Higher Living at The Cellars-Hohenort

Higher Living

There is living and there is living – higher living, you could call it. In the same way that there is country music and then there is Dolly Parton. Tap water and San Pellegrino. Consider the art of tea making for instance…  The higher living way of brewing and drinking takes time and patience – it considers the leaves in the bag, cares enough to steep for longer than modern attention spans would like, it indulges, slowly, mindfully, in the way of the traditional Japanese tea ceremony, and it listens to the effect in the body.

Mastering the Zen way of tea drinking is a dream far removed from my reality, but I take the time to try… to consider, care, indulge and listen. Dolly or tea may not be your idea of higher living, but it’s more about the method than the product.

Spa Experience

Higher living is simply about these four actions – consider, care, indulge and listen. A reminder and teacher of this code is the Fresh Wellness Spa & Skin Centre in the gardens of The Cellars-Hohenort, a retreat carefully created by Spa Owner, Jean-Mari Ferreira. Taking care of the body, listening to its aches, indulging it in pampering… are a variety of touch therapies, Dermalogica facial treatments, and grooming for your hands and feet.

“In our treatments we encapsulate all five senses to imitate our surroundings in order to portray this rich valley at its finest. Using oil from the Stellenbosch vines, authentic techniques and various natural elements, the Fresh Wellness spa guest can be assured an experience that will be as refreshing as a breath of new life,” says Jean-Mari.

Spa Therapists

There’s a reason we call them Spa Therapists… they’re psychologists and their method is the five senses. Touch, taste, smell, sight, and sound unite in the Spa’s superb 5 Senses Signature Massage that therapist Shandrè treated me to… The massage combines the refreshing power of Avo-Shea body butter, volcanic stones, tropical bamboo sticks and unique massage techniques, so that all the senses get some attention.

The Spa, like The Greenhouse Restaurant above it, on the same grounds at The Cellars-Hohenort, has been newly revamped. Take a look at some of the other treatments on offer.

The Cellars-Hohenort Spa




The Greenhouse Turns Over A New Leaf

The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort’s new look and menu is higher living at its best. To explain the multi-sensory exploration of local South African ingredients and flavours and African food fables, Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff discusses the new direction of this award-winning restaurant in the Q&A below – as featured on The Collection by Liz McGrath’s website.

What has changed in terms of décor and the interior space?
It was great getting involved with the refurbishment this time round, what started as a need for some new chairs and tables ended in a complete facelift of the entire space. The grand old Hohenort building now has a fresh, new interior.

We updated the look by adding dark naked tables, leather and wooden chairs and eclectic art pieces. We then changed the bits and pieces on the tables, including crockery, cutlery, napkins and menus. Even the music was looked at! The restaurant sound track was compiled by DJ Rene ‘The Frenchman’

What can diners expect from the food?
The food remains fun and edgy, yet recognisable. Combining innovation without losing classical cooking fundamentals and combinations is our goal; as always. The focus of the menu is Africa, with a nod to my time spent in Japan and France.

Can you share a dish with us?
One example is the ‘4 degrees of cheese’. It’s a dichotomy of South Africa’s most awarded, local cheese: Huguenot from Dalewood. Here we explore its diverse flavour profile through a range of temperatures from freezing and cold to room temperature and hot.

Has anything unexpected been added to the offering?
We have just introduced an African Single Origin Coffee tasting. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and is the only country that celebrates coffee with a ceremony. We pay homage to this region as well as to Rwanda, where civil war has decimated the area and coffee has been the community’s salvation. These two amazing coffees are served as single espressos with traditional accompaniments.

Below are some of our images from the launch. For more take a look at our album on Bundle.


The Cellars-Hohenort 4

The Greenhouse

Truth Coffee


The Greenhouse Launch 1

The Greenhouse Launch 2

Ashley Moss

The Greenhouse is open in the evening from Tuesday to Saturday. Bookings are essential. To make a reservation call: +27 (0) 21 795 6226 and follow them on Twitter @GreenhouseCT for updates from the creative kitchen.

Nutmeg Cauliflower Cous Cous | A Recipe From Camp Jabulani

Camp Jabulani

For the next carb-conscious cauliflower recipe from our Chefs of Africa, Camp Jabulani in South Africa’s Head Chefs, Dylan Frost and Johan Kriek, and Sous Chef, Alex Van As, who have presented us with a nutmeg-scented cauliflower cous cous to accompany a slow braised oxtail ballotine with beetroot purée, grilled pearl onions, roasted carrot fondant, cinnamon mushrooms and thyme jus.

“With the ever-increasing awareness of healthy eating and food trends, as a trio of young chefs, we felt that it was important to introduce nourishing and tasty alternatives to starch as well as to re-introduce foods that may have now become ‘old and boring’.

“Who remembers the overcooked cauliflower florets swimming in gravy with Sunday roasts? This is a vegetable that within itself is one of the healthiest foods on earth, with a rich supply of phyto-chemicals and anti-inflammatory compounds, so to introduce this into our repertoire of delicious recipes has been an enjoyable accomplishment.

“The dish that we have created is an elegant and healthy dish with a fine dining twist, taking this underrated flavoursome vegetable to a new level of creativity, allowing guests to experience one of the most unappreciated foods at its best.”

Camp Jabulani


Oxtail Ballotine

  • 4 whole onions skin on and quartered
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 100g thyme
  • 4 tomatoes quartered
  • 4 carrots roughly chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery and leeks roughly chopped
  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 125ml soya sauce
  • 125ml balsamic vinegar
  • 500ml port
  • 250ml tomato paste
  • 2kg oxtail

Braising liquid: Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the onions until golden brown, add the garlic and thyme as well as the celery, tomatoes, carrots and leeks. Sweat the vegetables off until soft to the touch. De-glaze the pot with the balsamic vinegar and red wine then add the soya sauce. Add the tomato paste and allow to simmer on a low heat.

Oxtail: Take the oxtail and sear it off in a hot pan until a brown crust has developed. Place the brown oxtail into a deep oven proof tray and pour the braising liquid over until the oxtail is completely covered, cover the tray with foil. Place in the oven at 140 degrees Celsius and allow to cook for the next 8 hours making sure to check every hour to make sure that the liquid is sufficient.

Camp Jabulani

Cauliflower cous cous

  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 10 ml nutmeg
  • 100ml full fat cream
  • 25g unsalted butter
  • 10g finely chopped onion

In a pan sauté the onion on a low heat until soft and almost see thru add the butter nutmeg and full fat cream and allow to reduce. Take the cauliflower and finely grate it, place it in a pan with a little olive oil and salt, add the reduced cream and cook the mixture out until stiff consistency already to serve.

Beetroot purée

250g beetroot
10ml sherry vinegar
25ml honey
5ml salt
1L water

Cook the beetroot in the sherry vinegar, honey, salt and water until soft. Blend the beetroot with 50ml of the remaining liquid and strain through a fine sieve. Ready to serve.

Cauli cous cous

Carrot fondants

  • 3 carrots
  • 250g butter
  • A pinch of salt

Cut the carrots into 5mm x 5mm x 4cm sticks and place in a tray with butter and salt place the oven for 15 minutes and remove from the oven grill the carrot for extra colour.

Grilled pearl onions

  • 200g pearl onions
  • Olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • Pinch of salt

Cut the onions in half and blanch for 1 minute 30 seconds remove from the water and place directly into ice water to stop the cooking process. Dry the onions off and rub with the olive, salt and black pepper and grill them off on a grill pan and place them in the oven.


Cinnamon mushrooms

  • 100g button mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 5ml cinnamon
  • 10g unsalted butter
  • Pinch of salt

Place a the butter into a hot pan and add the button mushrooms and cook until soft and brown sprinkle the cinnamon over the mushrooms and sauté for a further minute. Ready to serve.

Thyme jus

  • 1L beef stock
  • 350 ml red wine
  • 50g thyme

In a hot pot, pour the red wine and reduce by half, add the beef stock and thyme and reduce by three quarters and until the sauce just coats the back of the spoon. Strain through a fine sieve, heat on the stove until ready to serve. Be careful not to reduce too much as this could lead to an extremely rich sauce that could overpower the flavours of the entire dish.

Camp Jabulani

The Never-Ending ‘Route Des Sens’ That is Africa

AtholPlace Villa at night

A few of our favourite people joined us for an intimate celebration at AtholPlace Hotel & Villa in Sandton, Johannesburg last week…

It was a Spring evening intended to inspire the senses, a sensorial journey no different to a longer ‘Route du Bonheur’ (‘Road of Happiness’) through Africa. Friends and members of our greater Relais & Châteaux family in Africa were wooed by the sounds, sights, smells, tastes and touch of the continent, the experiences you’ll have at our hotels and lodges. What a night is was! In case you missed it…

The night began with the leather interiors of the BMW escort and the sounds of the bush – a lion roar in the distance, birds tweeting in a hidden corner, and African drumming leading the journey down a walkway of candles and lanterns. At the villa, warm scented towels cleansed our hands, African face paint replaced the mask of the work day and we saluted the adventure ahead with flutes of Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut.

Face painting


Sensory Seduction

The drumming hastened to announce a few words from Londolozi Private Game Reserve‘s Shan Varty and the youth of the continent – a special children’s choir – serenading us from the patio. Reds and whites from the Delaire Graff Estate carried our travellers off to the Winelands of the Cape.

AtholPlace’s Head Chef, Wynand van der Watt introduced his own gastronomic journey with a flamboyance of canapés – offering a taste of the South African bush, with smoked eland carpaccio accompanied by a sweet potato puree and petite ostrich burgers with gherkins, tomato, pear and Gorgonzola, and a taste of the ocean – fresh oysters with red wine dressing and ponsu sauce; and prawns with pineapple puree and cucumber coriander foam.

AtholPlace Canapes

AtholPlace Canapes



Plate of Oysters

Feisty Sega music from the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius spiced up the celebration around the pool of lily pads and the African boma. Guests, romanced by the views over Africa captured in our drone video, gathered around Relais & Châteaux Africa Director, AC (Annie-Claude) Bergonzoli for the final excitation – the announcement of the victors of our special draw… two fortunate souls who will continue the sensorial sojourn all the way to Kenya with the Great Plains Conservation and 20°Sud in Mauritius.

At nightfall, the candles were blown out and our travellers ventured onward in the never-ending route des sens that is Africa. In the words of Jack Kerouac, “There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.”


Annie, Shan and Marina

above: Annie-Claude Bergonzoli, Shan Varty, owner of Londolozi, and Marina Smithers, of The Collection by Liz McGrath

Jonathan and Ed

above: Jonathan Lithgow, General Manager at Delaire Graff Estate and Ed Zeeman, owner of AtholPlace Hotel & Villa and Morukuru in Madikwe

Marina and Jacqui

Above: Marina Smithers and Jacqui Hemphill, Sales and Marketing Manager at Londolozi


above: AC Bergonzoli, David Ryan of Rhino Africa Safaris, and Tina Aponte, MD of Royal Chundu

Boma Gatherings

Join the journey

AtholPlace Villa

Delaire Graff Wines


Above: Ed Zeeman toasts with Delaire Graff Estate’s Rosé Cabernet Franc 2015