First Impressions

Elevating Your Arrival Snacks


With every JAN experience I’ve created, of all the things you have to consider, I don’t relax until I know what my guests will eat on arrival. It’s their first impression of the experience, and your way of literally giving them a taste of what they’re in for. Whether you’re welcoming guests to your restaurant or to a dinner at your house to celebrate Father’s Day, host a special birthday party, or just a last-minute kuier doesn’t matter – arrival snacks show your guests that they’re welcome.

When crafting the canapés, I like something a little whimsical, something that will put a smile on people’s faces, and few things get me as excited as when I see two classics meet up for the first time.

A Marriage of Tradition


A couple of months after opening JAN Franschhoek, I visited the market on the main street one Saturday morning and came across a jaffle stand. I couldn’t remember when last I’d had a jaffle, and having just stepped off the plane from Nice, I was dying for a taste of home. In that moment, there was nothing I wanted more than a bobotie jaffle.

Finding a spot to sit down, relax and people-watch, I sank my teeth into it. Heaven. As I sat looking at the familiar griddle rings radiating out from the centre, I had an idea. What if we elevated this idea and turned it into a choux bun? Choux pastry really is one of the easiest pastry skills to master, and you can fill it with anything.

Soon, this marriage of Cape Malay deliciousness and delicate French refinement became such a hit, our guests at JAN Franschhoek would come into the kitchen asking the chefs for the recipe. Best part is, if you can make bobotie and you can make choux pastry, it’s so easy to figure out, and you can make all the components well ahead of time and keep it in your fridge for when you need it.

But you need a spread, so I added another couple of classics – in this case, my signature biltong lamingtons, and on the sweet side, “jelly tots” I made with fruit purée. Together, this selection of canapés gets all the tastebuds tingling just enough to get your guests excited about the main event

A Marriage of Spice


Apart from pairing well with lamb, Pinotage also goes well with the subtly sweet notes of the chutney used in bobotie. Pinotage is also known for its notes of spice. De Grendel’s 2021 Amandelboord Pinotage, for instance, elicits notes of cherry tobacco, cloves and cinnamon, with flavours of sour cherry, cocoa, cedarwood and plum, all of which sing when paired with bobotie. Trust me, it’s a hit!


An exceptionally exciting new addition to De Grendel’s flagship range, released not only to celebrate the cellar’s 10th anniversary, but also made to honour Sir De Villiers Graaff’s grandfather and namesake, the 2nd Baronet, Sir De Villiers Graaff.

Pinotage, especially if it was from the Durbanville Ward, was a favourite cultivar of his grandfather. The wine is inspired by fond memories of the Almond Orchard through which the young Sir De Villiers Graaff would go horse riding with his grandfather.

A wine with ripe, soft tannins that is made to last. Bright purple edge with an intensely dark core. Cherry tobacco and Christmas spice of cloves and cinnamon abound. On the palate, this medium bodied wine delivers flavours of sour cherry, cocoa, Cedar wood and fresh plums.