Turkish Delights at Vondeling for Heritage Month in the Winelands

Tuesday, 30 July, 2019
Vondeling Wines
Legendary Cape Town chef Tayfun Aras is teaming up with Vondeling wine estate in the Voor-Paardebergto bring a Turkish twist to South Africa’s favourite meal, celebrating September as both Heritage Month and “braai month”.

Aras, who sold the acclaimed Anatoli, Cape Town’s first authentic Turkish restaurant, last year after 15 years at the helm, will share his culinary heritage in a traditional Turkish barbecue for a lavish and lazy Sunday lunch on 15 September. In Mediterranean-style, guests will be seated at long tables on the shaded terrace overlooking the vineyards and Paardeberg mountain, sharing Turkish carafes of white, rosé and red Vondeling wines and delicious platters of food, with Turkish music in the background to complete the atmosphere.

Aras will braai in front of the guests -  limited to 60 for an intimate experience - and share his knowledge of Turkish culture and food and stories of growing up in his birthplace of Ankara, where his love of his homeland’s cooking was sparked in his mother’s kitchen. “This is a first for the winelands - there are no Turkish restaurants in this region, and it will be my first time cooking on a wine farm. As it is Heritage Month, I am excited to marry my food traditions and the relaxed Mediterranean style of dining with the similar culture of South Africans gathering around a braai in this beautiful setting.

“There is no better way to experience a culture and heritage than through its food,” Aras said. Guests can expect to experience Aras’s favourite Turkish flavours of cumin, lemon, oregano and mint in a three-course meal starting with meze platters of Turkish shepherd’s salad, humus, yoghurt-and-cucumber cacik and flatbreads. An array of lamb, chicken and swordfish kebabs follows, grilled on the open fire in exotic flavourful Turkish spices and marinades, with decadently sweet baklava with walnuts for dessert.

The cost of R695 per person includes the lunch and Vondeling house wines served throughout the meal. The full range of Vondeling wines will also be available for purchase to enjoy with the meal or take home. Vondeling co-owner Julian Johnsen and senior winemaker Matthew Copeland will host guests and share the story of the winery and their passion for conservation of the natural and built heritage of the Voor-Paardeberg farm.

The Paardeberg Mountain is rich in indigenous fynbos, with four rare species unique to the area - Babiana Noctiflora, Erica Hippuris, Oscularia Paardebergenis and Serruria Roxberghii - and Vondeling plays a leading role in preserving and protecting this natural heritage. The winery’s flagship Babiana white blend and red Monsonia celebrate the indigenous flora of the area.

“We are as passionate about the natural heritage of our farm and the Paardeberg mountain as Tayfun is about his cultural and food heritage, so for Vondeling, and given South Africa’s multi-cultural heritage, this is a beautiful way to celebrate Heritage Month,” Johnsen said. After 15 years of being in the kitchen every day, delighting thousands of guests, Aras sold Anatoli at the end of 2018 to spend more time with his family and pursue his interest in creating culinary and cultural tours of Turkey. His first cookbook, ANATOLI, launched in 2018 and is available at Exclusive Books, Loot and Takealot.

Vondeling’s setting in the Voor-Paardeberg wine region has the charm of an idyllic and undiscovered country setting, within a 45-minute drive from Cape Town. Only 60 seats are available for the event and bookings will be confirmed on pre-payment of R695 per person, which includes the meal, welcome drink and Vondeling house wines on the tables. For more information and bookings, contact Mariaan Harris at info@vondelingwines.co.za or +27.218698339.