The Food and Wine Experience at La Motte is an epicurean dream come true. Presented each Friday at 10 am by skilled and knowledgeable La Motte Wine Ambassadors, it offers a leisurely guided exploration of 5 estate wines, matched with chef Michelle Theron’s superb Winelands Cuisine.
Who doesn’t want to drink fine wine and eat great food early on a Friday morning? Of course you do, Princess.
Priced at a mere R130 and lasting well over 90 minutes, the La Motte Food and Wine Experience is a perfect introduction to the many gems the cellar holds, as well as chef Michelle’s nuanced, layered cooking. This is one food and wine pairing that certainly won’t leave you hungry, although I highly recommend you follow it up with lunch in Pierneef à la Motte restaurant. It IS the weekend, after all! Or you can amble over to the Tasting Room to extend the tasting fun with choices from the cellar.
Whatever you do, make a day of it. La Motte offers a wealth of sensory experiences, including the exquisite landscaped gardens and interior design by Christo Barnard. It is, quite simply, next level food and wine in a heavenly setting. The place is awash in shades of green both inside and out; a babbling brook adding to the sense of calm. Tall trees shade several long tables on the lawn, and it’s not unusual to see little children darting about like nature sprites, splashing barefoot in the watervoortjies. Definitely family-friendly, La Motte.
Nature is writ large: especially on and in the menus. Botanic detail is evident everywhere in the decor and table settings, with indigenous fynbos and proteas in vases adding fresh floral notes.
La Motte’s wines are astonishingly well priced for the quality, as are the dishes on chef Michelle’s seasonal menus. It seems to be policy for owners Hein Koegelenberg and Hanli Rupert to make all their estates as accessible as possible to everyone, offering reasonably priced food and wines in beautiful surroundings – at nearby Leopard’s Leap as well as Anthonij Rupert Wyne. All three are flagship Franschhoek wine estates, where the customer experience has been designed with great attention and the utmost care. These people are pros at their game, delivering a slick and sleek experience with a warm, homely, human touch. Service is never less than exceptional.
This is serious cooking, presented in a fresh and easy manner. It always strikes me just what sheer fun it is to eat at Pierneef à la Motte, with unexpected thrills arriving on each plate: puddings named ‘Science Fiction’ and ‘It’s Vegan!’; a bean and bokkom salad served in a pastry horn of plenty; subtly flavoured butters and multi-coloured breads. Each mouthful, every morsel at La Motte has been carefully thought out and forms part of a bigger whole, and that whole is the reinvention of historic Winelands cuisine into a modern context. Like I said, it’s next level food and wine.
Chef Michelle Theron has a strong visual approach in her plating and her playful sense of humour is seen especially in the desserts. Our lunch from the new Spring Menu was a riot of textures and flavours in vivid colours, celebrating abundance with the fresh new seasonal produce Michelle loves to cook with. Innovative vegetable cookery is one of her strengths, but then so is meat, be that poultry, game, pork, beef or lamb. The pastry chefs hold up their side with ever-inventive desserts and cheese platters. As a rule I never order dessert; as I rule I always have dessert at La Motte.
Below are some visual highlights from our recent food and wine experience and lunch at La Motte.
Thank you to La Motte who hosted us, and to Mareli Roux and Lilian Jonker for making it a day to remember.