Tokara: Wine in the perfect company of food, art and architecture

Long gone are days when you visited wine farms in the Stellenbosch Winelands for wine tasting only. A visit to Tokara shows that wine keeps excellent company with food, art, architecture and history.

A group of 20 of us spent an indulgent afternoon at Tokara – starting by lingering in the sculpture garden where fine pieces of sculptures by local artisits Steven Delport, Sarel Petrus, Angus Taylor, Guy du Toit, Kobus La Grange and Isabel Mertz were dotted through the olive orchards.

Tokara started planting olive trees more than 20 years ago and was the first farm in South Africa to yield single varietal olive oils. Today the farm is known for its award-winning olive oils (secretly the biggest reason why I often visit Tokara) and the farm’s varieties includes Frantoio, Mission, Leccino and my personal favourite, the handcrafted TOKARA Premium olive oil.

In the delicatessen pantry I stocked up on extra virgin cold-pressed olive oil, a wonderful kalamata olive paste, indulgent handmade Belgian chocolate truffles, salami and prosciutto as well as some of South Africa’s finest cheeses.

Tokara’s sleek architecture of steel and stone is framed by one of the most spectacular views in the country as the Winelands hills drop away to the far-away blue waters of False Bay. It is difficult not to get dreamily distracted, wherever you are on the farm, by the vistas of the Simonsberg Mountains, False Bay, Table Mountain and the plush Idas Valley.

The cherry on top at Tokara has to be the food of award-winning Chef Richard Carstens who is quoted to say that he likes to ‘play with tastes like umami and acidity, salt and sweet to complement each other. And texture always plays an important role’. Chef Carstens’s love of mingling French and Asian flavour and testing new techniques and ideas is palpable in all his dishes. We had an excellent meal with modern and clean flavours.

The restaurant is open for lunch Tuesdays to Sundays and for dinner Tuesdays to Saturdays. The winery tasting room is the best place to taste the range of wines surrounded by incredible local works of art. For reservations at The Restaurant, telephone +27 21 885 2550, and for further information on the estate telephone +27 21 808 5900. Or, visit www.tokara.co.za.

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