Dune Ridge Wine Festival

Don’t miss the first Dune Ridge Wine Festival this Saturday

This Saturday, the 25th November, will see the first Dune Ridge Wine Festival being held – a wonderful day out for friends and family that promises to be the event of the season.

Tickets for the event, being held in aid of St Francis Animal Rescue, and hosted by Dune Ridge Country House, will cost R180 entrance for adults, which includes a wine tasting, and R40 for under 18s and children, which includes popcorn and juice.

To avoid disappointment, buying tickets in advance is advisable, and this can be done at Toffee and Kouga Print in the village, as well as at Dune Ridge and directly from Kym Argo. There will also be tickets on sale at the door.

Organisers Kym Argo and Sarah Swanepoel have brought some exciting wine estates on board, including Antonij Rupert, Gabrielskloof, Blaauwklippen and Rhebokskloof. For gin lovers, Tripple Three and Fitch & Leeds Gin Bar, will offer tastings during the afternoon.

Dune Ridge will also have a selection of delicious picnic platters available, a cheese option and a gourmet option, for R80 and R100 respectively. Popcorn and juice will also be available for sale on the day.

Kym and Sarah say this event is the ideal way to kick off the festive season, and get in the holiday mood. “A glass of wine, a craft G&T, a runny brie, some live music, and relaxing with family and friends on the lawn – what’s not to love?”

Saturday’s event will be the first in series of festivals and events, Kym and Sarah have exciting plans in place for a magnificent winter event.

All proceeds from the event will be donated to a cause close to many residents’ hearts – St Francis Animal Rescue. “This will ensure that our four-legged friends have a happy Christmas and New Year too,” they add.

Susan Rae Fox, who head’s up St Francis Animal Rescue, says: “St Francis Animal Rescue has been very active in terms of fund-raising this year and we are so thankful for the generous support we’ve received from all  animal lovers who help us improve the quality of lives of dogs and cats living in the community of Sea Vista.”

She says that all funds raised from the festival, as with all donations the organisation receives, will be used to drive its ‘Open Your Eyes & Sterilise’ campaign, which aims to spay and neuter Sea Vista pets to reduce puppy and kitten populations, and prevent the cruelty and neglect that often stems from overbreeding.

“This year, thanks to the kindness of friends and followers, we’ve been able to sterilise 179 Sea Vista cats and dogs, working together with dedicated local vets – Dr Nerine Botha from Aloe Vet and Dr Annelise Barker from Humansdorp Vets.  As awareness of our programme grows, so do the numbers of animal we are able to sterilise.”

“We couldn’t do any of this without the help of St Francis residents – and we are grateful to everyone for believing in us and what we do,” concludes Susan.

Article by Kirsten Doyle

The Pedal & Spoke Cafe

The Pedal & Spoke Cafe – 167 St Francis Drive, St Francis Bay

Restaurant review bu Kirsten Doyle

The Pedal & Spoke Cafe has to be one of my favourite places to eat, not only in St Francis, but anywhere in the world. The food is imaginative, fresh and delicious, with lovely twists in the dishes, such as truffle oil on the chips. They have a range of delicious breakfasts including omelettes, eggs benedict, oats and croissants. For lunch, they offer a selection of delicious sandwiches, and salads that are also available as wraps. A few, well chosen mains include fish tacos, curry and a few burgers, all perfectly cooked, and accompanied by either chips or a house salad. For those with a sweet tooth, the cafe offers a variety of yummy cakes, as well  as pancakes and scones – all really delicious. They don’t sell alcohol, so bring your own – they provide ice buckets, ice and and lemon if required.

All in all, I cannot recommend this little gem highly enough. Owners Dave and Karen have done an amazing job.

RATING: *****

ATMOSPHERE: Warm, cosy and friendly.
SOUND LEVEL: Conversation level, no loud music.

RECOMMENDED DISHES: Fish tacos – be warned though, they are addictive. The Pedal & Spoke  burger – a really delicious combination of flavours, perfectly cooked. The fries – done with a lashing of truffle oil and thyme – truly delicious. The house salad – with pine nuts and parmesan shavings – simple but one of my favourites. The cakes – you can’t go wrong with any of them, but the house special is worth getting fat for.

DRINKS: A range of soft drinks and beverages. They don’t have a liquor licence, so be sure to bring your own.

PRICE RANGE: Very reasonable, R40 to R80 for breakfasts, R60 to R100 for lunch, with generous portions.

HOURS: Tuesday to Sunday 8am to 4pm. Closed on Mondays.

RESERVATIONS: Generally unnecessary for small groups, but be sure to come early in season as no bookings during that time.

CREDIT CARDS: All major.

WHAT THE STARS MEAN: Ratings range from zero to five stars and reflect the reviewer’s opinion on the food, ambience and service, with pricing taken into consideration.

 

Clive’s Chokka Block Restaurant

Clive’s Chokka Block – Top Floor, Squid Square, Triton Ave, Port St Francis

Review by Kirsten Doyle

Having recently changed ownership, the Chokka Block remains one of St Francis’ oldest and most well-established restaurants. New owner Clive Canter is attentive, accommodating and friendly, and his  exciting new additions to the menu make a trip here a must. He is clearly passionate about food and his business, discusses his dishes with enthusiasm and is able to recommend a dish to suit every palate.

Chokka Block has a selection of delicious starters, from the old favourite prawn cocktail, to calamari heads and crumbed mushrooms – a selection for meat lovers and a couple of vegetarian options too. For mains, there’s line fish, calamari and suchlike, as well as several mixed grill combos to choose from, ranging from hake and calamari, to prawns and steak, all of which come with salad, rice, chips, veggies or a baked potato.

For the health conscious, the menu features several salads and a vegetarian platter too. All our food was beautifully prepared and perfectly cooked. For dessert, the Chokka Block offers a variety of old favourites, including malva pudding and ice cream with chocolate sauce.

In total, we enjoyed our experience there, and will definitely pop in again.

RATING: 4.5 / 5

ATMOSPHERE: Warm and relaxing with a fireplace for those chilly winter days and nights.

SETTING: Upstairs with beautiful views of the harbour.

SOUND LEVEL: Conversation level –  soft, background music.

CUISINE: Seafood restaurant – bar and grill.

SERVICE: Prompt and friendly without being intrusive.

RECOMMENDED DISHES: The seafood chowder, delicious but very rich – served with home made Portuguese rolls which were to die for. The Mauritian curry, fragrant and delicious. Pretty much anything off the grill, all seafood is fresh, and perfectly cooked – also try the calamari heads or rings.

DRINKS: A full range of soft drinks, alcoholic beverages, as well as hot beverages.

PRICE RANGE: Mid to upper range, around R60 for starters, with mains from R100 to around R150 off the menu.

HOURS: Tuesday to Sunday 11.30 am to  9 pm. Closed on Mondays.

RESERVATIONS: Rather safe than sorry, particularly on weekends and over season.

CREDIT CARDS: All major

WHAT THE RATING MEANS: Ratings range from zero to five out of five and reflect the reviewer’s opinion on the food, ambience and service, with pricing taken into consideration.

View over Port St Francis from Chokka Block Restaurant

 

Dining with Sarah

Wine & Dine with Sarah

In a series of columns over the coming months St Francis Today is privileged to have Sarah Jane of Dune Ridge share some thoughts and experiences on wine and dining. Many of you will have personally experienced the fine fare created by Sarah at her popular Wine Pairing evenings and are sure you will enjoy her sharing her experiences of fine dining and wines she has enjoyed.

What better time to start a wine of the month than in the middle of Winter…

Winter has definitely bestowed her icy chill upon us.  What does winter mean to you?  For me mean it means frequent little road trips to little dorpies or a few days up in the winelandsred wine that boasts the skills of local wine makers and of course fierce fire places, large pots of family style food – typical Karoo comfort food.

Starke Conde Tsating - the view

We recently took a trip to Stellenbosch – I think its my favourite time of the year.  Seeing the vines changing from bright green to hues of burnt sunsets.

One evening we met a group of friends out at a beautiful eatery called The Stellenbosch Kitchen.  Rich Ox Blood leather chairs with blown up postal stamps that had been cleverly positioned on the walls.  Big brass lights and the friendliest waiters I have ever come across.  The menu is wholesome and bounteous; rich and saucy;STARK-CONDE SYRAH Vintage: 2013 flavourful and colourful; opulent and infinitely gratifying – this is comfort food done to perfection.  The evening was chilly and what better way than to have a couple of bottles of red wine on the table.  Thankfully it was not up to me to decide this time around as we had a few wine makers within our group but between them they settled on a Stark-Conde Syrah

The Estate Stark-Conde is situated in the Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch. Their wines are all hand-crafted in small volumes using traditional methods of hand sorting, open-top fermentation and manual basket pressing.  All their wines are bottles without fining or filtering.

STARK-CONDE SYRAH
Vintage: 2013
Grape blend: 100% Syrah
Region: Stellenbosch
State or country: South Africa
Price: R179 per bottle

General Information: Dark garnet coloured Syrah with aromas of berries, pepper and very subtle hints of dark chocolate.  Medium bodied and VERY easy to drink. The flavour profile is a stony mineral infused black cherry and old oak blend. The finish is dry and very smooth.

They have the most incredible tasting room positioned on the dam at the Estate and Restaurant called the Postcard Café.   Take a drive out to Jonkershoek Valley next time you are in Stellenbosch and go for a light lunch and do their tasting.  You definitely will not be sorry.

Dune Ridge Country House

 

 

Gourmet to Go

Gourmet to Go opens in the village

Well known St Francis Bay Chef, Rose Carter recently opened her shop “Gourmet to Go” in the village and it is a must visit. Situated next door to KC Properties behind the pharmacy in the it is already proving to be a popular and much needed addition to shopping in St Francis.

No longer will you need to wait for the monthly market to savour Rose’s offerings which have long been in demand at the Market. SFT ‘s first visit to Gourmet to Go  this week could easily have broken the bank such is the choice of delightful food on offer but discipline and a realisation that I could return the next day rather than stocking up as one normally has to do when shopping at the market.

My choice on this my first visit was a really generous slice of pork pie to take home for lunch and for a mid-morning snack, the nicest sausage roll I have ever tasted. So generous was the pork pie slice that it actually was enough for two lunches.

Popping in the following day to take some photographs for this article the temptation was simply too much and I left, not just with a few photographs but also a chicken pie and a slice of cheese cake.

Gourmet to Go offers a wide choice of frozen dinners to take away (see menu) and certainly makes life easier for us single types and no doubt for busy moms on those days where she just doesn’t have time to prepare a family supper.

Gourmet to Go has a small but delightful choice of products either for a sweet tooth or something more savoury and Rose will be taking orders for fresh vegetables that will be delivered fresh from the farm to the shop that customers can order in advance. She has also in the process of introducing some deli items including a range of cheeses and cold meat cuts.

Pop in to Gourmet to Go during your rounds of St Francis for we can almost guarantee you won’t leave this delightful little ‘shoppe’ empty handed.

 

Goodie on display at Gormet to Go

Fresh produce and vegetables at Gourmet to go

Deligtful choice at Gourmet to Go

 

Hands-on Cooking Experience

Brighten your winter with a “Hands-on Cooking Experience”

Winter in St Francis can be rather laid back. With late sunrises, early sunsets many don’t get to enjoy their early morning or evening beach walks. Even paddlers, canal swimmers and runners have to rush after work to get their exercise fix before dark. And of course the weather doesn’t always play its part either, the past weekend a example which even reduced the popular morning market to but all but a few diehard vendors.

Fortunately several of the hospitality purveyors come to our rescue with food & wine pairing dinners as hosted by Sarah at Dune Ridge and the beer spin off to these tastings at the St Francis Brewing Company. Then we have the occasional fund raiser events such as the “Els for Autism” event to be held at St Francis Links on 22nd June that was such a huge success last year.

But there is a new event on the calendar that will be held the last Thursday of each month from June through to November. Receiving a late invitation to the inaugural event last Thursday it promises to be a lot of fun and a novel way of dining out whilst learning a few cooking tips along the way. We speak of “Cooking with Mauro”, a concept devised by Anne of Baud’Au Health and Beauty in the Village and Mauro of Mauro’s Restaurant at Port St Francis.

At his the first event the gathered participants were given a lesson in making the perfect pizza. Now most of us enjoy the odd pizza but actually making one from scratch would never enter our minds for it is far easier to pick up a few to go as a family treat. Of course as an alternative one can always buy one of those pizza bases and concoct your own topping but these usually end up as soggy, unappetising renditions of the real thing. But as Mauro demonstrated to a group of enthusiastic participants at “Cooking with Mauro” last Thursday evening, it really is not that difficult.

Demonstrating step by step from mixing dough, kneading it to a perfect consistency and finally, rolling it out to a nigh perfect circle with the ideal thickness, edge and centre, Mauro guided the partakers through the process.

Of course a pizza without the topping is nothing more than a tasteless flat bread so next step was how to add the topping, most importantly the tomato paste. And it was here that you will need to attend a class on making this tomato paste for Mauro, although stressing the importance of the tomato, did not divulge the process or ingredients of making it. Surprising was how little cheese was added before the selection of other topping choices.

Demo done the group set about making their own pizza. Well not all managed to get the shape quite right first time out but all sat down to enjoy their creation and judging by the empty plates at the end of the evening, all were perfectly happy with what they created. A truly fun evening with a little wine and plenty of laughter! Certainly a great way to spend a winter’s evening.

The next “Cooking with Mauro” will be held at Mauro’s Restaurant on the 29th June starting at 5:30pm and this time participants will cook in the actual kitchen. If you would like to be part of this fun evening best you call Mauro and book for there is limited space available.

Some photos of the evening and the results.

Cooking with Mauro

Preparing to make pizza

Adding the pizza topping

The real deal pizza

Ready for the oven

Ready for the oven