I spent a rather lovely afternoon relaxing on the Terrace of the Cape Grace Hotel enjoying the most decadent and exquisite Valrhona chocolate high tea. This was a special event arranged by the hotel to fit in with a dazzling line-up of winter food events.

Over looking the luxury yacht basin in the Waterfront, the Cape Grace truly has lovely view of Table Mountain.

The tea party was a collaboration between the talented pastry chef Vanessa Quellec who is the Valrhona ambassador in South Africa, and the pastry chef at the Cape Grace – Lorraine Meany. The pair outdid themselves with an array of diverse and seductive cakes, tarts and pastries.

I had a small panic attack when I first saw the display, wondering how I was possibly going to get through it all. There was also a savoury section to the buffet which included smoked salmon, cheese scones and light sandwiches that provided the necessary diversion from the sweet intensity.

My friend and I decided a sharing approach was necessary, so were able to sample the majority of these delectable treats.

Made with 7 different variants of Valrhona chocolate the tea was a texture and taste adventure.

The Cape Grace have a lovely tea menu and I selected a white tea with ginger which was the perfect partner to the decadence of the cakes. Beautifully presented in clear tea pots with timers for the perfect infusion.

It was a bitter sweet afternoon because I heard that Vanessa will soon be leaving South Africa to work in Europe. I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of a one-on-one master class in my home with Vanessa a couple of months ago where she taught me, amongst other things, to make this extraordinary chocolate tart. It will sad to see such an incredible talent leave our shores.

Last year I attended one of the wine & dine evenings with Hamilton Russell Vineyards where chef Malika van Reenen created an innovative ‘fast-food nostalgia’ menu. I can highly recommend these very special events.

This years Signal’s Wine & Dine series promises to be an exclusive affair.  Vintage wines sourced from some of the Cape’s premium farms and estates will be paired with a 6-course dinner menu prepared by Executive Chef Malika van Reenen. 

Share in the anecdotes and opinions of the Winemaker and 40 like-minded guests – without a doubt, a recipe for fabulous company and a tremendous evening!

VINTAGE WINE & DINE SERIES this winter:

31 May 2012            –  La Motte Wine Estate
28 June 2012           –  Groot Constantia Estate
26 July  2012           – Hamilton Russell Vineyards 
30 August  2012       – Waterford Estate
20 September 2012  – Bosman Family Vineyards 
25 October  2012     – Iona Wines
29 November  2012  – Rustenberg Wines

Cost:        R650 per person
To Book:  Contact Rene on + 27 (21) 410 7100 or email

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