Carla van der Merwe ventured off the beaten track last weekend to visit the Breedekloof Valley, as they presented their annual ‘Soetes and Soup’ festival. The structure of the event was fairly simple with the cost of a wine pass being only R15. The pass included a ‘Soetes and Soup’ branded enamel mug and coupons for a free portion of soup at each of the twelve participating wine estates.
I decided to take two willing adventurers, Francois Joubert (winemaker at Asara Wine Estate and Hotel) and Alexandra McFarlane (assistant to Mulderbosch Vineyards’ winemaker), along to sample the Breedekloof Valley’s offerings and to help determine the best cup of soup. With a bit of a winter chill in the air we set about our mission, arriving at our first port of call a little after 10am.
Our first stop was Du Toitskloof Wine Cellar where we purchased our passes and promptly presented our mugs for a sampling of their vegetable soup. The Vegetable soup consisted of cauliflower, carrots and a few other winter veggies with a decent helping of cream added for good measure. Alex commented that the soup was “scrumptious” and Francois added that it was “creamy with a good consistency”. The wine pairing at Du Toitskloof was their 2010 Hanepoot Jerepigo.
Next on our route was Badsberg Wine Cellar where we were greeted by extremely friendly staff who exchanged our dirty mugs with fresh new mugs filled with Mushroom and Port soup. Both Alex and Francois complained that the soup was too salty but as a big fan of salt I found the soup just salty enough. The wine pairing with the Port based soup was the Badsberg Vintage Port 2005.
Further up the same road we continued until we found Slanghoek Cellar who generously filled our cups with Biltong and Blue cheese soup which went down very well, with Francois praising the soup as “great, with perfect consistency and clearly defined flavours of both the biltong and blue cheese”. There was also a bread basket available with toasted baguette slices. The wine pairing they offered was their Slanghoek Crème de Chenin 2009.
Our next stop was Opstal Estate where the ambient music by “Kaleidoskoop” urged us to take our seats and stay for a while and enjoy the breathtaking view of the valley. We leisurely sipped on our Roasted red pepper and Tomato soup which had an acquired taste and was a bit of a change from the three previous cream based offerings. There was unfortunately no definitive wine pairing offered to us but I can definitely recommend their Opstal Hanepoot 2008.
Our last stop of the day was at Deetlefs Estate where we had to wait a bit for a helping of soup as it was midday already and most of the festival goers were gearing up for lunch time and the rugby match. The Vegetable and Meat soup was well worth the wait though as it reminded both Francois and me of the way our mothers used to make it at home. The wine pairing was also not as clearly indicated as some of the previous farms but their as yet unreleased Deetlefs Soet Hanepoot 2009 was a nice winter warmer.
After much deliberation and tallying the scores (with some bonus points added here and there for overall experience) we managed to pick our favourite soup of the day. Having won by a landslide I’m proud to announce that the team at Du Toitskloof produced the winning recipe with their creamy vegetable soup.
If you missed the ‘Soetes and Soup’ festival this time round, then make sure you try and visit the Breedekloof Valley in October for their adventurous Outdoor and Wine festival. For more information visit their website at www.breedekloof.com.
This article was first published on WINE.CO.ZA, please click here to see the original article.