Monday, 16 July 2012

Summerhill Chenin

Chenin Blanc has come out of the shadows and assumed it's rightful place as one of the most respected and celebrated white varietals.  South African chenin's are some of the best in the world and with a diverse terroir and some innovative wine making practices we are starting to see a wide range of product on the shelves. 

The tiny 15 hectare estate of Summerhill, between Stellenbosch and Paarl, in South Africa's most well known wine region, is making some wonderful Chenin.  They only produce 800 cases a year and the resulting wine is easy drinking, good value and lovely with food.

Charles Hunting (Mr Summerhill) has given me a recipe that he feels will work well with his Chenin.

Braai Bread  

  1. Hot English mustard
  2. Wholegrain mustard
  3. 1 onion
  4. a pack of white mushrooms
  5. a pack of Mozzarella
  6. a pack of streaky bacon
  7. hard crust loaf of bread
  8. 3 rump steaks
  • fry up steaks, bacon, mushrooms and onions
  • hollow out the bread
  • allow the meat to cool
  • fill the bread with one a half steaks (eat the other half)
  • smear both mustards over the steak, then add bacon

  • layer Mozzarella on top, then the fried mushrooms and onions

  • add the other steak, squish some mustard on top and then a final layer of cheese before putting the cut out bread lid back on top
  • cover with baking paper and then close tightly in tinfoil
  • put a weight on top, like a heavy granite board

  • leave for about 4 hours
  • slice and enjoy with a glass of Chenin

Recipe and Photo's courtesy of Charles Hunting

The Harkerville Coastal Trail - not just a walk in the park

The Harkerville Coastal Trail is a tough 2 day walk that cuts through forest and then along a section of beautiful coastline, between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay, on South Africa's famous Garden Route.  The trail is an adventure that should only be undertaken by those who aren't afraid of  negotiating sheer drops, slippery rock faces and the occasional ladder and chain.  If you're not good with heights - STAY AWAY.  The rewards for those who take on the challenge are plentiful with pristine forest, colourful clifftops and a wild and untamed coast.  Take a look at the SANPARKS Website for more details.       

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Cirali - a Turkish gem

The unfortunate truth about a coastline of turquoise waters, beautiful beaches, historical sites and great dining is that you're more than likely going to be scrumming for space with hoards of others.  Especially in a country like Turkey, with a great tourist network and friendly locals.  That said, Turkey's southern coast is still worth a look.  It's a bit more affordable than the rest of 'The Med' and there are a few places that have managed to weather the tourism storm and hold onto a bit of real character.

The pebble beach looking towards the ruins of Olympos
One such spot is Cirali, around and hour and a half west of Antalya.  If you've got a car it's easy enough to reach.  Using public transport, like I did, makes it a bit more challenging.  My wife and I had caught one of the many, very comfortable, overnight buses from Cappadocia, arriving in Antalya early in the morning.  We hopped straight onto a knee-bruising Dolmus (local minibus) and headed west for a while, before being dropped off roadside, at the Cirali sign.  The village, and all the accommodation, is about 8km down the mountain side.  Taxi's wait in anticipation like circling vultures but the fare for the short trip down is ridiculous, and not something I was going to endorse.  We started walking and the first car to get to us, a construction vehicle, responded and gave us a lift.  So, easy if you're driving, a bit trickier otherwise, but the good thing is that places that are a bit more difficult to get to are often something special.  Cirali is just that.  There are a huge variety of accommodation options, from down to earth wooden huts to well polished lodges.  There is a picturesque pebble beach peered down upon by a towering mountain landscape.  The ruins of Olympos are a short walk away and if you're more serious about your hiking there are plenty of options along the Lycian Way.  We spent a great day exploring the mountains, making our way up to the village of Ulupinar with it's waterfall trout restaurants - you really have to see them to appreciate what I mean.  After lunch we headed back along a different route that took us down passed the eternal flames of Chimera, a hillside of natural gas and flame.  There are full-day boat trips that are without doubt the best and most leisurely way to take in the coast.  Food options are largely focused around the fresh seafood but I had the best Gozleme (Turkish pancake) at a little place here as well.  The savoury options are super but the banana and chocolate pancake is heavenly.  One of our favourite things to do was to walk the 1 hour loop around town that takes you through the real heart of the village. Kids playing in gardens, fruit and vegetable plantations and fisherman along the water.         
The ruins of Olympos

The outskirts of Ulupinar
One of the many beautiful coves of the coast
The local mosque