South Africa: Angela Hartnett's gastronomic tour
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Looking for an authentic taste of South Africa? Who better to guide you than Michelin-starred chef Angela Hartnett? On a tour of Cape Town - the latest foodie destination - she eats, drinks and gets merry with the country's top bon vivants. Fiona Sims joins her
Chef Angela Hartnett and winemaker Ken Forrester try the crispy pizza at the Simply Italian at the Old Biscuit Mill, Cape Town. 'I might nick that for my place', she says
It’s not just about the food and wine, it’s a social occasion too
Angela Hartnett is sitting on an upturned milk crate in the Old Biscuit Mill farmers' market in Cape Town, tearing into some pancetta. 'That's lovely,' she says, licking her lips, before nibbling on some cured sausage made with red wine and pomegranate by the stall's owner, Steve.
Britain's best-known female chef has come to South Africa to eat, drink and be merry for eight days, after a short trip a couple of years ago ignited her interest. 'I thought it was stunning, so was the hospitality. I really felt back then that South Africa was emerging as a serious foodie destination,' Angela tells me.
This time she's here a bit longer. Michelin-starred Angela is taking a break from her busy London restaurants, Murano and York & Albany, which she runs in partnership with Gordon Ramsay, and she's armed with a list of hot chefs and winemakers in the Cape Town area, all recommended by
colleagues and friends.
'I'm so looking forward to this trip. As well as the great produce, the wines keep getting better, especially now that different vineyards have opened up,' she adds. 'I don't want to sound patronising, but it is surprising how far South Africa's food and wine scene has come.'
Wine has only really been exported over the past 16 years, since the fall of apartheid heralded the lifting of sanctions, yet the country is now the world's seventh largest wine producer with more than 585 wineries.
It's a similar story in the restaurant industry. Gone are the plates crowded with too many ingredients, loaded up with rich sauces. Now South Africa's chefs are on the move, keeping tabs on trends, producing simple, more focused cooking and encouraging artisans to make products for them.
The Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town's up-and-coming Woodstock suburb opened in 2006 just after Angela's previous visit. 'I love the whole idea of this,' she says, taking in the visitors and Capetonians all tasting and chatting. 'It's not just about the food and wine, it's a social occasion too.'
The Old Biscuit Mill Founded by entrepreneurs Justin Rhodes and Cameron Munro, the Mill includes art galleries, shops and cafés. Saturday is the farmers’ market when you can meet young, energetic artisanal producers. theoldbiscuitmill.co.za
Bistro Sixteen82 A chic weekend lunch place in a stylish revamped winery just 20 minutes from the centre of Cape Town. steenberg-vineyards.co.za
Brewers & Union Beer and crayfish are the main reason to come. Eat outside at trestle tables. brewersandunion.com
Bizerca Bistro French chef Laurent Deslandes continues to wow the critics with his South African twist on French bistro. bizerca.com
The Roundhouse A former hunting lodge with views over Camps Bay offering fine dining by night and hampers stuffed with delectable goodies by day. The restaurant’s chef ‘PJ’ Vadas used to work for Angela Hartnett. theroundhouserestaurant.com
Cape Malay cooking experience
Adaptations of Cape Malay dishes, such as bredie, bobotie and sosaties, are staples in many South African homes and even on top chefs’ menus. Book early for Faldelah Tolker’s cookery courses. andulela.com
The Tasting Room A destination restaurant run by one of the country’s top chefs, Margot Janse, who travels the world in search of inspiration. lqf.co.za
Reuben’s A former Chef of the Year, Reuben Riffel continues to excite at his buzzy main street bistro — worth the visit for the chilli salt squid alone. +27 21 876 3772
Francophile head chef Michael Broughton is a Durban boy, who made his name in Johannesburg before opening at the Kleine Zalze winery, where he serves up award- winning dishes. kleinezalze.com
Rust en Vrede Chef David Higgs serves great dishes at this wine estate including a foie gras and porcini mousse with sour cherry glaze and a lemon sabayon, meringue and raspberry sorbet. rustenvrede.com
Jordan Restaurant Scottish chef George Jardine is a very good reason to bump up the Jordan Estate vineyard track. Savour the barrel-smoked yellowtail with soy-glazed pork belly, accented with citrus fruits and summer flowers. jordanwines.com
Bar Bar Black Sheep The ballet dancer-turned chef Mynhardt Joubert proves he can cook as well as he can pirouette at this winemakers’ favourite. bbbs.co.za
The best wineries in the
Cape Town region
•AA Badenhorst Family Wines aabadenhorst.com
•Cape Chamonix Wine Farm chamonix.co.za
•Cape Point Vineyards capepointvineyards.co.za
•Jordan Wines jordanwines.com
•Ken Forrester Vineyards kenforresterwines.com
•Klein Constantia Estate kleinconstantia.com
•Mullineux Family Wines mullineuxwines.com
•Raats Family Wines raats.co.za
•Warwick Wines Estate
five of the best to try at home
•2008 Cape Chamonix Reserve Chardonnay (handford.net, £14.99)
A Burgundy-style Chardonnay with a zingy freshness and great balance.
•2008 Mullineux White, Swartland (Berry Bros, bbr.com, £12.80)
A sexy, biodynamic blend of Chenin Blanc, Clairette Blanc and Viognier with luscious fruit and a sought-after minerality.
•2007 Raats Cabernet Franc (alliancewine.co.uk, £16.90)
Pioneering winemaker Bruwer Raats has turned this workhorse grape into a taste of elegant blackberry and plum fruit with tobacco and spice.
•2008 Boekenhoutskloof the Chocolate Block
A rather tasty Syrah blend that packs a punch and leaves you in no doubt about South Africa’s glorious winemaking future.
•2008 Jordan Estate Nine Yards Chardonnay
A very classy Chardonnay – a taste of biscuity fruit and well-integrated oak. Try it in the owner’s London eaterie High Timber (hightimber.com).
One & Only Cape Town Super-slick and super-chic – the latest hotel from One & Only is in the city’s historic waterfront district. From £640 a night. oneandonlycapetown.com
Le Quartier FranCais Franschhoek’s exclusive boutique hotel is well worth a stay — check out the huge new vibrant suites. From £360 a night. lqf.co.za
The Royal Hotel An atmospheric inn in the Western Cape is situated on a quiet street in Riebeek Kasteel. Great views. From £55 a night. royalinriebeek.com
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