Tag Archives: peacock

Chocolate Tasting at Moniki Chocolatier in Tulbagh (2016-12-10) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 03 JAN 2017

Chantelle and I found ourselves enjoying a mini break away from the kids back in December last year, escaping to the tiny, historic and laden with wine and olive producers town of Tulbagh for the weekend.

Tulbagh is of course known having many wine estates and historic buildings, but given that the town essentially consists of only two streets of commerce, touristy things to do that are not wine tasting are relatively hard to come by.

Enter Moniki Chocolatier, brainchild of Niki de Wolf, who moved down to Tulbagh from the Netherlands with partner Rijk von Kooij, purchasing the historic Schoonderzicht Farm (dating back to 1795) in the process.

Seeing as starting a guest house wasn’t really an option given their small children, Niki, a journalist and food writer, decided to try her hand at luxury chocolate making – one of the things that she missed from back home in Europe.

Thus Tulbagh’s very own chocolatier was born.

Having moved shop  few times already, Moniki now finds itself sharing an old restored house on the historic Church Street with the handcrafted curio and clothes shop Het Land van Waveren.

Obviously, Chantelle and I simply had to drop in and taste their fine chocolates, and while slightly disappointed with the size of the operation, we were thrilled with the absolutely decadent array of chocolates on offer – it is not often that you come across someone who incorporates things like wine and amarula in their chocolate making!

They offer a chocolate tasting experience which allows you to select a single type of drink and four different chocolates to go with it – which of course means that between the two of us we tasted 8 very good chocolates!

So although not really a serious travel attraction in itself, if you do however find yourself in Tulbagh and happen to enjoy good chocolate, then it certainly is worth popping in to Moniki Chocolatier while you are there.

Also, a handy map:

Related Link: TripAdvisor | Twitter

Food and Sculptures at Tokara Delicatessen in Stellenbosch (2016-09-17) Photo Gallery | Restaurants 29 DEC 2016

I used my weekends to visit a LOT of different places this year. One of the more visually interesting outings came about in September, when I took my three girls out for a light lunch at the Tokara Delicatessen, situated on the stunning Tokara Wine and Olive estate at the top of Helshoogte Pass outside Stellenbosch.

Tokara is itself a very upmarket estate, so it is pleasing that the team saw it fit to create a secondary, child friendly venue in the form of the excellent Tokara Delicatessen.

Given the farm’s elevated location, you are afforded stunning views of the surrounding mountains, down into the valley below, and all the way across False Bay for that matter. Both the vineyards and olive groves stretch as far as the eye can see, and picturesque is really the only word that fits the scene as you arrive in Tokara’s parking area.

Tokara is know for four things – its wines (made of grapes from three separate districts – Stellenbosch, Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde), its range of exquisite olive oils, it’s leading fine dining restaurant, and its extensive collection of art and sculptures.

It is this love of art and sculpture that first greets you as you exit the car, with a wide variety of modern sculpture dotted all around the grounds of the Delicatessen and neighbouring Olive Barn.

Peacocks roam freely and visitors enter the ground with an immediate sense of wonder and awe thanks to the beautiful and visually interesting surroundings.

There is a beautiful deck outside the simple but elegantly designed deli, great for warm sunny days, while the cosy interior with its walls of glass simultaneously makes for the perfect winter venue.

There is a large lawn for kids to run around and play on, with the garden itself also dotted with a host of very interesting sculptures to take in (and in some cases, play on!).

The deli’s food is of course much easier on the wallet than Tokara’s restaurant proper, but pleasingly the deli’s food is just as good, with us thoroughly enjoying what was set down before us on the day.

Naturally, Chantelle was in love with every single aspect of the place, whilst the girls were far more interested in running about outside than sitting inside with boring old mom and dad!

(Obviously I did a lot of strolling about as well, snapping loads of photos and ambling about the openly accessible vineyards and olive groves out back whenever the opportunity arose.)

With lunch done and Chantelle’s interior/product browsing curiosity now sated, the girls and I then trundled down Tokara’s sculpture path, an easy walk through the olive trees and then down the road to Tokara proper, with the route again being dotted all along with some interesting sculptures and pretty flowers to boot.

So in summary: Even if it is just a visit to the kid friendly, more accessible Tokara Delicatessen at Tokara, you can’t help coming away from that place feeling just that little more… sophisticated.

Highly recommended.

Here is a useful map if you wish to explore the exquisite world of Tokara yourself:

Related Link: Tokara Delicatessen | Tokara

Tian and Monica’s Wedding in Simondium (2016-04-23) Photo Gallery 06 MAY 2016

At this point pretty much all of our friends and family are married off, meaning that getting the opportunity to go to a wedding (which I enjoy) is becoming a pretty rare thing. Having already missed Retha and Miguel’s South African wedding in December thanks to my injury, I was definitely not going to turn down the opportunity of attending cousin Tian and Monica’s wedding – which in any case was already long overdue according to some family members!

IMG_20160423_164352 beautiful bride monica at simondium's country lodge

Tian and Monica settled on having their wedding at the Simondium Country Lodge in Simondium, situated on the R45 somewhere between Franschhoek and Paarl. (In other words, this afforded us quite a scenic drive to get there!)

The venue itself is leafy, rustic, peacock inhabited, and comes most important of all with a pretty cool card up its sleeve – this brilliant, artsy, ramshackle chapel that fitted the vintage theme of Monica’s  decor perfectly!

IMG_20160423_165225 interesting, ramshackle chapel at simondium's country lodge

The ceremony had everyone’s attention, the company (which for us included the priest and his wife as they were seated by our table) was great, and the food particularly delicious – I mean, oxtail, pork, stuffed chicken, you literally can’t go wrong!

The music had a distinctly 80s/vintage vibe to it, and it definitely had all the old folks finger and toe tapping along, and I have to say, it was great to finally get out on the dance floor and take Chantelle around for a few spins once more! (Amazingly, my knee held up and I only trod on her foot like once or twice max…)

IMG_20160423_211306 chantelle and craig lotter at tian and monica wedding at simondium's country lodge

It was a great wedding and an enjoyable evening out, so here’s to wishing the beautiful bride and her groom all the best for the future going forward together!

Oh, and I even managed to snap a pic of my photo elusive brother for a change:

IMG_20160423_165301 ryan lotter at tian and monica wedding at simondium's country lodge

(Ah, and in case you’re wondering where the girls are, they rather enjoyed their sleepover with Oupa and Ouma back in Bellville!)

Related Link: Simondium’s Country Lodge