THE CHEF’S TABLE, A SEVEN COURSE FOOD AND WINE PAIRING DINNER.

Nom nom

I love food, I love wine and I have an infinite love for fine dining 🙂 and as someone in the hospitality industry with dreams that send chills down my spine, I am constantly seeking to learn more beyond what I already know, just to find out how things are done out there in the restaurant world. Nothing fascinates me in this industry the way fine dining does, nothing.

In the last two years I’ve found myself developing an interest in wine and as a result I’ve attended two wine tasting events and a wine tasting master class, the latter was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I’ve also attended a detailed cheese and wine pairing class but what I hadn’t crossed off the list was a food and wine pairing class. So this had me going for a chef’s table fine dining 7 course food and wine pairing dinner on Tuesday and I lack words. I lack words to write this in the best way possible because the whole experience was so heavenly and worth it.

Dessert



I’ve cooked alongside head chefs in the industry before, a head chef has come to my table before to talk about his menu and explain the food or ask how his food was but I’ve not sat in a restaurant’s kitchen before watching the chef prepare my meal as I enjoy the food with her/him making trips to our table and interacting with us. That’s what chef’s table dinner is about, it should be an intimate dinner of a small group of diners hosted in the kitchen by the chef, but it can also be held near the kitchen on a special table away from the usual guests eating area. In Nairobi it has been happening mostly in the big name hotels.

So when I found out The Wine Shop Kenya; a wine bar and cafe, was hosting a 7 course chef’s table food and wine pairing dinner, I booked myself in. I used to be a regular at The Wine Shop when they were still at Piedmont plaza on Ngong road, but a few months ago they moved to Loresho to an even bigger and beautiful location, so this was also a chance for me to see their new space.

Patiently waiting


The dinner was to start at 7.30pm and I was there at 7.15pm. You can’t be late for dinner, especially when you are given a specific time to work with. On arrival the welcoming drink was a tall sexy glass of champagne which you could have as much as you wanted and we sipped away as we waited for the rest of the diners to arrive. It was an intimate dinner of 14 guests only and you had to book in advance.

Every part of the menu was palatable and enjoyable, I do not remember at any point where I didn’t clear the food I’d served on my plate. My most favorite part though  was the main course; a lemon and herbs roast chicken, homemade linguine pesto, Swahili style fish curry with sides of perfectly done mouthwatering roast potatoes and rice and even though I am not big on dessert, I devoured all the two types that were served.

Being a very intimate dinner, our table had only 6 of us and the 2nd table had 8. It’s true what they say, that good food and wine do bring people together because the conversations we had on that table! SCRUMPTIOUS. Those are the kind of conversations I want to have for the rest of my life; a table of travelers, food and wine lovers. It was a superb night.

Overall, the entire 7 course meal was a divine combination of flavors, well prepared, plated and presented in the most enticing ways and paired well with the different wines that we had for pairing. Definitely the chef outdid himself and the sommelier was knowledgeable, answered all our questions and yes, he was generous with the wine too. The host dined with us as well and was very helpful and hospitable.

Lovely



I got value for my money, I felt relaxed and pampered and I cannot wait to go back for such a dinner or just for the usual dining at The Wine Shop. They have also done a splendid job with the space, I loved the decor and the few employees I interacted with were also very helpful.

If you have been looking for recommendations on places to dine alone or with your loved ones, I will be bringing a series on this every often, based only on restaurants I have personally dined in. Stay tuned as I mix travel with food in the most enticing and helpful ways.

I hope you enjoyed the read and as usual I’ll be waiting for your thoughts in the comments section.

Thank you.

eve j, the traveling mom

Take me back
The dinner setup right next to the kitchen

CHEESE & WINE PAIRING, FACTORY AND FARM TOUR AT BROWN’S CHEESE FARM IN LIMURU.


I’m actually craving cheese right now.

Happy new month everyone! WOW. November 2019 already? Who would have thought that we would be celebrating Christmas again so soon? lol.. Just the other day we were making New Year resolutions! Huh. But I am excited, mostly because I am a Christmas lover and two things I look forward to and celebrate for a whole month are my birthday and Christmas. This festive season if you will be looking for activities to do or places to take your loved ones, Brown’s cheese farm is that place. It is located in Limuru, a short drive of less than an hour from Nairobi.

This is also so ideal for the foodies and cheese lovers. I love food and I love my cheese just as much, if I have only two food options to eat for the rest of my life, definitely cheese would be one of the two. I’m always stocking lots and lots of cheese in my fridge and I think we eat cheese once or twice a week over here.

Cheeeeeeese!

Well, so last week I got an opportunity to visit Brown’s cheese farm in Limuru and had a cheese and wine pairing class as well as a detailed tour of the cheese factory and the farm. We learned a lot and also had an amazing time. I’ll keep this really short even though I noted so much down.

It all started with them asking me to be at the farm by 12pm last week on Thursday. What I didn’t know was that the entire thing would take four hours! But I did I know I was going to have lots of wine, so I asked my driver to accompany me for the short drive.

Those rosemary crackers!!!

We left Nairobi at about 10.30am arriving at the farm in an hour or less. I had to wait for another 30 minutes for the other people we were to do the tour and tasting with to arrive. At exactly 12pm we started off.

Brown’s cheese factory has been operating for the last 30 years and has about 150 employees in the entire farm. I was surprised at the variety of cheese they produce. They make over 40 different kinds of cheese! I honestly wasn’t aware that there are so many kinds of cheese out there. I think before going to Brown’s I could only name about 10 different cheeses confidently.

This was fun

They not only make cheese, but they also make fresh homemade crackers of different kinds, ice cream and a lot more food stuff.

It was now time to start the tour and first was the tour of the cheese processing section and we saw how different cheeses are made and preserved till they mature and are ready for the market. Next we went to see how they make their ice creams, unfortunately we didn’t get to see how they make them because they had been made earlier that same morning and they only make a few in a day. We however got to see how they make their crackers and some bread as well.

After we were done with the factory tour, we then proceeded to the cheese tasting section. I had the pleasure of tasting 8 different cheeses, which we paired with wine. This was the most fun part because cheese and wine together is just an out of this world experience in the mouth. The selection of the cheese we had were also delicious and paired fairly well with the different wines we had (you do know that some cheese can be very bitter).

Cheese and wine pairing

After the cheese and wine pairing it was now time to have lunch. I must mention that the cheese and wine was quite filling and so the lunch we started with a very delicious soup which we had with the tasty fresh breads. Next were salads, pizzas and a lot other bitings. I also thoroughly devoured their fresh homemade rosemary crackers and wow, they were more than yummy and so fresh. For dessert we sampled their freshly made ice cream which was so good, rich and creamy.

After the heavy delicious lunch it was now time to have a nap (I kid!). There was no nap time, after lunch we immediately went to have a tour of the farm. Brown’s food company depends solely on their produce and in the farm they have lots and lots of vegetables and herbs as well.

In the farm

Lastly we went to the animals section; they also do have lots of animals in the farm such as cows, pigs and poultry. The fun part for children I think was milking the cows. I think that’s such a good experience for anyone who has never done it before.

Vitutamu everywhere

The whole event lasted 4 hours. We started at 12pm and finished at 4pm.

Charges:

If you want to do the whole process of factory and farm tour, lunch, cheese and wine pairing it costs KSH 4000 per person.

Everything else minus the wine is KSH 3000.

Points to note:

•Keep time, if you are not there by 12pm they will start without you.

•They are open for the class and tour only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and Saturday is always busiest and mostly booked way in advance.

Lunch was served

•You still have to book Thursday and Friday in advance as well though they are the most chilled out days if you don’t like crowds.

•They encourage you go in groups but if you want to go alone book either Thursday or Friday or call them for advice.

•You can pay via Mpesa to book a slot.

•For contacts kindly check their website.

www.brownsfoodco.com

I hope you enjoyed this read and found it useful. Let me know.

Thank

eve j, the traveling mom.

Samburu National Reserve getaway/Thetravelingmom.

Isn’t she lovely? Source: Internet

Traveling to Samburu had been on my mind since 2018. Being the planner I am I fixed it for mid-2019 (the same way I have my 2020 travel calendar already planned out) for little traveler’s birthday weekend because there was no way I was traveling there alone from some of the stories I’d read.

Samburu is a county in the former Rift Valley Province in Nothern Kenya where the Samburu, Turkana and some other tribes live and it’s in the South of Lake Turkana.

Before traveling to a new place always do an extensive research about the place, so some of the reasons I’d heard or read that instilled some fear in me included the state of the road. I think back then the road that led to the hotel we intended to book was bad and there was a possibility that you could get stuck if it was the rainy season. I also read that once you arrived at the gate of the park, during security check you are supposed to ask for police escort just in case you could get attacked by bandits.

Loving our rooom


Due to those reasons, we had weighed the options of going by flight or using the services of a travel agent and their travel vans because they would be familiar with the road and how to deal with the insecurities if a need would arise. They ended up being too expensive though and way out of our budget. For that reason we decided that we would drive down and we made payments a month in advance.

May being a rainy season in Samburu, we were mostly concerned about the state of the road in case they experienced the heavy rains, so we kept in touch with the camp and they would always update us on how it was. They also assured us that we would be safe and that the banditry cases had since reduced.

The distance from Nairobi to our hotel; Samburu Intrepids took us six hours. We left early morning arriving at the hotel almost at 1pm. You always need to start your journey early, especially if you are going to a place you know nothing about.



Samburu National Reserve:
It is a game reserve on the banks of river Ewaso Ng’iro in Samburu County which is the main source of water for the wild animals here.
‘Elsa the lionesses of the book “Born Free” was also raised at Samburu National Reserve by George and Joy Adamson.
It was also the home of the lioness ‘Kumanyak’ who was famous for having adopted 6 Oryx calves.
The big five of Samburu are easily spotted here, namely: Reticulated giraffe, Somali ostrich, Grevy’s zebra, Beisa Oryx and Gerenuk.
Other animals that are found here include: Elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs and several birds.
The park is managed by the County council of Samburu.

When we arrived



Where we stayed:

Samburu Intrepids Tented Camp.
Located within Samburu National Reserve, Samburu Intrepids is a tented camp that’s perfect for that weekend getaway if you want to hide in the bush. We did enjoy our stay.

Loved our room


Cosy, very cosy.



Costs incurred:
Park fees: KSH1200 for adults and KSH600 for children.
We fueled full tank on our way @ KSH6000 but we had to fuel again in Nanyuki on our way back and the cost would definitely depend on the car you have.
Game drive offered by the camp was KSH5000 per adult.
You can also do a self-game drive.
Being a low season, the camp wasn’t any busy and I still remember we were less than 10 guests in the camp that weekend, I know because I asked. They charged KSH26,000 per night on full board basis.

Verdict:
We loved our hotel, food was delicious at all times and the presentation was always enticing . We looked forward to breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Food was always so delicious and presented in an enticing manner.



Overall service was amazing as well. No complaints at all because we were well taken care of.

The tented room was not big enough but very cosy. They provided us with a baby bed for little miss traveler, so if you happen to book them you can request for one.

The camp is within a bush but very safe, quite tranquil and perfect for a short getaway for bush getaway lovers. At night you hear all the animals making noise around but the tents are very safe and well secured.

Overall I can say we enjoyed our stay. I miss the monkeys stealing our snacks at the swimming pool area and us chasing them away with a catapult. Sadly I can,t find most pics from this trip, not sure what happened.



Also it’s said to be a luxury tented camp but if I compare it to all the luxury tented camps we have been to, I would give it a 6 out of 10. That does not mean it was bad, it was really good and we had an exciting and adventurous weekend but my comparison is of it against the other luxury tented camps.


I hope you found this post helpful. Feel free to contact me if you need any more information.

eve j, the traveling mom.