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Gourmands flock to the Cape, some relocate permanently despite the environmental warnings including crash weight gain, sun burn and liver damage often associated with overwhelming feelings of misadventure and debilitating excitement. Some even arrive at contentment but it’s an arduous journey.
Just like twitchers who go to great lengths to see every bird in the book, the Cape Gourmand goes to great lengths to seek out new habitat. They often devise cunning plans of attack, armed with GPS, bulging guides (both real and printed) and an insatiable appetite to explore the winelands – or for them - foodlands.
Hunting in packs can be divisive but almost always leads to a large bounty, though the Alpha types don’t always get what they want. The passive aggressive deliberate and agonise over the menu to such an extent that committed team players feel obliged to choose their also-ran choices.
Inevitably pairs hone in on the same dishes, playful banter becomes the veneer for intense negotiations over who spotted the first choice first - having established, of course, that it’s strictly a sharing meal.
They are inspired and motivated modern day adventurers fortified by the knowledge that out there in the great Cape of Storms, 6 out of Eat Out top 10 restaurants attract predators (foodie is so passé) with all manner of sights, aromas and flavours. If you include the urban environs of Cape Town and peri-urban Constantia – it’s 8 out of 10.
For those who want a perfect 10, they can include Tokara, Great Wine Capitals winner in the restaurant category and 2nd placed – by a salami skin – Waterkloof.
Richard Carsten’s food is like the holy grail of fine wine – he combines subtly and power at Tokara while Waterkloof’s Gregory Czarnecki does not lose a jot of interest in his commitment to provenance and seasonality. Try Richard’s duck prosciutto with pressure cooked sesame seed, cucumber, goji berries, coconut tiradito & yuzu or Gregory’s cured Fizantakraal (local) trout, wasabi sorbet, and roasted beetroot.
When we are in the mood for a destination or country brunch we head for The Common Room at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek, more casual sibling to the world famous Tasting Room. They manage to make the breakfast buffet elegant – and great value for money. Fruit, pastries, cereals, cold meat, cheese, coffee etc a mere bagatelle at ZAR85-00 and if you have a cooked breakfast to debabalas add ZAR40-00. Their Easter display is so entertaining, the only drawback is residents - understandably – get preference so phone ahead to see how busy they are.
- Jonathan Snashall http://www.winetastingtours.co.za