Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Al fresco lunch at the Delaire Graff Estate

Recently I’ve been lucky enough to be treated to a leisurely lunch at Delaire in the Stellenbosch Winelands about an hour’s drive from Cape Town. Owned by Laurence Graff from Graff Diamonds International, the Delaire Graff setup is a bold statement of luxury, from the lodges and spa through to the winelands restaurant.

The drive out there was an experience in itself, scarf wafting in the summer breeze from the passenger seat of a classic Beetle Cabriolet. I felt a bit like Audrey Hepburn. On arrival at the swanky Delaire Graff Estate right at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, the whole parking lot was parked up with Ferraris. As though the view from up there is not enough to take one’s breath away.

By the time I was done jaw dropping my friends had already ordered a bottle of Delaire Cabernet Franc rosé, an elegant Provence pink wine choice. All berries and spice, with just the refreshing kind of crisp needed after the sunshine drive. I was delighted to see ingredients like spatzle and kohlrabi on the menu, some of my favourite treats when making a trip to Germany. Here it’s all fused with fresh local produce and a lot of flair.

I settle on the roast chicken for mains. It arrives on a bed of risotto with some artichokes and kohlrabi on the side. The portion is fulfilling and satisfying and I’m glad I decided to skip starters. The rosé wine offered a lovely understated pairing. There was a tiny spot left in my stomach for a bit of pistachio nougat dessert served with rose geranium ice-cream. I’m not a typical sweet tooth but this was certainly the highlight of my meal. By the time we left I still had some lovely Turkish delight flavours lingering on my tongue.

While lunch at Delaire is probably one of the most expensive meals you’ll have in and around Cape Town it is certainly worth every cent. The view from the restaurant terrace is the most beautiful you’ll find in all of the Cape Winelands, the landscaping and architecture of the estate is exquisite, the menu is really interesting and the food and wine is just, well, another reason to fall in love with Cape Town.

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