Food finesse with a touch of fun at Granny Mouse

by | Oct 11, 2016 | Travel Stories

It was with an air of anticipation and curiosity that I entered the pristinely kept gardens of Granny Mouse Country House and Spa. What did they expect from a lively bunch of travel and food bloggers? The invitation to a “home away from home” experience included a five course meal, paired with Louisvale wines. It all sounded rather grand and formal.

Manicured Gardens at Granny Mouse Counrty House & Spa

Manicured gardens of Granny Mouse Country House and Spa

With a twinkle in his eye and cheerful disposition, General Manager – Sean Granger greeted us warmly without disclosing too much about the evening’s planned event. He urged us to “check in and feel free to explore”. Closed to the public for the day, it was an honour bestowed upon us that was rather humbling.

Media Mania at Granny Mouse

Granny Mouse Media Mania

A fine attention to detail is what struck us from the onset. Carefully positioned daisies in the expertly folded laundry to quaint little garden signs dotted throughout the property. The tranquil sound of running water lapped at our senses.

Waterfall feature at Granny Mouse Country House

Water fountains embed the walls at Granny Mouse. Photo credit: Geoff Redman

We made our way along the garden path to one of the thatched cottages that graciously lined the hillside. As we entered our room, rock pigeons cooed from the eaves-top indicating that even the birds were happy here!

Guest Cottages at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa

The stately thatched cottages overlooking the river valley

Before setting out to explore, I paused to enjoy the homely décor with a strong cup of filter coffee, percolated in our neat “kitchen cupboard”. The luxuriously planned bathroom succeeded to make one feel pampered and cared for before even embarking on any cleansing ritual.

Guest Room Interior at Granny Mouse Country House

A touch of finesse in the Granny Mouse guest rooms

With just under an hour to spare, I briskly set out for an hour’s walk to soak in the ambiance generated by the regal countryside chapel, lavish spa, poolside and garden path along the river. The sound of running water is synonymous wherever you go. It is sunset and although the chironomids are out in droves, there is a shy hush as a black-backed night heron gingerly peers at me from across the water. The insects lure a variety of birds from hiding – a flycatcher’s paradise.

Scenery at Granny Mouse Country House & Spa

Beautiful landscaped gardens, chapels and Midlands scenery at Granny Mouse

I scurry back to don appropriate attire for the fine dine event. The sound of laughter and colleagues connecting with a cosy, crackling fire and mouth-watering morsels are generously served to tempt even the most reluctant of palates. The duck brawn pairs well with the Louisvale chardonnay pinot noir. I am not a bubbly fan but this delicate, pink bouquet is light and tasteful. Under the watchful eye of the Granny Mouse team the introductions proceed smoothly and we meander along the path to the function room. Curiosity reaches full peak as we stop to soak in the visual display of Louisvale wines and paired meals creatively arranged at the entrance.

Food Finesse at Granny Mouse

Decadent table settings and Louisvale Wines to match.

The dinner unfolds once the social media target has been established (#GMfood – twittered and tweeted all over the room), incorporating KZN Wedding DJ, Jarryd Sunkel’s digital-wizard photo booth. Further bantering from winemaker, Simon Smith, reassures us that this will be an evening of fun. We are given a brief lesson on swirling the Chavant 2013 to ensure every area of the palate is prepared for the preliminary mouthful. To obtain optimum satisfaction, we are further encouraged to ensure a section of each delicacy is on the fork. I taste the wine. It is a little dry. After a second mouthful of purposeful swirling, I pick at the tiny beetroot, grilled baby onion, goats cheese with spring onion and my sensory buds are immediately transported into some exotic place. This is heavenly and definitely voted as one of my favourites in the “degustation” meal.

The Granny Mouse team are smartly dressed, courteous and friendly. They deliver each course with a disciplined synchronicity. Glasses are cleared and each vintage is granted another chirpy introduction by the winemaker. The second course is crowned with the award winning Louisvale Chardonnay 2013 – a stunning blend, smooth to the palate. The wine compliments the trout prepared with squid ink risotto, orange mousse, wasabi foam and fennel cream which was most agreeable.

The Twitter challenge is on and Instagram posts are printed and delivered to the tables by Sunkel met with exclamations and glee. Course three is rolled out expertly. This time a Shiraz served with smoked duck salad and cherries. DJ Sunkel’s choice of music generates a festive vibe.

Hilarity rules as people pose at the photo booth and media colleagues become friends. Course four is pre-empted with an unusual jelly, meringue and fruit palate cleanser. The proper item of crusted fillet is custom-served for my gluten intolerance and again transports me on an exotic sensory journey with complimentary figs.

Food finesse at Granny Mouse Country House

Food finesse at Granny Mouse Country House

The Twitter crescendo reaches a peak and Sean announces we have trended at “No 2”, pipped by the Proteas in their nail-biting finish. Feeling slightly satisfied, we celebrate with the final course of Louisvale Chardonnay Brut XV and Rooibos panacotta, Chai meringue, Orange and Almond fingers, dark chocolate truffles and mini cheese cake with strawberry jelly. Who would have thought that a five-course extravaganza was possible? However, the portions were expertly and creatively designed whereby one felt perfectly satisfied. The humble culinary artists, Wayland Green and Kirstie Du Toit, emerge from their creative den to receive resounding applause. They are the masters of generating this sensory adventure.

From Home to Home? Indeed, Granny Mouse created an evening of fun and relaxation with a special touch of pizazz.

Photo credit to Geoff Redman who kindly supplied some of the photos for this post.

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