About the time the Portuguese discoverers were rounding Cabo Tormentoso, the Cape of Storms, en route for India, spices and a decent Chicken Masala, Love’s Labour’s Lost by William Shakespeare was the hit on the West End of London. The comedy is all about a King and his three companions who forswear women for three years to devote themselves to study and fasting. Laborie means labour and the gracious Laborie manor house boasts a King’s room which is a steal for just over R1000 a night. But as for fasting, we were at the wrong address today with the launch of the winter menu at Harvest, the restaurant of chef Matthew Gordon beneath the dripping oak trees in Paarl.
Dish of the lunch was a lavish seafood and saffron soup (above) that is worth the visit as the Guide Michelin put it. Matched perfectly by a lightly wooded Laborie Limited Collection Chardonnay 2013 that will retail sub R100, it is a wine of incredible value and elegance. Dashing winemaker Cobus van der Merwe was on hand to explain the pairing of food and wine. I initially mis-typed foof and wine but MSWord prevented me from matching Chardonnay with a lady garden which would also work, on second thoughts. Perhaps Pinotage with male pubes and Chardonnay with foof?
The duck (above) was on safer ground, even if it was imported from France, as Cobus paired it with Laborie Merlot/Cabernet 2012, a wine he classified as “budget.” But the piece de resistance was his 2012 Laborie Jean Taillefert Shiraz which will be even better than the 2011 given another six months. Matthew paired it with braised Karoo lamb shoulder and his description of cooking it is a work of performance art on its own.
The dessert (above) was paired with fortified Pinotage called Pineau de Laborie which was a far better accompaniment than pubic hair although the Laborie Alambic brandy which rounded off the meal was real hair of the dog stuff. It was voted best brandy in the world a couple of years ago and the judges were not wrong.