Friday, January 28, 2011

Must Stop Shop: Mooiberge

As mentioned in my previous article on Hillcrest, Stellenbosch is one of my favourite places to go out and spend the day tasting wine and indulging in fine tasting foods.

From central Cape Town there are two main ways in which one can enter into Stellenbosch and they are via the N1 or the N2. Depending which wine farm or place you are visiting it is sometimes easier to take one of these two routes.

When accessing Stellenbosch from the N2 side there is one particular little place I like to stop at called Mooiberge. Nestled in and amongst the magnificent wine farms, Mooiberge lies on the main road from Sommerset West.

Upon driving past the little farm one takes more notice and the large strawberry and the strangely colourful scarecrows that are one display. These art works fool the passers by into what this little gem actually possesses.

Traditionally known as a small Strawberry farm, Mooiberge allows visitors to go out and pick their own strawberries, while afterwards they can relax at the little cafe that serves tea and cake. Inside there is a shop that has the most amazing dried fruit products and preserves imaginable.

From dried banana chips, to strawberries; from date balls, to dried kiwis (yes kiwis and they are out of this word!!) Mooiberge has every form of dried fruit imaginable. They also have a wide selection of jams and preserves made from the fruit that can be seen in the shop.

It is a must-stop shop and on my outings to Franshoek or Stellenbosch I always make sure I save time for a quick detour to Mooiberge to stock up on some healthy dried fruit and jams.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Hillcrest Berry Farm.

There is something quite magical about taking a day trip to the wine lands of Franshoek and Stellenbosch where the evergreen farms are surrounded by the mountains, with the animals roaming around the open fields.

Personally you can't get anything better than the wine lands of Franshoek and Stellenbosch; the picturesque landscape is aw inspiring, while the magnificent tastes of the different wines could lead any teetotaller to drink, and not to mention the fine cuisine that is produced is purely sensational.

Franshoek and 'Stellies'- as known to the locals- are famous for their fine-dining, award winning restaurants; seeing both towns blessed with famous Chefs such as David Higgs of Rust en Vrede and Margot Janse from The Tasting Room. While their food is aesthetically pleasing and sets alight all the human senses, there are other unknown smaller places that I like to try.

My favourite has to be Hillcrest Berry farm in Stellenbosch. Known for their famous berries and berry products such as jams, liqueurs and coulis; Hillcrest also has their own deli and farm shop.
With an outside terrace that over looks one the many mountains and valleys that the wine lands have to offer, the view is perfect for one looking to soak up the sun, scenery and enjoy good food.

With the weather gods blessing us with yet another perfect day in Cape Town there was no better option but to head to Hillcrest for a good, wholesome and healthy meal while admiring mother nature's landscapes.

What sets Hillcrest apart from the rest is their constant changing of the menu. Every week or so new ingredients are brought in and the menu is constantly adapted to the season and the availability of ingredients.

With a Chicken Cesar salad and a Goats cheese tart ordered, we sat back, soaked up the sun and admired the view.

The Cesar Salad was one generous portion with chicken, croutons, bacon, egg and Parmesan shavings topped with an anchovy Cesar dressing. The dish it self was full of flavour and the different textures of the delicate chicken and crunchy croutons complimented each other well.

My goats cheese tart was not a baked tart. The base was baked into a mini tart base and it was filled with rocket, warmed goat's cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, raspberry roasted onions topped with a freshly made pesto.

The tart was amazing as the colours and display of the tart was perfect while the flavours of each individual ingredient could be distinguished but complimented each other in such a way that made the dish one unit. The homemade pesto was fantastic as it was covered in oil, the garlic wasn't pungent and every now and then one would stumble across some crunchy pine nut pieces.

Both dishes were fresh and light; perfect for the hot summers day. Fourth time back and Hillcrest is yet to disappoint. A much highly recommended stop for anyone passing through Stellenbosch and Franshoek. They serve scrumptious breakfasts, light lunches and High tea, which is available all day.

Unfortunately no photo's were taken of the dishes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

MMD Brings Out the Deviant Species

All I can is WOW. What a weekend, what a party, what awesome tracks. My mind is still honestly in a daze from the Trance party that saw MMD put on yet another mind blowing party with their featured DJs Deviant Species.

I wish I could honestly provide a full review on the actual event regarding the DJ's sets and beats but the party just seemed to whisp past so quickly with the drive to and from the event feeling like it was longer than the time spent at the actual party.

The party was hosted in it's usual spot just outside of Langebaan called Vlak Vark. The venue was amazing in itself as it was the perfect size to host an intimate trance party of no more than 1500 people. The parking and camping area was within 400 metres away from the decks and the dance floor with an amazing plunge, rock pool right next to it. Bamboo fields sounded the main area which left me feeling rather uneasy as I kept on remembering the movie Signs when waking past it.

We arrived at the venue come 9pm with clear skies above us and the sound of heavy psy beats drawing us in. With more Vodka to the Coca Cola in our bottles it was time to hit the dance floor where everyone was in their own zone, stomping away to the beats.

I do remember Dirty Motion at 2:30am bringing in some pumping tracks that got the dance floor going crazy. On the side of the dance floor several Fire Poi were working their magic in and amongst the beats and strobing lumo lights.

With the drinks running low once again we missioned for yet another top-up but we never made it back to the dance floor until sunrise as the fatigue took over our bodies.

There is something about the Sunday day session. Described as 'the playground' this is the time where everyone goes that little bit more crazy. With mud pits forming in front of the stage, people with water guns squirting each other, and a race to finish off all the remaining alcohol in the boots of the car takes place.

The acts that stood out for me where featured DJ's Deviant Species, Rubix Cube vs Lunar, and undoubtedly Super Evil who come close every time to stealing the limelight with their live act of James Copeland on the decks and Adriano Rodigues melting down the strings on his guitar.

These acts set the tone for an afternoon packed full of pure mayhem and debauchery.

I know I keep saying this with every passing festival but the weekend just keep on getting better and better. The Venue was awesome, the people so friendly and relaxed and the sets definitely a manipulation of the mind. Thank you MMD for an epic party.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

L'Ormarins Queen's Plate

Before I start this post, I would like to say a very big thank you to the gents from MyCityByNight who kindly provided me with a ticket and allowed me to tag along with them to the L'Ormarins Queen's Plate at Kenilworth Race course.

Last Sunday saw the 150 consecutive Queen's Plate event take place in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The Queen's Plate is an annual horse racing event that provides the perfect excuse for the usual laid back, casual Cape Townians to dress up.

With the theme 'Timeless Elegance' Cape Town's finest gathered to the race course dressed to the nines in what was a strictly blue and white theme. With a fine array of Haute Couture, vintage cars and delectable cuisine it was time for the races, betting and of course the sampling of wines.

Upon arrival a free R20 betting voucher was given to each individual, so it was only natural to place at least one bet. We arrived in time to place our bets on the fourth race. Without looking at any odds or making any calculations myself and my 'date' chose two random numbers and hoped that Lady Luck would be on our side with a win and a place.

True to form the Old Lady brought in the luck with my horse 'Seal of Approval' winning and the gent's 'Silver Apple' coming in second. Our grand winnings altogether? Eighty one big ones.... time for our second bottle of wine!
As the races continued, the betting increased, the wine flowed, the people began to loosen up whilst enjoying the warm midday sun.

Various prizes were given throughout the afternoon for the best dressed and best hat. However paying attention to the prizes proved rather difficult, after having positioned ourselves in a prime position in the wine tent, with quite possibly our fourth bottle of wine having already been drunk.

After the main race live singers and bands came on to perform their part in the event but we did not linger long enough to see them as the stomachs were calling for a plate of dinner. Acts included Locnville, Gazelle, Crazy White Boy and Louise Carver and Zebra & Giraffe.

The Queen's Plate was a fun, fantastic and different way to spend a Saturday afternoon; being able to dress up, watch horses racing and drinking wine was an absolute delight and I had an absolute blast. Once again the biggest thank you to MyCityByNight and the gents.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Rezonance. New Years Eve Jol

There has always been a huge hype around New Year’s Parties where places, clubs and people compete to see who can host the most glamouress New Years eve party of them all. Personally I find New Years eve to be terribly overrated seeing one pay a lot of money to go out to a party and half the time heading home rather disappointed. However this year I opted for something different.

After failing to have a good New Years for the past four years running I decided to camp out and do it the hippie way at Rezonance in Contermanskloof Estate in Durbanville.

Rezonance is one of the most famous New Year’s trance parties to hit the South African stage and it sure lived up to its reputation of non-stop banging music, continuous stomping, free flowing drinking, audacious behaviour and just plain fun!

We got there at about lunch time on the Friday in the scorching hot weather. After having our car directed to a field miles away (it was closer to Jo'Burg than anything else) from the camp site and the stages we eventually started the great trek with our tent, bags, and of course the most important part ...the alcohol -down to the camp site. Setting up camp was a struggle as the heat was unbearable and all we wanted to do was check out the venue and start listening to some good Dub-step tunes.

Following the huge struggle with the heat in putting up all our tents we finally made our way down to the main area where the dub-Step tent had already started pumping out the heavy tunes. The drinks where already flowing and people were just lazing about under the shade, by the dam or in the camp site. Not much happened until the late afternoon when the trance tent eventually got up and running; after all 90% of the people that came through to Rezonance were there for the trance.

Organik Panik had the honour of getting the stomping started at the Trance tent, whipping out some heavy tunes and slowly bringing in the masses. As more and more people gathered to the stomping ground it became impossible to find my friends. I met a bunch of four guys who kindly decided to look after me and allow me to stomp on their cooler box.

Now being a good two heads above most people I had the perfect view of watching everyone come in and get into the feel of things as the trance took over their body and minds. I was able to see how people interacted with each other, the DJ and the music: a beautiful sight to behold as pure joy was written across everyone’s face as the sound waves electrified through their bodies.

Five hours had past with a tad bit of too much alcohol having been consumed and stomping on the cooler box having now become my trademark. Artifakt brought the year to a close in style as a wave of heavy beats just kept on coming in. But it was Super Evil who would steal the show and everyone’s souls.

In between the changeover of Artifakt and Super Evil, Triksy by the Commercial Hippies, was played on the sound system as a dragon and various other props were brought onto the stage. By this stage everyone was high on life, and perhaps other shizz, but they were all getting even more hyped up for the New Year.

I somehow managed to miss the countdown for the New Year as I was too busy having a drunken argument with a friend on how to put on his T-shirt. But that was the least of the worries as Super Evil sent shock waves through everyone’s bodies with their killer beats and sound waves; each track sending a different emotion through our bodies.

It was Super Evil’s impressive set that set everyone up on a high by providing us with good vibes and endless energy to party right through the night. By 5am lighting and thunder had started and the skies had opened up, providing a great change in temperature. The lightning display was a psychedelic as the lights at the main stage providing its own show. Despite the gloomy weather conditions it was impossible to put a damper to the party as we continued to stomp if not harder!

As the sun rose some of the sleepers started to show face again and it was a unanimous decision amongst the all nighters that sleep was not even an option. We powered through the rain and by mid day the sun was out again and the weather was cooking hot.

Chabunk ended off the day’s trance vibe to make way for the techno bands like Goldfish and Napalma who played heavy beats and continued to keep the stompers attention. Nevertheless come sunset the trance was back and it was time to party harder as I made my way to the Techno DubStep tent to listen to the likes of El Gordo and PH Fat.

I had the utmost pleasure in having an awesome jamming partner and one of Cape Town's most renowned partiers beside me I managed to meet the likes of El Gordo, Pascal and Anthea. They were all so chilled and super cool, making my night even more better. But it was time for a quick stomping session and some more drinking vibes before a much needed rest.

Unfortunately come 11pm I was dead tired after having been awake since 5am the Friday morning; it was time to call it a night and put to rest the broken body, mind and soul. Come Sunday the body had had enough, aching from head to toe and freezing and damp from the misty weather conditions I stayed to watch Broken Toy who pulled off yet another killer set. Despite really wanting to see Headroom and Gandalf it was time to make tracks and give the body a hot shower, proper food that didn’t consist of liquid and a comfy bed.

All in all it was the best weekend ever; putting an end to a year that has been the most testing on a personal level, whilst definitely starting off the New Year on the right foot. Thank you to all who made this weekend magical: the DJ’s, the people, the heavy beats it was all too insane! Once again another weekend for the memory books. * Stomp Stomp Stomp!!*