• Food & Wine Tango – KWV and Bruce Robertson

    The slogan “enjoy your workout” is an anomaly to me. Does anyone actually enjoy exerting their bodies to sweating point over those triffid-like metal monsters?

    Gym bunnies clearly thrive on honing their biceps until each arm resembles an anaconda digesting a koala.

    My idea of enjoyment is travel, food and wine – a world that stimulates my mind and satisfies my senses. Gym is something I have resorted to as gravity nags at my body.

    Fortunately KWV understand my sybaritic heart and yearning for their “luxurious lifestyle experience”. Formed to rid the Cape of surplus, KWV wines were reserved for export to the northern hemisphere, although many an exclusive bottle of Roodeberg was bought at poor exchange rates and brought back into the country. Altered laws have elevated KWV’s commercial status internationally, making South Africa the fourth strategic market after the United Kingdom, USA and Germany. The KWV marketing team works through the night, now that the elusive wines are available locally. Promotion keeps them from away their desks. Retailers are thrilled to be able to add these stocks onto their congested shelves, at the expense of lesser labels in this high price bracket. These will have to work hard to oust the competition.

    While the whites are good, it is the Perold, Cathedral Cellar Shiraz, Cab and Triptych, Laborie Jean Taillefert and Pineau de Laborie that will challenge local labels. The Ports will do well. I am always willing to cup my hands around a tot of the international award-winning KWV Brandy to soak up its nutty flavours and creamy, lingering finish.

    Bruce-Robertson-350x450KWV has engaged Bruce Robertson, Executive Chef at the Cape Grace to promote the KWV and Laborie wines during Cape 2004. Robertson was the creative force behind the BMW ad featuring a little white mouse balancing on the steering wheel, and the amusing Nando’s vignettes. Self-taught Robertson designs visually eclectic masterpieces, gaining inspiration from his experience in London restaurants, particularly with the maestro Anton Mosimann.

    A master of the avant-garde, Robertson works with shapes and concepts as much food flavours, resulting in unique combinations and an alternative slant. His visual creations are surreal in a Rene Magriette kind of way, taking your senses on a gastronomic treasure hunt. Robertson designs menus to enhance wines, using flavours found in grapes as ingredients in his dishes. His combinations of colour, shape and texture create a dance of flavours on the palate.

    At the Food and Wine Tastings Robertson’s compilation of shaped glasses transformed his food into sculptural works — mackerel masquerading as a dumpling in a martini glass, an espetada of beetroot, biltong and coffee jelly; a tiny quail thigh with paper cover resembling frilly bloomers and a cup of warm berry tea with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream balancing on a tea spoon. A variation of asparagus fried, poached and strangled in salmon accompanied three minuscule jam jars filled served with Dijon mustard, truffle or caviar mayonnaise. His chilled avo “panzanella” gazpacho involved guest participation. A rice paper filter filled with a deep-fried spicy bread ball was balanced in a wine glass of avo soup.

    Robertson enthusiastically encouraged diners to push the bread ball through the paper and into the soup. The arched window of the legendary Cathedral Cellar formed a spiritual backdrop for a gourmet evening. More than 100 journalists and trade people from Singapore, USA, Sweden and the UK sat at the long table amid carved wooden barrels floor-to-ceiling. Tall church candles cast a magical twinkle over the sumptuous display of silver cutlery, red roses, grapes and proteas. The Cathedral Cellar is as revered as Chartres at this 22-hectare winery, a hallowed room, unused to the presence of woman. The atmosphere thawed as the Tripych 2000 flowed. With little encouragement from the sounds of DNA Strings, guests rose to impersonate Fred Astaire, causing the cellar to rock. KWV’s relationship with Robertson promotes two great trademarks embracing the old and the new.

    The name of KWV is established, but Robertson’s boundless talent could be directed anywhere. Best they confine his enthusiasm, passion and vision to a chef’s straitjacket, because South Africa needs personalities like him to enchant tourists.

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