CapeTownTourism AGM Cake Whale CottageLast night Cape Town Tourism held what many say is the best AGM ever, with a dynamic and funny keynote speaker Vusi Thembekwayo, and a very entertaining Anton Groenewald from the City of Cape Town  Tourism, Events, and Marketing Directorate, being the highlight of the event held at the Tsogo Sun Cape Sun, which celebrated the 10th anniversary of Cape Town Tourism since its re-invention in 2004.

I arrived late, returning from Franschhoek, as Groenewald was speaking.  He kindly gave me his notes, for use for writing this blogpost.  His Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, Councillor Garreth Bloor, was present, and many a joke was at his expense.  Groenewald started his talk by reflecting on the past three years in which he has headed up theCapeTownTourism AGM Anton Groenewald Whale Cottage Tourism Directorate of the City, and has spent R1,5 billion.  He confirmed the three-year agreement signed with Cape Town Tourism, which came with a promise of R120 million over the next three years.   Reflecting on the successes of the past year, Groenewald presented its highlights as being World Travel Market Africa, a collaboration with Thebe Reed, which attracted 4500 trade visitors and 220 media, and for which the city has signed for another two (more…)

Cape Town Stadium and Table MountainCondé Nast Traveler has announced its 27th Readers’ Choice Awards, reflecting the favourite travel destinations of its 76600 readers.

Cape Town was ranked 4th favourite travel destination in the world, following Florence in top spot, Charleston in South Carolina in second place, and Budapest in third position.  Cape Town beat San Miguel de Allende in Mexico, Prague, Rome, Siem Reap in Cambodia, Barcelona, and Sante Fe in New Mexico.

The accolade for Cape Town is as follows: ‘Cape Town is the best city in the world for blending urban culture with the great outdoors: They’re literally a five-minute drive from each other. There’s an exploding food (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Retailers’ service sucks - we may have thought so – but now it’s official, according to the ‘Retail Shopper Survey 2014′, conducted by Why 5 amongst households with a total income of R10000 or more.  More than half of respondents said service is bad; they want shops close by; shopping is a grudge purchase; the majority research offers online;  payment by mobile phone would be supported by one-third of shoppers; loyalty programs are highly popular, 96% of shoppers using them; sales do attract shoppers; shoppers want information via catalogues, newsletters, and e-mails, but in-store radio broadcasts are a waste of time; shoppers feel that shopping malls all look the same.

*   TripAdvisor has launched a new ‘Just for You‘ service, offering ‘tailor-made’ accommodation recommendations based on past searches on their website as well as preferences.  It links with Facebook to gain a better understanding of its customers, to enable better recommendations to be made.

*   The Vineyard Hotel has been recognised by the 2014 Travel + Leisure Global Vision Awards for its promotion of (more…)

PLATTERS 2015 Guide CoverThe 2015 Platter’s Wine Guide was launched at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel last night, in a Beaujolais Ferment colour, with a number of changes in terms of its methodology to evaluate the 5 star wines,  as well as in the content of the Wine Guide. Out of 6000 wines submitted for evaluation, a total of 50 wines and one brandy received the highly desired 5 star rating. The Platter’s Winery of the Year is Sadie Family Wines, the second time that Eben Sadie has received this accolade.   DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2013 was named the White Wine of the Year, Platter's JP Rossouw Whale Cottageand De Trafford Blueprint Syrah 2012 was named the Red Wine of the Year.

The first Platter’s change is that JP Rossouw has been the new publisher for the past year, looking confident last night, relative to his first more restrained presentation a year ago.  It was nice to see former publisher Andrew McDowell (more…)

Diners Club Winemaker of the Year Finalists 3It’s a Diners Club wine day today, with the announcement of the 2014 Winemaker of the Year Finalist, as well as the Diners Club Platter’s Guide launch a little later today.

The Finalists for 2014 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year, in the category of Dry White Wine Blends, are: (more…)

StellenboschHills Banner Whale CottageI haven’t been to La Mouette in years, so accepted the invitation from Waterford Communications to attend the launch of the latest vintages of Stellenbosch Hills, and a spoiling 7-course Tasting Menu, a relaxed event ending off a very busy functions week.

We were met outside in the courtyard, and offered  the 2014 vintage of Stellenbosch Hills’ Polkadraai Pinot Noir Sparkling Rosé.  Polkadraai is one of the Stellenbosch Hills ranges, and uses polka dots for its neck wrapper design, in different colours. The design lifts Stellenbosch Hills Polkadraai Pinot Noir Sparkling Rose 2014 Whale Cottagethe image of the brand.  With the sparkling wine we were served the moreish La Mouette feta and truffle and Gruyére croquettes, as well as chicken satay.  Cellarmaster PG Slabbert welcomed us once we had moved into one of the restaurant rooms, sitting at three long tables, and shared that Stellenbosch Hills is a co-operative which has been in existence for 69 years.  A big celebration for the 70th anniversary is planned.  The 8000 tons of grapes harvested come (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Sharing services such as Uber and Airbnb are coming under pressure to comply with laws of running their businesses and paying taxes, some countries reacting strictly, and others welcoming their input to the expansion of the economy. Uber was banned in Germany for a while, but has been allowed to operate again.  Airbnb has picked up problems in Barcelona for breaching the city’s rental rules.   A number of court cases in the USA alone relate to payment of gratuities to drivers, advertised as being included in the price, but drivers do not appear to be receiving their full gratuities.

*   The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has moved its presentation date to Monday 1 June 2015, having hosted the awards at the end of April for the past twelve years.  The awards recognise the best restaurants in the world.  In 2014 only The Test Kitchen made the prestigious top 50 list.  (received via media release from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, forwarded by Tamsin Snyman)

*   Saronsberg has relaunched its Provenance range with a new label, depicting the ‘From Earth, From Water‘ sculpture by Angus (more…)

Molten Tofee main interior Whale CottageTrendy Kloof ‘Eatery’ Street already has more than 30 restaurants, and has just added Molten Toffee Juice Bar & Coffee Shop, which opened on Monday.  It is focused on offering Deluxe coffee, and a small selection of food items.

It was Molten Toffee following us on Twitter that attracted attention to them, and when I drove down Kloof Street on Friday afternoon, I saw a group of people outside the coffee shop, officially celebrating its opening.  Massive orange balloons are still floating inside, matching the brass interior decor elements which were introduced by designer Leon Morland, who is an ad agency art director in his day job. Tim Church of Church Original Products, who created a brass- clad servingMolten Toffee Art Whale Cottage counter, the brass cone-shaped lampshades, the brass-edged clock, and the little brass buckets in which the bill arrives. He also designed the small square wooden-top tables, and the sweetest stools with seats that look like buttons. One can sit outside when it is not too windy, as well as at a window counter for which the window opens completely.   Vases with orange proteas are on every table.  On the walls they have smaller works of art called ‘Windows .03′, a (more…)

Dals ExpressThe Sweet Service Award goes to Dals Express ‘Auto Body Repair Centre‘ in Montague Gardens, and its manager Conrad Wiegersma, for the professional and caring service my car and I received when I handed it in for a two-day repair of a small scratch.  Despite being promised the repair within two days telephonically, Conrad wanted to play it safe and have the car for an extra day, but I needed it back. Conrad and his team managed to have the repair done within 24 hours of it being dropped off, and gave the car a deep-clean valet, so that it looked as good as new (after 8 years) when I went to collect it! (more…)

MasterChef 3 10 four teamsIn MasterChef SA episode 10 last night five top South African sommeliers were invited to evaluate the pairing of two Tapas dishes of each of four teams with two Nederburg wines.  The Red Team won the challenge, winning a Secret Reward (it looks like it could be lunch at The Pot Luck Club), while the Blue Team had the lowest score, and will go into an Elimination Test in episode 11.

In winning the best chicken dish with her Coq au Vin in episode 9 last week, Penny Fitchet was honoured with the pairing of the eight finalists.  She paired herself with Francois Zietsman and decided on Blue aprons.  Philippa Robinson and Roxi Wardman were paired in the Yellow Team; Abigail Mbalo and Mel Sutherland were paired in the Green Team; and Ian Young and Sipho Mdlankomo were Nederbrug 56Hundred MasterChefpaired into the Red Team.  Each team had 60 minutes to prepare each of two Tapas dishes, to be paired with Nederburg 56Hundred Chenin Blanc for the first dish, and Nederburg 56Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon for the second dish.  We had learnt in a previous Season of MasterChef that the 56Hundred range was named after the price of 5600 guilders which was paid by Philippus Wolvaart to buy the farm which he named Nederburg.  Invited Sommeliers were Neil Grant, chairman of the South African (more…)

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