Exploring Hemel-en-Aarde

For the love of food and wine I ventured out this past week to explore my world. Mindful that leisure travel is still not permitted under Level 3 Lockdown regulations, I motivated my excursion on the fact that food and wine are essential services and my purchases will be in support of local businesses survival.

First stop was Maná at Bartho Eksteen Wine where Suné Eksteen’s boerekos hits the comfort spot. The homely environment of this small eatery was a welcome haven of smiles, good foodie smells and a reminder of the friendly connection with friends that I have missed during lockdown. The waterblommetjie bredie and carrot cupcakes were absolutely yum and a reminder of our Western Cape’s winter culinary treats. Suné was also selling fresh vegetables and protea flowers from the farm with husband Bartho’s wine to go.

Die Plaaskombuis is situated opposite Bouchard Finlayson’s entrance. With 2 windmills and a big sign stating that they are open I felt warmly welcomed. Owner Nita was in the kitchen prepping irresistible fresh jaffles. Farm bread shaped with curried mince was paired with a takeaway coffee. The perfect nibble before I continued the drive along the Hemel-en-Aarde Road.

Driving past La Vierge I spared a thought for Bruce Henderson cooking his weekend orders in the kitchen of the cellar perched on the slopes on the rolling slopes bordering the valley. Bruce’s spareribs, steaks and ultimate onion are legendary and have been the cause of much happiness since food deliveries opened.

It felt like a new discovery when I made the journey to the Newton Johnson cellar where a wine order of Full Stop Rock and Felicité Pinot Noir waited. A trip I’ve made a hundred times seemed so foreign after the restrictions of lockdown. With the sense of freedom that accompanied relaxed Level 3 regulations came the drive to stock up on a variety of regional wine and Ataraxia and Creation were next up on my local road trip. Ataraxia’s Sauvignon Blanc and their Cape blend, Serenity, spiced up my pick-a-mix wine purchases. A glimpse of Tay Dall’s art added colour to the day and the trip.

Next stop, Creation Wines. This offered a bonus opportunity for art appreciation as Janko de Beer’s sculpture exhibition, Metamorphosis, has just been installed. I left cradling an arm load of newly released Creation Viognier 2020 and mouthwatering pork belly accompanied with all the trimmings one would require for a fine dining food and wine pairing experience.

Janko de Beer – Metamorphosis

A Hemel-en-Aarde trip would not be complete without a visit to Paul, Cathy and Ulla du Toit at Hermanus Wine Village. With the last bottle of Lomond Merlot Rosé 2019 secured and pledged to a Chard’s burger pack for the following evening my food and wine journey was complete… for the moment.