Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards: A Year on a Cape Wine Estate by Olive Hamilton Russell



As the wine industry in South Africa has flourished, the food scene in the country has become more interesting and sophisticated, most noticeably in the vibrant precincts of Cape Town. On our latest trip to South Africa, I also found that the culinary revolution—or evolution—has come to the vineyards as well, just as it did in the wine country of California. Nowhere will you find this more appealingly evidence of this than in a new cookbook, A Year on a Cape Wine Estate Entertaining at Hamilton Russell Vineyards by Olive Hamilton Russell. She is part of the family that owns the eponymous vineyard celebrated for its superb Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. She and her husband Anthony make their home on the property, set in the Hemel-en-Arde (“heaven and earth”) valley east of the seaside town of Hermanus, about an hour-and-a-half drive south of Cape Town.

An engaging document of the passing seasons at the winery, the book is filled with beautiful photographs of the property, the surrounding land, the people who breathe life into the vineyards and the enticing food that Olive creates for the many dinners, lunches and parties that she and Anthony host. Here you’ll find recipes for such dishes as baby sole baked in a creamy lemon-shrimp sauce, pan-fried fillet of beef with a creamy horseradish sauce, mushroom risotto and fig-and-pistachio tart. I can attest to Olive’s culinary skills; one of the high points of our stay in South Africa was a lingering lunch with the Hamilton Russells, to whom we were introduced by close mutual friends. There will be some ingredients that you are not likely to find at your local supermarket such as waterblommetjie, the flowers of an aquatic plant, or bokkom, salted dried mullet, which are called for in a risotto, but such instances are rare. And as the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere you will read seemingly discordant notes like “The arrival of the first white peaches…” in the heading for a fruit dessert—in the November chapter. Frankly, I find that just another charm of this lovely book.

By Hideaway Report Editor Hideaway Report editors travel the world anonymously to give you the unvarnished truth about luxury hotels. Hotels have no idea who the editors are, so they are treated exactly as you might be.
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