“How do you discover what you always known?” When reading this statement, it really strikes a chord with me. You see darling boozy friends, I stayed for 15 years in the iconic Stellenbosch. For those 15 years, I had NEVER once, ever visited Blaauwklippen. Don’t ask me why, because I have no excuse. There is none! It is not like we stayed far, and to make matters worse, I practically drove past everyday, but never made a detour. Can I actually call myself a food and booze lover? (Shakes head) Blaauwklippen offers a food, wine and gin experience that NO FOODIE lover should ever miss!!!
Blaauwklippen knows in how to entice all the senses. But before I indulge you with all the delectable and tasty morsels, or a life of luxury, let me first give you a little background of Blaauwklippen.
8 Historical Facts About Blaauwklippen You May Not Know:
- Blaauwklippen founded in 1682 by Gerrit Jansz Visser;
- 1688 planting of the first vines;
- 1899 Cecil John Rhodes became the owner of Blaauwklippen for just one day;
- 1971 the Stellenbosch Wine Route is established and Blaauwklippen becomes first of its many members. (The original wine route was a network of just a few wineries were tourists could taste the various wines in a relaxing and almost homely atmosphere.Today the route now consists of 150 members and 5 sub routes);
- 1977 planing of the first Zinfandel grapes on Blaauwklippen. Three years later the first Zinfandel wine is produced;
- 1984 The Blaauwklippen Blending Competition is founded. 30 consecutive years later, it still remains the only wine competition in SA aimed at consumers and not producers;
- 2008 Blaauwklippen become the first winery outside of the USA to join ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers);
- 2015 Blaauwklippen celebrates 333 years!
If you would like to read into the history of Blaauwklippen – you can read it here.
Entering a Food and Wine Euphoria at Blaauwklippen
WARNING – VIEWER DISCRETION: PROCEED WITH CAUTION!
Please read with caution! Reading further may cause you to drool the rivers of Babylon. Also make sure that you are not reading this article before lunch or on any empty stomach as it may cause terrible discomfort. I will not be held liable for any damages occurred to your diet.
So where to start? Perhaps at the beginning? Yes, we shall start at the beginning! Ok, soooooo, I was very honoured and privileged to be part of a small group of creative writers and wine lovers alike to experience Blaauwklippen in 24 hours. What better way than to kick off with a brief introduction to Blaauwklippen, leading into a wine tasting?
With GREAT excitement and anticipation I finally get to taste Blaauwklippen’s famous Zinfandel.
A Summer Affair – Blaauwklippen White Zinfandel
We kicked off our tasting with the White Zinfandel and it did not disappoint! Just think of a beautiful summers day out in an English garden with the smell of peaches, lavender and orange blossoms. It is rich and sumptuous on the palate, but yet is lean and pure with a fresh zesty acidity with a long lingering finnish. The perfect summer picnic wine. This wine is a keeper and it came home with me!
An Autumn Enchantment – Blaauwklippen Red Zinfandel
Next up was the Red Zinfandel. How much do I adore you? My favourite season; all captured in one wine. Silky smooth, luxuriant richness of sour cherries and juicy cranberries with a hint of allspice, cinnamon and dark chocolate on the nose. A little smokey, a hint of earthiness on the mid palate with a fresh focused finish of a touch of tobacco. It is a beautiful wine! The perfect wine to enjoy a ripe cheese!
Your Winter Baby – Blaauwklippen Cabernet Sauvignon
Next on the list was Blaauwklippen’s Cabernet Sauvignon! It was a super hot day and I hit a mental block with this wine. One sip and I’m overheating because this wine is shouting Winter baby! Sitting all snuggled up and cosy by a crackling fire, tucking in on a delicious beef bourguinon.
We are talking ripe blackberries and an intense dark chocolate, you get a subtle whiff of cassis and the classic pencil shavings. On the mouth you get this gorgeous fruit and velvety dark tannins. A little smoke, tobacco and leather on the mid palate and fresh but yet complex finish! Delicious!
The Spice Mistress – Blaauwklippen Shiraz
Oh but it doesn’t stop here guys, the next wine? Shiraz. I am not overly obsessed with Shiraz – sometimes it is a hit and other times it is a seriously bad miss. However, Blaauwklippens Shiraz is beautiful. It has this beautiful spiciness and luscious mulberries.
Just think dukka spiced plum pudding with roasted nuts. Guys this is just on the nose! On the palate has a chalky tannin with a touch of finesse that ends with a loooooooong lingering finish. This wine is perfect with anything that is venison!
Stylish yet Seductive – Blaauwklippen Malbec
Second to last is one of my ultimate favourite cultivars, maybe more because of the gorgeous colour it produces. I mean we are close to drinking purple wine! Yes you guessed it Malbec! This Malbec from Blaauwklippen is a bouquet of berries, dark chocolate and crème-caramel. It is big and bold with an opulent mid palate and velvet smooth tannins. It is definately a seductive and stylish wine! I certainly came home with this one too!
The Masterful – Before and After
There are absolute no words in how I can explain this spirit apéritif to you than other than Christmas in a bottle. It is literally a drinkable fruit cake. This is masterful blend of wood matured red Noble Late Harvest and Blaauwklippen Potstill Brandy. Serve this on a hot day neat over ice – absolutely delicious.
It was time to quickly check into our rooms. WOW! What a magnificent way to be out and about spending a weekend of utter luxury that wholeheartedly indulges the senses. Your eyes are feasting on the breathtaking surroundings, tasting amazing wines and food, smelling the fresh air and flowers, listening to the silence of birds singing. You feel the luxury!
After check in we took a lovely tour through the manner house which I will show you a little later, but skipping forward little and talk Gin to you!
Gin for the win all the way!!
What’s the time? It is GIN O CLOCK!
Oh my word – how heavenly is the Gin and Nougat pairing that you can experience at Blaauwklippen. Flip man – even if you don’t do gin, (I’m happy to drink your share if you don’t want it) but the nougats!!!!
HEAVEN! HEAVEN! HEAVEN!!!
Paired with spicy pecan, fig and red peppercorn nougat. Let me repeat that in case you didn’t hear correctly SPICY PECAN, FIG AND RED PEPPERCORN NOUGAT!! Yes the gin was nice too!
The Farm Gin is actually infused with obviously juniper but ALSO 11 Botanicals found on the farm. It is quite an intricate gin with A LOT going on.
Guys, we are talking fragrances of sweet honeysuckle and herbaceousness from geraniums, aromatic pine and zesty grapefruit, which over flows into silky-smooth and slightly sweet gin.
Here a world of both herbal and floral notes explodes with a burst of juniper, wild figs and pecan nuts. Grapefruit and orange zest round out a lingering floral and spicy white pepper finish. All of this ultimately pairs perfectly with the nougat of spicy figs, pecan and red peppercorns.
This was my favourite gin for the evening! It is such a happy and gentle gin! Easy drinking with fresh floral, herbal, spicy and citrus botanicals. This is the perfect gin to sit, chillax under an old wild fig tree, enjoying the sunset against the mountains.
It is unpretentious and fresh with crystal clear aromas of fresh pine needles and camphor perfumed with passion fruit and sage all being brought together but a pinch of citrus zest. It is the ultimate balance between of complex herbs and fruit forwardness.
Ooooh and the nougat – (rubbing hands together) Lemon & Thyme nougat! The gin – nectar and the nougat – ambrosia!
Blaauwklippen wanting to celebrate their pioneering spirit celebrates by producing the first ever Zinfandel Gin.
The ZinGin is made from the Zinfandel wine, de-alcoholised then distilled to create a deep crimson colour and unprocessed flavour. Carefully selected botanicals of: cinnamon, coriander, agelica root, grains of paradise, orris root, almonds and lemon all give a helping hand in producing a gin that is warm, exotic and spicy.
All these botanic are chosen to entice the Zinfandel giving it an aroma of pine, blackcurrant, red wine tannin and sweet-spicy cinnamon notes. On the palate is carousel of flavours. You get sweet red berries, sour cranberries and tea-like tannins from the Zinfandel, black pepper, nutty woodiness, warm citrus and cinnamon finish.
What nougat would you be paired with this whimsical gin? If you guessed something with berries and cherries you would be absolutely correct. Plain and simple, but utterly a transformation when sipping on such a fine gin like this.
Sadly though the tonic water didn’t do it for me. For me, I felt it almost clashed a tad bit. My taste buds is not yet fully developed for me to enjoy gin on its own… YET. Perhaps, I would try it with a little soda water or ginger ale or fitches and leeds cranberry and chili mixer, although it may deviate a little to much from the Gin. I think some my boozy kitchen experimenting is order. Once the #SAWineLockdown is over, I shall be getting me a ZinGin to experiment a little more with… I’ll keep you posted!
These three gins are available at Blaauwklippen's tasting room seven days a week from 10h00 – 17h00. (Once #SALockdown is over) The gin-and-nougat pairing of three gins and 3 nougat costs R135 per person. You can also purchase any of the gins at Blaauwklippen cellar door or online shop at R385 for Farm Gin and Garden Gin, and R425 for ZinGin.
Ok my tummy is growling and grumbling and I am feeling a little light headed from all the gin, and oh! the wine from the tastings we enjoyed earlier!. Stupid, stupid, STUPID me, did NOT eat anything before hand!
Oh my HAT!!!! People… you got to hold on tight because you may lose your hats on this ride! The food that comes out of the kitchen of Hamm & Uys is that GOOD… mind blowing GOOD!! I say this with all honesty!
Experiencing a Friday Night Dinner Under the Stars at Hamm & Uys
You could not ask for a better setting for a Friday night. Big ole oak trees, live music gently playing in the background, the stars and under the moonlight, and great food. I mean absolutely fantastic food. Perhaps we were all little too starved but those wood fire pizza’s are delicious.
We felt like food depraved voracious piranhas and the poor waiter was the slaughtered sacrifice. He gingerly approaches our table, puts down the first pizza and scurries his way back to the kitchen. I guess he felt if he lingered a little longer he might just become the meal. (by accident of course!)
The menu feels like your moms or your Afrikaaner Ouma’s rustic cooking, but with a re-invented modern twist on a plate. Talking of plates, how stunning are these plates?
To this day I am still dreaming about that Mussel pot with roosterbrood! I could have just eaten that the entire night. It is rich (cooked in wine, garlic and onions), its creamy (yes it contains cream), and that is it.
Nothing more… nothing less. As hubby says keeping it simple is sometimes just the best. And dammit it goes so well with the White Zinfandel.
Oh boy only yummiliciousness comes out of the Hamm & Uys kitchen and it is unique all the flavours are BIG and BOLD!
OooooH! OooooH! and how can I forget I think what they called the Heritage Burger burger? (open for correction). OH… MY… FREAKING GRAPEVINE AUNT!! This burger is one that is LARGER than life!
Close your eyes and picture this! Ground marrow, chateaubriand beef burger cooked to a juicy perfection of medium to rareness, served on a RUSK DOUGH bun, that’s right! Yes, you indeed read correctly!! Served with slaphakskeentjies, (I mean HELLLLOOOO where else will you find slaphakskeentjies? Days gone by – do people of my generation even know what slaphakskeentjies are?) and don’t forget the cheese! (locally sourced FYI)
That was just the burger guys… on the side you get proper slaptjips which by the way is cooked/fried in flipping BEEF FAT (Shut the front door!! You CANNOT get more old school than this) BUT wait… there is more… a sherry vinegar pickled red cabbage slaw and the proverbial cherry on the cake? A mouth salivating roasted bone marrow!!! No words, I tell you! No words. Other than the silence when you are eating something that good with the occassional “Oh this good! Lip smacking – Hmmmmmmmmmmmm this is really good!” (Said with a mouthful of food)
This is the kind of cooking my boozy kitchen dreams of creating in her kitchen! Taking a classic recipe/food and turning it inside out upside down!
Hamm and Uys drops the mic and walks out the door!!
I know… I know… heart attack, cholesterol spiking food and yes my Oupa would so turn in his grave if had to see me gorging on all this rich, buttery, creamy and fat laden deliciousness, but heck, you only live once! Your taste buds… they deserve to be treated to a euphoric lipsmacking finger licking roller coaster ride!
My taste buds? They were screaming more…more… WE WANT MORE!!!! But my tummy was saying no…. please NOOOOOOOOO… I can’t!!
And Oh yes I did!! How can you not end an hedonistic feast without a cuppa Earl grey tea, cheese cake and yes a childhood memory of every schools cake sale, school fete, and kiddies party – a rice krispies treat. That’s right!! You heard me!! A RICE KRISPIES TREAT! I couldn’t resist an opportunity to feel a little nostalgia and be a little girl all over again. Even if it was for a second!
Oh and if you are looking for the melt in your mouth dreamy cheesecake? You better leave space for dessert if you can – I dare you!! I cannot be the only insatiable piggy!
If not… you are welcomed to enjoy a Saturday morning out with girl friends and enjoy the many illegal, immoral and e-fattning sweet treats on offer.
You know the saying – “magies vol and oogies toe?” Well this was me… and feeling complete and extremely happy, it was time to retire! My poor room mate, well… we both, had to roll each other to our guest suite. What a day it was… pure bliss of indulgence! A long hot shower, a soft bed and a good nights rest is just what the doctor orders. We have a bright and early morning to wake up to as we head out for an early morning vineyard walk!
Humm & Uys Opening Times: (When #SALockDown is over) Tuesday – Saturday: 10h00 – 18h00 (kitchen closes at 17h00) – À la Carte Friday: Burger, Pizza and Live Music from 17h00 – 22h00 (kitchen closes at 21h00) Sunday Roast: 11h00 – 15h00 Mondays: Closed Bookings: Email: email@example.com Telephone: +27 (0)21 880 0133 | Mobile: +27 (0)66 495 0270
Part II coming soon… So don’t go anywhere!
Disclaimer: My boozy was invited by Blaauklippen to spend 24 hours at their farm. All thoughts and expressions are of my own. I really had a blast and wanted to share with you my experiences and you too can experience. Images in this article belongs to My Boozy Kitchen.