I was in a state of excitement when I received an invite to La Motte as part of Franschoek’s grand culinary event, Cook Franschhoek with this years’ theme being A feast of the senses.
As part of this wonderful event, La Motte hosted a cooking demonstration with Pierneef à La Motte restaurant’s new Executive Chef, Michelle Theron.
We headed out to Franschhoek in the ‘ol Atos early Saturday morning. When we arrived we were greeted by the lovely statue outside La Motte – the poor womanly figure’s water was gushing out in all sorts of directions from the wind – To say it was a cold and windy day in Cape Town was an understatement, the weather was miserable!
Still…The thought of being at La Motte made me forget how bad the weather really was. Once inside the elegant Pierneef à La Motte restaurant I was greeted by the friendly staff who accommodated me to the seating area near the fireplace and was asked if I’d like a warm beverage, in which I opted for a cappuccino.
One by one guests were welcomed into the restaurant and were seated near the warmth of the fire. Each guest was then given a warm drink and a small donut which was plated on a rustic looking plate. With the arrival of the first nibble came the beautiful woman of the hour, Chef Michelle Theron.
Chef Michelle Theron informed guests that the dish they had received was a Kahlua based warm beverage paired with a mini donut. Taking the first sip was an explosion of the senses. The drink was creamy and sweet – probably sweeter to some but to me it was just right and the Kahlua wasn’t at all overpowering. The mini donut was delicious, sweet and crispy with a soft, fluffy centre.
Whilst enjoying drinks we were then asked to be seated at the long kitchen counter in front of the open planned kitchen. The amount of guests were kept to a minimum of ten guests to ensure that the cooking demonstration was kept intimate and to provide guests with a one-on-one interaction with the chef.
Chef Michelle Theron introduced herself and what her guests were in store for. A beautifully prepared apple tart inspired by a recipe from the 1570’s with a brandy beurre noissette ending the cooking demonstration with a fynbos macaron. Chef Michelle Theron then started to prepare her apple tart filling explaining step by step how to prepare the dish.
During the demonstration Chef Michelle then introduced La Motte’s wine master, Edmund Terblanche. He introduced us to the variety of wines that La Motte had to offer. He generously poured each guest a glass of La Motte’s finest Methode Cap Classique 2010 Vintage Brut or commonly known as MCC and ensured us that this would be the best accompaniment with the apple tart.
After admiring the fine taste of the MCC, Chef Michelle then proceeded to demonstrate the pastry for the base of the tart as well as giving guests some of her cooking secrets of how to achieve the perfect pastry.
Chef Michelle then continued to introduce us to the next popular accompaniment and welcomed us to who I knew as the ‘Tea Lady’ at La Motte. The ‘Tea Lady’ informed guests about La Motte’s TWG teas. Their variety of TWG teas are imported from Singapore and their tea bags are made from 100% cotton. The ‘Tea Lady’ also told guests about their immensely popular Winelands Tea – which speaking from experience is truly a ‘feast of the senses’ 🙂
Each guest was able to choose from an assortment of TWG teas to pair with – crème caramel being the perfect pairing with the apple tart.
Once the filling was chilled and the pastry ready, the tart was put in the oven. Beautifully plated miniature apple tarts were placed in front of guests – which were being prepared behind the scenes. The apple tart was presented with a good drizzle of the brandy beurre noissette sauce, apple chips and a thyme infused ice cream. The taste of the dish was absolutely incredible! The thyme infused ice cream wasn’t in the least overpowering and paired perfectly with the apple tart’s filling. The pastry was light and crispy, the filling was delicious with the sweet texture and taste of dried sultanas, raisins and a hint of spiciness.
The MCC and the crème caramel tea also went hand in hand with this dish. Beautiful!
I must admit, I cleaned my plate, no poor crumb was left behind.
Each guest received an appropriately-sized fynbos macaron…on a steeeck. The macaron cracked with the crispiness of the almond mixed shell. The filling was delectable and the macaron itself took me back to my childhood as it reminded me so much of the taste of zoo biscuits only better!
La Motte’s cooking demonstration during Cook Franschoek is definitely an event I would want to attend every year. It is worth the drive and all the effort it takes to get there. I love what La Motte stands for as well as the history of the farm. The staff are extremely kind and ensure that their guests are well looked after. There is a reason why the Pierneef à La Motte restaurant was voted by Eat Out in 2013 as one of the top 10 restaurants in South Africa and it’s up to you to find out why 🙂