The anticipation for fantastic culinary experiences sometimes makes my heart stop.
So was the story with Haute Cabriere, a fine winery and even finer restaurant tucked into the side of a mountain in the heart of South Africa’s vinelands. We would be spending two days exploring Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, the home of South Africa’s finest wine estates and top notch culinary contributors.
I can thank the wonderful world of twitter for connecting me with the restaurant. A month or so before my family departed for our trip I sent out a few tweets asking for restaurant reccomendations in the area. Low and behold @HauteCabriere whispered in my ear and after lickty split email exchange we were booked.
Originally granted to a French Huguenot farmer, Pierre Jourdan, on the 22 December 1694, it has been part of the Franschhoek Wine Valley fabric for over 300 years. In 1982, with a pioneering legacy in mind, the vineyards were replanted in the tradition of Champagne. The wines and méthode champenoise that Haute Cabrière now create are products of that pivotal decision, made over 28 years ago, to focus on the classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir cultivars.
So it was fitting that our tour of the property start with four glasses of the wineries finest bubbly. We shook hands with the restaurants energetic chef who is one of the top innovators in the country today. He grabbed a large church key and took us down a spiral staircase to the cellar where a cathedral like space houses barrel after barrel of French oak.
Back upstairs we were seated across from a lovely fireplace at a white tablecloth draped table. The dining room truly is a marvel as Picasso portraits hang throughout this intimate wine cave. We sampled a handful of the wineries top bottles which were paired with each plate. If you are making the trip to South Africa and are looking for an unforgettable culinary experience be sure to book an intimate dinner at Haute Cabriere. Your tastebuds will never let you forget it.
We enjoyed (* notes my favorites)
Truffled Cauliflower Soup *
pickled cauliflower, rye croutons, caramelized lemon oil
Braised Springbok Leg Terrine *
apricots, caponatta vinaigrette, sweet potato brioche, white bean and truffle puree, porcini salt
Avocado and Tomato Cannelloni
artichoke and broad bean salad, smoked aubergine puree, tomato jam pickled cucumber, spiced pecan crumble
Roasted Organic Beef Fillet
broccoli pear and walnut ragout, crispy gnocchi, beetroot custard and blue cheese cafe ole
Porcini Gnocchi *
semi dried strawberry and pumpkin seed salad, burnt orange froth, smoked pine needle oil
Trio of Duck *
seared breast, confit, leg, liver parfait, sous vide sweet corn, wilted baby spinach, ginger chiffon, coconut gel, lime jus
Duo of Organic Pork *
bacon wrapped loin, beer braised belly, kale souffle, celeriac and carrot ragout, roasted apple puree ginger crumble
Spiced Pumpkin Pie *
blueberry and port jelly, candied lemongrass ice cream, liquorices and popcorn salad
Dark Chocolate and Almond Brownie
white chocolate truffle, espresso spaghetti, blueberry jelly, salted caramel ice cream