Wine

The 'Fleurs de La Motte' Experience

When Paula van Coller-Louw began the instalment of her latest collection in the La Motte museum, the farm workers kept peeping around the corner and peering through the windows to admire the beauty of her work. These workers could relate to her paintings on a deeper level, as it is the very flora that surrounds them on a daily basis on the farm in Franschhoek and the vegetation which they nourish and protect. 

Paula invited these inquisitive eyes in and it was one painting in particular that they were drawn to, the piece called ‘Cultivated Aromas’. This is an oil painting of the famous Hanneli Rupert Rose. A rose that was cultivated in honour of the matriarch of the La Motte family farm and cherished by all those who work on the farm. Paula said that nearly every farm worker wanted a selfie in front of Hanneli's roses and I can understand why. They are magnificent. 

Fleurs de La Motte is a celebration of La Motte’s flora, combining the indigenous beauty of fynbos against the slopes of the Wemmershoek mountain. It is this emotion of colour, symbolic value and captivating detail of the tiniest and most delicate parts of the flowers that Paula has captured. 

Along with the artwork of Paula van Coller-Louw, the most incredible sculpture named ‘The Blushing Bride’ is currently being sculpted in the museum by artist Toby Megaw. You can witness the development of this sculpture for yourself before it is bronzed later in the year and introduced to the La Motte gardens. 

After the walkthrough of the collection by Paula, we were treated to tea and cakes at the Pierneef a La Motte restaurant. Caramel infused tea with a layered berry cake was on the menu, while the acorns from the old oak tree fell on the roof above us. An experience that was just magical.

You can read more about the experience here, as well as book the experience for yourself and friends. It is truly a worthwhile opportunity to spend the morning with the artists themselves and a good excuse to spend the morning in Franschhoek. 

It was a morning to celebrate the beautiful flowers of Franschhoek and in the spirit of it, here are some flower inspired treasures on Hello Pretty:

Heritage Day spoils at La Motte Winery in Franschhoek

We had the great honour of being guests at La Motte in Franschhoek for a family day on Heritage Day last year. Jen (who helps with Hello Pretty's social strategies and planning) attended with her husband Philippe, and their little girl Frankie. And, lucky for us, this was already one of our favourite wineries - their red wines are really good.

If you thought South African wine estates were only about wine you'd be mistaken. Visiting a winery in South Africa is a rich experience that offers a bit of history in the estates themselves which are commonly established in the 1600s, a bit of horticulture where they explain some of the science of what is planted where and why, a bit of theatre when you do the tasting and get a passionate explanation of the wine and it's notes, and a culinary spectacular at the phenomenal restaurants (I've never had a disappointing meal and dining experience at a winery restaurant).

La Motte's wine, their restaurant, their art and their estate are all magnificent. But don't believe me, taste and see for yourself.

La Motte has a close association with, and admiration of, one of South Africa's most well-known artists, Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Bizarrely, I recently found my primary school workbooks and discovered that in 7th grade we had learnt about him and the familiar South African landscape paintings that he's most famous for.

They celebrate Pierneef and his work in a variety of ways. They have a gallery of his work, a range of Pierneef wines in tribute, and a restaurant called Pierneef à La Motte's Chef's Table, led by chef Michelle Theron.

First let's talk about...

The Restaurant

Or rather, let us look at some photos of what we ate, and drool and daydream about plowing through this food like a swarm of rabid locusts (I'm not proud. I can own this behaviour.).

And honestly if this hasn't sold you on the place then I don't even know what to think about you. But just in case, here's a little more:

And since you are reading this post you are obviously someone who enjoys and appreciates wine. We have a tonne of fantastic wine-themed things on Hello Pretty that you'll love. Some for you, and some that just make really excellent "different" gifts. Here's a tiny selection of the things we ? :

[ 01 ] Wooden Word - Wine
[ 02 ] Name Monogram Wine Box
[ 03 ] Eat Drink and be Married Wine Bottle Signage
[ 04 ] Wine Fanatic Bamboo Coasters
[ 05 ] "Pic-Wik" Table (Picnic + Wine = Pic-Wik)​
[ 06 ] Large Reclaimed Oak Wine Barrel Cheese Board
[ 07 ] 2 Piece Wine Rack (Black)
[ 08 ] Shhh... There's Wine in Here Mug
[ 09 ] Wine Shopping Carrier Bags
[ 10 ] Rhino (Whino) Wine Holder (check out this store - there are loads of animals to choose from)

Thank you La Motte for including us in your beautiful Heritage Day celebration. As you can see, a ball was had, particularly by Frankie ?

? Photographs taken by Jen Morin and Philippe Morin.

Falke's sexy new tights and other pretty things which you absolutely must have.

Earlier this year, we were lucky enough to attend a Falke launch at the Peter Falke Wine Estate for their new range, which now includes some mighty fine tights. You can buy them directly from their online shop too - https://shop.falke.co.za.

Yes, that Falke - the company who makes the awesome socks that everyone who's ever done even a spot of sport has a pair of, because they are awesome.

My favourites in the new range are the stay-ups that to me channel the 1930s / 1940s. They come in black and beige. While Falke's version is a stay-up with a pretty sexy lace detailing, stockings at that time came up just above the knee and were held up with utility garters (it was considered taboo at the time to be baring any leg - what a waste!).

The stitch print at the back of Falke's tights actually has a bit of history to it: fabrics in the 30s to 40s era were obviously not as fancy and magical as they are today. The "tubes" we now have to put our legs into weren't a thing except for in rare and expensive knitted versions, and stockings were mostly seamed and stitched up the back.

A little bit of tangentially related trivia about America's Great Depression. There was no shortage of things to be bleak about at the time. According to this historical account, women were asked to give up their stockings as donations because the materials that they were made from (nylon and silk) were needed to make parachutes for use in the war. As a result, women panicked and stockpiled. Obviously.

And so the law stepped in to regulate pricing and availability. So, if you laid a hole into your stockings, you did not throw them out: you mended them. Fortunately today we can own many pairs in many styles and colours! But anyway, you should have a read through Vintage Dancer's awesome blog post with more interesting information and some pretty great photos. Here are a couple that I've found on the internet in general, just to give you an idea:

 

Anyway! Back to Falke. We adore their new range (and how cute is that detail at the ankle!). They have many gorgeous things in this range - both tights and socks, so be sure to have a look on their website.

Below are some ideas of things you could team up with your Falkes (regular tights stay-ups, the lace-detailed socks, and their staple fashion socks). Enjoy!

Date night at home

Valentine's Day Microgreens

I wouldn't call it a tradition yet, but on a few special occasions we've stayed in and Scott's made us dinner. He likes to try new recipes, and it always involves several hours in the kitchen and a lot of research, prep and planning. I'll tidy our place up nicely and put on a pretty dress and some music (I recommend Carla Bruni's Quelqu'un M'a Dit, she has a voice like velvet), and we'll have dinner at home together. Aren't we nauseatingly romantic ?

We had plans to do that this year, and then the Leopard's Leap Wine Stork paid us a visit.

This marvellous image is from Snobby Tours, of Texas.

 

So suddenly we had a magnificent recipe, the ingredients to make it, and the perfect wine to pair it with. The recipe is one of Chef Pieter de Jager's creations: Roast salmon with olive, tomato and feta. Being Valentine's Day there was a rose theme. So the salmon paired with Leopard's Leap 2016 Chardonnay Pinot Noir.

I'll be honest with you Chef P... this one was an intimidating challenge. Scott rosé (hyuk hyuk hyuk) to the occasion and did it though, what a guy. And what a superb recipe. Click here to download it - and if you make it, be sure to tag @LeopardLeapWine and @Pieterdjgr on Twitter, and @LeopardsLeap on Instagram.

My part in all this was to set up a dining area. I'll take this opportunity to own the fact that we live in a very little studio apartment. The section with the desk in we refer to as The Office. The desk is actually a dining room table so it worked out nicely. And so, The Office morphed into The Dining Room to do some justice to Scott's kitchen-art.

Thank you very much Leopard's Leap and Hatch for this amazing treat.

Celebrate Constantia? Yes, definitely!

We've always loved the Constantia region. The scenery is magnificent, with beautiful streets lined with age-old trees, stately homes and vineyards. It also happens to be home to one of our favourite wineries - Groot Constantia (we were not bribed or paid to say this. Taste their 2013 chardonnay and you'll see). No guest of mine is ever allowed to leave Cape Town without having visited the Groot Constantia estate.

A very short distance before you turn off into Groot Constantia is a beautiful little centre called Constantia Village. It hosts lovely little boutiques and restaurants - well worth a visit.

Last week, we attended an event to Celebrate Constantia at the centre, and it really did feel like a celebration. There was live music, tastings from local wineries, chefs, breweries and a variety of proudly South African goodness.

We were also able to sit down and learn to make flower crowns, and macrame plant hangers which we were able to take home with a plant in. An escape to a tiny paradise away from the routines of the work week.  

I have to commend the organisers. This was one of the most relaxing, well-run and enjoyable events that I've attended. Ethereal Bound Journal / Butterknife teams you can be really proud of yourselves, it was awesome. I'm so happy that we were able to attend.

A shout-out to the fantastic sponsors, collaborators and participants:

I like pink drinks.

Some people don't enjoy surprises. I am not one of them.

I've just been away for a month on training, and it's been a little slow-going cranking myself back into gear. I stepped out to grab a coffee, and returned to this:

 

Do you know what that is?

Wine. It's WINE.

Put your desires and intentions out into the universe and watch them manifest, they say. Well, tickle me pink and call me a convert, because that business is real, my friends, and I have consumed the proof.

In celebration of Leap Day on Monday, Spier Secret sent us a this glorious thing:

Let us all have a minute of silence for this delightful pink Leap Day drink, which was gone before it's time.

Thank you Spier. You bring a tear of joy to my eye.

Spier Werf Market

Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market

This past weekend we popped through to Stellenbosch to visit the new Werf farmers market at Spier, and we're so glad that we did!

It was packed full of delicious ready to eat food, as well as fresh fruit and veggies. And of course, amazing wine!

Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market

"Curated and run by Studio H, this weekly farmers market is focussed on bringing together lots of artisanal everything. The offerings include tasty treats, ethical and sustainable produce and products, indigenous plants, happy silk worms, and more. We'd love for you to stop by for a relaxing day outdoors in the shade of the ancient oaks on Spier's newly-restored historic werf. "

Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market
Spier Werf Market

See all of the details on their Facebook pagewebsite or Instagram feed - we can highly recommend the trip!

Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!

Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!

Pretties, will you judge us when I say that Team HP partakes in the labours of our nations wine industry with great enthusiasm? I hope not, because we do.

Our online store crush has always been Yuppiechef - they inspire our own customer service, because let's be honest, those guys are just so super friendly and on the ball.

So basically, our crush sent us our favourite thing for Valentine's Day! Aw Yuppiechef stahp, you're making us blush.

Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!

After we rolled around in all of the pink shredded paper like little kids, we found the gorgeous bottle of Fairview Brut MCC, which was promptly flung into the fridge to be opened when the clock struck five pm.

The good news for all of us is that Yuppiechef's great service is bringing Fairview's delicious wines straight to our doorsteps - as serial online shoppers, we revel in the idea of door to door wine delivery. I mean, there's nothing more terrifying than a mall on a holiday. (That's a whole big pile of nope as far as I'm concerned.)

Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!
Team Hello Pretty celebrated Valentine's Day with Fairview and Yuppiechef!

To hear about any awesome news and specials, join the Fairview Wine Society over here.

To quote Fairview's Charles Back, here's to life, love and online shopping!

Lunch at The Table with the Hello Pretty team

Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

Towards the end of last year, we were lucky enough to spend one lazy Sunday together, drinking wine and absolutely gorging ourselves on the most incredible food.

It was a pretty great opportunity just to be together outside of work, unplugged, to reflect on our year. It just gave us a rare quiet moment (or like, three hours worth of lunch) to talk about what we had achieved, and what we wanted to achieve in 2015. Because we are all constantly moving and travelling, to be able to do that together is really rare, and we couldn't have asked for a better setting.

We headed out to The Table at De Meye on the most beautiful day with the top down, wind in our hair, Taylor Swift blaring. (Shame. Our one male team member has ZERO say in our music choices.)

We were welcomed with a complimentary wine tasting, and obviously all left clutching new bottles - the wine is delicious, easy to drink almost any time (our favourite) and super well priced. What a win.

But then the food. Oh the food. I don't even know where to start. Actually just look for yourself:

Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

That my friends, in amongst the vineyards, under the trees, is a beetroot tarte tatin with sour cream and "magic greens" (a mix of over 20 micro herb, vegetable and salad leaves). I DON'T EVEN LIKE BEETROOT! And there I was shoveling it in my face like a fat kid with cake.

Jess Shepard, you are a wizard.

Other amazing treats on the menu included

  • Homemade ricotta whipped with lemon and thyme
  • Pickled grapes
  • Broad beans (from Spiers biodynamic garden) mashed with goats pecorino, garlic and olive oil
  • Schoon de Companje bread and Hjike real farm butter
  • Slow braised pork neck with crackling and roast potatoes
  • And then the most beautiful desert: rhubarb ice cream with strawberry compote and rose geranium jelly
I had so many feelings you guys. I just want to go back. I actually just want to move in. Gush much? Yes. Sorrynotsorry.
 
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

...

Sorry, I just had to take a second there. I was having a minor saliva situation.

But basically, the point of this post is to highly recommend going there. The people are kiff, the venue is drop dead gorgeous, and the food is basically art. It's fancy without the fuss, laid back without skimping on quality or details.

The folks who run the place are husband and wife team Luke and Jess, and they're really lovely people - I emailed back and forth about changing bookings and increasing table sizes and all sorts of nonsense beforehand (Ja I was *that* person), and they handled it with incredible grace, and welcomed us like family when our windswept selves finally arrived. (Driving with the top down has its pros, but also it's cons.)

Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team
Lunch at The Table with the http://hellopretty.co.za team

And the dog is a real sweetie too!

Treat yo'self. Email jess.chef@gmail.com for bookings. Thank me later.

Sometimes we're fancy and get invited to launch events for new online stores.

The launch was hosted in a very beautiful art gallery called Rust-en-Vrede in Durbanville, and Simone from Yellow Papaya did all the catering, as well as putting out the decor and gifts, on her own because her partner Yolandi wasn't well and unfortunately had to miss the event that she'd been working her butt off for, what a shame. Hope you're feeling better, Yolandi.

Cecilia's Farm operates on the same principle as many of designers, summed up on their website:

"Here on the farm we believe that the best tasting fruit and nut products are made from only the best fruit, and then crafted using a blend of traditional skills and modern know-how. We search the world for the best quality ingredients and then bring them back to the farm where we craft each Cecilia’s Farm product by hand to ensure that it is the best quality possible."

If you want some inspiration for what to buy, this is what Scott and I ordered last week: two cranberry almond nougat bars, two bags of roasted & salted mixed nuts, two bags of smoked almonds, a bottle of their Koelfontein 2011 Chardonnay (we had this at the launch - delicious!), and a bottle of their Koelfontein 2010 Shiraz.

Our order hasn't arrived yet but I'm looking forward to when it does so that we can get nut-drunk.

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