A celebration of wine and food from the Winelands

Thursday, 25 October, 2012
Shante Hutton at Wine.co.za
I am a staunch believer in the amalgamation of wine and food. I’d go so far as to say that the greatest purpose for a wine is to be enjoyed with food. Thus, when two books on those subjects landed my way to be reviewed, one from Hamilton Russell and the other pertaining from Cape Winemakers Guild, I got a little overly excited.
Cellarmasters in the Kitchen: Cape Winemakers Guild, 30 years of excellence. By Wendy Toerien.

Historically, the Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) was founded in 1982 and remains an alliance of many of South Africa’s top winemakers who each have a passion for upholding and building upon the reputation that South African wine has nation-wide.

The book itself is a beautiful blend of insights and stories from the 45 Guild members that are inspiring and often humorous combined with two of their much loved recipes which they pair with their own wines. 
The photos are gorgeous and the recipes that are chosen look so good I want to rip them from the pages. If I had to pick just one it would be the GM of Graham Beck Enterprises and winemaker of Silverthorn, John Loubser’s  Spicy Tomato Consommé of which he says ‘The rich flavor of the prawns marries well with the fresh, but slightly fat texture of the Semillon.’

It’s a delightful and informative reflection that offers a personal look into each individual and their family life as well as their background in the wine industry. It's a book that is homely and enticing without too much pomp and just the right amount of educational detail.

A year on a Cape Wine Estate: Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyard. By Olive Hamilton Russell.

Olive plays frequent hostess to great numbers of guests at Hamilton Russell Vineyard and in doing so, has fashioned and developed recipes that make the most out of produce readily available on the estate.

The book is brimming with stunning photography by Sean Calitz of the estate as it transitions between the seasons and the food shots are glorious. The Wine estate is very much alive with its constant visitors and the numerous workers that help with the bountiful fruit and honey harvests.

I did find it to be a little above my station and from a personal perspective, I would never be tempted to cook with shark biltong or Abalone. Olive herself however does state in the introduction that “although many of the recipes in this book use ingredients specific to our particular location, we have tried to suggest more widely available substitutes” and though I can't, at this time, find a way to ascribe it to my life that in no way makes the book any less visually charming.