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Chocolate and Wine Pairing at Groot Constantia

Mother’s Day falls on 13th May this year. It is a day where mothers around the country expect anything from a handmade card from their young children, to breakfast in bed, chocolates, or a family gathering. This year show your mom how much you appreciate her with something extra special, a day out at the Groot Constantia Wine Estate.

Nectar of the Gods

Wine has been around for over 8000 years. Known as the nectar of the Gods, evidence of the existence of wine making has been found in the Yellow Valley in China, at various sites in Egypt, Greece, Italy and the Zagros Mountains in Iran. Recent finds of large jars called qvevri, just south of Tbilisi in Georgia suggest that wine making is even older than originally thought. It seems that from the very beginning of wine making, importance was placed on the vintage, region and wine maker, as labeled jars of wine found in King Tutankhamun tomb noted the following information. “Year Four. Wine of very good quality of the House-of-Aton of the Western River. Chief vintner Khay.”

It is not clear if the ancient day mothers enjoyed the fruits of the vine, or if such delights were reserved for men only, but the wines of Groot Constantia are highly rated and a fine way to show your mother that she deserves the very best.

    

Food of the Gods

Chocolate has also been around for a long time, although it was initially popular as a beverage. The True History of Chocolate authored by Sophie and Michael Coe suggests that the earliest evidence of chocolate consumption comes from pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica around 3000 years ago. The Latin name for the cacao tree, Theobroma cacao, from which chocolate is derived, means “food of the gods.” It is easy to imagine that chocolate was discovered and enjoyed by the womenfolk back in the day, but no evidence supports this.

The Groot Constantia Chocolate and Wine Pairing is a collaboration between three masters, viticulturist Floricius Beukes, winemaker Boela Gerber and chocolate master Annelize Morkel.

To truly savour a tasting experience it is best to tune in to all five of your senses. 

Start by being aware of the cool smoothness of the glass. Hear the rustle of the paper as the first chocolate is opened. Anticipate the pleasure at the splash and gurgle of the wine being poured. Observe the colours, note the faint aromas and finally focus on the tastes and textures.

There are so many facets to this pairing. Grant Newton, past marketing manager of Groot Constantia says “People may be surprised to learn that chocolate has more aroma molecules than wine”

He describes the pairing so well.

“Imagine placing a piece of chocolate on your tongue, as it melts at the tip you begin to taste an intense flavour of Morello cherries. As the chocolate slide towards the back of your mouth, you discover cinnamon and spices.”

Take another small piece of chocolate and allow it to begin melting in your mouth. Then take a sip of the wine. As you swallow the chocolate and the wine think about how the flavours work together. Are they both equally sweet? Do the flavours of the wine and chocolate meet at the end, or do they stand apart? Is the combination better than the two separate parts?”

Tantalising details of the chocolates and wines.

Five special hand-crafted chocolates carefully matched with five of Groot Constantia’s wines.

White wine drinkers will really enjoy the Groot Constantia Blanc de Noir or Sauvignon Blanc paired with a tropical guava white chocolate, followed by the Groot Constantia Chardonnay paired with white lime and apricot chocolate.

Lovers of the red wines will appreciate the Groot Constantia Rood paired with cherry blossom chocolate, Pinotage paired with blackberry milk chocolate or the Shiraz paired with secret spices and vanilla chocolate. The final taste sensation is the Groot Constantia Gouverneurs Reserve Red paired with a dark Morello cherry chocolate.

Select your tasting venue on the Groot Constantia Estate.

This pairing is offered at three different venues on the Groot Constantia Estate, choose the one that will delight your mother the most.

The first venue is the tasting hall situated at the entrance to the estate. Long tables and benches, a few couches and comfy chairs and a small bar with high stools are the seating choices. Colour is added to this bright and cheerful venue by a collection of intriguing and bold art that adorns the walls. Branded items and a selection of Cape Town memorabilia as well as wine can be purchased here.

The second venue is the recently upgraded Cloete Cellar, located behind the old Homestead and museum building. Clean lines, white walls, blonde wood and glass are a stylish setting for the artifacts and panels that relate the history of Groot Constantia. Tasting are done at small high tables or at the long bar counter. A full visitors ticket must be purchased to experience the tasting in this venue.

Before entering the Cloete Cellar take a few moments to observe the work of the famous sculptor, Anton Anreith. Anreith came to the Cape of Good Hope in 1777 as a soldier in the service of the Dutch East-India Company.  Although he was trained as a sculptor, he was initially employed as a carpenter and his best-known piece is the magnificent pulpit in the Lutheran Church in Strand Street, Cape Town. After leaving the Dutch East India Company, Anreith and the architect Louis Michel Thibault were commissioned to upgrade the Cloete Cellar. Anreith, inspired by Greek mythology, created the pediment The Rape of Ganymede, the youth who was abducted by Zeus in the form of an eagle. The pediment depicts figures in front of a row of wine vats, joined to one another with vines and bunches of grapes. The childlike Ganymede is the focal point, seated on an eagle, pouring wine from a jar.

The third venue is inside the modern production cellar, found up a slight incline on the mountain side of the Cloete Cellar. As you enter, the glass doors offer a view of richly coloured wooden casks and large steel vats. A metal walkway affords views from above and is a fascinating part of the guided tour offered. The pairing is conducted inside the area where the wine barrels are stored, and visitors are seated in comfortable chairs at a table. This is at the very heart of the wine making process.

  • Visitors Route Experience Ticket + Chocolate Pairing – R145 per person:
    • 5 Selected wines with 5 handcrafted chocolates.
    • plus full Visitors Route Experience.
  • Only Chocolate and Wine Pairing – R125.00 per person
    • 5 Selected wines with 5 handcrafted chocolates.
  • Available daily from 09h00 to 16h00
  • No need to book.
Other attractions on the Groot Constantia Estate include a visit to the Museum, walks around the vineyards and lunch at Simons or the more formal Jonkershuis Restaurant. (Restaurant bookings are highly recommended)

Groot Constantia

Wine Club

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From our cellars Frederick the Great of Prussia, Louis Phillipe (King of the French) and Napoleon were supplied...
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Become part of a lineage of royalty and noble men who have savoured our wines for centuries.

By joining our exclusive Groot Constantia Wine Club you will enjoy the following exclusive benefits:

  • No initial sign up cost
  • Wine Club Members receive a standard 10% discount on Groot Constantia wines bought at the Groot Constantia Wine Estate and on our website www.grootconstantia.co.za
  • Be among the first to be informed of specials and new releases
  • Have the exclusive opportunity to pre-order new vintages
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