Admit it. We all let out a smug little giggle and an awkward happy dance when we receive an invitation to a 21st birthday party. Maybe it’s just me? Anyways, purely because of the nature of this type of celebration, it fills us with excitement at the prospect of good food, good wine and awesome company, topped with all the little celebratory extras. And when your invitation is hand-delivered in a swanky gold and black box, you must surely know it’s time for a FAT Bastard celebration of note…because yes, our favourite chunky golden hippo turned 21, and I was invited!
FAT Bastard, the well-loved, delicious, full-bodied range of wines, recently celebrated 21 years of living large at a celebration of note. The invitation landed up at my office, hand-delivered by the totally divine Riekie Viljoen, brand manager of Robertson Winery. I let out a little squeal of delight, because everyone knows that I’m the golden hippo’s number one fan. I fantasized for days about what to wear, and about the food they would possibly pair with their extensive, bold range of wines. Needless to say, I was not disappointed in the least. In fact, this was a birthday bash that will linger on the tongues of guests for years to come.
I arrived to the incredibly graceful venue in Queen Victoria Street in Cape Town. The building was humble in appearance from the outside, but inside it dripped with olden-day charm and elegance. The foyer was filled with larger than life flower arrangements in shades of sunshine yellow, delicate hors d’oeuvres and a showcase of their yet-to-be released limited edition 2018 Chenin Blanc. The small group of hand-selected guests chatted excitedly about the opportunities and festivities held in this evening. Before long we were beckoned up the impressive flight of stairs to the dining area. We eagerly followed, but nothing could’ve prepared us for the sight we were about to behold.
The party overflowed with FAT Bastard’s range of colourful wines enjoyed with an exquisitely presented six-course dinner, all set amidst a splendid floral blaze of colour. We found our allocated seats at the 30-seater banquet table amidst an incredible display of flowers, edibles and candles. Little golden hippos adorned the perfectly set table and matching golden cutlery boldly announced that this was going to be a celebration of all the good things in life. It was bold, it was big, and it was simply beautiful! And there was plenty to share.
The menu: white wine courses
Disclaimer: please bear with me as I work my way through the six courses!
We started the six-course dinner with “Tinned Tuna”, paired with the FAT Bastard Chardonnay. The dish was presented in an oversized tuna tin and consisted of green seaweed wrapped seared tuna tataki with seaweed pearls, oyster leaf, Togarashi dressing and green Japanese mayo. It even had a proper pull-lid, like the real McCoy (pun totally intended!). I feasted with my eyes for a long time before I took my chopsticks to the dish. Usually not a fan of raw or cured fish, it was a surprisingly tasty dish, especially when paired with this intensely fruity Chardonnay. I wanted more.
The second course was a two-day fermented petit “pampoenkoekie doughnut” topped with a beurre noisette “frosting”, smoked maple syrup, lobster “bacon” brushed with home smoked maple syrup and dehydrated thyme confetti finished with a miso broth. This sounds incredibly fancy, but this simple dish was sublimely paired with the crisp, fresh FAT Bastard Sauvignon Blanc, which beautifully cut through the richness of the miso broth and maple syrup. It was presented with the broth on the side, expertly poured table-side by the waitstaff. By this time, my taste buds were in full overdrive, and my mind tingling with all the surprising elements presented to me in every dish.
The menu: red wine courses
The third course was one of my personal favourites in terms of the pairing. Seared springbok fillet served with a giant beetroot and goats cheese ravioli with dehydrated apple blossoms and a FAT Bastard Merlot jus, paired with their Merlot. This silky wine perfectly complimented the soft venison, and the ripe, juicy palette was an absolute match for the slightly savoury goats cheese. At this point, I didn’t think that the food could get any better. Of course I was mistaken!
In between courses, I got to spend some time and laughs with some of my most favourite people in the food industry. I mean, these girls are the crème de la crème when it comes to the mother city’s culinary scene, and my evening was spent in great company: the gorgeous Leanne from The Wine Girl Cape Town, the irresistibly sweet Dhanusha from Her Wineness, the lovely Roxy from The Witty Wine Woman and the stunning Robyn from Little Bits of Ruby.
On to the second red wine course for the night, and the fourth course in total. Gorgonzola and Cabernet Sauvignon candy floss clouds with macerated figs, saffron syrup and gorgonzola truffles, exquisitely paired with the FAT Bastard Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s so difficult to explain these incredibly innovative dishes without seeing it – because in this case, seeing is believing! Who would’ve thought that delicately sugary candyfloss and piquant gorgonzola would pair so well with a delicious red?! Before tasting this dish, definitely not me. This pairing was heavenly, and even I fall short of words with which to describe the ultimate decadence of the evening.
The menu: dessert courses
Courses five and six were two (yes, TWO!) dessert courses. Both courses were meant to get the guests up from the table and mingling and networking over treats and wine, so they were served in two respective areas in the grand dining room.
Course five consisted of a dessert table on the balcony area, loaded with a gorgeous display of pink tulips filled with FAT Bastard Rosé infused marshmallow, raspberry powder dusted meringue kisses and grapefruit pearls. Paired, of course, with the FAT Bastard’s simply deliciously juicy Rosé.
I returned to the dessert table several times to make sure I sampled all the different treats – quality control and all, you know! By this time the dining hall was filled with little groups of merry guests simply delighting in the feast we were presented with that evening. You could hear the celebratory clinking of glasses over the happy chatter, interspersed with laughs and cheers of joy.
As if that wasn’t enough, we ended the meal on a deliciously decadent note – slices of dark chocolate mud cake with pecan caramel and dark chocolate ganache filling and white chocolate swiss meringue buttercream, expertly paired with the absolutely exquisite FAT Bastard Golden Reserve. Now, this pairing didn’t get the guests mingling. In fact, this got the guests standing their ground in front of the cake and wine display, because it was so delicious and nobody wanted to move too far away!
Reading about this big and bold celebration, you’d automatically assume that the wines must be super expensive and not affordable to the general population. And this is what makes me so incredibly proud to be associated with the FAT Bastard brand; they are confirming that excellent quality wine can be affordable for everyone to enjoy equally. FAT Bastard has plenty to go around, and Mr. B loves to share! They pack sophistication, joy, class, affordability, quality and so much love into each bright bottle of their range. They are confirming that good wine shouldn’t be an exclusive or elite hobby, but rather a reason to bring people together for any enjoyment or celebration; however big or small the event or the budget.
I’ll be a FAT Bastard supporter for all my days. This chunky little golden hippo has wiggled his rightful place straight into my heart and into my wine racks. Do yourself a favour and the next time you have something to celebrate, or just feel like spoiling yourself with the ultimate treat, invite Mr. B around to add some colour to your world. He has this amazing way to turn the ordinary into the extra-ordinary, with touches of gold and sprinkles on top!
The Little Hedonist has made every effort to ensure that the information in this post was correct at the time of publication. However, I do not assume any liability caused by errors, such as price, menu changes, opening times, and contact details.
Disclaimer: I was invited to this event in my personal capacity. There was no expectation for platform coverage in the form of a blog, or social media posts. This is my honest and truthful opinion and review thereof. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are solely those of The Little Hedonist, given in good faith and in no way influenced by the company or its affiliates. All images, unless otherwise stated/credited, are also my own.