blaauwklippen-stellenbosch

Review: A Full Estate Experience at Beautiful Blaauwklippen, Stellenbosch

Founded in 1682, Blaauwklippen Vineyards is one of the most historic Stellenbosch wine estates. To me, it is also one of the most beautiful.

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This fine estate offers an incredibly well-rounded experience. Especially if you visit on Sundays for the Blaauwklippen Family Market! This is precisely what we did, enjoying a fun, satisfying estate experience from start to finish.

Aesthetic and Atmospheric Appeal Across the Board

The estate is hugely complemented by its impressive array of Cape Dutch buildings. Aside from the aesthetic appeal they hold, these are utilised to their full potential. Creatively housing everything from tasting experiences to opulent estate accommodation to stunning Stellenbosch weddings.

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Staff are extremely professional and the estate is gorgeous and well-maintained. In fact, since the estate’s 2018 revamp, it is one of the most creatively stylish wine estates you will find anywhere. The tasting room alone is a sight for sore eyes.

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And don’t even get me started on the incredible estate accommodation and all-glass events’ venue, The Cathedral.

A Full Estate Experience at Beautiful Blaauwklippen

Blaauwklippen Vineyards is also one of the most family-friendly wine estates in Stellenbosch – and beyond. It offers plenty to keep young and old entertained.

What’s more, it has a laid-back feel to it… A homeliness, enhanced by resident farm animals and a gentler pace of life. Nothing feels rushed or hurried here, not the wine tasting experience, nor the market.

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The market also boasts the most incredible jumping castles and play areas for kids. (And naturally, the ponies, chickens and boisterous goats are a major drawcard too!)

The Basics Done Right at Blaauwklippen Vineyards

Blaauwklippen does the basics right – and it is easy to pass hours at a time here. We arrived early on the Sunday morning and left a few good hours later. Exploring every inch of the estate, from the market to the lovely bistro-meets-tasting room.

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But before I get too carried away with the details… it’s time that I reveal the main reason for our visit: a unique winter wine experience.

I have tried so many different wine pairings. Everything from the classic cheese platter to macaroons to chocolate. And you think you have done them all until bunny chows and wine enter the scene! And that is precisely what Blaauwklippen is offering daily until 31 August 2019. ūüôā

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A Delectable Blaauwklippen Pairing: Bunny Chows and Wine

What could be a more traditionally hearty, uniquely South African wine pairing than bunny chows and great Cape wine? I doubt there is one… and if there is, I bet it doesn’t taste this good!

Having been born in Durban, I think I have a craving for hot foods in my veins by default. The fact that my dad has always cooked mean curries – an art I eventually took on with pride – makes me all too familiar with what makes a good curry.

Cape curries usually don’t cut it – no offence – but these Blaauwklippen curries definitely hit the correct heat-to-flavour ratio! Forget just having it in miniature bunny chows – I could eat a whole plateful of their curries!

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Aside from the taste – which is definitely a 10/10 for each bunny chow, no question – presentation and plating are beautiful too. I love the different touches that each of our three bunny chows possessed. And also, how they were so perfectly paired with their respective Blaauwklippen wines.

For the bunny chow and wine pairing, you get three wines with three bunnies. Each pairing is ideally suited to enhance and strengthen the flavours of both the food and wine.

I adore how each bunny chow comes with its own little lid for dunking; it’s so cute! You can eat with your hands (messy but fun) or with your knife and fork – there is no judgment here.

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Flavourful Bunny Chows and Wine: a Match Made in Food Heaven

The pairing options for the Blaauwklippen bunny chow and wine tasting (well-priced at R175 per person) are as follows:

  • Butter Chicken and Asparagus in a Herb Bunny Chow, paired with Blaauwklippen Sauvignon Blanc 2018:

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This first pairing combines the creamy textures of the herb bunny, with its rich butter chicken filling, and a truly great Sauvignon Blanc. It is a beautiful, fruity wine, which is very easy drinking… Definitely the kind of wine you might finish in one sitting.

As for the herb bunny and butter chicken curry filling, it was an excellent bunny, with a perfect curry filling. It had the perfect heat level (without being too hot). Also, texture-wise, the first bunny chow was a bit like a vetkoek.

Having a sip of the wine alone, you will savour a soft, crisp flavour – but after the bunny, the wine has a stronger, fuller taste.

For me, this was the best bunny chow pairing of the two savoury options – and a really great food-and-wine combo! I don’t normally adhere to traditional wine pairing rules – but let’s face it, curry and white wine together are hard to beat! I loved both the wine and bunny chow from this first pairing.

  • Springbok Curry and Basil Tomato Salsa in an Olive and Rosemary Bunny Chow, paired with¬†Blaauwklippen Shiraz 2017:

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Next up, was the Shiraz and Springbok curry bunny chow… I was eager to try this because I have never had springbok curry and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Cooked to perfection, this curry tastes like a really good beef curry (if I can compare it to anything) and is seriously nice. The bunny chow itself meanwhile, included real olives inside and was baked in a lovely, soft fragrant bread; bread-wise, more like a traditional bunny chow.

As for the wine, I really loved this Shiraz – for me, it was a softer, less spicy one than some. After the bunny though, the flavour became far spicier so I did prefer the wine on its own before the tasting.

Having said that, the two go very well together nonetheless.

  • Blaauwklippen Before & After Ap√©ritif with Eatenmess in a Choc-chip Bunny Chow:

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Leaving the best till last… you have your dessert pairing. This Before & After ap√©ritif is positively divine – and oddly, reminded me so much of muscadel that I couldn’t get enough of it. (I had a bit left over for my pairing thankfully but it was a close call!) It also is beautifully bottled, making for a gorgeous gift.

As for the bunny, if you can imagine brandied berries (cooked to perfection, yet again), the perfect choc-chip ratio and whipped cream wrapped up into one delicious bunny chow (which was a bit like a scone, taste-wise but better), then that is how it tastes. It is so, so good… and the pairing combo is certainly one of the finest sweet options I have tried to date.

Keep Calm and Curry On: How It Rated Overall

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Overall, the bunny chow and wine pairing is one of the most uniquely, entirely masterful pairings I have ever had the pleasure of consuming.

One thing that really stood out to me about this pairing is the value for money you get out of it… It is seriously filling and satisfying, despite the bunny chows being miniature ones.

Another huge benefit to this pairing is you get enough wine to savour the estate’s offerings, without becoming the least bit tipsy. In a country that is reckless about our drinking and driving, I cannot stress the significance of this enough. So a huge hats-off to Blaauwklippen for getting this right!

Our wine host was also excellent; she was knowledgeable and fun, while maintaining the perfect level of unobtrusive professionalism. She explained each pairing to us, then left us to enjoy them – instead of hovering over us, which sometimes happens during wine tastings.

For me, the Blaauwklippen Vineyards Bunny Chow and Wine Pairing (priced at R175 p/p) deserves an effortless 10/10 rating. I cannot fault any aspect of it and my partner said that for him, it is the best pairing we’ve ever had.

Honestly, it combines taste, flavour, value-for-money and great wine perfectly. This is certainly the ultimate winter warmer!

If you would like to savour this mouthwatering food-and-wine pairing, there is still time. But hurry and book because this pairing has become extremely popular (rightly so) in a short space of time, since the estate introduced it in early July 2019.

Note: Bookings are essential for the bunny chow and wine pairing. To book, please call: +27 (021) 880 0133.

More on the Tasting Room Experience at Blaauwklippen

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Aside from the delectable bunny chow and wine pairing, Blaauwklippen also offers their equally popular chocolate-, macaroon- and five-wine-pairings. These are also well-priced and sound just as appealing!

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But back to the tasting room… This is one of the most beautiful, interesting tasting rooms I have visited. With its wicker and wooden touches, olive green walls, cosy fireplace, abstract statue-style pots, green foliage and quirky wicker basket lighting, it oozes style. It is simple, yet oh-so-classy and Afro-esque.

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The bistro outside also looks lovely and it’s nice that the two are literally a few steps apart. Beyond the bistro, a short walk away, you will find the farm animals and Sunday market.

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For bookings and tasting room enquiries, please contact: +27 (021) 880 0133 or see here for more information on the Tasting Room. 

Events, Accommodation and More at Blaauwklippen Vineyards, Stellenbosch

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The Sunday family market, which offers an array of varied stalls (everything from cool antique goods to home improvements to the widest range of foodie eats imaginable) and wonderful bench seating, positively buzzes from lunchtime onwards. It has a good vibe to it and certainly adds a fun note to the whole estate experience.

Besides the market, you can also explore the green lawn spaces and lovely gardens, which are permanently canopied by impressive oaks, with many bouncy tailed squirrels to be seen.

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But perhaps the most impressive aspect of the estate’s exterior is the new, all-glass events’ venue, The Cathedral. This custom-designed structure stands amid a quiet field, where wild oats and reeds dance in the wind, and enjoys the impressive Stellenbosch mountains as its backdrop. In the foreground, the estate’s Cape Dutch buildings and garden spaces add a touch of unmistakable Cape charm and beauty.

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As for the estate’s accommodation (which is primarily used for wedding accommodation and privately rented villas at this time, although there are exciting plans for the future), it is positively mind-blowing. The beautifully restored Blaauwklippen Manor House and nearby Jonkershuis, with their Cape Dutch charm and vintage-meets-modern furnishings and touches, are exquisite.

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Not only do they enjoy the most incredible views – overlooking either the gardens and lawns or the mountains and The Cathedral – but inside, they are stunning; there is no other word for it.

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With incredible, vast beds, wall-to-wall walk-in showers or stylish copper baths, intricate chandeliers, plush vintage furniture and the most beautiful floral murals I have ever seen, the interiors are the last word in sumptuous, opulent wine estate accommodation.

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The accommodation, market and events’ facilities are just more reasons why Blaauwklippen is the full estate experience, from beginning to end.

In Closing

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Blaauwklippen Vineyards is a truly beautiful and special Stellenbosch estate. It makes a gentle but firm impression on you… So if you haven’t visited (recently), it is definitely time to!

Thank you very much to Blaauwklippen Vineyards for hosting me for this incredible wine pairing experience… We loved every minute of it!

I would like to extend special thanks to Johan van Dyk and Lauren and the Tasting Room team for their all-round excellent correspondence and professionalism. 

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For more information on Blaauwklippen Vineyards and its estate offerings, please contact: +27 (021) 880 0133.

You can also visit their website or find them for yourself at Blaauwklippen Vineyards, Strand Road, R44, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.

Blaauwklippen Vineyards is also on all leading social media platforms. You can connect with and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Author: Tamlyn Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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