It’s believed to be the ‘most important link between nature and culture’ and very much ‘about putting generosity before rigour and pleasure before lucidity’ – food has this universal power of bringing people together and as the wise Irish proverb goes, ‘Laughter is brightest where food is best.’ In light of context and memory playing powerful roles in all the truly great meals in one’s life, Somerset West’s Vergelegen wine estate – renowned for its natural beauty and memorable cuisine for over 300 years – is delighting the estate’s fans with recipes of their favourite restaurant and picnic dishes in the new publication: A Cape Table.
With brilliant quality photography by Craig Fraser and eccentric and sumptuous food styling by Anke Roux, interspersed with fascinating insights into the estate’s history and pedigree, this superb recipe book already features on the Gourmand 2021 World Cookbook Awards shortlist – Best in the World, Food Culture 2021.
The book was initiated by former Vergelegen MD Don Tooth, who led the renaissance of the estate for 30 years. It features recipes from chefs Michael Bridgeman and Roger Hindley, who head up the Stables family restaurant and produce the elegant summer picnic fare, and Michael Cooke, executive chef of the award-winning Camphors signature restaurant.
The book notes that the estate’s dining experiences are each quite different, but all focus on ‘taste and quality, on seasonality, authenticity and beauty… in each case, our chefs are inspired by the time of year, by working with nature and by food that is grown and foraged from this land and our surrounds.’
The various foodie offerings at Vergelegen include:
The lunch and dinner menus are refined but with a natural approach centred around eating from the land. Ethical, high-quality ingredient sourcing and sustainability practices are the kitchen’s lifeblood. At times incorporating unusual ingredients, the recipes aren’t difficult to follow. Examples include duck pastrami, sweet potato gnocchi with gorgonzola cream, and pine-needle panna cotta with apple sorbet.
This relaxed, bistro-style restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and tea and is loved for its family feel. Learn how to recreate the famous vineyard breakfast (layered rÖstis, mushrooms and spinach), ever- popular buttermilk scones, slow-roasted duck ravioli with mushroom sauce, and yummy desserts like pear and almond tartlets.
Contemporary picnic fare comprises classics delivered in new and fresh ways. Discover aubergine and peppadew cream cheese roulades, Karoo lamb skewers, and assorted pâtés, chutneys and pickles.
The recipe book has an Essentials section which teaches indispensable basics like chicken stock and super-easy pizza base, and recipes for vinegars, cordials and jams.
Says Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer: ‘Vergelegen has hosted royalty, presidents, pop stars and politicians. What they have in common is their passion for this beautiful estate, and its great cuisine enjoyed in spectacular surroundings. We hope this book will delight those who already know and love Vergelegen, and also encourage new visitors to discover this magnificent estate for themselves.’
The cost of the book is R450. Purchase it from the estate or mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out the estate’s recently revamped website here.
Vergelegen is open Monday to Sunday 8h30-17h (last entry at 16h)
credits: A Cape Table was produced by Quivertree Publications, with words by Clare O’Donoghue, photographs by Craig Fraser, creative director Libby Doyle, food styling by Anke Roux, and illustrations by Chris Lochner.