“Drinking good wine with good food in good company is one of life’s most civilized pleasures”. These are the words of the late Michael Broadbent MW, legendary wine critic, writer, author and auctioneer – a towering figure in the international world of wine.
However, these could so easily be the words of Annatjie Melck, foodie legend and chatelaine of Muratie, where the culture of food and wine is an intrinsic ingredient of the Melck family’s history, and life at Muratie today.
When Ronnie Melck, charismatic wine industry legend with a boundless passion for life bought Muratie in 1987, fulfilling a lifetime dream of returning the historic estate to the Melck family, he and Annatjie moved into the Muratie Manor House. “There had been so many interesting characters shaping Muratie’s past, but now it was our turn”, reminisces Annatjie. “We infused new life into the old homestead, establishing our very own culture of food and wine. There was hardly ever an empty seat at our enormous dining room table. There would be music, the wine would flow, the kitchen would be a hive of activity, and the aroma of food would infuse the atmosphere of our Muratie home. Wonderful stories were told, and friends from all over the world were made.”
Since Ronnie’s untimely passing in September 1995, Annatjie has continued to live in the Manor House and express her love of food in so many different ways. Determined to uphold the food and wine culture of Stellenbosch and the Winelands, she, together with like-minded friends, founded the Fynproewersgilde, the famous Stellenbosch Wine and Food Festival, and the iconic landmark, Oom Samie se Winkel, in Dorp Street. She also authored the highly acclaimed ‘Koljander’ where she showcases over 100 recipes interwoven with her life’s journey from the plains of the Great Karoo to Muratie. Today, Annatjie continues to work closely with her daughter-in-law Kim, also an accomplished foodie, overseeing the preparation of Muratie’s range of preserves and homemade treats available in the tasting room, and the authentic farm lunch at Muratie’s popular Farm Kitchen Restaurant. Kim describes the Farm Kitchen as an embodiment of the Melck’s food and wine culture, an extension of their home. “I have my apron on and Rijk pours the wine. We do it all and we hope for our guests that it is like being hosted in someone’s home, with warmth and friendliness.”