A season for taste and tradition

Seasonal cooking became fashionable again a few years ago. And the truth is, it should never have gone out of fashion! It makes so much sense from a sustainability, economic, health, as well as taste perspective.

With the introduction of Pierneef à La Motte Restaurant’s latest menu, guests are invited to enjoy the warmth of the estate’s hospitality and hearty seasonal dishes that seamlessly combine tradition, trends and Chef Michelle Theron’s clever interpretation of the flavours of winter.

Adding seasonal fruit to savoury dishes is typical of the traditional flavours of the Cape Winelands. In this starter a savoury blue cheese and yellow mealie ‘waffle’ is served with ‘blonde’ poached pears, smoky bacon-whipped butter, pickled cucumber and Cape ham. In the days of the early Cape, ‘ham’ was even made from leg of lamb by pickling and smoking it, just as we do with pork. Wine recommendation: 2015 La Motte Millennium
The ancient African grain, millet, together with sunflower seeds and dates form the basis of this wintery salad — the aubergine-and-spinach harvest bowl. Textures of aubergine are served with leeks, confit garlic cloves, wood-roasted tomatoes and sweet bell pepper as well as a poached free-range egg. A cashew-and-rosemary cheese adds creamy indulgence. Wine recommendation: 2016 Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc

A fragrant sweet-and-sour Cape curry sauce brings a new interpretation to one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes, the spiced pumpkin tart. The creamy vegetarian tart with its savoury oats crumble is served with sweet potato and almond dumplings, pickled sultanas and capers. Wine recommendation: 2014 Pierneef Syrah Viognier

The Cape seafood and aniseed hutspot takes the traditional comforting potato and carrot stew to a whole new level by using seafood, herbs, aniseed and kumquat. Mussels and calamari are served with deep-fried oysters, cured Franschhoek trout, braised fennel, kumquat, brown butter, crushed baby potato and aniseed cream. Wine recommendation: 2016 La Motte Chardonnay

In the days of the Old Cape, salt curing was a way of preserving meat during the long summer months. Chef Michelle rubs her meat with a combination of course salt and herbs such as rosemary or thyme to add flavour and colour. The salt breaks down protein, for a softer texture and, during the process, the meat loses some moisture that gets reabsorbed, resulting in more concentrated flavours. The salted Karoo lamb on the menu is served with beautiful greens — courgette and grilled cucumber as well as a classic combination of mint and parsley in an emulsion. Traditional quince chutney and a vanilla-infused jus complete the picture. Wine recommendation: 2015 La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon

Suet is a type of fat that works gloriously well in a pastry crust. The pastry is filled with a typical South African stew, combining the intensity of slow-cooked beef cheeks with classic tomato and warming cinnamon. Cardamom and citrus complement the richness of the pastry while a refreshing basil salad and a crisp tomato cracker add freshness and texture to the dish. A classic wine choice with beef and especially hearty stews, the recently released 2015 La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon, completes this warming winter’s meal.

The banana split is the ultimate retro sweet and the Pierneef à La Motte pastry kitchen has gone to town for a sophisticated interpretation of this familiar and fun dessert. Enjoy roasted banana and caramel cheese-cake with an ever-so-decadent spiced butterscotch sauce, the delicious crunch of peanut brittle and the creaminess of a childhood favourite — the custard cookie ice-cream sandwich! While not a part of Jan van Riebeeck’s heritage, this nostalgic dessert is a reminder of how dynamic the world of food can be. Wine recommendation: NV La Motte Straw Wine
When it comes to dessert, stewed or canned fruit with custard is very traditional. Quince, especially, was popular both in season or in a preserved form for later use. Today, still, versatile quince is used as a side to venison and in chutney, jams or sweets. Older apple varieties were similar to quince, with a firm texture and tart taste and became a go-to dessert. Pierneef à La Motte gives some theatre to tradition in a beautiful presentation of smoky apples and custard in an apple-and-walnut cake, a thyme-and-vanilla-custard brûlée, quince butter and smoked meringue. Wine recommendation: NV La Motte Straw Wine

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