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Dolmades and Cabernet Franc in Kalk Bay

“Roll and tuck as you go, like a blanket on a bed.” Karina, owner of the Kalkbay Vineyard is teaching us to make dolmades. Karina has the tastiest of recipes, which, she tells us, does not come from her Greek mother-in-law, but a close friend.

She has brought us a stack of fresh vine leaves freshly picked from her nearby vineyard, and then blanched so that they are soft enough to roll. Karina’s pupils are a bunch of ladies gathered at The Courtyard Café, one of Kalk Bay’s gems- a stylish, relaxed restaurant with a great view and a focus on vegetarian fare.

While we roll and tuck, we are enjoying the Kalkbay Vineyard Cabernet Franc which pairs brilliantly with any food and superbly with our delicious dolmades. Perhaps that’s why the tucking on the last few dolmades looks a little disheveled.

Here is Karena’s recipe. “The secret is the cinnamon” she tells us.

Dolmades Recipe

1 cup basmati rice (uncooked)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 very finely chopped onion
chopped parsley
handful pine nuts or sunflower seeds
big squeeze of lemon juice
big teaspoon cinnamon
olive oil

Mix and let stand for an hour before you start rolling so that the rice can soften and the flavours can blend together.


1. Open a bottle of Kalk Bay Vineyard Cabernet Franc and take a big sip. Delicious. Top up your glass and get cracking.

2. Place small quantities of the rice mixture at the base of the leaf, and roll from the base making sure to fold in the sides.

3. Roll tightly and neatly so that the parcels don’t explode in the saucepan when you’re cooking them.

4. Pack cheek by jowl in a saucepan, cover with 2 1/2 cups water and a little olive oil and put a side plate on top of them while cooking.

5. Bring to gentle boil. Turn down heat and let them simmer until there is no more water in the pan.

6. Let them stand to cool before trying to move them, otherwise they will break apart.

7. Invite friends over. Serve at room temperature with thick plain yoghurt or tzatziki.

8. Open more Cabernet Franc. Cheers! Gia sou!

To order Kalk Bay Vineyard wine call Karena on 0834488462.

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