Dining in the Cape Winelands is often a sensory marriage of country cooking and fine cuisine. The lunch Rio Largo arranged for us at De Kaap restaurant was no exception.
The 50 or so kilometre trip from Rio Largo to the picturesque village of McGregor was a hot and dusty affair leaving our convoy a little parched. We were rewarded with a selection of wines from local estates and a smorgasboard that showcased local produce and seasonal ingredients at the same time. Picture Cumin spiced Carrot Soup, Olive Tapenade, Olive Ciabatta Bread, Free range Chicken Liver Pate and Pissaladiere tart with caramelised onions, tomato, anchovy and olives. It mattered little that I couldn’t even pronounce the latter, it was that good. The free range roast pork for mains was so delicious I broke one of my golden rules and gorged myself on crackling, discounting the calories just this once. Almond and Preserved Apricot Suurkjie pudding to end the meal was a gentle reminder that the Western Cape fruit region is also just a peach pip’s throw away.
Brenda from Rio Largo and Slow Food Mother City’s Dax Villanueva enjoying dessert
De Kaap is housed in a beautifully restored old farmhouse overlooking their vineyards and a small herb and vegetable garden.
Owners Carrick and Aimee Campbell’s decor is charming and chickens roam freely in the gardens unfazed by the resident Ridgeback. I didn’t want to ask if they might be the next free range chicken dish on the menu
And the ever present roses synonymous with the Winelands.
Our final stop was at Voor Den Berg - Nick and Brenda’s Table Olive farm on the outskirts of McGregor run by effervescent Sam Ellis - for a tour of the processing plant and hands-on bottling experience. My jar made the journey home but whispered at me every time I opened the fridge until I gave in and polished every single salty fruit. What a memorable day in the country