Pairing Windfall Wines With A Dinner By Chef Santi
At heart, I am a small town girl. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in a big city, but I really love that up close and personal feel you get in small towns. So I do my best to recreate that wherever I go. I like ordering coffee from ‘my’ barista – the one who tells the guy I happen to have coffee with how awesome I am. I only get meds from ‘my’ pharmacist (and even my mom had to meet her because they share a name). And, now that my car wash has closed down, I have no idea where to take my car cause it feels like I’d be ‘cheating’ on Marvin.
I love knowing the stories behind things, I love knowing what makes things tick, and I love to meet the people who have put their hearts into their creations, whatever they may be. Of course, doing what I do, I meet new people, taste new foods, wines, etc. all the time and I love doing that, but make that a personal experience, and I’m in heaven!
Introducing The Team
And so heaven knocked on my door with an invite to a social dining experience at the home of Chef Santi Louzán, in collaboration with Windfall Wines. Windfall is this tiny little wine farm nestled safely in the Robertson Wine Valley. They are definitely living up to their motto of ‘in search of excellence’ by repeatedly raking in awards, most recently, two golds and a silver in the Michelangelo International Wine and Spirit Awards. Chef Santi hails from a tiny little town in Spain, has been working all over Europe for the past 20 years, and finally called Cape Town his home three years ago. He recently opened up his home to host his weekly Chef’s Table Cape Town dinners. With Windfall and Chef Santi, this sounded exactly like the sort of experience I would enjoy.
When you enter Chef Santi’s home in the CBD, you literally feel like you are visiting a friend for a dinner party. This particular dinner party included Chef Santi and his team, several of us foodies/bloggers/writers, the amazing Mira from Hot Oven Marketing, and the Windfall Wines team, that is, Bianca, Paul, and wine maker Kobus van der Merwe. You instantly make friends with everyone, bubbles are poured, stories are shared, and you know that this night will be something different and special indeed.
Bubbles & Canapés
After enjoying the yummy and award-winning Windfall Mendola bubbles, it was time for some yummy canapés. I must be honest, I was so focused on finding good light to photograph these delicious little goodies I completely missed the stories Chef Santi told about them. But I can tell you that they were delicious. We had a mussel perched on zesty relish balancing on a spoon. Then, a deconstructed Spanish omelette with truffle oil, and, finally, phyllo pastry with mushroom velouté and topped with a button mushroom and truffle oil.
Prawn Cocktail & Sauvignon Blanc
While Chef Santi disappeared back into the kitchen, Windfalls wine maker Kobus shared some of his journey with Windfall. There was no doubt to be had: This man is passionate about the wine he creates and loves making it! Kobus introduced the first of the wines for the night, the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, to pair with our first starter.
The thing about joining Chef Santi’s table is that everything he presents has a story and a reason. Take his homage to the Prawn Cocktail, for instance, which reflects back to his days in training and the very first thing he was allowed to make. This prawn cocktail is somewhat different though, because the cocktail is actually hidden inside a tomato. Not only was it fun to discover that, but it was also super delicious.
Hake & Chenin Blanc
Next up, Kobus talked us though the 2018 Chenin Blanc and, I must say, I get why it won a Gold award. It also turns out that as bad as the drought was for us all, it did wonders for the Chenin. After ooohing and aaaahing with our wine, it was time for our next course: Hake with crab-infused cream sauce, dill, and something I had never heard of before: seaweed caviar! I literally had no idea what to expect from it, but it was divine. The flavours of this dish were incredible and it was to be my favourite of the night. An absolute winner.
Salad and Grenache Rose
We then moved on to the 2018 Grenache Rosé, a light summery pink with a slightly lower alcohol content at 10.5%. Chef Santi and his team then presented ‘A Little Bit of Spain’ to accompany the wine. What a stunning creation this was! Edible flowers, chorizo and sweet potato made it exactly what I think a salad should be!
Flowers make everything better
Chef Santi then introduced his palate cleanser, a tomato gazpacho made with Windfall Wines Hunter Potstill Brandy, and served in a little teacup! The thing about gazpacho is that you either love it or you don’t, and it was fun to see how the gazpacho lovers pinched some from the non-lovers.
Quail au Vin with Barrel 41
The award-winning Barrel 41 was the first Windfall Wine I ever had, so I was excited to see that this was to be our next wine. First of all, it’s an amazing wine. But, on a side note, I also really like the quirky label and the fact that its name is literally the barrel it came from. The Windfall team wanted to find a ‘proper’ name, but decided that Barrel 41 was the perfect name!
With a glass of Barrel 41 ready, Chef Santi and his team brought us our mains, a Quail au Vin. Because why have a Coq au Vin when you can have quail? This dish of half quail and quail breast cooked in red wine and onion, new potatoes and baby carrots made up the last of our savoury dishes.
Pollocks Dessert with Hunter Potstill Brandy
Then it was time for the grand finale! We were asked to grab our glasses and leave the table for a little as the team set up. The table was covered with a clean plastic table cloth, assorted ingredients were brought, and the show began. Chef Santi was creating what he calls the Pollocks (an ode to Jackson Pollock’s unique style of drip painting).
Walking around the table, he splashed and dripped raspberry coulis, chocolate, and custard on to the plastic table cloth. With little heaps of lemon cookie crumble, Chef Santi created each person’s portion on the table and then covered it with a dollop of chocolate mousse. Blackberries, pomegranate rubies and strawberries joined the party. And, to end it all off, giant burned marshmallows!
Of course, this dessert wouldn’t be complete without some Hunter Potstill Brandy, which Kobus lovingly introduced as his very first brandy. Oh, what a finale. Oh, what an evening!
A Perfect Evening
Yes, the food was amazing and, yes, the wine was amazing, but what really brought it all together was that personal touch. Hearing Kobus talk so passionately about his wine was heart-warming and Chef Santi’s casual and fun way of leading the evening was just perfect. I love that he not only chatted to us as a group, but also as individuals, sitting down with us, and sharing the laughter. We arrived as strangers and left as friends, and what more would you want from your chef’s table?
Visit Chef’s Table Cape Town & Get Your Hands on Windfall Wines
To book a spot at Chef’s Table Cape Town and for more info, go to their official website here. Windfall Wines will be pairing up for a few more social dining experiences in Cape Town, so keep a look out on social media (Twitter / Facebook / Instagram) to see what is happening and when!
A giant thank you to Chef Santi, Bianca, Paul and Kobus from Windfall Wines and, of course, to Mira!
Article Date: November 2018
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