I'm Allison in Wanderland~ on your marks, jet set, go Somewhere. Find the Fabulous & capture it. I'm a Cape Town patriot, publicist, photographer & travel writer. The bossy pants at DIVA PR, representing Theatre's Finest & the Harbour House Group of restaurants.
Twitter & Instagram: @AllisonFoat ; Facebook: DIVA PR - Publicity Company
Wednesday, 16 October 2013
A gourmet picnic at Warwick...vive la difference!
Warwick Wine Farm is stunning, but you probably know that, People from Near and Afar. The drive out of the City Centre, on a seriously spectacular day, took me longer than the usual 45 minutes, as it turned into one of those stop-start-Instagram-repeat journeys. The Warwick Estate is between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts in arguably one of the most stunning parts of Cape Town's countryside, so who can blame me for pausing a while to absorb and capture it all.
I was invited to the estate (on Monday 14th October) to experience their delectable gourmet picnic and award winning wines and let me tell you, it was deliciousness from start to finish. Together with a festive group of travel and food bloggers, I sampled the wares at a beautifully laid longtable in the forest courtyard. As soon as I spied that space I felt a distinct throwback to the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris and get this, I had not read the info leaflet beforehand and was amazed to learn that the courtyard was in fact inspired by that very place. Magnifique! (The French in moi is now on the loose!)
I don't know about you but I'm so over packing picnic baskets and schlepping the blankets and paraphernalia around, half of which I tend to forget most of the time. So the way this picnic plays out suits me perfectly- one can either kick back against oversized cushions under brollies on the lawn or book a posh pod for a more private affair with a bigger group of friends. Either way I'm loving the fact that I can select what I want from the picnic menu and have it brought to me, beautifully packaged in a small box - it all feels wonderfully decadent I must say.
And then it's down to the serious business of feasting from a varied menu that has been created by chef Dane Newton. I loved the innovative concept of salads in jars - the pickled beetroot and quinoa salad with pecan nuts, goats cheese and wild rocket was particularly delish. For the carnivores, there's prosciutto, coppa, grilled beef and more and vegetarians needn't fret for there are non-viande options too and a wonderful selection of cheeses, best devoured once smeared with the 3 fruit marmalade. And kudo's to Chef Newton who has not only thought of everything a picnic should have, but has also sourced his product locally, in support of suppliers in the area and surrounds.
I must add it was fabulous to meet Mike Ratcliffe and then to have Norma Ratcliffe - the First Lady of Warwick and by all accounts, one of the country's foremost women winemakers - stop by and join us for a spot of lunch. After savouring the decadent cheesecake that had been carefully pressed into a small jar, I climbed into a jeep with my new blogger BF's @tandysinclair and @safaritart, and went bumping up the hillside past hectares of sprouting vines, with our guide Mark Arendse explaining about the big 5 wine varietals...it was fascinating stuff and if you get the chance, do the 40 minute safari tour. Back at the estate, I tasted a few more excellent wines and then it was time to tear myself away from a superb wooded chardonnay and head back home past rolling hills and carpets of purple flowers.
My thanks to the team that welcomed me so warmly and enhanced the memorable experience - Ane, Jani, Lawrence, Nic, Dane and of course La Famille Ratcliffe. I'll be back soon with the family in tow - for picnics with the grass between my toes, a glass of excellent vino in hand, a view across the lake to faint for and gourmet food to remember.
So put the gourmet picnic at Warwick Estate on your to-do list today . To coin Warwick's wine club ambassador Ane Booysen's phrase: on a scale of yum to yuk, the gourmet picnic and Warwick wines equal a resounding Yum!
Let the photographs below entice you...
The entrance to the Warwick wine estate...
A superb wooded Chardonnay, The White Lady...pale yellow with a hint of green...it demands I indulge....