Wine relieves us from our minds. This is my favourite of its attributes. Which probably says more about me than the wine itself. Such is the nature of this particular poison.
In the way that a Lionel Smit or Dylan Lewis speaks to its audience in a myriad of ways, so wine shows itself differently to different people. Whether looking at a sculpture on the lawns of Delaire Graff in the Cape Winelands or sipping Chardonnay on its verandah, what we read into the work gives us a little glimpse into ourselves. Wine is the window to the soul, you could say… Our preferred style of Rorschach test.
For Rylan Gentles, Head Sommelier of Delaire Graff Restaurant, it’s about the art and the pleasure of it all.
Rylan pours us a glass of his white reserve over a lunch of pan-seared cob, squid with hake and lemon mousse, tamarind gel, cauliflower puree, pumpkin and ginger gnocchi, at Delaire Graff one Autumn afternoon, and explains his art to us:
“To me wine is an art, it is special and I look at it as bottled poetry. Every bottle of wine tells its own story. It gives a sense of place and it is giving thought to the time, dedication and hard work that went into creating it which enhance the joy of each sip.
Each wine is different in its own way. There are so many wine styles and grape varieties which have their own distinct smell and taste. My favourite grape is chardonnay because of its versatility. It can be enjoyed with or without food, at lunch or dinner, with friends and family. From the delicate lighter styles to the more full and textured with luscious fruit and aromas, chardonnay is a wonderful cultivar to explore.
Wine is my passion and it’s made for pure enjoyment, bringing people together. Wine is a lifestyle and my favourite thing about is that you can never get bored. There is so much to learn and the wine world is evolving every day with new techniques, vintages and creativity of winemakers.”
Tell us in the comments section what your favourite thing about wine is, what it is that compels you in the search for the perfect bottle, and take a look at some images from our visit below.
“Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we’ve ever met.”
So claimed French writer, Marguerite Duras. This spark of the unusual is one of many things that endears you instantly to Ellerman House‘s Head Chef, Veronica Canha-Hibbert. A spark that ignites similarly in her two children. Perhaps it is the artistic licence of one in the culinary arts, a trait I have detected in many a Relais & Châteaux Africa chef. Perhaps it is simply the way of a mother.
In its most honest, unconditional form, motherhood demands a little ‘strange’, a little ‘crazy’. Like love itself, “a temporary insanity,” as Ambrose Bierce wrote. And Marilyn French, who described love as, “the taking over of a rational and lucid mind by delusion and self-destruction. You lose yourself, you have no power over yourself, you can’t even think straight.”
Like a painter lost in her strokes, a writer furiously channeling his words from mind to paper, a chef, in the heat of her kitchen, where all time escapes into aromas and tastes passed between bowl and senses. Or a mother reveling in the African sun with her children, with nowhere else she’d rather be…
Veronica is one such mother. Madly unconditional in her love for her children – and her kitchen. Today, we take a last look at our Mothers of Africa for this year, with a glimpse at motherhood through the eyes of a chef.
Veronica’s secrets for motherhood
What does being a mother mean to you?
Everything. Being a mother completely changed me and my perspective. It was humbling. My children don’t worry about tomorrow, and they forget about yesterday, they live in the moment and they make me realise that each moment is precious and to be present in each moment I have with them.
A favourite adage of today’s featured mother
As a mother, what have you tried to instill in your children about life, love and the wilderness?
For me the best way to instill anything in your child is to live it, so they can see your example. I want to raise my children to live life to the fullest, to believe in themselves and to not let anyone else set limitations for them. And to give them the confidence to follow their dreams.
When it comes to love, to be with someone who makes them laugh and that everyone deserves to be loved, especially on those days when they don’t feel too loveable.
And as for the wilderness, The Canha-Hibbert Clan are a city bunch. Boulders Beach penguins are as wild as we get… before we dash back to the V&A Waterfront for coffee.
Mother and Daughter in the kitchen at Ellerman House
The first time I met Adine Roode, she cried. I don’t usually get that reaction from people (she said, dubiously). It had nothing to do with me, though, and everything to do with a pregnant rhino. A rhino that only that morning had been treading her usual paths through the Kapama Private Game Reserve around the Roode’s lodge, Camp Jabulani. New life pushing at her belly, the rhino continued through the veld, stamping her footprints in the soil. No barriers between her and the wilderness. It was a morning that ended too soon – a day, a life, two lives… taken by poachers.
There is a common bond between mothers, I am told. A bond united by the shared insight that comes with motherhood. To be a mother, my own materfamilias once told me, is to have half your heart in another being. Perhaps that better explained Adine’s tears, I thought. A fellow mother had died. One that at the same time had been like a child to Adine, like all the animals around Camp Jabulani.
Above: Adine & Lente Roode
The passion of her compassion, of both Adine, MD at Camp Jabulani, and her mother, Lente, who founded the lodge, can be found at the root of everything they do. It is displayed to every being that enters their sphere – whether rhino, cheetah, elephant or human. Perhaps it is the mother in them… perhaps it’s just the Roodes – a family for which conservation comes first and business second.
For our Mothers of Africa week, as we approach Mother’s Day on 10 May, we asked both women to share their insight on all things motherhood:
What does being a mother mean to you?
Lente: To be a mother is to have a part of you bonded permanently to someone else. You feel their pain as if your own, and although your supreme desire is to protect your child from all the bad in the world, all you can really do is support (and pray).
Adine: Motherhood is a humbling experience. It can be compared to a journey. In some areas there are horrible potholes and you will need to stop the car, pull over and repair the damage. In others the road is smooth and the view beautiful. The road will take you to destinations you never dreamt possible. On this journey the destination is unknown, but that is not the point… it’s the travelling and all the experiences you earn en-route that count. Motherhood really is having your heart exist outside of your body.
In a few words, as a mother, what have you tried to instill in your children about life, love and the wilderness?
Lente: Respect for life and the Creation, as it is only borrowed while on earth. Trustworthiness is one of the characteristics that will see you through all situations, as well as having the capacity to love everyone else like you love yourself. Do the kind of things that come from the heart.
Adine: Although you only live once and you must live your life to the fullest, take responsibility for what you do and for the decisions you make. God put man in charge of the earth, not to destroy it but to take care of it. Each and every person needs to take responsibility and make the world a better place. Not for personal recognition or gain, but to leave things behind in a better condition than how you found them.
What has working together and growing up in such a unique setting as Camp Jabulani been like?
Lente: It is a huge privilege and a really special experience to build something together from scratch, as well as a huge challenge. The challenge is made easier by the fact that we have always shared one focus – to take care of Jabulani and the other elephants.
Adine: My children (two teenagers) need to remind us during Sunday lunches that we are not allowed to talk business and that we should leave shop talk for another day. It becomes part of who we are and what we work for, and at the end of day while we might sometimes have our own frustrations with each other, we are working hard to leave a legacy behind for our children and theirs.
Discover Camp Jabulani through Lente’s eyes
For Lente and Adine, Camp Jabulani, while an incredible lodge for travellers to South Africa, is a means to protect the endangered animals they care so much about, the animals that call the lodge home or that reside, a 30 minute drive away, at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre that Lente created.
Discover more about the centre and Camp Jabulani’s invaluable anti-poaching initiatives on the HESC’s Blog and experience the passion of the Roode’s compassion for yourself.