If there’s one thing in this world I love as much as hiking (and general being outside-ness), it is food. Just, all the food. I was such a fussy eater when I was a kiddo (one of those that picked each individual cube of onion out of bolognese sauce, refused to eat anything vaguely green except the odd slice of cucumber and lived off of macaroni cheese, mini pizza, chicken and potatoes). That’s not to say I didn’t like to eat, I just had a palate for the plain and simple. But, now I LOVE to eat all different kinds of things and to try new dishes and unfamiliar cuisines (although, much to the chagrin of my Durban friends, it’s still a “No” from me when it comes to hot spices), experiment with different combinations and even cooking (meals besides toast). Sushi, Chinese dumplings, vibrant salads (especially with fruit and nuts), yoghurt and granola, oats with creative toppings, gourmet burgers with mustard and mushroom sauce and rocket, avo on toast, carrot cake and even an actual piece of onion all on its own – all of these I now gladly eat.
These days, though, cheese and meat boards (or charcuterie boards if you wanna be fancy like that…the kind you’d find at a winery, paired with the perfect glass of vino) in particular get me really excited about life. Not only are they usually visually appealing (on a slow day I have about two whole seconds to snap a sneaky little photo before everyone gets stuck in), but they’re also laden with some of my favourite things – all those varieties of cheeses and meats and fruits and preserves all waiting to be layered in heavenly flavour combinations on a piece of fresh, soft and still-slightly-warm ciabatta bread. It’s an especially grand affair when it comes with an amazing view of a lake and vineyards, and is presented with such warmth and friendliness as at Kay & Monty Vineyards.
I headed to Kay & Monty last Sunday with the fam for a Father’s Day treat, while we were in Plettenberg Bay over the long weekend (I should basically just rename this blog “Emma goes to Plett almost every weekend and loves it ladida blah blah the end”). Anyway. It really was a treat. And then some.
Kay + Monty Vineyards forms part of Plett’s wine route, which is the smallest wine-producing region in South Africa. It’s just a 57km coastal stretch from Harkerville to the Crags, that has grown since 2001 (when the first vines were planted by Caroline and Peter Thorpe of Bramon Wine Estate) to include about 16 different wine farms. The fledgeling region has already produced some award-winning products and is now recognised the world over as the country’s newest Wine of Origin region (which means that the wine produced here uses grapes grown solely along the Plett wine route).
Like most wine farms here, Kay + Monty prides itself on its boutique and artisan status. To an eye as untrained (and overeager…I’m ready to go live on a farm…like, yesterday) as mine, their beautiful green land, topped by rows of paddock fencing, appears to stretch on for miles of loveliness. But, this loveliness includes just 5 hectares of vineyards, which were only planted in 2004 and their first wines were produced in 2012. A year later, though, Kay + Monty wines were already raking in the awards. The best bit is that these wines are still produced in small batches. This allows for unique flavours and the passion of the winemakers to shine through, resulting in an extra special experience – a more personal one, if you will.
We ordered their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc and sat on the outside deck sipping our glasses of “Sav” (as I like to call it), while looking over the lake and surrounding fields, and being warmed ever so slightly by the winter sun. Side note: I love going to visit wine farms when it’s supposedly “out of season” (as in, during winter). It’s quieter, I love the autumnal colours of the surrounding trees and vineyards and, while the air may be crisp and chilly, there’s nothing a cozy crackling little fire can’t fix. Anyhoo.
Since it was father’s day, the food ordering reigns were handed over to the ol’ dad and he did not disappoint with his choice of dishes to share (because when you do it like this, you can have a little bit of EVERYTHING). I just about dropped my glass of vino (horrors) as I watched our waitress approach our table and lay down wooden board upon wooden board in front of us. There was a calamari platter with bursts of pickled ginger; a strawberry and goats cheese salad topped with a sweet and spicy dukha, as well as a salad of grilled peaches and prosciutto, which both tasted as vibrant as they looked; there was a collection of dips in a rainbow of colours and still-warm slices of ciabatta and little breads cooked in pots. Then, of course, there was the charcuterie board of dreams – one laden with cured meats and salami and biltong croquettes (YUM) and brie and blue cheese and preserves and just all the delicious things. All poeticism aside, it was just SO BRILLIANT. And paired so nicely with the wine. We ordered way too much (pretty sure the other diners were giving us some side eye) and ate all of it. And then ordered dessert, too. Like I noted earlier – it was such a treat, and then some.
Kay + Monty uses only home grown and locally sourced ingredients (including those plucked straight from their vegetable garden) and it shows. All the dishes came bursting with flavour and freshness, and a load of love. This passion carried through to the service, even though we visited out of season. There was that special kind of warm, unpretentious, laid-back, salt-of-the-earth vibe, the one that I associate with Plett and love so much about it. It was the perfect way to celebrate my lovely dad and everything he does for us.
I’ll definitely be back for more soon.
Until next time. xx
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