Fresh from a year-long renovation, the newly revamped Hazendal Wine Estate offers an experience that truly sets it apart from the crowd: an innovative mix of Russian and South African traditions. Russian-born owner Dr Mark Voloshin has brought the rich heritage and traditions of his birthland to the Cape, judiciously combining them with the overarching Cape Dutch aesthetic so prevalent in this corner of the Winelands.
The estate includes many new attractions, such as the boundary-pushing Avant-Garde Restaurant (headed by Michélle Theron), and the state-of-the-art children’s edutainment centre, Wonderdal. But for a true taste of Russian heritage, Hazendal’s Russian Tea Ceremony stands out as an exotic and culturally enriching experience.
Russian Tea Ceremony at Hazendal
The Russian Tea Ceremony harks back to the grandeur of the tsars, and represents not just a sophisticated culinary pursuit, but an expression of Russian hospitality.
Central to this time-honoured ritual is the samovar, an elaborate Russian brewing device that is used to heat the water. The samovar dates back to the 17th century, when Russian Tsar Peter the Great returned from his travels with a copper kettle he had discovered in Holland, and asked his craftsmen to replicate it.
Attached to the top of the samovar is a tea pot containing zavarka – imported Russian black tea that has been specially sourced for Hazendal by the famous TWG (The Wellbeing Group) in Singapore. Stopping at no lengths to provide guests with an authentic Russian tea experience, the tea is served in porcelain created by Dulevo Porcelain Works (one of Russia’s oldest and most famous porcelain producers), famous for its hand-painted designs.
Accompanying the brew is a delicious spread of Russian pastries and savoury treats, such as:
- blinis (Russian crumpets)
- baranki (Russian baked delights that are hung on the samovar)
- piroshok (pastry filled with braised beef and black lentils)
- sharlotka (Russian apple cake)
- medovik (Russian honey-layered cake)
- pryanik (Russian gingerbread cookie)
- kompot (home-made red berry juice)
There are vegetarian and gluten-free options available, too, as well as a children’s menu, complete with Russian-themed colouring-in pages to keep the little ones entertained.
For a truly decadent affair, indulge in the Full Kremlin Experience, which includes 15 grams of Beluga caviar served on a traditional Russian blini, and a bottle of Hazendal Scarlet Sails MCC 2014.
The Russian Tea Garden
Hazendal’s Russian Tea Garden is a tranquil outdoor venue, shaded by trees and surrounded by vibrant plant life. It’s the perfect location to enjoy such a civilised social pursuit. On cold and rainy days, the Russian Tea Ceremony can be hosted in the opulent Avant-Garde Restaurant instead.
You will need to book 24 hours in advance to take part in a Russian Tea Ceremony. However, even if you don’t manage to secure a spot, you can still enjoy the restaurant’s regular Garden Menu, which includes salads, cheese and charcuterie boards, and fresh pastries prepared daily in Babushka Deli.
Of course, for adults with kids in tow, one of the best things about a visit to Hazendal is that you can drop them off at Wonderdal, a state-of-the-art edutainment centre for children ages 5 to 13. Here, they will be endlessly entertained by a host of entertaining and educational activities, including an outdoor playground and an array of technology-powered interactive exhibits.
With so much to offer, Hazendal Wine Estate makes for a wonderful outing for the whole family.