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Acquiring a taste for the best

Cape Town - “Lambzerac!” exclaimed Bruce over his pinotage-braised lamb shank – and the comment stuck in my head.

We were having dinner in sheep and wine country at the beautiful five-star Lanzerac Hotel and Spa estate in the Jonkershoek Valley on the outskirts of Stellenbosch.

The superb Lanzerac estate in the Jonkershoek Valley outside Stellenbosch.Wine and chocolate pairing at Lanzerac estate.For winter the spa and wellness centre has a heated indoor pool with unobstructed views through the glass sides and the see-through roof.The vineyards on the estate.

The 300-year-old estate is packed with history and we were dining at the elegant Governors’ Hall Restaurant, under the gaze of past governors and other historical figures framed on the wood-panelled walls. It’s an impressive interior and the meal was equally impressive at the end of a memorable day.

I started with pan-seared scallops and pulled pork medallions with parmesan wafers, and butternut and cardamom puree. Bruce opted for layers of roast prawn and avo with tomato tartare, marinated beans and shaved sweet potato.

My main of cured bacon and sage pork belly with celeriac chive mash, red cabbage and roast apples rivalled his lamb shank, but my dessert – Manjari chocolate mousse gateau with Carmelia chocolate aero and Turkish delight caviar – was a triumph.

Not that his blueberry and hazelnut cheesecake with Anglaise filled profiteroles and verjuice syrup wasn’t, but the mousse was a creation Hester Blumenthal would admire.

Yes, I know I am gushing, but Lanzerac exceeded expectations. The staff delivered five-star service, from the long-serving barman who offered delicious snacks with drinks to the restaurant manager and front of house staff.

On arrival our car and luggage were whisked away to our suite while we made our way to the tasting rooms. There Amos Sobashi delighted us with his enthusiasm and a spread of fine wines paired with delectable artisanal chocolates from Chocolats Marionnettes, Knysna.

What a well worked out collaboration. We sampled the premium range, a delightful sauvignon blanc, chardonnay and the pinotage for which Lanzerac is so well known. We were also fortunate to have a taste or two of their top-flight heritage range.

Pairing the wines with almond and peach or lemon verbena white chocolate, cherry and salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and coriander choccies was a perfect marriage.

After bending my credit card we moved outside, enjoying a light deli lunch while admiring the views on a balmy winter’s day:

There’s plenty to see and do in the area – galleries and museums, wine estates, golf courses, nature trails and hikes, mountain biking, horse-riding and wildlife.

In warmer weather you can choose from three outdoor swimming pools. For winter the spa and wellness centre has a heated indoor pool with unobstructed views through the glass sides and the see-through roof.

From the adjacent Jacuzzi or a lounger you can watch the sun set after a spa treatment. There are seven indoor therapy rooms and two outdoor areas, hydro facilities, a Vichy shower and a sauna room.

There also is an outdoor pergola for lounging in the sun while enjoying fresh pastries or a light lunch.

I had one of my best treatments ever at the hands of Yvette Mouton, who specialises in CranioSacral Therapy and Body Stress Release.

Before my one hour treatment was over, I could feel the inflammation from a viral/ bacterial bug subsiding. I left adjusted, aligned, invigorated and energised.

The Lanzerac Hotel has 48 en suite, individually decorated rooms with private patios. Our junior suite was spacious with every convenience in a sumptuous, classically styled setting. It had a separate lounge and bedroom, free-standing bath and separate shower, under-floor heating, heated towel rails, and a large TV set. It was so nice to relax on the patio with good coffee and biscuits.

Sharing memories in front of the fireplace in the Craven lounge or at one of the bars, wandering through the gardens and oak-lined walkways, admiring the antiques and art are some of the memories I’ll savour.

Call 021 887 1132 or visit www.lanzerac.co.za

Adrian Rorvik, Sunday Tribune

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