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WELCOME TO foodism A TRIP THROUGH THE LATEST GLOBAL EATING TRENDS AND DESTINATIONS. IT’S THE WORLD ON A PLATE

78 FOOD AND CYCLING IN THE WESTERN CAPE 84 REVIEWS 85 FEAST FESTIVAL 86 FLAVOURED VODKA


Looking for a good excuse to feast on Franschhoek grub? The next Cape Rouleur event is on 1-5 March 2015.

Photograph by Gary Perkin

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foodism

WORKING UP AN APPETITE Where better to restore your energy following a gruelling bike ride around the Western Cape than South Africa's foodie heartland, Franschhoek? Susannah Osborne tucks in

Stage 2 of the Cape Rouleur, a return trip to Franschhoek, is 148km and climbs 1,939m.

Photograph by ###

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foodism

H

aving a Mexican standoff with a baboon isn’t how I roll on cycle rides back in leafy Surrey. But on the Franschhoek Pass, in South Africa’s Western Cape, it’s just the way things are – and I’m not entirely sure how to play the situation. I lack confidence in my ability to negotiate a way through to the other side with only the dregs of a bottle of energy drink to offer as a bribe. But I need to get down this mountain because, after 148km of biking this stage of the gruelling Cape Rouleur cycling event, I need food. Franschhoek, a small, picture-postcard town with a fizzing reputation as the culinary capital of South Africa, is at the bottom of the mountain. In the Berg River valley, guarded by the commanding Franschhoek peaks, it’s a gem of a place where fertile soils meet a gorgeously warm Mediterranean climate, and where the atmosphere is ‘relaxed northern California meets cheery southern France’. Herds of elephants once roamed the valley, which was originally known as Olifantshoek (Elephants’ corner), but the town, originally settled in the late 1680s by French Huguenot refugees, is now a cocoon of gardens and Dutch Cape architecture. A quick ride out towards vast farms,

WINNING FORM lqf.co.za

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BY THE BOOKING franschhoek.org.za

where the vines are laden with grapes and the trees are heavy with fruit, offers a further glimpse into the heritage of this place. La Cotte, Cabrière, Provence, Chamonix, La Dauphine – the names of the estates show that, despite being one of South Africa’s oldest towns, the extensive viticulture that exists here has its roots firmly in France. This is the Francophone corner of the Western Cape, and alongside its successful wine industry there is a unique foodie culture – there are 36 restaurants and four five-star South African chefs in a town of 15,000 people. Armed with that sort of information, and after seven hours on a bike, I’m starving. Thankfully, minutes after I eventually roll along Huguenot Street (the baboon’s skulking somewhere back up the mountain), I’m engaged in a love affair with thick-cut French toast, bacon and maple syrup (R40) at Essence Café (Shop 7, Huguenot Square; +27 21 876 4135) on the main drag, where a surprising number of customers are wearing Lycra and tucking into grilled banana pancakes in caramel sauce (R39). Along with its culinary credentials, Franschhoek is fast developing a reputation as a base for road cyclists exploring the routes around the Western Cape. My day had started at the foot of the Franschhoek Pass, where the 7km-long, 7% climb was a nasty shock after a relaxed, filling breakfast of fresh strawberries and rough, sweet, homemade granola. From the summit of the pass, the cycle route sweeps down past the vast Theewaterskloof Dam and edges along a disparate jigsaw of geographical landscapes – craggy peaks reminiscent of the Lake District (only bathed in

When the weekend arrives, Cape Town’s urbanites make a beeline for Franschhoek, which is one of the country’s most desirable rural outposts – and that means dining out here isn’t as straightforward as rocking up to a restaurant and finding an empty table. You have to book – take note. But as night falls, the chefs in this part of the world start to get heated up and there's a buzz about town.

SALAD DAYS colcacchio.co.za

The pizzas and salads at Col’ Cacchio, which admittedly is a chain restaurant, are cheap and really rather yum – and if you’re treating your body like a temple, the Sorriso salad of quinoa, sunflower seeds, baby spinach, roasted butternut and mint (R60) comes with a side serving of smugness.

sunshine rather than mist and rain), pineforested hills that belong in deepest British Columbia and fertile agricultural plains that could sit easily in California’s salad bowl. The Viljoens Pass, a stretch of beautiful tarmac first laid in the 1800s, winds its way up from fruit orchards and into the Groenland Mountains. Below the pass, the views stretch into Apple Valley – Sir Antonie Viljoen kick-started the area’s apple industry here in 1902 – but at the peak, in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, the hills are thick with fynbos, the fine shrubland vegetation of this belt of the Western Cape. After nearly 70km, the issue of food >>

Photograph by Gary Perkin; Getty Carla McMahon

At the Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, which has won plaudits including being named Best Restaurant in Africa and getting listed in the San Pellegrino World's Best Restaurants Awards on eight occasions, Margot Janse uses native plants and local produce to conjure up Africaninspired cuisine (R850 for eight courses). Café des Arts, which is tucked away at the bottom of Huguenot Street (cafedesarts. co.za) is a cool, relaxed kind of place where the menu changes daily. Feast on delights including pork belly with super-crispy crackling in the restful, lantern-lit garden.

The Cape Rouleur event winds 600km through the Western Cape


Rosewood London 252 High Holborn London WC1V 7EN info@holborndiningroom.com T. 020 3747 8633 holborndiningroom.com


foodism

>> rears its head again. As a cyclist, slowly burning calories for many hours a day creates a hunger that gnaws at your insides and makes you, well, just a little bit mad. To keep turning the pedals when you’re hungry requires deep concentration and a stalwart sense of humour which, when your next food is 40km away, can disappear fast. Luckily, then, it’s not only Franschhoek where you can get great roadside grub. A network of farm stalls and eateries serves the ever-increasing number of cyclists who roll along these roads. On the main N2 from Cape Town east to Port Elizabeth, there are pitstops aplenty, bursting with fresh fruit and vegetables and home-baked produce. At Houw Hoek Farm Stall (houwhoekfarmstall.co.za) guests revitalise, refresh and regroup with a pie – steaming bundles of chicken and mushroom, steak and pepper (R20), or venison (R21) wrapped in hot, flaky, crumbling pastry. It’s certainly not the food of athletes – especially when it’s followed by a slab of dark, rich brownie laced with thumb-sized chunks of chocolate (R10) – but the feast contains enough calories to replace every joule of energy already expended. And considering that the pedal home is another 77km in the afternoon sun (which, after all that food, feels more like 200km), I need every last bit of that energy injection. Sweeping along the long, smooth Hellshoogte Road descent to Stellenbosch,

my speed knocking on 45mph, a fierce headwind rages, battering my bike. But down in the City of Oaks – its founder Simon van der Stel planted oaks to grace the streets and provide an antidote to the elements – I find a tranquil, al fresco café society. Under the shade of the trees, we sip coffee at Fabio’s gelateria (fabiosgelato.com) on the corner of Andringa and Church Street. Fabio’s makes revered homemade ice cream, and the vast queue of people waiting to be served a massive cone of Tiramisu Gelato (R50) is an affirmation that this one really needs to be sampled. After four food-filled days of cycling the Western Cape, my legs are in shape but my belly feels like I’ve been bingeing at an all-you-can-eat buffet. I’ve made a dent in the foodie offerings available – but with so many places left to try, I can safely say I’ll be wheeling my way back again. f

BA (ba.com) operates twice daily flights from London Heathrow to Cape Town, with return fares starting from £959. The Protea Hotel, Franschhoek (proteahotels.com) offers doubles from £141 (R2,470) for bed and breakfast, based on two sharing. For more information on Franschhoek, visit franschhoek. org.za, and for information on South Africa and the Western Cape go to southafrica.net.

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Wine is the tipple of choice in Franschhoek, where pinot grapes thrive

A fertile valley Wine is, naturally, the drink of choice in Franschhoek (which, for cyclists, admittedly isn’t the best way to hydrate). A spin out to the university town of Stellenbosch would have been a lot easier if more moderate quantities of rich, red Chocolate Block, made on Franschhoek's Boekenhoutskloof estate (boekenhoutskloof.co.za), had been consumed over dinner the night before. The party next to ours had been indulging in another local wine – a pinot noir from the Chamonix estate (chamonix.co.za). Pinot likes the cooler mountain air in Franschhoek and, thanks to the weak state of the rand, a rather lovely bottle of award-winning 2012 pinot noir will set you back a mere £14 or so (R250). Bargain. Said group evidently thought so too, and happily ordered at least a dozen bottles. More expensive wines are also available…

Photograph by Getty/Joy Skipper; Hoberman Collection; Photograph Joost Rooijmans by ###

GETTING THERE

WINE TOWN


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BLACKFOOT

REVIEWS Japanese joys in W2, dreamy dim sum at The Shard, and lots and lots of pork…

46 Exmouth Market, EC1R 4QE; blackfootrestaurant.co.uk

Kurobuta’s barbecued pork belly in steamed buns with spicy peanut soy

KUROBUTA

Blackfoot occupies the site of the recently closed Clarks in the foodie stronghold that is Exmouth Market. Just as its predecessor blazed a trail in green liquor and jellied eels, Blackfoot is trumpeting pork – in a big, fat way, starting with its weekend piggy brunches. We tried the simple sobrasada soldiers and eggs (£6.50), the classic brunch dish with a twist of lardo, and the blow-out, pig lovin’ breakfast (£10.50), essentially an epic porcine hit with added eggs: think thick slices of bacon, black pudding, sausage and whipped lardo on toast, washed down with a Bloody Mary. You weren’t really thinking about a light brekkie, were you? – Cathy Adams

17 Kendal Street, W2 2AW; kurobuta-london.com

Pop-up, then restaurant, more restaurants, empire – it’s becoming a tried and tested formula for talented young chefs, and Scott Hallsworth, who has opened Kurobuta’s second location in Marble Arch, has the first three of those steps down to a tee. Armed with a formidable lineup of cocktails, sake and sharing plates (and a buzzy atmosphere), Kurobuta is already one of the most exciting Japanese restaurants in London. We tried far too much to list, but the tuna sashimi pizza, drenched in sweet truffle ponzu (£9.50), unctuous tea-smoked lamb (£15.50), and the restaurant’s signature miso grilled aubergine (£8) – one of the finest vegetarian dishes we’ve ever tried – were particular highlights. The empire surely awaits… – Mike Gibson

Blackfoot’s simple, delicious sobrasada soldiers and eggs

HUTONG hutong.co.uk

When it comes to being lazy, you have to pick your moments. Sleeping at work, for example, isn’t ideal. But tiny parcels of food that you barely have to chew, let alone cut? That’s something I can get on board with, and the lunchtime-only dim sum menu at Hutong makes an art form of the lazy lunch. Each dish is a finely judged balance of flavour and texture

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Photograph by (Korobuta) Paul Clarke Photography

Hutong, The Shard, SE1 9RY;

– the crystal crab dumplings (£6.80) are sweet, intense translucent blobs, while the vegetable and bamboo pith dumplings (£6.50) are more delicate than the name suggests. The Wagyu beef puffs’ (£8) buttery outer gives way to a sweet, creamy filling – so good that I’d happily have it made into a full-sized pie. Then again, that would require complex coordination of cutlery, food and mouth. And that’s a bit too much like hard work. – Jon Hawkins


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WEAPONS OF CHOICE NICE BIRD Alessi parrot corkscrew, £36

FEAST FOR YOUR EYES This weekend’s Feast festival brings together London’s most exciting restaurants and food vendors. Here’s three you’d be a fool to miss…

T

he street food revolution means big business – and with new markets popping up around London on a near daily basis, it’s tough to choose the best. Luckily, we’ve done it for you. Street food mecca Feast returns this year with some of London’s top restaurants and vendors, and we pick three of the best.

2 FOR 1 TICKETS

Union Street Café Swing by the stand from Union Street Café, Gordon Ramsay’s Mediterranean restaurant, for simple Italian dishes with a modern twist. Fresh meat, fish and pasta are the order of the day.

Hutong Usually on level 33 of the Shard, Hutong returns to terra firma here, serving up the fiery cuisine of northern China. Expect spicy broths and fresh seafood.

Anna Mae’s Mac N Cheese Feast is held at Tobacco Dock from 31 July to 3 August. Get two for one tickets by quoting ‘Foodism’ at the checkout. wefeast.co.uk

Expect lots of cheese (and cheesy humour) at Anna Mae’s stand. The much-loved pasta dish gets a modern Southern twist, with some dishes topped with pulled pork, beef hot dog or crispy bacon and pesto. f

It’s not strictly necessary that your corkscrew looks like a parrot, but it sure helps. Unfortunately, it only opens wine and beer bottles and doesn’t respond when you shout “pieces of eight” at it. johnlewis.com

STIR HAPPY Lakeland stainless steel cocktail stirrers, £7.99 Shame on you if you’ve only ever stirred your cocktail (or wine, or beer…) with a straw. Switch immediately to these sleek cocktail stirrers. Functional AND decorative – stay classy, cocktail makers. lakeland.com

SHAKEN UP John Lewis cocktail shaker, £25 Do your cocktails the justice they deserve with this elegant stainless steel cocktail shaker from John Lewis. It’s part of the ‘half hammered’ range, which actually refers to the crenelated bottom half, not to the state you’ll be in after mixing several (strong) drinks. johnlewis.com

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foodism WIN VODKA You can win all four of these vodkas – enter at foodism.co.uk/ competition/flavouredvodka. T&Cs apply.

SQUARE ONE BASIL

Who says you can only add basil to your food? American brand Square One believes the herb has an equally big role to play in cocktail creativity, and the result is a spirit infused with four varieties. £32.25; squareoneorganic spirits.com

CHASE RHUBARB VODKA

Rhubarb, they say, is an acquired taste – and what better way to acquire it than through this fusion of Chase Original vodka and the finest Herefordshire rhubarb? £34.35; chasedistillery.co.uk

CIROC PEACH

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BELVEDERE BLOODY MARY

Here’s an idea that’s easy to like – all the flavours of a Bloody Mary in one bottle. This vodka is packed with tomatoes, peppers, vinegar, lemon, and horseradish. A tempting combination of punchy and smooth. £34.35; belvederevodka.com

BEARING FRUIT

When is a vodka not merely a vodka? When it’s one of these four flavoured favourites

Photograph Photograph by David Harrison by ###

For this super-premium taste of summer, Ciroc reaches for peaches to produce a five-times distilled delight, a blend of its Ultra-Premium vodka and natural peach flavours. Add a little dash of sparkling wine – and voila, the perfect peach bellini. £34.95; ciroc.com


TODAY LONDON. TOMORROW THE WORLD.

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Foodism Section - 8  

Foodism Section from Escapism Magazine - Issue 11 - The Cool Hotels Issue

Foodism Section - 8  

Foodism Section from Escapism Magazine - Issue 11 - The Cool Hotels Issue