Stellenbosch Wine FestivalBilled as a three-day event but stretching over a week, the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presented by Pick ‘n Pay draws to a close today, with a feast of events offered.  It is the largest wine festival in the country, and the oldest.  The media blurb proudly brags that the Stellenbosch Wine Festival presents the best of Stellenbosch’s ‘great wine, gourmet food, breathtakingly beautiful nature, and performances by some of South Africa’s most popular musicians‘.

Held at the Coetzenburg Sports Grounds since Friday, 200 wines of 148 wine estates that make up the Stellenbosch Wine Route are available to taste, creating a ‘virtual wine route‘.  The Pick ‘n Pay Wine Shop will sell Stellenbosch wines to drink at the Festival, to take home, or to ship back to one’s home destination.   Winemakers from Waterford Estate, Spier, Kleine (more…)

J&B MetThe J&B Met is a Cape Town institution, celebrating its 38th anniversary this year, but having been run for more than 135 years.   Taking place at Kenilworth Race Course today with the theme ‘Made for the Mix’, the race is expected to attract 50000 punters and fashionistas.

The Mix slogan describes that the J&B Met is a mix of the ‘fashionable and the famous‘.  It invites attendees to mix with different people at the event, to combine different fashion styles, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   ACSA is introducing new hand luggage regulations at its airports from Monday onwards, which are expected to cause check-in delays initially.  If the hand luggage does not conform to regulations, it will have to be checked in.  Each piece of hand luggage will now be weighed, not to exceed 7 kg.  Passengers are allowed a handbag OR a ‘slim-line laptog bag‘.  The carry-on bag dimensions may not exceed 36 cm x 23 cm x 56 cm.

*   The petrol price will decrease by 93 cents a litre from Wednesday, dropping to below R10 a litre at the coast.  The drastic drop is due to the drop in the crude oil price, and a weaker exchange rate.

*   The Competitions Commission has blocked Tsogo Sun’s bid for 40% of GrandWest and Worcester (more…)

Sewing machineThe Sweet Service Award goes to Kloof Sewing Box, for the immediate repair of a favourite clothing item, instead of having to wait for it for a week, and not charging for it, probably reflecting the good relationship we have with the staff, and the regular use of their service.

 

 

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WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Reserve Bank has left the interest rate unchanged, the repo rate remaining at 5,75 %.

*   The retail trade experienced a fair to middling‘ Festive Season trade, and the projection is that 2015 will be much the same.  Stores targeting the lower income group were impacted by low demand, caused by unemployment and debt.  Woolworths sales growth was lower in the past six months than in the same period a year prior.

*   The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association has become an ‘association partner‘ for World Travel Market (more…)

South-African-Airways-3-720x330-702x330 pouring wineCity Press reported over the weekend that SAA sommelier and Global Food and Beverage Manager, Bongi Sodladla, was feted with bribes and incentives to offer wine purchase contracts to those wineries which greased her palms.  Had Bribery Bongi not been going through  a divorce, and had her still-current husband Wonga Sodladla not been so generous with information sent to SAA last month about his wife’s misdemeanours, SAA, the wine industry, and the South African public would never have known what was going on behind the scenes of SAA’s wine buying!

We first heard of Bribery Bongi in October last year, when she appeared in an episode of Season 3 of MasterChef (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Sir David Graaff, owner of De Grendel wine estate and farm, passed away this past weekend.

*   SAA claims to be the first airline to offer a credit card payment system in the sky, with its new locally-developed Satellite Authorisation System. The system also will offer an airline tracking service.  It will be implemented on all its international flights over time.

*   Statistics South Africa has promised to have 2014 tourism arrival statistics available by the end of March.  It (more…)

Orphanage branding Whale CottageSince Orphanage Cocktail Emporium opened on fashionable foodie Bree Street in Cape Town almost three years ago, it has established itself as a classy establishment with award-winning bartenders and unusual bespoke cocktails. More recently it has added a restaurant on the lower level, accessible via the Bree Street entrance, or its own dedicated entrance on Orphan Street.  It has decided to give back to the industry by allowing ‘orphan chefs‘ to use their space for a year to set up a restaurant, which the chefs would not have been able to afford to do on their own, and to overcome the barriers to entry.

Chef Johann Breedt is the first ‘orphan chef’ to have been ‘adopted’ by Orphanage, Orphanage Chef Johann Breedt Whale Cottageand took over the kitchen in December. He was a finalist in the first season of Kokkedoor.  I first met him when he was working at the Executive Club at The Westin Cape Town, where we were invited to a Graham Beck MCC tasting and lunch, and I remember the lunch as being excellent.  Chef Johann moved to Shimmy Beach Club, then joined Taj, before moving to Orphanage. He trained at Chef Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and The Ritz Hotel in the UK.  He also previously worked at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa and The Lanzerac. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Loadshedding has returned with a vengeance, starting with Schedule 1, and switching to Schedule 2 during the course of yesterday afternoon, due to ‘unforeseen technical problems’, according to Eskom.

*    A Scottish B&B owning couple is taking TripAdvisor to court for refusing to divulge who is posting ‘bogus’ reviews about their establishment, so that they can sue for defamation.  The review company says that it must be sued in the USA, where the company’s headquarters are.

*   New FlySafair airline is lowering its prices due to lower fuel costs.  Between February and July 20000 seats will be made (more…)

Grand Provence Darren Badenhorst's - San Pellegrino rabbit dish LRNot only talented Young Chefs from South Africa, but also some of our top celebrity chefs will be involved in judging the best S. Pellegrino Young Chef in the Middle East and Africa, taking place in Milan from 25 – 27 June.  Cape Town and the Winelands have four of ten Young Chef nominations for the judging region, and one celebrity Chef international judge.  A total of 3000 Young Chefs entered the Young Chef competition globally.

The four Cape Town and Winelands Young Chef nominees, having to be under the age of 30 years to qualify, are the following: (more…)

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