Fresh’ takes on a new meaning when you sip on some of them.

Craft beer has been described variously as 10 minutes of pleasure, pure happiness in a glass, authentic, archetypical, an intellectual beverage that is to be savored not swilled and much, much more. It is enjoyed for everyday celebrations and is viewed by many as one of the special things in life that makes the day taste and feel a little better.

Each glass displays the creativity and passion of its maker and the complexity of its ingredients. Craft beer is treasured by millions around the world who see it as not merely a fermented beverage, but something to be enjoyed in moderation, shared and revered. It is a versatile beverage that not only enhances food when paired, but is also often brought into the kitchen as a cooking ingredient.

 

← Previous PageNext Page →

  • Blog Roll

    • 2 Oceans Vibe - South Africa’s premier news site for the upwardly mobile.
    • 2Oceansvibe Radio - South Africa’s premier internet radio station – great tunes, good banter and setting the pace
    • Crikey - what they don’t publish in Oz, in the mainstream printed news. Concise comment.
    • Getaway Guru - Great travel site with many hints and tips
    • Popyacollar - A leading edge look at fashions and trends by a leading fashionista
    • Provence Villa Rental - the ultimate property rental in France. Provençal Paradise.
    • Thought Leadership Strategy – Craig Badings - Craig is one of Australia’s leading PR practitioners. His views on Thought Leadership and Strategy are always worth reading
    • Wrestling Possums - The doyen of PR, Chris Savage, gives this site his unique brand of incisiveness. A must read if you’re interested in communications.
  • Other Links



  •   

       

    LSW Twitter

    white spacer

    radio

    white spacer

    white spacer

    white spacer