A culinary assault

5 June 2013

We’ve finally managed to secure a short break in Plettenberg Bay, with my parents-in-law, Richard and Mouse. It’s been an epic year, with Tash kicking off her first major season as a wedding photographer, and me kicking off with my first Alsace vintage and our first vintage of Thorne and Daughters. It’s been a big one and it’s high time to catch our breath a bit and get the brain cells into shape for the year ahead.

Cooking is a really fundamental part of what we do as a family. I’ve been cooking with Tasha’s dad almost since the day I met her all those years ago in Stellenbosch. For those of you who don’t know him, he is Richard Poynton, chef-proprietor of Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse (http://www.cleomountain.com/). This is where he and his incredibly talented wife, Mouse, work their special magic up in the Drakensberg Mountains. It’s a rare place in the world where everything comes together to create a special atmosphere. It’s also a great place to add back a few of those pounds that you have been painstakingly trying to shed over the year. Richard’s food is awesome! I spent my university holidays up in his kitchen getting a good, solid grounding in flavour.

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I’m not a chef, but I wish I was! I’ve spent many a happy hour around the stove with Richard. And damn those chef’s whites are comfy! Kind of like preggie-pants for men.

Planning a cooking trip with Richard is a bit like military manoeuvres (with us, it’s all about the supply lines – we’re lovers, not fighters), and we are advancing on Plett from 2 fronts. There’s a line that starts in the Drakensberg and finds its way through Bedford in the Eastern Cape, picking supplies as it goes, and the other (shorter, but no less tactically crucial) that starts in Elgin. The idea is to battle the epic Cape winter storms that we are experiencing with a steady supply of good food and wine (the sherry is to be served at breakfast and the day (d)evolves from there). There will be a concerted effort to recreate a bouillabaisse that was a formative moment in my food/wine education (all credit on that occassion to Dave Johnson and Richard). It’s all about fortifying ourselves for the year ahead.

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Should cover a few days. Thanks to Roland Peens (http://www.winecellar.co.za/) for keeping such a superb selection.

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