Swartland shifts its centre of gravity

Propaganda is one of the most useful tools of a worker revolution and in this the Swartland is no different to the revs fomented by Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, Fidel Castro or Kim Jung Il, who recently left the meeting. Vladimir and Victoria have similar Scrabble scores and reading Mrs. Moore in The Telegraph on the weekend, we are re-educated that the Swartland “all started in the late Nineties when Charles Back, already the owner of an estate in Paarl, bought a small farm near Malmesbury, put in a winemaker called Eben Sadie, and began making wines under the Spice Route label.” Which simply rubs out big Danie Malan and a generation of wines from the Swartland and Riebeek co-operatives. Allesverloren indeed! Was Victoria’s secret presence at the Revolution yet another reason impoverished locals were rushed R1750 for the experience? No wonder so many of them slept in their cars.

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Spice Route

Well if Chas may not have started the Swartland Revolution, he is certainly writing the next chapter at Spice Route in Agter Paarl (above). The old De Leeuwenjacht estate begat Seidelberg begat Spice Route and now Philip Pretorius (below) is char-grilling rib eye on the bone, rare and well enough done to bring a tear to the eye of Sandton’s Mr. Meat Alan Pick, who must be ruing the day he never opened a restaurant with Chas in Simondium. For this is the best winelands restaurant for a casual carnivore, bar none. R190 for two and well matched with 2009 flagship Syrah or 2009 Pinotage. The photo of the dish at the bottom of this post, rests my case and meat for me. Phil arrived well basted, looking like he could be useful in a loose ruck at Pretoria Boys’ High.

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Philip Pretorius

The Czech glass blowing factory (commiserations on Vaclav Havel) next door offers an interesting obstacle course for children and parents well lubricated by the nine wines in the Spice Route larder. Three weeks ago one child smashed R8,500 worth of glass art – a true tragedy, but it could have been worse as the damages were discounted 50%.

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Ribeye on the bone with marrow bones