MOK Gallery Winter Workshops

A series of art and photography workshops run during winter by leading artists in the Cape Winelands.

Starting with an Oil class with Estelle Marais in June and ending with Pastels by Coral Fourie in November.

Contact the organiser for more details.

 

Wacky Wine Weekend

Taste the Lifestyle at the 14th annual Wacky Wine proudly hosted by Robertson Wine Valley.

Over 40 wineries and tourist establishments participate.

Expect fun-filled activities, food-and wine-tourism offerings, outdoor adventures, live music, fine dining
and a myriad of entertainment for the kids.

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Babylonstoren Hammam – a modern take on an ancient tradition

Early spring is a wonderful time to be in Istanbul – it is not too hot – or crowded. I was determined to experience an authentic Turkish bath in this extraordinary city straddling the Orient and Occident.

On returning to South Africa and waxing lyrical about it, somebody happened to mention that if I wanted another Turkish bath experience  I need not fly to Istanbul – especially in the light of recent terrorist attacks – but could instead drive up the N1 to Babylonstoren, which is exactly what I did.

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The entrance to the Hammam in Istanbul

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The entrance to the Babylonstoren Hammam

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nowadays, international visitors who are prepared to pay top dollar to stay in 5 star hotels, almost expect there to be a spa on hand. I must say after an international flight there are few things that transport and transcend one out of the daily grind and into an enhanced sense of wellbeing than a spa treatment.

My Babylonstoren Hammam, or Turkish bath experience, in their recently renovated spa, and the authentic one in Istanbul were quite different and yet equally pleasurable.

Arriving on a cold, grey, overcast, rainy day the idea of sitting in a hot steam-filled room and being given various water rituals was heaven. My BFF and I – always good to conduct research – especially of this kind – with a girlfriend – walked through the glorious garden with a few pale pink blossoms making an early appearance. On arrival at reception we were invited to go to the Change Rooms and get into white towelling robes. After a brief wait in the Recovery Room, we made our way across to the Hammam which is situated in a custom built area.

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Whilst the Hammam I visited in Istanbul was built in 1777 and had been run by the same family for more than a century, the Babylonstoren Hammam was built in 2013. I’m all for ancient culture but I did so enjoy the sparkling clean, modern and uber stylish feel of the Babylonstoren spa.

Revisiting my Istanbul Turkish bath experience, which my husband and I did together, once we were undressed we were led into the Hammam featuring a heated marble slab where we were instructed to lie. I must admit I felt a bit like I was being slowly poached. In Turkey we were then taken off to separate areas to be scrubbed, and then given a bubble bath. In her broken English my Turkish attendant said as she was shampooing my hair ‘I am your mama, you are my baby! Quite intense I admit, but still I felt like a three year old again! It was incredibly relaxing and we were served traditional apple tea in the central area, before enjoying an aromatic massage by Anna from Armenia. Heaven.

Back to the Babylonstoren Hammam where we took turns having our treatment by Nazlie who made us feel completely at home. Whilst in Istanbul my female attendant was naked but for tiny bikini pants, Nazlie was however suitably covered. Traditionally, Hammam treatments are performed separately according to gender but this is not the case at the Babylonstoren Hammam. The heated marble table accommodates one and we took turns receiving various water rituals, from scrubbing with a Turkish glove and then being washed down and my best – a bubble bath. The atmosphere of the gorgeous blue mosaic tiled Babylonstoren Hamman is very intimate – womb-like in fact with lots of female energy.

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The modern, stylish interior of the Babylonstoren Hammam

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Beautiful copper basin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After being washed down and soaped and literally ‘tubbed and scrubbed’ we enjoyed fresh apple slices from the Babylonstoren trees. It was a modern take on an ancient tradition but well worth the drive into the Cape Winelands and something I would highly recommend to literally wash away the stresses of everyday life.

Disclosure: The Hammam experience was complimentary and I received a gift of a bottle of wine and the Babel cookbook.

The authentic South African pairing of red wine and biltong at Marianne's wine estate

Perfect Food and Wine Pairings in the Cape Winelands (enter to WIN!)

In the Cape winelands February is a busy month. Harvest is in full swing and the December break is a distant memory. However, thanks to Valentine’s Day, love is in the air and nothing beats the perfect combination of spending the day with a significant other in the beautiful Cape winelands.  Another winning formula is food and wine pairings.

Most of us are familiar with cheese and wine pairings and even chocolate and wine has become somewhat ordinary, but there are a host of new and exciting pairings springing up all over the Cape winelands to tempt your taste buds and help you experience wine in a whole new way.

Not only is February in the Cape busy but it is hot with temperatures in the mid-30s.  How cool then is Clos Malverne in Stellenbosch’s unique ice-cream and wine pairing where handmade gourmet ice-creams with exotic flavours are paired with their delicious wines. The wine and ice-cream pairing includes 4 wines starting with Kiwi fruit & chili ice cream paired with Clos Malverne Sauvignon Blanc and ending with Pineapple, coconut and mint ice cream paired with Clos Malverne’s Honey Dew – a delicious Chenin Blanc sweet wine. Not only does Clos Malverne have a spa but now one can also overnight on the estate.

Clos Malverne's unique ice-cream and wine pairings

Clos Malverne’s unique ice-cream and wine pairings

Delheim in Stellenbosch, was a founding member of the first wine route in the country. This estate offers a cupcake and wine pairing which captured my imagination. Whilst cupcakes are a little girl’s indulgence, paired with grown-up wine it is a ‘naughty but nice’ experience. How yummy does a Rooibos cupcake infused with lemon and topped with a cream cheese and honey icing paired with the Delheim Chenin Blanc Wild Ferment sound? Because the cupcakes are freshly baked each day pre-booking is required.

Delheim's decadent wine and cupcake pairing

Delheim’s decadent wine and cupcake pairing

 

In Stellenbosch, Marianne’s wine estate offers a biltong and wine pairing and you can’t get more South African than this! Guests are treated to 5 wines paired with three different types of biltong including Springbok and Pinotage; Kudu and Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz and then beef with their flagship Bordeaux blend, Floreal. A brasserie bearing the same name has recently opened on the estate.

The authentic South African pairing of red wine and biltong at Marianne's wine estate

The authentic South African pairing of red wine and biltong at Marianne’s wine estate

Fleur Du Cap – Salt and Wine pairing – at first thoughts one would think ‘yuk’ but South African Chef Craig Cormack has a fascination with gourmet salt (more than 161 of them) and in collaboration with Fleur du Cap has put together a unique tasting of 5 wines paired with tapas style offerings infused with specific salts. How exotic, and dare I say erotic, does unfiltered Chardonnay together with Black Larvae salt from Hawaii infused in a green olive tapenade sound or Cabernet with Khoisan flakes from the West Coast and sundried tomatoes and mature Gouda?

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Fleur du Cap’s original salt and wine pairings

Benguela Cove located on the Bot River Lagoon near Hermanus offers an unusual Liquid Gold Millionaire Pairing. Their Noble Late Harvest is paired with Millionaire’s Shortbread with a dark chocolate and gold leaf – described as ‘’A multi-textured caramel delight which highlights the sweetness of the wine. The crunchy shortbread base, soft caramel filling and cold, crisp chocolate topping creates a sensually delicious flavour explosion.’ Yum!

The delicious pairing of Millionaire's Shortbread with Benguela Cove's Liquid Gold

The delicious pairing of Millionaire’s Shortbread with Benguela Cove’s Liquid Gold

Creation wine estate in the Hemel-en-Aarde valley has always been at the forefront of wine pairing and over the years won many accolades for their food and wine pairings including one for Innovation by the Great Wine Capitals Network. Their tapas and wine pairing is the most popular and they are now focussing on drawing attention to herbs grown on the estate complementing their wines, such as mint and Merlot, chervil and Sauvignon Blanc and basil and Chardonnay.  According to innovative owner Carolyn Martin “At Creation we have always believed that what grows together goes together. Now that our herb garden is coming into its own it is just such a pleasure to match the fruit from our vineyards with the produce of our garden”.

Creation Wine's popular tapas and wine pairings

Creation Wine’s popular tapas and wine pairings

For a special Valentine’s month date why not combine a feast of pairings to create a truly memorable day.

Vindigo Travel is running a competition to win a selection of perfect wine pairings for two.

How to enter:

Follow Vindigo Travel on twitter and/or like our FaceBook page or if you already follow us leave a comment to automatically be entered into this competition.

Terms and Conditions:

Competition runs from 14 to 29 February 2016

You can only enter once

You must be over 18 years of age

The first correctly completed entry to be drawn randomly will win the prize

The prize includes a wine tasting experience for two at the following vineyards –

  • Benguela Cove: A Liquid Gold Millionaire’s tasting for two to be redeemed at either our Benguela Cove or Benguela on Main venues.
  • Delheim: Wine and Cupcake pairing for two;
  • Clos Malverne: Wine and Ice-cream pairing for two;
  • Marianne: Wine and Biltong pairing for two

The prize excludes transport to and from the tastings

Tastings are subject to availability and must be arranged directly with the vineyard within stipulated time period

The winner will be notified by twitter and/or FaceBook

 

All images by kind courtesy of wine farms.