Friday, December 14, 2012

A Chalmers steak lunch at Rust en Vrede, one of South Africa's top restaurants

We had Chalmers sirloin steaks for lunch
at South Africa's famous Rust en Vrede restaurant

In South Africa last month, living a Travelife, we had an al fresco lunch one weekend at Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch, which is one of South Africa's top 10 restaurants for 2012 and also one of the Top 100 restaurants in the world according to the S. Pellegrino Guide.

Rust en Vrede is a famous restaurant about an hour's drive from Cape Town, and it's also a boutique winery.


I was in charge of choosing the wineries for our trip, and I chose two in this general area, out of the hundreds of possibilities: the historic winery of Vergelegen and Rust en Vrede for its food and its very reputable boutique wines.

So we had lunch and a full day of touring the estate on one day at the very grand Vergelegen, and then this lunch at the more intimate Rust en Vrede on another day. I specifically chose these two so that we could experience two very good but extremely different wineries in this part of the Cape.

Both turned out to be excellent choices for us, as we like wine but we also wanted to have it with lots of history, beautiful surroundings and good food all in one.


That's the wonderful staff at La Residence
waving goodbye as we drove off for Rust en Vrede

To get there, we drove for about 45 minutes from the beautiful La Residence in Franscchoek. Our car's built-in navigation system took us on a wild goose chase to some empty roads, but eventually we found our way to Rust en Vrede.


Everyone's seated outside for lunch at Rust en Vrede

In Afrikaans, Rust en Vrede, by the way, means rest and peace -- which is very appropriate for the atmosphere at this restaurant and vineyard.

It was a beautiful day for lunch in South Africa, and everyone was seated in the garden having a Chalmers sirloin steak and salad for lunch, along with bottles of Rust en Vrede wine, of course.

In the evenings, meals are served in the restaurant, but at lunch in the summer, they have only one menu and it's served outdoors, very informally.

The kitchens of the famous Rust en Vrede

Kobie Lochner of Rust en Vrede gave us a short tour of the winery and the restaurant kitchens; and then the three of us sat down in the garden to get on with the serious business of tasting some of their excellent wines.

Kobie Lochner of Rust en Vrede

We tasted about five different kinds, all pretty good and not too badly priced. Rust en Vrede wines are powerful but smooth on palate, and great with food -- especially the Rust en Vrede 1694 and the Estate 2009.

The Rust en Vrede 1694 is a very powerful wine, with hints of rich dark chocolate and spicy plums and berries. This is one of the prides of this winery, that produces small volumes of quite addicting wines.

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The Rust en Vrede Estate 2009 was awarded a very respectable 93 points out of 100 by the Wine Spectator. It's a very aromatic wine that's the result of a blend of grapes: 61% cabernet sauvignon, 31% shiraz and 8% merlot.

Then our steaks were served and we so enjoyed these with more red wine.

Out of all we tasted, I liked these two wines best:
the  Rust en Vrede Estate 2009 on the right 
and the Rust en Vrede 1694 on the left


This was the first time for us to try Chalmers beef. In fact, up to that point, I don't think we even knew what a Chalmers beef was. But after that day, we must've had Chalmers beef a couple more times, and I sort of became an expert.

Chalmers beef is one of the top branded beef in South Africa, particularly in the Cape Area. It's very lean meat, by the way, so it's a bit of a challenge to eat, especially for someone like me who never orders anything but a rib-eye.

But it is indeed very flavorful beef, and perfect for a nice lunch with a glass of red wine on another perfect day in beautiful South Africa, living a Travelife.


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