An American Visits Four Cousins
When your friend asks if you’d like to go for lunch, wine, beer, and whisky in Robertson on a Wednesday where you haven’t got anything planned, one generally says yes. Fortunately for me, Benike was busy becoming a radio star in addition to already being an actress, model, writer, and lead foodie, so I got to visit the Four Cousins restaurant, tasting room, and brewery for the day!
Upon our arrival at the beautiful new facility in Robertson, we were presented with all of the various tasting options available for sampling in the tasting area. Not being a native South African, I had absolutely no preconceptions about the whole experience, but I do possess a healthy appetite for beer, wine, whisky, and good food, plus a camera. After all the pictures were taken – when going to a foodie event prepare for hundreds of pictures to be snapped – our group set about sampling all the various tasting boards. Basil, the cellarmaster, stopped by to say hello, and we all began writing down our notes.
Not being one for sweet wines, I gravitated to the single varietals paired with various olive products. My personal favorite wine was, surprisingly, the Merlot, which was surprisingly muted for a New World red. I christened it an “Anti-Napa” with medium tannins, a hint of spice, not over ripened, and without the slight vodka-like taste a high-alcohol California red would usually present. When I found out the price, I was even further impressed. I’m one of those people who think Merlot should be relegated to blends after years of indoctrination, so finding such a nice Merlot as a stand-alone wine, especially for the price, was a pleasant surprise. It gave a nice contrast to the Brut bubbly I sampled next, which everyone agreed would make an excellent wedding or event sparkler.
After the wine, I finally got my chance to sample beer and whisky. I made the mistake of sampling the 12-year-old whisky first. I was smitten, and though the other two options were quite good, I kept coming back to have another sip. As someone who has taken an overnight train to go buy Scotch, I can say the 12-Year-Old Scottish Cousin makes an excellent sipping whisky. Don’t worry about labels and the snobbery of other whisky drinkers and just pour one over ice to enjoy.
Of the four varieties of beer, I had trouble picking a favorite, which is completely out of character. The Lager was mildly hoppy and smooth, the English-style IPA was not over-hopped and fantastically drinkable, the Weiss was definitely a Bavarian-style with a slightly bitter-sweet taste and hint of fruitiness, and the Pilsner was what a proper one should taste like. Needless to say I had to have (small) second and third tastes to try to pick one. Eventually I settled on the Pilsner, simply due to the fact that it is the hardest to make well. But all of the beers on offer were truly excellent, and we got a chance to go meet with the brewmaster who graciously answered all our questions. The Robertson Valley has great water for beer making, so they actually have to add in certain impurities to be able to make the English-style IPA!
Now it was time for lunch in one of the stunning dining areas of the restaurant. Despite the fact that the actual facility is massive, there are a number of distinct indoor and outdoor dining areas, which give a more intimate feel to things. After splitting starters and a rather nice Shiraz, which reminded me more of a smooth Croatian Syrah than an overpowering Aussie one, my 500g T-Bone arrived. The presentation was so lovely that everyone decided to take pictures of the steak, so I was worried it would either get cold or keep cooking internally with the bone still being hot.
My fears were unfathomed as the steak was perfectly cooked, juicy, and nearly melted in my mouth. Once again, I picked the item most difficult to make well, since a T-Bone not only has the bone to worry about, but the sirloin and tenderloin on either side of it cook at slightly different rates. Being in a nice mood and wanting to save room for pudding, I shared a bit with the other foodies, and everyone agreed it was great.
Being one of those semi-annoying LCHF people these days, desserts and puddings are sadly a rare treat for me. However, since I had to sample everything on offer in order to give a proper accounting of the overall experience, the great sacrifice of having one of my all-time favorite puddings had to be made. When the desserts arrived, everyone had to take pictures of the sticky toffee pudding. The presentation with the sauce in a copper pot made for incredible photos, so once my choice was done playing model, it was time to find out if the beauty was just skin deep. Somehow, it was even better tasting than it looked, so the afternoon of food, wine, whisky, and beer ended on an even higher note than I could have imagined when departing Cape Town that morning.
The whole experience was brilliant, and definitely worth the trip over the mountains to Robertson. I’d like to thank Mira from Hot Oven Marketing for arranging everything as well as being a great host, everyone at Four Cousins who couldn’t have been more friendly, the other influencers for putting up with all my questions, and, of course, Benike for sending me on a lovely adventure.
Article Date: April 2017