FNB Sauvignon B All Top winners Whale CottageI have not been to Nitida wine estate in Durbanville in a long time, nor to its Cassia restaurant.  As the FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc awards were held at the wine estate, it was a good opportunity to revisit, and to experience the new function venue, which comfortably seated 120 guests for lunch yesterday.

Invited guests included two representatives each of the FNB Sauvignon Blanc Top 20 shortlist, writers, and FNB staff as well as their clients.  Prior to the lunch, each of the 20 Sauvignon Blanc producers manned a tasting table, and provided information, making it a good opportunity to rub shoulders with other guests.   (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has projected total international passenger numbers at 7,3 billion by 2034, an annual growth rate of 4% per annum, and a doubling of current passenger numbers.  China is expected to overtake the USA in having the largest number of passengers by 2030.  India, Indonesia, and Brazil are projected to have the third, fourth, and fifth largest passenger numbers, respectively.

*  The Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) FNB Tourism Business Index for the 3rd quarter of this year is 105, an improvement on the second quarter, but markedly lower than the index range of 112 – 116 measured in the 3rd quarter a year ago, the 4th quarter of 2013, and the first quarter of this year. An Index of 110 is projected for the 4th quarter.

*   SAA has lost four non-executive Board members and one Board member in the past week, which expresses the (more…)

Cape Town Stadium and Table MountainIt is shocking that the City of Cape Town is trying to mislead the Tourism industry, in stating that ‘Cape Town is indeed becoming a popular year-round destination’, whereas the contrary is true, in that Seasonality is becoming more and more pronounced every winter, not just for the Tourism industry but for all Cape Town and Western Cape businesses too.

The media release ‘Cape Town is a destination of choice even in winter‘, was issued by Garreth Bloor, the City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, via the City’s ‘Integrated Strategic Communication and Branding Department‘, an in-house department.   It is worrying when Councillors seek publicity for themselves, Councillor (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   FlySafair took off for the first time last week, offering permanent low-cost flights between Johannesburg, Cape Town, George, and Port Elizabeth.  Extras are charged, including meals, luggage in addition to two pieces of hand luggage, pre-booked seats, travel insurance, and extra-space seats. Base airfares between Cape Town and Johannesburg cost R 499 per direction.

*   The City of Cape Town has launched a Mobile Transport TCT App.  Developed by ‘Where is my Transport’, it is unique in Africa, and will guide commuters as to which form of transport they can use to get to their destination, incorporating the MyCiTi Bus, Golden Arrow Bus, Jammie Shuttle bus, city sightseeing buses, and Metrorail trains.  In addition information relating to shops close by, and directions in getting there, is also provided.  The app can also guide users of private transport, providing travel times, as well as informing them about traffic hold-ups such as accidents, roadworks, and more.  Locals can use the app to report potholes, faulty traffic lights, and bad driving to the City.

*   Award-winning wine blog Terroirist sings the praises of the ‘Swartland‘ generally, and of the wines (more…)

Carne branding Whale CottageSerendipity led me to Carne Bistro on Kloof Street last night, bumping into the Friedman family, which was eating there while I was heading to Manna Epicure next door. An invitation to join their table led me to experience the new Carne Bistro, which opened in September. The space was previously Caffe Milano, which was a favourite for their Eggs Benedict, and for the excellent service from its previous manager Charlene, who now works at the main Carne on Keerom Street.

I had not been back to the original Carne restaurant, after the exposé on this Blog about owner Giorgio Nava’s misleading claims about his beef, lamb and game being organic and coming from his Karoo farm.  Nava saw the light, and removed the claims from his menus and website a year later.   The restaurant (with 95 Keerom) has never made the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist since then, despite being one of two favourite chefs (with Chef Luke Dale-Roberts) of Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly!  Nava wins a more recently created Eat Out Carne Bistro Interior Whale CottageBest of Award every year, alternating between Best Italian for 95 Keerom, and Best Steakhouse for Carne. This yearshould be a 95 Keerom year!

Some interior changes were made to the restaurant, but not really visible nor obvious. Wall shelving has been removed, and the wooden buttermilk vessels which were used as decor at the Mozzarella Bar (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   World Design Capital 2016 will be hosted by Taipei, and the city received the baton for the bi-annual event from incumbent Cape Town last weekend from the President of the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, with Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille present. Taipei’s theme will be ‘Adaptive City: Design in Motion’.  

*  Crown Princess Mary of Denmark will open the ‘Danish Showroom for Design, Architecture and Consumer Goods at Youngblood in Cape Town on 3 November.  Danish design products of ten companies will be on display, and the exhibition aims to improve collaboration between our country and Denmark.  Entrance is free, from 4 – 6 November.

*   A Ghandi tourism route has been developed, and was launched in Johannesburg by SA Tourism, with thirteen places on (more…)

La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc Whale CottageLa Motte has changed the packaging of its Pierneef Collection range, bringing the J.H. Pierneef lino cut prints to the front label, having originally been launched with prints of the valuable artworks on the back label.

The late artist Pierneef, said by many to be our country’s best artist ever, has made an important impact on La Motte, his lino cut prints collection having been used by the wine estate for a number of years.  In negotiating the right to use the prints, of which Hannelie Rupert-Koegelenberg had received a set of 128 prints as a gift from her father Dr Anton Rupert, she and her husband Hein Koegelenberg got to know Pierneef’s daughter Marita Bailey, who lives in the UK.  Mrs Bailey approached the Koegelenbergs to buy the private family collection of Pierneefs, which they agreed to, and they built a special gallery and museum to house the works of art.  It did not stop there.  As La Motte was building a restaurant (and a new Tasting Room as well as Farm Shop) at that time, it was decided to name the restaurant Pierneef à La Motte, wishing to associate the success of the artist and his pursuit of excellence with that which they planned for the (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The South African Football Federation (SAFA) has declined the offer to host the 2015 African Confederations (Afcon) Cup, due to Morocco cancelling its hosting due to the Ebola threat. SAFA says that our country does not have the funds to host the event.

*  A host of South African companies is participating in the South Africa-China Expos next week, 51 local companies participating in the expos in five Chinese cities. Their participation is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, so that trade and investment between the two countries can be increased.  Bayede wine company is one of the participants, and wants to enhance its presence in China. Robinson and Sinclair Wine Company is another exhibitor, while Rooibos Tea will be promoted generically.

*   The Nedbank Green Wine Awards 2014 recognised Reyneke Chenin Blanc 2013 as Best Wine Overall in the Made from Organically Grown Grapes category, as well as Organic Best White Wine.  Hermanuspietersfontein Die Bartho 2012 won (more…)

Blaauwklippen Artwork for Blend label Whale CottageFriday’s 31st Blaauwklippen Blending Competition event was not only a celebration of the enthusiasm and skills of wine clubs around the country, but also of the rejuvenation of Blaauwklippen, with a number of changes made with a new Tasting Room venue, the addition of a new Bistro with a new champion for it, a new Spirits Room, and a redecorated entrance and cellar function room.   The Blending Competition made history with its most unusual outcome.

We were welcomed on a perfect function weather day on the lawn between the Tasting Room and the Manor House and Jonkershuis, a space I had never seen before. We were served Blaauwklippen’s Ons Sprankel wine, and canapés made by new Blaauwklippen Bistro owner and charcutier Steve Jeffery.  They were served by dapper looking waitresses, wearing Bistro black outfits and cheeky hats, looking smarter than most restaurant staff I have seenBlaauwklippen Canapes Waitress Whale Cottage in a long time.  They offered platters of spinach and feta phyllo pastry parcels, and mozzarella pesto roulades, which doubled up as the starters (I did not see the third canapé specified on the menu).  Natalie Campbell told me that the Manor House is used for conferences and weddings, while the Jonkershuis is used for staff accommodation.

I had a chance to chat to Steve before we sat down, and he told me that he has been at the Old Biscuit Mill for the past nine years, selling his charcuterie products, having had a stand at Blaauwklippen’s Market at one stage too.  Rolf and Steve had been talking for about two years about doing something jointly, and (more…)

Mercedes-Benz logoThe Sweet Service Award goes to Mercedes-Benz Culemborg in Cape Town, for the assistance by its Service Manager Dean Guimaraes in opening my car roof, which stopped working yesterday morning. Despite arriving at 16h00 on a Friday afternoon after returning from a function in Stellenbosch, Dean checked out the car.  He found that a part of the roof mechanism had broken, and managed to open the roof, despite the broken part, which they will replace next week, once ordered on Monday. (more…)

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