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.

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Hartford House scores Platinum at AMEX Fine Dining Awards

Head Chef Jackie Cameron and Hartford GM Vanessa Coetzee receive Hartford's AMEX Platinum Award / American Express (p)

Head Chef Jackie Cameron and Hartford GM Vanessa Coetzee receive Hartford's AMEX Platinum Award / American Express (p)

AMERICAN EXPRESS FINE DINING AWARDS 2013

The recipients of the 2013 American Express Fine Dining Awards were announced recently and we're proud at Hartford House to have been awarded the Platinum accolade; counting Hartford among the nation's most prestigious fine dining establishments. This is the 15th year in which the Awards have been held and sitting on the judging panel were renowned food critic Victor Strugo, food writer Anna Trapido and Cape Town-based 'foodie' Tamsin Snyman, assisted by a team of anonymous and experienced assessors. Congratulations to Head Chef Jackie Cameron, GM Vanessa Coetzee and the entire Hartford Team.

OUT AND ABOUT : KZN MIDLANDS

Food & Home Entertaining

Food & Home Entertaining magazine has just released their top list for 'OUT & ABOUT : KZN MIDLANDS' by Clifford Roberts where Hartford House features in the category 'Best for Fining Dining' : weaves culinary magic in the restaurant Jackie Cameron Renowned chef , situated in a large colonial sandstone building featuring vistas of hills and dales. Cameron travels regularly and applies what she learns in her kitchen. 

Food and wine evenings are a regular event, with dishes such as seared beef fillet served with fresh horseradish, horseradish potato creme, green beans and roasted garlic on offer. For breakfast, don't miss the oats and Irish whiskey with grated apple, raisins and cream.

hartford house logo

For more information please visit :
www.hartford.co.za

Good Food and Wine Show 2009

jackie cameron good food and wine show

Catch Jackie Cameron at The Good Food & Wine Show

The Good Food & Wine Show kicks off at the Durban Exhibition Centre on Thursday 23 July and Hartford’s very own Jackie Cameron will be there to dazzle and delight.

Dubbed Southern Africa’s finest culinary Expo, The Good Food & Wine Show brings Durban gourmets, gourmands and good-life devotees a sensational line-up from the finest international, celebrity and South African Chefs.

Be sure not to miss out… you’ll be watching magic, tasting heaven, and learning from the masters of food, wine, gourmet travel and lifestyle.

Jackie Cameron’s Show times for The Good Food & Wine Show are as follows :

THURSDAY 23 July 2009
Afrox Theatre 11:30
Traditional Tastes Theatre 15:30

FRIDAY 24 July 2009
Garden to kitchen theatre 11:15
Outdoor Theatre 14:45
Outdoor Theatre 19:00 with an international lifeguard... sort of ready steady cook

SATURDAY 25 July 2009
Chef in action theatre 14:30
Chefs in action theatre 15:30... mystery basket

House and Leisure Accolade for Hartford Restaurant

Hartford House Restaurant

Hartford House Restaurant

"COMPLIMENTS (as big as they get) from one of the BIGGEST AND THE BEST"

So the accolades have been piling up for Hartford House in the last eighteen months, but its latest achievement in making House & Leisure’s Top Five South African restaurants, ranks with the best of them. Heavens knows how many there are in South Africa, but at the last count, some guru claimed there were more than 60000 eateries in the nation, yet this one, ten kilometres outside the dustiest little dorp in the Midlands at the southernmost tip of what the civilized people to the north of us call the darkest continent, happens to make the top five.

It’s not only a compliment to Jackie Cameron and her team, it’s a miracle in an environment which has emerged from 80% unemployment, a land of few skills, and nothing in the way of culinary virtues.

That Sir Clement Freud, recently deceased and much-lamented raconteur, adventurer and journalist in the UK, once proclaimed Hartford the most beautiful home in the country is a well documented statement, but what a blessing to have that and one of the nation’s elite gourmet paradises.

The August issue of South Africa’s foremost publication on the world of living, House & Leisure, will announce the top five. We have no idea who the competition are, but readers and browsers will get their chance to vote for the king of kings following that issue. Don’t worry, you’ll get the reminder!

home and leisure

Shopping with Head Chef Jackie Cameron

Jackie Cameron / Sally Chance (p)

Jackie Cameron / Sally Chance (p)

The following is an extract from a candid Q&A interview with our Head Chef, Jackie Cameron, which was recently published in the Travel & Food supplement of The Times.

Favourite things?

Recipe books; kitchen equipment (exciting kitchen gadgets always win me over); improved ingredients and products; I also love handbags, shoes and earrings.

Best thing about shopping?

Finding that something that puts a smile on my face.

Worst thing about shopping?

The hustle and bustle.

Cash or Credit Card?

I always pay... cash. With the arrival of the credit crunch, I’ve... become very aware of every transaction I make.

Fragrance?

Jean Paul Gaultier.

Best gift?

A cap gun at the age of three.

Worst gift?

A chocolate-dipped scorpion.

Earliest shopping memory?

Begging my mother for a chocolate at a grocery store. I’m always reminded of that when I hear other children trying their luck. Just the other day, while standing in the queue at Woolworths, I overheard a young boy telling his mother how much he loved her. I was taken aback by his honesty and caring nature, only to hear two seconds later how much he would love a chocolate. I had to laugh.

Whats in yor fridge?

In my fridge I always have... a selection of Midlands cheese and homemade pickles and preserves.

Perspective on 'Green'?

To me going green means... contributing in a positive light. Believing that every individual can make a difference.

Best shopping companions?

My mother and sister.

Worst shopping companion?

A person who is irritated and in a huff and rush.

Best all-time purchase?

Larousse Gastronomique, “the world’s most famous culinary reference book”.

Most expensive purchase?

My studio flat.

WHAT I’D BUY WITH...

R500 : A meal for one at a top restaurant.

R5000 : A coffee machine and beans... together they make a full-bodied espresso with a perfect crema.

If the sky’s the limit?

I would buy only the best quality, state-of-the-art equipment to furnish my dream kitchen. A good chef is a prepared chef and a prepared chef is a fast chef.

Five-course dinner party... nothing less.

strawberries and champagne

"Ruby-red, plump strawberries topped with reduced balsamic and freshly ground black pepper, served with Champagne"
(Photo : Jackie Cameron)

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

A five-course dinner party sounds extremely lavish. My guests, however, expect nothing less! With little available social time on my hands I wow my friends with fresh flavours and quick, clever substitutes. Food that is stress free allows me to enjoy my dinner party.

I begin with pen, paper and an idea. Then I head for the local grocer. The result is a menu expressing the finest produce obtainable.

My choice of arrival nibble is irresistible ruby-red, plump strawberries. Topped with reduced balsamic and freshly ground black pepper and served with Champagne, it is an out-of-the-ordinary extravaganza of sweet and savoury combinations which mingle with the lightness of bubbles. Simply delicious!

The aromas from the melon shelf alert and entice me. I allow the fruit’s natural flavour to develop in my mind and the result is a chilled melon and coconut soup. A perfect summer starter, complemented with lightly toasted pine kernels, finely sliced sushi ginger and fresh mint. This new-age soup has a depth without the kick of richness.

In order to make a fabulous dish, the ingredients you are working with need to excite you. The main course is a perfect example of my favourites: beef fillet, fresh asparagus, roasted Mediterranean stuffed butternut with Pringles crisps. The texture of the crisps adds a fun element to this dish. This is a homely main course with a touch of style.

It is summer fruits that make me wish we had only one season! Dessert therefore is made up of roasted nectarines served with cinnamon-crème fraiche, honey, pine nuts and “Lindt” mint chocolate. The difference in textures, temperature and flavours makes this mouth watering and memorable.

My palate doesn’t allow me to end on a sweet note. This to the horror of any French wine connoisseur; so to end with a cheese selection, pickles, preserves and biscuits is perfect – for me!.

An evening set to succeed.

Take these recipes and try them.

FRESH STRAWBERRIES WITH REDUCED BALSAMIC VINEGAR
CHILLED SPANSPEK AND COCONUT SOUP
BEEF FILLET, FRESH ASPARAGUS, ROASTED STUFFED BUTTERNUT WITH PRINGLE CRISPS
ROASTED NECTARINES, CINNAMON-CREME FRAICHE, HONEY, PINE NUTS AND "LINDT"

Post your comments and food-related questions below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
033 263 2713

The magnitude of Hartford's Top Ten Restaurant Award

Cheryl Goss and Jackie Cameron / Paula Mackenzie (p)

Cheryl Goss and Jackie Cameron / Paula Mackenzie (p)

"Form is temporary : CLASS IS PERMANENT"

There’s an old saying in the racing world that you might fluke the odd big performance, but it’s the ability to consistently achieve at the top level that’s the real mark of quality. The magnitude of Hartford House’s Top Ten Restaurant Award last Sunday evening, is only just beginning to sink in, and the extent of it is quietly coming home to us.

The reality is that none of these achievements are overnight occurrences, and they’re no different to winning Breeders’ Championships. We know what it took to put a team together capable of landing the spoils in the horse business, and the sustained record of four consecutive championships has been the product of almost 30 years of blood, sweat and tears.

In Hartford’s case, the journey started almost eight years ago, with the recruitment of a man by the name of Richard Carstens, who came to us with the option of working at Hartford or at our new venture at the time, Lynton Hall. As it turned out, despite Hartford’s own requirements, we felt that Lynton’s need was the greater because it was in its infancy, and after eight months at Hartford, Richard relocated to the coastal resort, where he took Lynton to a top ten finish in the national awards, and in the end, was elected the nation’s top chef.

As Richard was departing for Lynton Hall, we discovered a waif-like Thespian, who had already spent a year at the Mount Grace Country House & Spa, in the form of Pietermaritzburg born and raised Jackie Cameron, and she proceeded to beaver away as industriously as anyone we’ve ever come across in an already industrious team. Though wet behind the ears, Jackie quickly revealed an underlying potential that’s rare not only in people of her age, but uncommonly so in older people too. It wasn’t long before local critics nabbed onto her coattails, and began to invest in her growth. People like Mechthild Yorke-Mitchell, then restaurant critic for Wine Magazine, Anne Stevens of The Mercury, Derek Taylor of the Sunday Tribune, and latterly and very significantly, Victor Strugo of The Saturday Star, who has been a powerful personal mentor to Jackie. All of them caught onto the fire that was raging at Hartford.

Of course, there's been many other accolades, and last year the Hartford restaurant made the Dine Top 10: Deluxe 2008 voted by Diners club international & Wine magazine, but the Prudential Eat-Out Restaurant Awards are the summit of them all, and to have achieved this is the ultimate for any young chef or restaurant anywhere.

The point of this is that under Cheryl’s tutelage, in the relatively short space of 12 years, we’ve seen the emergence of two national celebrities in the culinary game, and it’s all a result of a sustained obsession that goes beyond perfection.

There’s no team in the world that can appreciate the significance of Hartford better than that at Summerhill. We know what it takes, and we understand what it is that keeps you there. Class, class and more class, and nothing less than class.

Mike Tarr sends Warm Wishes

Lunchtime dining at Hartford House

Lunchtime dining at Hartford House

"THIS MAN’S BEEN AROUND : SO THIS IS SOME COMPLIMENT"

Hello Jackie and Cheryl:

Just a short note to thank you both and Gold Circle and Gill Simpkins for the wonderful experience of being at Summerhill this week and the great lunch in a perfect setting. Jackie you are a genius, pea soup and ice cream!! such invention. I love it. And the Norwegian salmon was superb and the desserts sublime. I hope to come back and do a proper crit and also take in more of the amazing atmosphere of Summerhill. We are truly blessed as South Africans to have a place like this. Thank you for a memorable day.

I saw Mickey briefly on our tour but would obviously like to interview him and get an in depth view into his thoughts on the farm and subjects in general. I am told he has a wonderful way with words and views about our country.

Best wishes and thank you again.

Michael Tarr

(Eminent Journalist : The Daily News)

The Perfect Midlands Meander Destination

breakfast view

"Breakfast on the verandah, overlooking the beautiful gardens, is also a highlight of any visit to Hartford..."

“For a moment, there’s a lull in the noise of the city. Bird song comes to the fore, a hadeda is heard overhead and for a few seconds my mind retreats to Hartford. This is a place so special that even being transported for a few seconds brings refreshment from the busy pace of life.

There are so many aspects to Hartford House and each of them has the special qualities that combine to make one’s stay unforgettable, however many times one visits. It is the personalities of you, Mick and Cheryl, your vision, enthusiasm and guidance that has made Hartford so special.

On entry down the long driveway with fields and paddocks on either side and Giant’s Castle up to the left, life begins to slow after our four hour drive from Joburg or three hours from the South Coast. The smiling welcome at the gate and then the warmth and friendliness of the staff on arrival and throughout one’s stay at Hartford gives a relaxed comfortable feeling to new visitors and those like us who return as often as we do. The people in the office, the front staff, Jackie and the kitchen staff, housekeeping and gardeners are equally friendly and are genuinely happy greeting visitors.

Then there are the gorgeous rooms into which you have put so much thought and detail, each so different but equally comfortable. We have stayed in every room you have and it’s always exciting on arrival, to see which room will be ours. Nothing has been spared and one feels the luxury of indulgence relaxing in the room or sitting outdoors enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings.

Dinner is always the most special delight and, I think, the best in South Africa. Comparing meals with some top restaurants in Europe, Hartford is still the best. Breakfast on the verandah, overlooking the beautiful gardens, is also a highlight of any visit to Hartford and the menu is amazing.

After the indulgence and tranquility of a Hartford stay, one reluctantly leaves, knowing there will be a time to visit again, and in between visits, cut out the noise of life and transport oneself back for a moment of peace.”

Said by a connoisseur.Veronica Jagoe (and husband Sean) are veterans of more than 150 visits to Hartford House (yes, that’s about a dozen a year, every year, since we opened).Apart from being our most treasured guests, they’re also among the nicest.And they must have taste!

Hearty and flavoursome Christmas Lunch

Glazed Christmas Gammon garnished with pineapple rings and cherries / Jackie Cameron (p)

Glazed Christmas Gammon garnished with pineapple rings and cherries / Jackie Cameron (p)

Jackie Cameron Head Chef

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef

Christmas is about family and friends around one table, and a meal that will simmer in their minds for the year to come. Dishes, specifically for this occasion, should be hearty and flavoursome, depicting the Christmas spirit. The occasion, the table and the meal should say ‘Merry Christmas’.

Christmas lunch is one of the most stressful meals of the year but with adequate preparation it can be hassle-free.

Let me help you…

Spicy egg nog sets the tone when handed to guests on their arrival. It’s usually served to toast one’s health; and that’s what we all need for the coming year.

Sticking to tradition, I like turkey. It’s juicy and delicious if cooked correctly. Should you browse through Larousse Gastronomique - the world’s most famous culinary reference book – you’ll see turkey described as “a farmyard bird raised for its delicate flesh”. A rich, pungent and textured stuffing completes and complements roast turkey. I promise, your guests will be back next year!

A pickled or smoked hind quarter or shoulder of pork, commonly known as Christmas Ham, can be boiled or baked. The final touch is to stud the ham with cloves, and garnish with pineapple rings and cherries. Oh so pretty!

Christmas pudding is a must. Make it… buy it… but ensure it’s on your menu.

A simple, silky-textured brandy sauce will add zing to your rich dessert.

After the feast, coffee with shortbread is the perfect final touch. Shortbread, known by many to have originated in Scotland, is traditionally made in a round shape and cut from the centre in wedges. This symbolises the sun, a relic of the ancient New Year cake.

I explore as much as there is to know about an ingredient before cooking it. This, in my opinion, adds interest and depth to the product and the “relationship” with the components results in a superior culinary creation.

With these tips and the festive-season spirit, I’m confident your Christmas lunch will be memorable.

May the love and camaraderie generated during the next few weeks overflow into 2009 and beyond.

Take these recipes and try them.

EGG NOG
GLAZED CHRISTMAS HAM
BRANDY SAUCE
TURKEY STUFFING
SHORTBREAD

Post your comments and food-related questions below.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Jackie Cameron
Head Chef
Hartford House
www.hartford.co.za
jackie@hartford.co.za
033 263 2713