I was stony broke. It was my last day of my mini-vacation and Tandy said she wanted to take me to see a boutique she thought had my name written all over it. We’d walked the dogs on the beach early in the morning and, having washed the sand off our feet, we set off from Gordon’s Bay to neighbouring town Somerset West. True enough, every item in the shop was irresistible and I emptied my bank account on a most-fetching rosy frock.
My flight wasn’t due for a few hours yet, we were beginning to get a little hungry and Tandy suggested we get some lunch. I envisioned a cheap sandwich somewhere, but she set her car in the direction of Stellenbosch. “We’re going to see my favourite chef in the world. It’s my treat.” She said.
Now, during my years as an implementation strategist with an advertising agency in Cape Town, I worked mainly on the Distell account. (Distell is South Africa’s leading producer and marketer of fine wines, spirits, ciders and ready-to-drinks (RTDs). Almost every day I would drive from Cape Town to Stellenbosch for meetings and the gateway to Vergenoegd was my halfway mark to my destination.
Vergenoegd, the website tells me, has been owned by the Faure family for six generations. Historic “Vergenoegd”, the Dutch word meaning “satisfaction has been achieved”, was granted land rights in 1696 and the Faures have been on the farm since the 1820’s. The Cape Dutch homestead is a historic monument and dates from 1773.
The historic buildings on the tranquil farm and the delightful bird life are, alone, worth a visit, but the jewel of this estate is Pomegranate; chef Michael Israel’s iconic establishment.
I was chased about by an aggressive duck for a while, but that did not detract one bit from my bliss. Tandy and I decided to share an amuse bouche of starter dishes and to let Michael choose our wines.