Newsletter – Monchique.

The busy season is drawing to an end with Autumn almost here. We have had some amazing weddings and beautiful brides. All of them have been memorable. An Easter egg hunt was part of the fun for the wedding held at Monchique on Easter Saturday.

In February, Simone and I attended a Wedding which was held near Robertson. 100 guests had to find accommodation at huge expense. While it was fun, I find it hard to justify making your guests drive hundreds of kilometers to a venue when there are so many amazing locations on our doorstep. The MC at that wedding was excellent and in his speech he calculated exactly how much it cost the combined guests to attend the wedding. It was staggering. The logistics and cost of organizing a wedding far from home should be taken into account for instance the fact that even the catering staff have to be accommodated which adds to the expense. The bride and her entourage all looked beautiful. A highlight of the weekend was a visit to a micro-brewery in the middle of nowhere. It was enchanting and the beer was excellent. The focal point of the small restaurant was a Pizza oven. I chatted the owner who was both amusing and informative and sang praises about the multi-functionality of the oven in which apart from pizzas, he makes a host of different culinary delights.

During one of our weddings we had an unscheduled power outage. It was the first time in many years that we have had an outage during a wedding. The outage was at 6pm. Service was at 7pm. While we use Weber’s to braai our Karoo lamb and gas for most of our cooking, the lack of an oven and hot trays was tricky. Fortunately we have loads of candles which created a lovely ambiance. We kept food warm on Weber’s and somehow managed to do service without anyone knowing about our dilemma. Guests were supportive and remarked on how lovely it was to be served by candle light.

Gas ovens are notorious for poor baking results and chefs are not in favour of them. Following the harrowing time my staff and I had during the Eskom outage in March, I called the Pizza oven company. I expected an Italian but instead an Afrikaner who said he lives behind “the boerewors gordyn” arrived to give me a quote and information. Cedric, who owns several companies, is a character of note. It was inspiring listening to him applauding the many uses of a wood burning oven. The oven was built about 10 days ago and looks amazing and has transformed our house patio. The workers did an excellent job. Cedric is coming to give Simone a demo shortly. She can’t wait to master the art of baking and cooking in a wood burning oven. It is an art as the oven gets far too hot for a thermometer. Making bread is a passion of mine and guests love Monchique bread. It will take a bit of practice but hopefully all our breads will be baked in the pizza oven in the not too distant future.

Simone and I have been busy renovating my parents apartment on 1st Beach Clifton following my mother’s passing in September last year. Building the cottages at Monchique was a pleasure in many ways as there is plenty of parking and no neighbours breathing down our necks. Building in an apartment block with a Board of Trustees, numerous neighbours and stringent rules is a different matter. We have changed the plans numerous times to appease the board. I hope we can get the renovation completed shortly as we are both in need of a holiday and Portugal and our favourite picnic spot on the Algarve, Monchique and its refreshing mineral springs, beckon us.