Hartford House

The Home of Good Conversation, Fine Wine and Classic Horses

Award-winning hotel and restaurant situated at Summerhill Stud on the picturesque KwaZulu-Natal Midlands Meander, South Africa.

INAUGURAL JACKIE CAMERON / NEWTON JOHNSON PAIRING

Jackie Cameron and Bevan Newton Johnson / Newton Johnson Wines (p)

Jackie Cameron and Bevan Newton Johnson / Newton Johnson Wines (p)

Jackie Cameron & Newton Johnson
Food and Wine Evening

On the evening of 21 July, Jackie Cameron, executive chef at Hartford House in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, was in Johannesburg with members of her kitchen brigade. They were at the Centre for Culinary Excellence, home of the South African Chefs Association (SACA), demonstrating the culinary skills that have made the chef and the property a popular dining destination for international travellers.

SACA hosted a food and wine evening, with Newton Johnson wines presented by Bevan Newton Johnson. The estate is in Hemel-en-Aarde Valley and is run by various members of the extended family. Winemakers are Gordon and Nadia Newton Johnson.

Cameron says she started by tasting the various Newton Johnson wines and built a menu around the key flavour and aroma notes in the wine. She also looked to showcase the top ingredients available from the Midlands region, as well as making good use of seasonal ingredients, such as asparagus and guavas. The result was as follows:

  • Cured Norwegian salmon with tomato spoom and home-grown avocadoes, paired with Resonance Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2009
  • "La petite Camembert" and oven dried prosciutto de Midlands with garden pea puree, puffed quinoa and lemon oil, paired with Chardonnay 2009
  • Brown mushroom soup with shiitake powder and Midland's truffle oil, paired with Domaine Pinot Noir 2009
  • Dijon blackened Midland's beef fillet and bone marrow with caramelised onions, seared asparagus and wilted spinach, paired with Syrah Mouvedre 2007
  • Vanilla bean panna cotta with guava sorbet and popcorn brittle, paired with L'illa Noble Late Harvest (Chenin Blanc) 2009

Cameron, who is on SACA's KwaZulu-Natal committee, says she concentrated on preparing a menu in line with what they do at Hartford House. The staff who accompanied her were given this opportunity to expand their skills through travel, working in different kitchens and alongside new chefs, in line with the property's upliftment programme.

Cameron has been with Hartford House for close on nine years. She says it is important to stay up to date with food trends to maintain the high standards at the property. This is done through regular trips overseas and around the country, eating in top restaurants to see what other chefs are doing, internet research, as well as poring over countless recipe books.

Bevan Newton Johnson adds: "If there is anything my family loves more than wine it is food. We love to see the wine paired with food - it truly is for us the most rewarding thing with our wines."

This was the first collaboration between Cameron and Newton Johnson, and both enjoyed the experience. The wine estate, which is relatively young, is focused on longevity. They are keen to see how their wines will develop over the next two to three decades.

During the evening, GM of SACA, Graham Donet, held an auction, raising R3500 to go towards the bursary fund. The evening was co-sponsored by Ciro Beverage Solutions, Wine Logistics and Willow Creek. Guests included members of Bidvest Food and Gearhouse, as well as friends of the association.