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Azure view for a hot winter’s meal

Winter in Cape Town. Grey. Dank. Soggy ground under your boots. Endless ceiling of thunderous clouds overhead. Stack of umbrellas in a basket at the front door, half of them broken from over-use. Temperatures constantly around 10degrees. On a good day. Right? Have another look at the main picture. I took it in mid-June. In Cape Town.

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Bringing the bling to Constantia

If Camps Bay is diamante and faux fur, Constantia is engraved antique silver and the mink stole gran left you. How to hybridise this odd couple? When you’re as rich and ambitious as Paul Kovensky, you take a 30-year lease on one of the oldest properties in that lush stretch of vineyard and manure, you send in Stefan Antoni interiors to add some faux glitz to the old gilt-framed grandeur, and you sit back to see what the well-heeled Mr and Mrs Constantia make of it all.

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A Milestone for grand Victorian style

You know you’ve arrived at a good address when the hotel manager greets you in the foyer and announces cheerily, “You’ve come at a propitious time. We’ve just heard that the Cambridges are moving in across the way.”

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Gourmet fare in the Cape winelands

The sole meat course was served beneath grand silver domes. After a very Grande Roche countdown (‘Sree, two, von!’), they were lifted to reveal the tiniest morsels of beef looking quite distraught, like wayward sons banished to the wastelands of vast white plates.

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The art of award-winning fine dining

On the eve of the annual South African restaurant industry ‘Oscars’ we were hosted by a man who owns one of Franschhoek’s finest restaurants. You may have heard of it. But probably not. But we weren’t at Mange Tout last week. We were in the private dining room of the Mont Rochelle manor house just up the winding farm track.

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Franglikaans and a touch of Italy in Franschhoek

In that quiet that follows, there is the sound of a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks badmouthing his girlfriend. On a pavement corner there is a trio of coloured boys singing in perfect harmony, with a hat at their feet, while bands of tourists march by unseeing, with their eyes on the next gourmet thrill.

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