A Little Bit of Heaven on Earth at Creation Wines
“If food is the body of good living, wine is its soul”
– Clifton Fadiman
Having visited on two previous occasions as a member of the Travelling Media team – the first being during the 2015 Fynarts Festival, and the second for the 2016 Cape Whale Coast Mini Indaba, the memory of Creation Wines has been etched into my wine-loving, foodie soul. With an opportunity to visit again, while planning a quick birthday/winter/school holiday mini-getaway, a roadtrip to Hermanus was without question a good idea. If there is one place worth driving 130km to enjoy, this is it. It was so good to be back to enjoy a quiet afternoon relaxing with my son and to soak up the Creation experience at our leisure this time, without the hustle and bustle of a group media visit for a different perspective. Having experienced both vibes, I can honestly say this is an estate that can be enjoyed for an intimate winter breakaway, as well as for a fun and fabulous escape with a fun-loving group of friends.
Food and Wine Pairing
Before I go any further, can I say two words: Cauliflower Soup. You’re welcome (I know you will thank me later). If there is one dish to try, whether you are vegetarian, banting, or other – this is it! I’ve enjoyed it on all three visits, and will be back for more. After the first visit I went as far as getting the recipe and making it at home but it was never the same!
With that hint behind me, as I reminisce on this most recent visit, it’s only fair that I warn you that what I’m about to share is likely to cause serious cravings for delectable food and heavenly wines, and may induce the desire for a roadtrip to the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. On arrival we received the warmest greeting from an exceptional team who looked after us from the moment we stepped through the door. A crackling fire and a spectacular view set the scene of the tasting room, and a welcoming drink was readily served as we made ourselves comfortable at our table.
Pairing choices include a 6-course artisinal story of Creation, a 10am brunch pairing, small plate pairings, and cheese-, charcuterie- or vegan pairings. For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate or gelato pairings add to an already extensive choice, and as their menu says “in the spirit of innovation and inclusivity” there is something for everyone with a non-alcoholic pairing of tea and canapés. With so much choice, I asked for some guidance, being vegetarian, and my host for the day got it completely right with her suggestions from the small plate pairings.
I enjoy red wines, so she recommended the cauliflower soup (no convincing needed there) as a starter, followed by a brinjal dish. She suggested that the chef could make up a third vegetarian dish, but knowing that I don’t have a really large appetite, I said I’d wait until afterwards to see if I could manage a third (spoiler alert – I couldn’t! Don’t let the words ‘small plate’ make you doubt serving sizes being able to satisfy). While anticipating the soup, a delightfully presented bread basket arrived. Pinot noir bread rolls and – take a moment to grasp this – breadsticks made with activated charcoal, cranberries, pumpkin seeds and fennel. There are now TWO food items I would drive 130km to enjoy. These were served with a goats milk cream cheese topped with chives and pinot noir salt, beetroot cream cheese and herbed butter.
My cauliflower soup arrived, as beautifully presented as the bread basket. Served with gorgonzola, blueberries, walnut, thyme oil and rye croute, it was perfectly paired with their 2015 Reserve Merlot. Next was the brinjal dish, served with dukkah, red pepper puree, black olive, hazelnut and basil salsa, oreganum, gruyere, ciabatta and sumac and again, paired wonderfully with Creation’s 2016 Syrah Grenache. I needed a little encouragement after this sensory exploration to round off my meal with dessert, so we shared a scoop of vanilla gelato.
Kids will be tickled pink with their very own pairing experience. An absolute novelty for Damian – he was delighted when his food and drink combination arrived at the table. Two juices paired with servings of Greek yoghurt, fruit (gooseberries, raspberries and pineapple), granola bars and chicken strips; and a glass of milk with chocolate and strawberry flavoured straws, paired with popcorn seasoned with pinot noir salt. A nutritious and balanced meal disguised as an adventure that no child can resist!
A Place Where Friends Meet
Just as we were finishing off our meal, two fellow travel bloggers arrived who we had brushed shoulders with at a number of travel related events but never officially met. It’s become quite a thing to meet people in the industry, and after a few how-do-you-do’s and establishing their social media aliases, realise that we actually “know” each other in the virtual space. How wonderful that three wine and food lovers from Cape Town would meet on the whale coast over wine and a latte that rounded off my visit.
Driving in, disabled parking is clearly signposted with the bay positioned at the paved entrance, with accessible bathroom facilities conveniently located alongside. The pathway is easy to navigate, and the entrance wide enough and without steps or obstacles. There is enough space inside the tasting room to manoeuvre and another accessible bathroom inside, that features grab rails, a changing table for babies and toddlers, and an accessible height basin with lever taps. Overall, this wine estate is wheelchair accessible throughout.