Haute Cabriere’s Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend is my favourite white wine in the whole world. The first time we came to Cape Town my Dad ordered a bottle with lunch in Manna. That was it, I was smitten. No wine has ever come close since. It has a slight apricot blush and creamy finish that I just love.
On our next visit to Franschhoek a few years later we had the pleasure of dining at The Cellar Restaurant on the Haute Cabriere wine estate. My Dad, again ordered a bottle (or maybe two) of their Pierre Jourdan Cap Classique sparkling rose. That was the beginning of my love affair with pink sparkling wine. That’s pretty amazing, don’t you think? Two of my favourite wines come from Haute Cabriere.
Ok, now make that three. They have recently added the first Unwooded Pinot Noir to the collection. It’s a light, fruity red that is served chilled. It’s a great summer drink, like a dark rose and it’s easy to drink in the sun. I can vouch for that, very easy!
This year we arrived at the restaurant to find the new outside dining terrace open with spectacular 180 degree views of the Franschhoek valley below. The chef, Ryan had prepared a special 5 Course Vegetarian Tasting Menu for us. The marriage of food and wine is very important to them, each dish was especially designed to complement a different one of their wines. Normally it is the other way around, the wine is chosen to compliment the food.
We started with Tomato Gazpacho, tomato pineapple sorbet, peppers, pineapple, cucumber garnish which was served with the crisp sparkling Pierre Jourdan Brut.
Then came a Smoked Cheddar & Green Peppercorn Souffle, ratatouille puree, apple crisps, sweet roasted cherry tomatoes, served with the Unwooded Pinot Noir.
Next was a Summer Vegetable Risotto, peas, parmesan crisps, asparagus, corn served with the Pierre Jourdan Tranquille.
Then the Sweet Potato Brulee Tart, asparagus, tatsoi, pickled artichoke, labneh, basil, sweet potato puree, served with my favourite, the classic Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir blend.
For dessert we had Banana Parfait, liquid chocolate centre, chocolate vodka sorbet, dried banana, tuille, served with the Pierre Jourdan 100 % Chardonnay Blanc de Blanc.
I apologise for the lack of photos of the food but it was a very hot day and we were sitting under a red umbrella. Consequently all the pictures have a distinctly scary pink hue that was near impossible to get out when I was editing them. Hence the pictures above have a slightly dayglo appearance or I gave up and went for black and white instead!
All of the dishes were beautiful, well-balanced and delicious with the wines. The service was also exceptional. When it came to selecting a dish to recreate at home I had a hard time choosing but in the end it had to be the tart. It goes with my favourite wine after all. I changed a few things adding feta, peas and mint instead of artichokes, labneh and basil and made a spelt flour pastry instead of plain.
Sweet Potato Brulee Tart, Lemon Asparagus, Pea, Mint & Feta
Makes 3 x 10 cm tart tins, Vegetarian. Adapted from the Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant recipe
Prep time: 1 hour Cooking time: 25 mins
For the filling:
- 1 large sweet potato (375 gr), scrubbed & roasted at 200 C for 1 hour (or until soft)
- 150 ml oat milk (or any milk/cream)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 sprig rosemary or thyme
- 1 egg
- a few teaspoons of sugar
While you are roasting the sweet potato make the pastry and put it in the fridge to rest.
Scrape the soft cooked flesh out of its skin into a sauce pan. Add the milk, salt and sprig of rosemary/thyme. Bring to the boil , stirring to combine then remove from the heat and take out the rosemary sprig.
Puree the sweet potato with a stick blender until smooth. Add in the egg and mix together well. Check seasoning.
For the pastry:
- 65 gr spelt flour (or plain flour)
- 35 gr olive oil spread (or butter)
- a pinch of salt
- 1 egg yolk
- iced water (?)
All the ingredients must be cold. Put the flour and diced spread/butter into a food processor and pulse until it resembles crumble mix. Add the egg yolk a bit at a time and pulse until the dough just comes together. You may (or may not) need to add a little iced water to bring it together. Do not over work or it will be tough.
Wrap it in cling film and put in the fridge for at least 30 mins to firm up.
When rested, cut into 3 equal parts and roll them out between two bits of clingfilm to rough circles around 2 mm thick.
Butter and flour you tart tins and lift the pastry circles into the tins, do not stretch the pastry. Press it into the tins evenly. Put back in the fridge to firm up again if you can.
Preheat oven to 180 C. Prick the bases of the tarts all over with a fork. Place a square of parchment paper in each tart and fill the base with baking beans (any dried beans or rice) to stop it puffing up. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the paper and beans and put back in the oven for 5 minutes until lightly cooked.
Pour the sweet potato mix into the tart cases and smooth the tops (you should have some puree leftover to serve with the tarts if you like).
Put back in the oven for 10 minutes. Then sprinkle a thin layer of sugar over the tops and brulee with a blow torch or put under the grill until bubbling and slightly browned (optional).
For the Lemon Asparagus, Pea & Mint Vinaigrette & Feta:
- 1 bunch of asparagus
- juice of a lemon
- feta crumbled
Trim the woody ends off the asparagus and cut in half. Bring a small pan of salted water to the boil, squeeze in the lemon juice, lower the heat slightly and cook the asparagus for 3 minutes. Drain and run under the cold tap to stop the cooking, or serve immediately.
- about 50 gr frozen peas, cooked in boiling salted water
- 5 or 6 fresh mint leaves, finely chopped, small leaves reserved for garnish
- a squeeze of lemon juice
- a drizzle of olive oil
- a pinch of sugar
- salt & black pepper
Run the cooked peas under a cold tap to stop the cooking. Squeeze the peas out of their outer casing and mix the bright green pods with the rest of the ingredients and taste.
To serve: Top the tart with the cooked asparagus, crumble over the feta cheese and drizzle the pea & mint vinaigrette around the plate. Garnish the plate with a smudge of the sweet potato puree, watercress leaves and some small mint leaves.
Now all you need is a glass of the Haute Cabriere Chardonnay Pinot Noir to go with it, and so do I…..
For more information about Haute Cabriere wines and The Cellar Restaurant visit their website here.