Heaven beckons in South Africa
In search of Heaven on Earth? If you're taking a safari in Africa, you're in luck: Chef Stefan Louw's restaurant, Heaven, is located just an hour east of Cape Town, where he whips up French-inspired cuisine for foodies and culinary experts alike. The restaurant is situated in the heart of the Newton Johnson Family Estate, which happens to boast South Africa's finest pinot noir grapes that produce a wine found nowhere else in the world.
When Greg de Villiers, a contributor to the online wine magazine Palate Press, first feasted on a Louw meal, he was so impressed that even years later, he still considers it one of the best dinners of his life.
"Rich duck, braced by butternut, orange marmalade and the earthy sweetness of beetroot cut through the youth of the pinot noir," he wrote. "These flavors tamed, smoother, rounded and showed off the wine it will be, and then some."
You might not have expected to have a culinary adventure during an African safari, but the menu at Heaven would impress even the most seasoned foodie traveler. Your meal can start with anything from braised venison pie to duck ravioli, only to be enhanced by a main course dish like wild mushroom risotto and acorn-fed pork. If you're in the mood for a sweet finish, order a warm apple and pecan lattice or caramelized tart with lemon ice cream.
Heaven is located right on top of the Galpin Peak mountain, giving diners the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley as the sun sets over the horizon and makes way for the misty twilight. Nearby, you can see the Babylonstoren Mountains as well as the Bot River Lagoon, which gracefully slips into the Atlantic Ocean and turns a stunning shade of purple when the sun disappears.
Newton Johnson's wines are considered to be the best in South Africa, especially the pinot noir, which boasts complex flavors that range from tart cherries to sweet currants and spicy earthiness. Many of the dishes offered at Heaven are easily enhanced with a glass of red wine, and if you're not a pinot noir fan, you can try the chardonnay for a more fruity and nutty addition to your unforgettable meal.