You are cordially invited for a CULINARY ‘KUIER OP DIE KOPPIE’! Thus read the invitation.
A promise of pressing my own ‘liquid gold’, and a flavourful feast for the famished got me excited for what lay ahead.
At Gabrielskloof, on the outskirts of Botriver, we were welcomed by owner Bernard Heyns, his daughter Nicolene and General Manager Barry Anderson with a glass of Madame Lucy’s MCC….. Today the focus was not on the wine but on the OLIVES!
Although autumn rains prevented us from picking our own olives, Barry deftly demonstrated just how proficient beaters gather the crop on a crisp morning. At the pressing cellar Barry explained the process of making good olive oil; the art of pairing olive oil with food; the health benefits and the commitment of members of the SA Olive Industry Association to the highest quality and standards. A tasting of various oils demonstrated the differences between Leccino, Frantoio and Coratina cultivars. One was herbaceous; the other soft and delicate and lastly bitter and peppery. Unlike good wine which improves with bottle maturation, good olive oil is best consumed in its youth for its culinary and health benefits.
Dodging the drops we converged on The Restaurant @ Gabrielskloof.
Owners Frans and Mariaan Groenewald pulled out all the stops for a scrumptious lunch set in their delightful homely venue. While the cold rain drizzled outside, inside, the spirit was warm and convivial, enhanced by the excellent tipple from the cellar.
Magdalena, named after the owner Bernard Heyns’ sister, is a blend of Semillon/Sauvignon. The Semillon is fermented and matured in oak for six months and then blended with Sauvignon Blanc resulting in a stylish elegant wine. Magdalena, the lady, is missing out on the delights of her name-sake as she doesn’t touch a drop! (Ag shame)
Five Arches is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot. The wine has spent some 22 months in wood, resulting in a rich velvety texture with long memory. Although very delicious now, it will develop further over the next two to six years.
True Overberg hospitality was reflected in the hearty portions of honest home-cooking with flair from the kitchen. The occasion was to launch the delectable winter menu. As you see, a picture paints a …….
Although Charles, the driver, was ready to transport us back to the City at the stipulated time, the ‘Kuier op Die Koppie’ continued till the final Grappa was served and we were each presented with a loaf of freshly baked bread; a bottle of the finest Gabrielskloof tipple; a bottle of just-off-the-press Gabrielskloof olive oil; a jar of Hanepoot jam; a sachet of spice for pickling olives and loads of hugs from our generous, hospitable hosts. In addition, I was given a crate of olives to cure at home. I’m looking forward to sampling them in a couple of months’ time.
A visit to Gabrielskloof Wine and Olive Estate in Botriver will not disappoint. www.gabrielskloof.co.za or +27(0)28 284 9865