Are you sipping on Chenin this summer?

Baked apple, vanilla, passion fruit, toasty marmalade, dried fruit, honey, pineapple, apricot, gooseberry, guava...  Don’t all these sensory flavours get you in the mood for summer and make you want to reach out for a glass of chilled Chenin Blanc from Stellenbosch?

Chenin is ranked as one of the world’s great varieties and it has a long history in South Africa. It remains the country’s signature white wine grape and most widely planted variety and more than 20% of grapes being crushed every harvest is Chenin. As Chenin is one of the country's most popular grape varieties, so is Stellenbosch and its wine routes an undisputed culinary capital.

Chenin Blanc's versatility extends to a wide range of food dishes with which it can be paired. 

When preparing food during this festive season, take a look at these helpful tips. Fresh, citrusy Chenin Blanc pairs well with sushi and sashimi or even roast chicken or snoek on the braai. Dry styles will perk up full flavoured fish and chicken, Malay curries, and will add zest to vegetarian dishes like stuffed marrows and aubergine bakes. As with many other sparkling white varieties, sparkling Chenin Blanc pairs well with oysters, mussels &  prawns. A rich & ripe wooded Chenin Blanc is a perfect partner for ripe Brie and Camembert of course, on its own, it’s as good a companion as any! Sweeter styles match well with creamy puddings and fruit salads for dessert.

In celebration of this food-friendly wine, 4 Eat Out Restaurant winners shared with us some dishes that will tantalise your taste buds whilst enjoying a glass of Chenin.

The season of celebrations has started; which of course comes with fun, laughter, long lazy lunches and dinners at home or dining at one of many Stellenbosch restaurants.

Four restaurants in the Stellenbosch Winelands recently received the prestigious 2018 Eat Out Restaurant Awards. Stellenbosch Wine Routes member, Waterkloof Estate, clinched the enviable number one position for its Restaurant in the Sky. Other members that styled amongst the Top 20 culinary bucket list included George Jardine with his Jardine Restaurant in Stellenbosch claiming the 9th spot and his restaurant at Jordan Estate just missing the Top 10 mark in 11th position. Overture Restaurant was awarded the 18th position.

The Restaurant – Waterkloof

Most recently The Restaurant at Waterkloof was awarded the coveted title of Best Restaurant in South Africa by Eat Out Guide during the 2018 Eat Out Awards.

A modern space featuring spectacular vistas, Waterkloof Wine Estate’s signature restaurant is literally taking quality Winelands dining to new heights. Gorgeously appointed in a glass promontory, the restaurant extends from the chic wine tasting lounge and gravitational cellar. Within its walls, Chef Gregory Czarnecki whets the appetite with contemporary classics, complemented by the estate’s elegant wine.

Chef Czarnecki places an emphasis on using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, such as free-range eggs, farm-reared Schapenberg lamb, and a variety of common and rare herbs and vegetables – many of which are grown and sourced locally at Waterkloof. 

One of Chef Czarnecki speciality dishes is the spinach custard, smoked garlic gel, curry, coriander, almond. Recommended with Circumstance Chenin Blanc 2016.

Please note the menu is subject to change.

Chef Czarnecki's work of art: spinach custard, smoked garlic gel, curry, coriander, almond

Jardine Restaurant

George Jardine's contemporary and relaxed restaurant, Jardine, is in the heart of Stellenbosch. Think smoked salt cured trout, roasted beets, labneh and semi-dried orange, best to be enjoyed with a glass of chilled Chenin Blanc. Dishes change regularly, so you can always expect a surprise element.

Smoked salt cured trout, roasted beets, labneh and semi-dried orange 

Jordan Restaurant

One of the first signature chef restaurants surprise the Cape Winelands, the Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine brings top chef George Jardine’s brand of contemporary fare from city to country. The focus on the flavours of locally sourced, seasonal ingredients is evident from his kitchen vegetable and herb garden to wine barrel fish smoker.

Cool and contemporary, the restaurant features a tranquil terrace with stunning views overlooking the vineyards and lake next to the Jordan cellar and tasting room.

Dinner at Jordan is a gastronomic experience! Enjoy hot smoked pork cheek, sauce gribiche, pickled white asparagus and watercress pesto served with Jordan The Inspector Peringuey Chenin Blanc. 

Confit chicken leg, Brussel sprouts, Jamestown spinach, slow roasted pumpkin, peanut glaze, creamed sorghum, puffed sorghum

Overture restaurant

Situated on the foothills of the Helderberg Mountain where it found a home at Hidden Valley Wines, Overture Restaurant has celebrated culinary heritage since it opened in 2017.

Overture is a destination for great food, service and wines. Bertus Basson draws inspiration from nostalgic food memories and his mother’s recipes.

Confit chicken leg, Brussel sprouts, Jamestown spinach, slow roasted pumpkin, peanut glaze, creamed sorghum, puffed sorghum. Ready to be enjoyed with Ken Forrester FMC Chenin Blanc.

Confit chicken leg, Brussel sprouts, Jamestown spinach, slow roasted pumpkin, peanut glaze, creamed sorghum, puffed sorghum

Photo credit: L'Avenir Wine Estate

A selection of award-winning wines from Stellenbosch to enjoy over the season:

Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2016 vintage won the International Wine and Spirit Competition’s 2018 Chenin Blanc Trophy, making it the best Chenin Blanc in the world. Keep your eye out on the following:

Kaapzicht The 1947 2017

Keermont Riverside 2017

Ken Forrester The FMC 2017

Stellenrust Indecent Obsession 2016

Villiera Chenin Blanc 2018

Stellenrust 52 Barrel Fermented Chenin Blanc 2016

L’Avenir Single Block Chenin Blanc 2017

Longridge Ou Steen Enkel Wingerd Chenin Blanc 2015

Jordan The Inspector Peringuey Chenin Blanc

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve 2015

Remhoogte Honeybunch 2016

So grab a glass of mouthwatering Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc and we wish you a very enjoyable holiday!

Wherever you are travelling this season, take along some Stellenbosh wine. Tag us in your experiences by using #visitStellenbosch

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