Paarl Event Photography

A weekend in Paarl {Part 1}

The only Paarl Event Photography we have really covered in the past is wedding photography.  It was so refreshing to be able to be “tourists” for a weekend and document the images of a recent Paarl Media Educational trip.

A weekend in Paarl is such a great idea!  It’s close enough to Cape Town to be able to leave after work on a Friday afternoon, yet you feel as if you have left the big city life far behind.  We were recently invited to attend a Paarl Media Educational with a bunch of really cool people.  Although we pretty much only covered a 5km radius, we got to experience SO much!   It certainly has whetted the appetite to return and to explore more of this gorgeous area.  We’d love to grow our Paarl Event photography portfolio too!

The lovely ladies from Hatch Communication put together a fabulous itinerary for our weekend in Paarl.  We are especially grateful that they gave up precious family time to transport us to different locations and join us for some of the events.  We felt like VIP’s!

The drive out to Paarl is stunning.  Turning onto the Suid Agter Paarl Road you are immediately struck by the beauty of the area.  In the soft winter light even the bare vines seem to hold a special kind of charm.  Their starkness against the popping winter greenery was so striking.

The very beautiful Diamant Estate nestled at the foot of the Paarl Mountains kindly offered to accommodate us for the weekend.  As one takes the turning to the estate and you wind your way up the through the vineyards something catches your eye through the trees lining the driveway.  Then it comes into full view – the grand old manor house with its stately Cape Dutch Gable dating from the early 1800’s.

 

Some of the buildings on Diamant Estate span three centuries.  They have been lovingly restored and the estate now boasts a beautiful wedding venue as well as luxurious accommodation facilities.

Guests can be accommodated either in the manor house or in Pioneer House.  Pioneer house is adjacent to the manor house which would be perfect to host family, friends or bridal party members for a wedding function.

As wedding photographers, we are always on the lookout for beautiful venues for brides to dress before the wedding.  Diamant Estate Wedding & Function Venue will definitely be on our list of recommendations from now on.

The manor house is tastefully decorated with beautiful antique furniture.  The rooms are large and the bedding is plush.  The en-suite bathroom is a real treat.  The beautiful black and white checkered tiles, deep Victorian bath, huge shower, ‘his and her basins’ and the luxurious finishes are heavenly.  The underfloor heating was a real winner, especially as the weather outside was rather chilly.  The views across the valley from the front rooms and stoep are amazing.

 

After unpacking we were off on our first adventure for the day.  What a treat to go behind the scenes and visit the real stars of Fairview – the farm animals.  We got to meet some very inquisitive free range chickens as well as the famous Fairview Goats.   The first goats were introduced to Fairview in 1980 and the industry has since flourished, putting Fairview as a leader in the production of artisanal cheese.

 

Farm Manager Donald Mouton speaks lovingly of his goats.  Each one of them is hand reared and under his watchful eye they live a good life on Fairview Farm.  Donald explained the significance of the goat in the African culture.  He recited a heartfelt poem beautifully illustrating this.  For a moment I could swear one of the goats paused, leaning its chin over the railing to have a listen too.

 

We got to meet a rather unexpected farm character in the form of Kuku the resident ostrich.  A friendly sociable soul!  We loved the way she led the way to the cheese factory walking alongside her friend Donald with whom she obviously shares a very special bond.

 

The Fairview Cheesery employs around 40 full time employees.  It produces a range of both cow’s milk and goat’s milk artisanal cheeses.  Fairview Cheese has won numerous awards both locally and internationally.  The factory is operated according to very strict safety laws and health regulations.  For this reason we had to kit up in some very sexy outfits and walk through a mini dip before we could enter the factory.

 

Cheesemaker Louis Lourens explained the processes involved in the making of different cheese varieties.  Particularly interesting is the influence of temperature control on the culturing process.

And finally and answer to one of life’s little mysteries:  “How do the streaks get into blue cheese?”

The unique look of blue cheese is a result of a specific type of mould added during the cheese making process.  After mould cultures have been introduced, wheels of cheese are pierced by a device that pokes many holes in it to create tiny openings.  Air enters through these tiny holes, feeding the mould and encourages the development of blue veins.

 

The history of winemaking at Fairview dates as far back as 1699 when the first few barrels of wine were produced.  After passing hands to a number of owners, Fairview was eventually bought by the Back family in 1937.  Today Fairview is one of South Africa’s most innovative wineries and is a popular destination for both local and international visitors.

We were treated to a wonderful cheese and wine pairing in the Beryl Back Master Tasting room. This beautiful tasting room offers a more personal custom made tasting experience and is ideal for small groups.   We worked our way through a sequence of eight different cheeses, each one paired with a specific wine.  With each nibble and sip the explosion of flavours just got better and better!

In addition there was a lovely spread of breads, cold meats, pickles and salads.

As far as the wines go, for us, a clear winner was the Petite Sirah.  This robust wine has been matured in new French oak barrels for 20 months.   Favourite cheese?   Hmmmm…all of them, but if we had to choose, then the chevin black pepper and paprika comes out tops.  A real treat at the end of our tasting was a glass of the La Beryl dessert wine.  This was produced in honour of the current owner, Charles’ mother and is the first true straw wine to have been produced in South Africa.

 A cheese and wine pairing should definitely be on your list of things to do, especially during the chilly winter months.  Contact the tasting room for details and information.

After our wonderful cheese and wine pairing it was an honour to accompany winemaker Anthony de Jager into the Fairview wine cellar to get some insight into the wine making process.  There is nothing quite like tasting wine directly from the barrel.

Fairview wines are produced from grapes grown in different terroirs.  This has opened up the opportunity to produce a wider range of wines.  Grapes are sourced from vineyards at the home of Fairview as well as Swartland, Darling and Stellenbosch.  How lovely to be able to wonder amongst the giant tanks and barrels holding precious gifts from the vine.

 

After our tour of the wine cellar, there was time for a browse through the wonderfully stocked shop and deli and of course a quick group photo in the lovely garden.

On our return to Diamant Estate we had a little spare time to enjoy the wonderful scenery on the farm.  How beautiful the surroundings looked in the late afternoon light.  It was so exciting to spot the pair of owl nesting in the old oak tree, as well as an ibis in a rather untidy nest!  There was even time for an impromptu mini maternity shoot!

 

 

We had a dinner date at Boland Cellar with winemaker Johan Joubert and marketing manager Maraleze Knoetze in the cosy underground cellar.  We were welcomed with a glass of bubbly and a lovely spread of snacks.

Johan is probably one of the most passionate winemakers around.  He is such an individualist. To him winemaking is an art.  It’s about finding the perfect soil and climate and masterfully blending grapes to create something unique.  Johan is not afraid of experimenting and also credits the importance of the human element.  He speaks of the many accolades they have received and gets a special glint in his eye when speaking of the SA Young Wine Awards.  Their Chenin Blanc was awarded best for 2014.

One thing that we can say for sure is that we most certainly have a new appreciation for Chenin BlancWe also got a little insight into the impact soil types can have on the final product.

Boland Cellar has started hosting regular evening dinner events in the underground cellar.  How fortunate we were to experience one of these.  Seated at a long festive communal table we were served hands down the most delicious oxtail we have ever eaten along with some other delicious South African favourites.  With the fire roaring in the background, our glasses filled and our tummies warm and content, we were one happy media group.

If you’d like to book for one of these evening’s,  contact Boland Cellar.  You certainly will not be disappointed!

 

After our first wonderful night’s rest in our beautiful suite at Diamant Estate, we were ready for a new day of exploring.  We were excited to be adding a few more images to our collection for this Paarl Event photography project.

 

Seeing as though we had a busy schedule ahead, it was a good idea to start the day off with a hearty breakfast at the Goatshed Restaurant at Fairview.

We were met by Neil du Plessis, General Manager Hospitality Services.  Neil told us a bit about the philosophy behind the meals that are served at the Goatshed.

At the Goatshed the belief is that fresh and homemade is always better.   “We aim to bring the paddock and the farm as close to the table as we can, preparing our dishes from scratch and making sure we use as much of the produce as possible with as little waste as we can manage.”  Most of the items served on the menu come directly from the farm, and if not, are sourced locally.

In fact, the Goatshed is working towards a menu where absolutely everything they serve is reared, raised or grown right here at Fairview.

 

The ambience in the Goatshed is homely and cosy.  The wonderful smell of freshly baked bread and coffee brewing certainly gets the tummy juices going.  Surrounded by quirky kitchen paraphernalia, it feels more as if you are sitting in a farm kitchen than in a restaurant.   We loved the paper place mats that tell a story in their own.   Have a look at the menu here.

 

And so we were off on our next adventure.  Stay tuned for part two of our blog post to see what we get up to!

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