Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to join Showcook on a trip to the beautiful Bovlei valley and the unspoilt town of Wellington.
The region is especially significant to me because my great, great grandfather, Andrew Geddes Bain, the famous road builder and geologist, designed and built the Bains Kloof pass which joins Wellington to the road to Ceres via the Limietberge. I have always loved this town, a little off the beaten track, and not as wildly popular or as developed as other neighbouring towns, but one which is equally beautiful and offers many hidden gems.
We left the Cape Grace in the V & A Waterfront and headed to Bontebok Ridge Reserve, a private game reserve only 1 hour’s drive from Cape Town. As part of the Renosterveld Conservatory they are taking part in a revolutionary attempt to re-breed the extinct quagga. Unfortunately it was pouring with rain so we were not able to go on the game drive that they offer on the reserve, and to see the variety of buck species including the bontebok, springbuck, duiker, grysbuck and grey rhedbuck amongst others.
Instead, we gathered in their boma and drank coffee brought in especially by TRUTH coffee, Barista’s and all, and nibble on home made scones with wine grape preserve and various other delectable treats.
We then visited Bosman Family Vineyards on the exquisite Lelienfontein farm, kicking off with a superb tasting of 6 wines in the 250 year old restored cellar. Its one of the most beautiful tasting rooms I have seen. My favourites were there Optenhorst Chenin blanc 09 and the Bovlei ’06 an d’07 Merlot. It was wonderful to meet the winemaker Corlea Fourie and members of the Bosman family who are 8th generation farmers who made us feel so welcome in their home.
Lelienfontein is open for tastings by appointment only as they like to offer a very personalised experience. I would highly recommend planning ahead of time to visit this treasure of a spot in the region, which is also home to one of the most successful vine nurseries in the Southern Hemisphere. Or you could visit them when they host special events (visit the website for details).
We ate a fabulous country lunch in the restored family home prepared by chef Johan van Schalkwyk of the Stone Kitchen. The meal included venison and smoked wild boar from Bontebok Reserve. It was the first time I have eaten wild boar and smoked, I simply loved it.
This fabulous outing which exposed us to a few of the treasures in the region was arranged by the well known and much adored Annette Kesler.
I certainly fell in love with Wellington all over again.