city, houses

Gretha Scholtz's home truths

Greg Cox/Bureaux.co.za


home truths

The Cape Town base of international businessman Mogens Tholstrup and Gretha Scholtz hints at a glamorous jet-set lifestyle yet retains the essence of a real South African home. Read Gretha's truths when it comes to this beautiful abode.

My best place for inspiration is our island house in the Finnish archipelago, which is surrounded by wild, unspoilt nature and more than 8 000 neighbouring islands. The most cherished item in my home is our cabinet of curiosities. Whether it’s a piece of driftwood picked up on a beach in Zanzibar, a bottle filled with black volcanic sand from Stromboli or the hairbrush my mother used to threaten spankings with, every item in there tells a story and is precious to me. My go-to comfort food is Chuckles. Or, failing that, udon noodles in miso soup. My kitchen-cupboard staples are Japanese matcha tea, yuzu juice, ponzu, dashi, miso, mirin, bonito flakes, olive oil, maldon salt, shichimi togarashi spice, Kewpie mayonnaise and furikake. I’m a sucker for Japanese food and travel with half these ingredients. I most love cooking anything. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen developing recipes for my next book, so whether it’s Japanese, Korean, Greek or good old-fashioned boerekos, I’ll very rarely serve the same dinner twice. But my great love is baking. My personal style is definitely not minimalist. When I dress to impress, I wear sky-high heels and Zagara di Sicilia, an orange-blossom cologne from Sicily. It evokes memories of spring and foreign destinations. I always travel with my husband. It’s no fun exploring beautiful places by yourself – and he speaks six languages and is good at reading maps.

home truths

My favourite time of day is when I can get into bed. There’s nothing I love more than my own bed with freshly laundered sheets and down pillows. The one country I’ve travelled to that I will never forget is Japan. So many things about it inspire me: the design philosophy, the culture, the Zen gardens, the punctuality, the politeness and consideration for others and, most of all, the food. My greatest regular indulgence is buying plants for the garden, even though it already looks like a jungle. At the moment I’m reading Momofuku by David Chang, and anything in Afrikaans by Deon Meyer. And listening to Vampire Weekend, George Ezra, Melody Gardot, Jamie Cullum, Train and The Cure. I am definitely not helpless with a power drill. In my next life, I’d come back as a Michelin-star restaurant reviewer. I’d get to dine in the best restaurants in the world and be paid to do it! My next dream holiday destination is Myanmar (Burma). I’d love to experience the ancient temple-dotted city of Bagan and visit the 2 500-year-old Shwedagon Pagoda, which is covered in hundreds of gold plates and encrusted in diamonds, rubies and sapphires. When I was younger, I used to think that Chuck Norris was hot and that one day I’d be all grown up. All I need to make me happy is sunshine, a glass of wine, friends and laughter.

Find the full story in House & Leisure's April 2017 issue.