What goes through your mind when you receive an invitation to a 5 course wine pairing dinner? Do you expect to sit round a table and listen to the wine maker drone on and on about how he/she made the wine? Do you expect to sit next to serious wine drinkers who make notes on the taste and smell of the wine and the score they would give it? Do you expect starched waiters? Do you expect to be totally bored?
Well none of that applies or is even close to a wine pairing dinner hosted by the fabulous Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. Especially when you enter the venue (The Caversham Room) and see the instabooth set up from the KZN Wedding DJ. Also when you sit at a table filled with friends and find yourself holding your sides with laughter every time the Louisvale Wines winemaker, Simon Smith speaks.
But i’m getting ahead of myself and need to start from the very beginning – it’s always a good place to start :)
On Wednesday 5 October my husband Neil and I left Kloof after 12pm to make our way to the beautiful green Midlands and to a warm welcome at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa. Check in was only from 2pm so we decided to make a stop on the way to have ..... yes you guessed it ...... coffee! We had wanted to see and taste the coffee at Terbodore but unfortunately they are not open on a Wednesday. So instead we went to Blueberry Cafe and were very happy that they had a table for us (the last time we tried they were full). It was a chilly day but it was VERY warm inside the cafe and we were seated quickly. We enjoyed our cappuccinos and also their special blueberry cheesecake and a berry pavlova. We had to buy some of their coffee beans and the guy in charge of the coffee roasting helped us make a choice. We bought Samba (Brazil) the coffee that was being used that day and Inza (Colombia). After that excellent start it was time to make our way to Granny Mouse.
It was a very warm welcome back to Granny Mouse – we were greeted by Sean Granger (General Manager) and by Mouton du Toit (Assistant General Manager). After checking in we were taken to our room so that we could unpack and rest before the start of the evening. Just opening the door to our room relaxed us; it has to be the incredible lavender fragrance that wafts out. Neil had a nap and I read one of the magazines that are supplied in the room while also keeping an eye on the TV to see how the cricket was going.
We left our room at 5:45pm and walked over to the main lounge with Inge and Vernon Loker for the welcome / pre dinner drinks at 6pm. Fires were burning in the lounge to chase away the evening chill and we relaxed on the couch and waited for the rest of the guests to arrive. We were served delicious snacks and a lovely light bubbly Louisvale Wine. Sean Granger welcomed us all and told us to relax, have fun, enjoy the food and company and don’t forget to use the hashtag for that evening #GMfood. At approximately 6:45pm we made our way over to beautifully and uniquely decorated Caversham Room.
|Kirsten Rae Hughes, Carmen Barends and myself at|
The Caversham Room foyer (photo : Geoff Redman)
|The Caversham Room (photo : Geoff Redman)|
|Love the table decor (photo : Geoff Redman)|
It’s time to move on to why we were all there – the food prepared by the Granny Mouse culinary artists and the Louisvale wines they were pared with.
|Culinary Artists and the kitchen team|
The 1st course on the *Degustation Menu was Beetroot & Beetroot Mousse, Grilled baby onion, Basil infused Deep Fried Goats Cheese, Spring Onion Sabayon paired with a Louisvale Chavant 2013.
|1st Course (photo : Geoff Redman)|
2nd course – Trout Fillet, Squid Ink Risotto, Orange Mousse, Wasabi Foam, Fennel Cream paired with Louisvale Chardonnay 2013.
|2nd Course (photo : Geoff Redman)|
3rd course - Smoked Duck Salad, Crispy Pancetta, Radish, Red Wine Black Cherries and Wild Rocket Pesto paired with Louisvale Shiraz 2013.
|3rd Course (photo : Geoff Redman)|
Before moving on to the 4th and 5th courses we were served a lovely light palate cleanser of Yellow Jelly, Meringue & Fruit Salad.
|Palate Cleanser (photo : Geoff Redman)|
Our favourite of all the courses was the 4th course with its Herb Crusted Beef Fillet, Parsnip Puree, Honey Baked Figs, Garlic Mushroom, Bacon Crumb and Jus which was paired with Louisvale Dominique 2014. The fillet with the figs mmmmmmm. We could have happily eaten another plate of this course.
|4th Course (photo : Geoff Redman)|
The 5th course of the evening and sadly the final course was the dessert of a Cup of Tea which incorporated a Rooibos Panacotta and Chai Meringue, Orange & Almond Fingers, Dark Chocolate Truffle, Mini Cheese Cake with Strawberry Jelly. This was paired with a Louisvale Chardonnay Brut NV. Definitely not enough dark chocolate truffles on the plate – they were amazing. As with the 4th course we could have happily eaten the 5th course again.
|5th Course (photo : Geoff Redman)|
A well planned and delicious menu that was also visually pleasing. Congratulations to the two Granny Mouse Culinary Artists Kirstie du Toit and Wayland Green for a very successful wine pairing evening. Thank you also to the Granny Mouse team headed by Sean Granger for the all the fun and laughter and for the relaxing stay. Till next time Granny Mouse Country House & Spa!
|As you can see there was lots of fun happening at the instabooth|
|It was great to have photos printed from my social media|
*Note : Degustation is a culinary term meaning a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods and focusing on the senses, high culinary art and good company. It is more likely to involve sampling small portions of all of a chef’s signature dishes in one sitting.
Granny Mouse Country House & Spa