Feast Pete Goffe-Wood

On Thursday evening Chef Pete Goffe-Wood was the first MasterChef SA judge to have an episode in the new M-Net mini-series ‘Feast’ dedicated to him and his cooking, the highlight being the Christmas meal he prepared for his family and friends. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South Africa is the most attractive tourist destination in Africa, overtaking Egypt for the first time, and is on the Top 25 global tourism destination list,  in the Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2014/2015. Close to 200 countries were included in the survey, which measured the performance of the tourism industry, brand strategy, and online presence.  South Africa was followed by Egypt and Morocco in Africa.

*  South African accommodation establishments Babylonstoren, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Grace hotel, and the Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa have made the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 Gold List of 100 World’s Best Hotels. 

*   Global tourism should exceed 1 billion this year, already at  978 million between January and October this year, as (more…)

Supa QuickThe Sweet Service Award goes to Supa Quick and its mechanic Nico, for making a plan to fix a brake pad problem on my car on a Saturday, the new brake pads having been installed by Arnold’s Auto Services just a month ago.  One of the pins holding the brake pad had broken, and was scratching the tyre rim, making a dreadful noise. Nico replaced it with a temporary pin until they could order the part from the supplier on a weekday, without charge. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*    The price of petrol could drop by as much as R1.07 per litre on Wednesday 7 January, its largest drop ever, predicts the Automobile Association.  The price of diesel is expected to drop by 85 cents a litre.

*   Well-known UK wine writer and judge Jamie Goode has selected his top 10 South African wines:   Sadie Family Pofadder Cinsault 2012, Newton Johnson Family Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013, Rall White 2012, Iona Chardonnay 2013, Savage Red 2012, Cape Winemakers Guild (CWG) Mullineux Semillon Gris 2013, Testalonga El Bandito Skin Contact 2011, De Morgenzon DMZ Reserve Syrah 2012, Beeslar Pinotage 2012, and Klein Constantia Vin de Constance 2008.

*   The Western Province Rugby Union is likely to announce today that it is not moving to the Cape Town Stadium, and that (more…)

MasterChef 17 Three judgesTo fill the gap left on Thursday evenings by 17 episodes of MasterChef SA Season 3, M-Net is flighting a 4-part mini-series ‘Feast’ from tonight onwards. Details are scant, not available yet on the M-Net website.  The stars of the episodes are the three MasterChef SA Season 3 judges as well as guest celebrity Chef Marco Pierre White.

I received three paragraphs from M-Net Public Relations Manager Ingrid Engelbrecht.  The media release states:

December in South Africa is holiday and festive time! Families come together, friends socialise and South Africans around the country are outdoors with loved ones, enjoying the summer sun. The essence of the season is all about celebrating: family and friends, the gloriousness of great food and the opportunity for fun to abound  – often around fabulous (more…)

Reuben Riffel Whale CottageYesterday I met Chef Reuben Riffel for a Day of Reconciliation coffee at Crisp in Franschhoek, around the corner from his Reuben’s restaurant, a follow-up from our reconnection at the Mercedes-Benz Eat Out Restaurant Awards.

As he sat down, Chef Reuben apologised for not feeling 100%, starting a cold, and expressing that he is exhausted after a very busy year, but seems to have enjoyed every minute of it. Ironically he and his wife Maryke had planned 2014 last year, wanting it to be a less busy year than 2013, but looking back, he said it was even busier. In the past year he has done the following:

*   filmed MasterChef SA Celebrity Edition, a series we are yet to see, in January 2015, in which he cut his MasterChef judging teeth, apologising that he was still new at being a TV cooking show judge.  Food24 reports that the 10 celebrities, cooking for a prize to be donated to  charity, are Singer Patricia Lewis, Comedian Chris Forrest, Comedian TolAss­Mo, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine new headlines

*      Etihad Airways and SAA have announced one of the benefits of their ‘strategic partnership’, in that SAA is commencing flights between Johannesburg and Abu Dhabi from 29 March, doubling the number of flights on this route.  Abu Dhabi is a hub, with access to India, the Middle East, and Asia.

*   The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predicts that the profit of its member airlines is expected to grow, due to the lower oil price and GDP growth. Airfares are expected to decrease by 5%.

*   The R 2 million Sun Star sculpture on Signal Hill has unleashed a debate about the role of corporate sponsorship in (more…)

MstrChf 3 Sipho and RoxiDear David Smith

As the Africa correspondent for the UK The Guardian newspaper, I have been most interested in your interest in a relatively mediocre South African cooking show, in which home cooks vied to become MasterChef SA in Season 3.  Twice you have tried to spin a race story on finalist Sipho Mdlankomo, using her skin colour and her career as ways in which to bash our country and its people! Surely Africa could benefit from your writing skills in writing about our exciting loadshedding life, Cape Town making Best City in the world in your competitor The Telegraph, Ebola and its impact on tourism, the birth of the Monaco royal twins which have a South African link, etc.

A week before the MasterChef SA Season 3 winner was announced you started warming up the topic, by quoting Sipho in saying (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Newton Johnson Cellarmaster Gordon Newton Johnson has been admitted to the Cape Winemakers’ Guild as its 46th member.  It recognises his achievements as winemaker of Pinot Noir in particular, and winning this year’s Platter’s Red Wine of The Year.  Membership is by invitation only. (received via media release from GC Communications)

*   ‘Festive Franschhoek’ runs until Tuesday, and is intended to attract Capetonians and tourists to come and do their Christmas shopping in Franschhoek rather than in manic Cape Town.  Shops such as Peacock Blue, Indian Summer, Masquerade Antiques & Things, and Troll Beads will stay open until 20h00, misleadingly marketed as ‘late night shopping’!  Misleading too is the invitation to ‘Enjoy a five-star meal at Reuben’s...’, the restaurant only having made a 4-star rating in the Diners Club Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide this year, irresponsible overmarketing by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold of Destinate, running the promotion!   One suspects that all participants had to pay her company for the promotion!

*   Miss South Africa, Rolene Strauss, has won Miss World 2014, a wonderful marketing opportunity for our country!

*   Wesgro and Happy Snappy are jointly developing a mobile campaign to inform visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape (more…)

Honest Chocolate Cafe Exterior 2 Whale CottageThe Honest Chocolate Café opened a week ago on Wale Street, in a building next door to where it operated Honest Chocolate, the first outlet from which the owners Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk first made and sold their artisanal dark chocolate in 2011.  The Honest Chocolate Café sells all things chocolate, a blackboard as well as a menu detailing what treasures one can order.

Anthony says he ‘stumbled’ into chocolate-making, not having any culinary background. Using raw cocoa powder he had found in health shops, he experimented with it to make chocolates that his friends loved.  Michael was living in London at the time, specialising in website design, and he too was experimenting with chocolate-making, having been inspired by a friend in New York to do so.  The team call themselves ‘imperfectionists’, learning as they go along. They have started with making moulded and dipped truffles, and sold their first handcrafted chocolates at the Old Biscuit Mill.  Their chocolates do not contain dairy or Honest Chocolate Cafe interior Whale Cottageemulsifiers, and they only use natural fructose.  The raw organic cocoa beans are sourced from Super Foods, who in turn source them from a co-operative in Ecuador, which is also known to make one of the top chocolates in the world.  Their cocoa beans are not roasted, unlike other cocoa producers. The beans have a great aroma, have anti-ageing properties, and are good for the heart.  They use agave nectar instead of sugar, which is low GI, and is therefore diabetic-friendly.  In addition to truffles, they make small slabs, each new product wrapper designed by a different designer: a rabbit on the 72 % bar, and an illustration of the Kalahari desert on the (more…)

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