Why do many arts lovers make an association between live jazz as a musical idiom and food? Upmarket hotels and restaurants may advertise their ‘jazz brunch’ for a slow, mellow sonic Sunday mince and munch which is always paired, must be paired, with a particular grape cultivar. Or that fancy cocktail ‘special’ for romantic sundowners where cool jazzy drums show ocean view backdrops at the harbor. Is this snobbishness, maybe? Or just favourable intentions to swing the Happiness Index with sound and taste?
Cape wine Estates tend to do the latter during our Mediterranean-styled winter climate, using both indoor and outdoor settings to advantage as rains and chills come and go.
Some, like Delheim Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, offer cozy indoor plates on wooden tables surrounded by open-faced brick walls characteristic of a wine cellar. A complementary glass of Glühwein is offered at the entrance, and acoustic jazz is next on order, along with sizzling cheese fondue and maybe other chosen meal top-ups. And, of course, your order of award-winning Estate wine.
The music happens on Sunday afternoons, supported and curated by Luvuyo Kakaza of the Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA), and runs from June 23 to August 25. This otherwise quiet wine tasting cellar transforms into a bustling and sometimes boisterous vibe of eaters-cum-listeners as two live musical sets are performed.
Sunday, July 24, featured multi-instrumentalist and crooner Mark Fransman and his Trio of bassist Eugene Ackerman and drummer Paul Tizzard, all reputable session musicians in Cape Town. There’s no airs about this jazz wizard, a master at simultaneously (not digitally) producing instrumental sounds emanating firstly from the piano which sets the tune. Then that saxophone overlay, played with one hand while the other hand wrestles with piano chords. A brief respite and comment from the mouth harmonica which really needs two hands to bellow out that bluesy rendition of some funky gospel tune. All interspersed with vocals and lyrics that hum mournful messages in between breaths from harmonica and sax. Yes, it is breathtaking!
Hot iron pots of bubbling goat cheese are placed on the table along with pieces of dough bread and a generous allotment of fresh vegetables, bacon, and cold meats, all which get doused in the cheese fondue. “The jazz has certainly become as big a highlight, if not bigger, as the cheese fondues we traditionally serve as part of the event at this time of the year”, says the Estate’s marketing agent. See their lineup here: https://www.delheim.com/delheims-mini-jazz-fest-in-the-heart-of-the-winelands-returns/
Nestled in the Simonsberg Mountain, 50 km from Cape Town, the Sperling family-owned Delheim Estate boasts award-winning wines, including the Grand Reserve, and the popular Pinotage Rosé (the 1st of its kind to be produced in South Africa in 1976). The popular Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 is exclusively available from the estate, and pairs exquisitely with cheese and veggies.
The lineup to come provides rich and colourful musical ambiance, but events do become SOLD OUT early.
31 July: Bongani Sotshononda Quartet;
7 Aug: Sean Sanby Quartet;
14 Aug: Thandeka Dladla and trio;
21 Aug: Keegan Steenkamp; and,
28 Aug: Nobuhle Ashanti.
The Cape Town Music Academy (CTMA), started in 2016 as a registered non-profit company, envisions to create and facilitate performance, recording and skills development opportunities as well as international performing and educational exchanges for emerging and established musicians and related artists from communities in the Western Cape. Their supports have been vast, and include not only this wine estate, but other city venues, like the Alliance Francaise.
Reservations are at: https://bit.ly/delheimjazzfondue or tickets at www.quicket.co.za.
R450 per person will get you to the table and includes the complimentary Glühwein on arrival, the live entertainment, the cheese fondue-for-two including bread and vegetables, and a decadent dessert. All beverages and meal add-ons are not included, but the wine selection is handsome.
Bookings are per pot – serving parties of two of four.
You’re sure to have some great Winter fun in the Cape’s glorious wine country!