Africa, Food, Travel

Spier Wine Wonderland

Winter is a time to cosy up in new warm spaces, discover restaurants that offer the best soups, trying everything new that brings warmth and laughter in cups and bowls. For me, winter happens to be my favourite season and with it comes endless wine tastings from of my now favourite wine farms- Spier Wine Farm. This past weekend I was invited to visit their farm for a winter wine tasting and to also try out their new wine range which will be hitting stores in July. 

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Right in the heart of Stellenbosch, there sits a Wine Farm with hearts and smiles ready to welcome anyone and everyone who visits with the hope of leaving with great winter memories and stories to tell. As gloomy as Cape Town looked outside, I was ready to be treated to a full day of wine tasting, landscape splendor and spoils by the globally acclaimed wine brand.

Spier Wine Farm is based in Stellenbosch, Western Cape South Africa- for me only 29 minutes drive from my apartment. Spier prides itself with offering a selection of wines which its history dates back to 300 years ago. It is not just a wine farm but also offers luxury accommodation and conference facilities- talk about a brand that has it’s hospitality together. Besides the farm being environmentally friendly, they have recently added a wine range to their selections of wines and I am living for it and this is why I was exclusively selected to be one of the first few people to taste it.


About the tasting:

As part of their winter tasting and beyond that, Spier Wine Farm have released a wine range called Seaward – “a wine inspired by the cape’s coastal terroir”

Seaward wines are truly differentiated by their terroir, both within South Africa and globally. The Cape is one of the few wine growing regions in the world where two different ocean currents converge. Moreover, its coastal vineyards are distinct from those located inland, because the surrounding mountain ranges act as a natural barrier to those very cooling sea breezes that give ocean-facing grapes their unique character – a character that reflects resolutely in Spier’s new Seaward Chardonnay and Shiraz.- Spier Wine Farm

Upon arrival, we were welcomed by warm weather and green landscape and for me, it opened an endless array of smiles and magnificent hospitality! The winter tasting comprised of the following wines and pairings:

  • Spier Creative Block 2 paired with some cauliflower and smoked cheese soup to go with it.
  • Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon– I can still taste the crisp white blend!
  • Surprisingly one of my favourite from the new range, the lightly-wooded Spier Seaward Chardonnay paired with a carrot soup topped with goats cheese and cashew dukkah.
  • The love of my life- the richly suave Spier Seaward Shiraz paired with a spicy roast tomato and basil soup which reminded me of my grandmother’s tomato gravy.
  • finally, the wonderfully and sweet warming Spier Cape Vintage Selection.
Did you know: You can use simple home baked bread to cleanse your wine pallet?!

My favourites from the entire winter wine tasting have to be the Spier Seaward Shiraz, Chardonnay and the Creative Block 2. The chardonnay is best for people who are still new in their wine discovery journey as it is light and soft on the taste while Creative Block 2 is rich and offers this berry aroma that compliments the spicy taste when paired with the carrot soup. As for the Shiraz, I am a lover and a fan and it is refreshing that Spier got this right.

Spier Winter Tasting_Apr 2019_01

This brand offers a mellow tasting Shiraz with the flavour heightened the moment you taste their spicy roast tomato basil soup which for me is the most perfect pairing of all time as the chili in the soup releases the spice in the wines and it just hits the throat in the most subtle and perfect way (YES, I said “perfect”).

Please be advised that the tasting is VEGAN FRIENDLY and kids can also enjoy a day of tasting house juices while the adult enjoy spicy drinks.


About the Seaward range:

The Spier Seaward Chardonnay 2018: Made with grapes sourced from the Tygerberg Hills, this lightly-wooded wine has aromas of ruby grapefruit, mango, citrus with undertones of raw almonds. The creamy palate offers fresh citrus and nectarine notes with well-integrated vanilla on the finish.

The Spier Seaward Shiraz 2017: High-quality Shiraz grapes were selected from Darling, Durbanville and the southern side of Stellenbosch for this wine. Having matured for 14 months in a mixture of first, second and third fill oak barrels, the Shiraz has beautifully layered aromas of mulberry, violets and plum supported by infused allspice. The palate has richness with good length and smooth tannins.

Spier Wine Farm wine tastings range R40 pp to R120 pp depending on your add-ons and pairings. Source: Spier Wine Farm



The Extras and Overall Experience:

As people like to force me to believe that I am “lucky”, the Spier Wine Stating was also accompanied by a winter Chef’s platter menu at Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery carefully selected by Chef PJ Vadas. This platter offers 8 dishes and thanks to my favourite season, the restaurant is slicing the platter price to only R200 pp. This price includes some of my personal favourites from the platter: a Kansas-city pulled pork; beets with feta, naartjie, dukkha and elderflower, smoked brisket and BBQ sauce among others. Please be advised that this winter menu is only available until August 2019.

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I will definitely be visiting Spier Wine Farm again because of their hospitality. With regards to their wine tasting, I am glad their Seaward Shiraz is different to all the wines I have tasted and better compared to wines from other farms that I have visited because of its smooth taste and aroma that does not fill your nose before you even taste it.

Now I know there is no such thing as a perfect review, and most of the time I will have a critique or two about where I visit or what I use as a measure of improvement for brands- however, after visiting Spier Wine Farm, I truly have no negative points whatsoever! Spier didn’t just meet my expectations, they exceeded them! From making sure our table was ready on arrival, our consultant was all smiles throughout, plus she allowed time for questions and palette cleansing and this for me is a total plus!


Please enjoy a video below of my first experience at the beautiful Spier Wine Tasting.

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5 best affordable things to do on Valentine’s Day

I know I am not the only one who dreads Valentine’s Day and that is for many reasons which one of them is that it falls in the middle of the months and usually involves spending loads sh*t of money. Lucky for you, you don’t have to go around searching for things to do and asking you girlfriends or trying to find out what your girlfriend wants as a token of appreciation.

Lucky for me (lol) I get to spend V’Day alone, not by choice though but because I am in a long distance relationship plus I am moving house so we know we can’t be spending a lot when we have a mission at hand. This however does not mean I cannot share a few fun things you can do alone or with loved ones on this very “special” day. Here are the best top 5 things I recommend you do on 14 February:

  1. Visit any Botanical Gardens in your area for a picnic: I am not a fan of journeying to the park but by the time I sit down, I am already enthusiastic about the idea of just sitting and being unbothered about everything because it is always just so quiet. A picnic with someone you cherish should also feel the same. I remember
  2. Hiking: Anything for a day in the “wild” is what I would sign up for any day. Not only you get to hike with someone or people you love (maybe alone), when you get to the top, there is a feeling of fulfillment and it comes with any type of hike.
  3. Movie and beer at home with a projector: What do you need the tv for if you can just use a projector for some big screen action right in the comfort of your own house. All you need is a projector, a laptop and a clear wall and you have yourself a movie marathon.
  4. Host a game night: You are never too old to have a scavenger hunt or just a good old charades or 30 seconds. This is great because you will be having fun and at the same time learn about each other’s qualities. I know my boyfriend is competitive and a sore loser, myself on the other hand can win and lose without pressure.
  5. Cook together: A meal for two is the cheapest way to reminisce about how you met and the funny stories that were so bad then but all jokes now. Some couples even go for a cooking competition where they time themselves and they create a romantic meal from a cooking show and rate each other with a side of good wine.

There is clearly no excuse to not love Valentine’s Day. There is also no reason to hate it. I feel like people who hate Valentine’s Day are just sour that they are not as creative about self as they think they are. The fact that you bought yourself wine and sat alone does not mean you hate it, it just means you love your own company so when you go out there to the world, please try appreciating that you had the chance to celebrate it, don’t make others feel bad for having done something special for their loved ones. If you feel like you need to do something for yourself, how about writing a love letter to yourself or a spa day- there are so many deals online that will cost you so much less compared to a full on Mangwanani spa day.

Europe, Travel

Paris, France

A day in Paris, France:

If someone told the twenty-years old me that I would someday find myself in Paris, I would have laughed them to shame. This year however, I did find myself in France and my oh my, it is absolutely everything they say it is and more. Well kind of!

My partner and I are in a long-distance relationship and with that comes traveling to each other’s countries. This year instead of me going to see him, we planned to a cross country road trip to Paris. In my head, I always imaged Paris as this expensive and inaccessible city where you must spend thousands of Rands to make the trip work. Here is how you can spend a day in Paris and spend less and still get to visit ALL the sites:

Paris is designed in a way that all the tourist and historical sites are in a semi-circular way when using the metro. We stayed in a hotel 35 minutes outside of the city center called Hotel Tilde , a cozy hotel that is close to the best bakery ever! (side note: my life will never be same after those croissants. It’s unfortunate I don’t remember the name). The best thing about this hotel and Paris is that there are Metro stations EVERYWHERE!

Where to go:

paris tour map

As seen in the map above, we visited five sites which we visited smaller and “in-between detour” sites while heading to the rest. This can be done from 9 am to ensure you have all the time to enjoy each place you visit. We visited:

  • Sacre-Coeur: The Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in Paris, France.
  • Arc de Triomphe: Is one of the most famous monuments in Paris, standing at the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle, formerly named Place de l’Étoile — the étoile or “star” of the juncture formed by its twelve radiating avenues
  • Eiffel Tower: Is a wrought-iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It is named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower
  • Notre Dame de Paris: Meaning ‘Our lady of Paris’ is a medieval Catholic cathedral on the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris. The cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture
  • Louvre which is the largest art museum in the world!
  • Champs-Elysees which is the longest avenue in France filled with restaurants and luxury shops.

There is so much to visit which we could not because of the service protests are currently happening.

Getting there:

As mentioned, there are Metros everywhere and it is so easy navigating the city with google maps. Google maps gives you detailed routes to all the places including which metros to take- either buses or “trains”. In Europe, the train we use on a daily is what they use for long distance travel and they call their daily trains “metros” and “trams”.

The best thing to do is buy a minimum of 20 metro tickets for € 14,90. You are given 1h40 minutes to use one ticket however you want between stations for all metros within the city- great right! I mean who has money for parking because it costs €15 a day out of the city, imagine how much it is within the city.

Things to look out for and more:

Paris is not really a clean city so don’t be shocked when you get there and get shook by the sites. It is not entirely dirty, but it is not as clean compared to the Netherlands or other European countries and the issue might be the huge number of tourists coming in and out of the city, so I am hoping there will be some sort waste management system going on around the country.

The city is insanely beautiful! The only mistake I made was wearing heels throughout the entire trip and I had a bad case of sore feet.

Eating out can be nice but Europeans love discounts so always ask around for restaurants that have specials and nice food. I always eat anything and everything on holiday because I do not have time to watch my weight or eat clean.

P.S: You can add more stops to your map as you go along. Also, something you do NOT want to miss, Paris by night is a sight for the gods especially the Eiffel Tower.

Here are some of Auguste Rodin’s work from Musee Rodin which is a must visit! 

Enjoy Paris if your next stop is there! I do however wished we went into the Louvre and Versailles.

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