Things I do on a SaturdayPosted: April 25, 2012
Do you ever have those days when one thing seems to fluidly blend into the next, leaving you wondering what you actually did?
This happened to me on Saturday. I awoke just as the sun began to rise and got myself ready for a run along the promenade with Sierra. We met outside Café Neo and it was REALLY misty and foggy. I anticipated rain but thankfully it stayed away. It felt so good to be out getting some much-needed exercise.
And I say much-needed because I had a 10h30 reservation at Clos Malverne in Stellenbosch for an indulgent ice cream and wine pairing experience. This was followed by some wondering and eating at the Stellenbosch slow food market and shopping at Canal walk.
But let’s back-track… ice cream! Wine!
Now I’ll tell you straight out, I’ve always been a rather adventurous eater. I’ve done cheese and wine pairings, chocolate and wine pairings, nougat and wine pairings… but up until Saturday I’d never done an ice cream and wine pairing. I won’t lie when I say the idea itself had me feeling rather skeptical but I went with no expectations and an open mind.
I was pleasantly surprised.
The experience was well-worth it and I will definitely recommend it to my friends and relatives who are looking for “something different” to do in the winelands.
Here’s how the tasting works:
For R55 you get to taste 4 wines, each one paired with a different ice cream. We were served all the wines (as well as the ice creams) all at once which made it easy to compare the wines.
To kick off proceedings, we were invited to sample the preserved lemon and basil ice cream which was paired with the Clos Malverne 2011 Sauvignon Blanc. I thoroughly enjoyed the fruity, tropical notes that I picked up after eating the ice cream but I’m not sure if it was churned properly as it was “icy” in texture. This wasn’t the end of the world though because the presence of preserved lemon chunks was amazing, all mingled with specks of sweet basil. Overall a very refreshing pairing and I’d imagine it to be perfect as a small pre-dessert in a fine-dining degustation menu.
Next up was my favourite… and this I found to be strange as I normally don’t find Pinotage so enjoyable, especially if it’s deemed a “coffee” Pinotage. But, the Clos Malverne 2011 Le Cafe Pinotage paired with a pistachio and butternut ice cream was pure heaven. I was seriously in love with this ice cream and it really offset the coffee flavour in the wine so well. I got lots of cinnamon notes hitting my palate and I LOVE cinnamon so it was definitely right up my alley. I could have had an entire bowl of this ice cream. In fact, maybe one day I’ll go back and do just that!
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I should explain the 3rd wine. It happened to be the estate’s flagship, a Cape blend called Auret. I still have vivid memories of the day I first tasted this wine, but that’s another story for another post. The Auret was served with a banana caramel pancake ice cream. What I loved most about this pairing was that the wine really did a great job at cutting through the incredible richness of the ice cream which also happened to be very very sweet. The tannins in the wine provided the same feeling you get when sipping sparkling water after eating chocolate; it immediately refreshes your palate a bit.
The last ice cream (and this, we found to be quite daring of the chef!), was a dark chocolate and chilli flavour. It paired with the Clos Malverne 2009 Pinotage Reserve. I must say it didn’t work for me. I enjoyed the ice cream and the little flecks of dark chocolate were a great touch but together with the wine, it fell short. (Perhaps it was the Pinotage repugnance in me? Maybe. Who knows?)
All in all I was highly impressed. My only criticism is that the ice creams are all served at once, which means that you have to rush your way through them before they all melt. And they do melt.
Next time I head out to Clos Malverne though, will be for their R178 4-course menu with wine pairing. (Nope, that ain’t no typo!) Such unbelievable value!!!!!
Click here to check out the menu.