Chardonnay Deli opens in Constantia

A new farmstall-style deli has opened its doors in the heart of Constantia.

With its charcoal painted walls, upcycled wooden shop counters and rustic baskets bursting with fresh produce, Chardonnay Deli is a new fixture in the heart of one of Cape Town’s most loved areas. Situated in an historic, renovated building that’s been given a new lease on life care of famed decorator Salome Gunter, Chardonnay Deli is a marriage of rustic style and foodie substance, thanks to the vision of owner Charmaine Lilje.

A self-taught chef with a business degree, Charmaine is the owner of successful catering company Chardonnay Chefs. After graduating, a visit to Ireland reignited a burgeoning passion for food and a determination to make it her career. On her return to Cape Town she worked under the likes of Olympia Café’s Kenneth McClarty and award winning food greats Franck Dangereaux and Luke Dale-Roberts at La Colombe, and in 2009 Charmaine started her catering business. Chardonnay Deli is the next step for her. Here, the catering arm of the business will have its HQ, while customers can sit at café tables under the old oak trees, contemplating life over a cup of coffee and a slice of just-baked cake or a light lunch such as a confit duck salad topped with organic sprouts.

Everything at Chardonnay Deli comes with an impressive pedigree – be it the charcuterie produced by local legend Richard Bosman, cheeses sourced from the best dairies in South Africa, a wide range of gluten-free goodies to go, coffee by TRUTH, locally sourced fruit and vegetables and free range chicken sourced from Veld, a company devoted to happy, healthy hens. There are jewel coloured displays of organic fruit and vegetables and an order-a-box scheme runs from the deli. There is a daily blackboard menu for breakfast and lunch and customers will find there’s a strong emphasis on wholesome food with a healthy slant, “it’s the way my husband Donovan and I love to cook and eat” says Charmaine who is passionate about providence and seasonal ingredients. Despite the serious attention paid to quality at Chardonnay Deli, Charmaine is adamant that this deli and dining destination is all about the food, “we want people to come as they are and enjoy what it is we like to do and that’s feed people fresh, fabulous and inspired food, she says.

For people wanting to enjoy Chardonnay Deli’s mouthwatering food at their next party or simply dinner at home without the fuss – the outside catering menu offers plenty of solutions and an extra service of deliveries in the area will be added in the future. As with any true farmstall, the homemade rustic delights beckon at every turn. From their own-label preserves and jams to a cake display groaning with the likes of orange and poppyseed cheesecake and a suitably moist carrot, courgette and coconut cake topped with quarky icing and shards of toasted coconut.

One of the most impressive aspects of Chardonnay Deli is the bakery. Here, economist-turned-baker Malik Mosia makes magic with his artisan loaves including a 50% sourdough rye, a multigrain seed loaf and his trademark gourmet ciabattas, studded with everything from rosemary to olives. Like a winemaker blends his wines, so Malik experiments with various flour blends to create new and interesting bread varieties and the results are outstanding.

Chardonnay Deli opened its doors in late December 2014 and is a work in progress says Charmaine. But so far so good. Customers can be seen filling their baskets with mouthwatering deli products to go, ordering breakfast and lunch off the chalkboard menu, walking off with still-warm old-school style cakes and sitting with Charmaine planning their next dinner party. If the early days are anything to go by, the future for Chardonnay Deli certainly looks delicious!

Chardonnay Deli is located at 87 Constantia Main Rd, Constantia and serves meals daily from 07h30 – 16h00 that focus on organic and hormone-free produce. Dinner Collection Menus will be available from mid-February where patrons can order before 10h00 and collect between 16h00 and 18h30.