WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Washington Post has visited, and was so impressed with the Van Ryn’s Distillery outside Stellenbosch, and the taste of brandy, that the writer recommends that tourists should go for our brandy instead of our wines!  The writer visited Jorgensen’s Distillery Upland Organic Estate, both in Wellington, as well as Tokara.

*   The 2014 BestCities Client Workshop will be held in Cape Town from 8 – 10 December, hosted by the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau.  Delegates representing 22 international associations across a diversity of disciplines such as pharmaceutical, medical, science, academia, and technology will meet.  Cape Town and its conference facilities will also be showcased to the delegates.

*   The City of Cape Town is awaiting input from the public to its draft Coastal Management Programme, with a deadline (more…)

DG Sunrise Whale CottageOn Friday last week we were invited to attend the launch of Delaire Graff’s new Crémant de Loire blend MCC, unique in that it is Chenin Blanc driven, and a unique blend with Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc grapes.  The new MCC is named after the ‘118.08 carat Delaire Sunrise Diamond, the largest square emerald cut  fancy vivid yellow diamond in the world‘, in reflecting the colour of the yellow diamond.

Winemaker Morné Vrey introduced the MCC to us, saying that in the seven years that he has been at Delaire Graff, he knew the day would come that he would be asked to make an MCC.   He wanted to make something different, so traveled to the Loire valley, the making of the MCC being ‘a learning curve for him‘, he said.   Given Delaire Graff’s strong Loire-style wine DG Sunrise Morne Vrey Whale Cottageportfolio, he decided to make the Chenin-dominant (58%) MCC, with 34% Chardonnay and 8% Cabernet Franc.  The Chenin Blanc grapes came from 20 year old Stellenbosch bush vine, while the Chardonnay grapes came from Elgin, and the Cabernet Franc from Stellenbosch. It spent 15 months on the lees. Residual sugar is 5,9 g/liter.

The first Sunrise was bottled last year, but the MCC will be sold NV (Non Vintage).  The MCC will only be sold at Delaire (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Committee has kept the repo rate unchanged at 5,75%, the new Governor Lesetja Kganyago has announced. The rate did not change due to the reducing inflation rate, the lower international oil prices being an inflation benefit, and the weak economy.

*   The Vancouver Sun writes about ‘Sensational South Africa‘, highlighting its ‘Big Five must-see list’.  It includes Cape Town (‘the country’s prettiest city‘, Bo-Kaap, the City Bowl market – certainly not the best Cape Town has to offer – Table Mountain and its ‘tram ride‘, the Mount Nelson Hotel, and Robben Island), the Winelands (Franschhoek and its Wine Tram), Himeville and the Drakensberg,  Durban, and Safaris.

*  The City of Cape Town has announced its extensive plans for the safety of the city and its visitors over the Festive (more…)

Haarlem & Hope opening 24 NovemberOn Friday afternoon Haarlem & Hope was officially opened in the Company’s Garden, now operated by the Madame Zingara Group, having won the tender from the City of Cape Town.  The restaurant opens to the public tomorrow.

Owner Richard Griffin is an excellent showmaster, which we have seen in his quirky restaurants such as the Bombay Bicycle Club, and his Madame Zingara shows are a must-see in acrobatics, entertainment, Haarlem & Hope Richard Griffen Whale Cottageand food served with precision for hundreds (perhaps Eat Out can contract him to handle the catering for the Eat Out Restaurant Awards in 2015)!

The name comes from  the Dutch ship Nieuwe Haarlem, which was shipwrecked at the Cape in 1647.  Crew members stayed at the Cape for a year before being picked up by another passing Dutch ship, and in that time the crew planted vegetables, which they bartered for fresh meat from the Khoi living here already. Jan van Riebeek arrived five years later, expanding the vegetable gardening to create the Company’s Garden.

The first thing one notices on arrival is the weaver bird nest-like hanging baskets at the right of the entrance, made (more…)

Pierneef a La MotteThe Sweet Service Award goes to Pierneef à La Motte and its Manager Pierre Theron, who is an angel in always making a plan to find  a table for our Whale Cottage Franschhoek guests, who often request us to book restaurants for the weekend in the last minute.  Usually the reservations staff at the restaurant tell me that they are fully booked, but when I ask for Pierre he always makes a plan to organise a table, making our guests delighted with the excellent service. (more…)

MasterChef 3 14 Final 6Last night the MasterChef SA Season 3 Top 6 finalists returned from Mauritius to a treat in Johannesburg, being lunch at South Africa’s number 2 Eat Out Top 10 restaurant five hundred, at the Saxon Boutique Hotel, a restaurant on my bucket list!  Returning to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg, the finalists had to replicate each of Chef David Higg’s dishes, Abigail Mbalo leaving the MasterChef SA kitchen, having forgotten to plate some of the elements.

For the second time in a few weeks episode 14 started more than 10 minutes late, without warning or apology by M-Net, not even on Social Media.   We saw the Top 6 Finalists arrive at five hundred, and they were seated at the Chef’s Table.  A screenMasterChef 3 14 five hundred opened to the kitchen, and Chef David welcomed the Finalists, saying that they would be served a 6-course lunch to congratulate them on getting so far in the competition.  The dishes presented would be those that have been the highlight of the five hundred menu in the past 18 months.  He mentioned their rooftop garden, which was planted in the same time period.  Chef David also said that they do things differently at five hundred, the chefs serving the diners.

Nederburg wines were to be paired with each course, but we only saw the sommelier pair the first course of pressed prawns with broccoli coral, mayonnaise, and nori soil, with Nederburg The Anchorman (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The 16th Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be held on 27 and 28 March 2015 at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  A total of 40 groups and artists will perform, the first 20 having been announced to include Beatenberg, Melanie Scholtz, Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, and more.   Five stages will be erected, and 38000 jazz lovers from around the world are expected to attend.  Tickets are for sale, at R530 for a day pass, and R860 for a weekend pass.

*   ‘Kitchenaid by Maryke and Reuben’ opened alongside Reuben’s Franschhoek earlier this week, the first Kitchenaid retail outlet in Africa.  The Kitchenaid mixer is available in 30 colours. (received via media release from Manley Communications).

*   Boschendal Elgin Sauvignon Blanc 2012 won a gold medal in the unoaked £10 – 20 category, and Nederburg Winemakers (more…)

Durban Curry covOn Tuesday I attended the launch of the new book ‘Durban Curry: so much of flavour, People, Places & Secret Recipes‘ by writer-editor Erica Platter and photographer-designer Clinton Friedman at what Erica described as Cape Town’s best Durban Curry restaurant Vandiar’s Indian Cuisine on Dunkley Square.

The book is a visual and spicy delight, and follows two earlier collaborations between Erica and Clinton, called ‘East Coast Tables‘, focusing on the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) coast, and ‘East Coast Tables: the Inland Edition‘.   The two previous books won World Gourmand South Africa Awards, while ‘Durban Curry‘ was Highly Commended in the inaugural Sunday Times Food Weekly Cookbook Awards.

In the Publishers’ Notes Erica writes: ‘We both love food and cooking and the strong, bright flavours of the multi-cultural kitchens of KZN. But we are not chefs nor do we do artificial studio food shots’.  Assisting in the book foreword as well as content has (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The price of petrol could drop by 69 – 72 cents per liter on 3 December, the Automobile Association has forecast.  The declining international oil prices will benefit motorists.  ’Petroleum prices have dropped by more than ten percent over the past 15 days and the exchange rate has weakened only slightly in the same period‘.

*   The organisers of World Design Capital (WDC) 2014 have condemned the vandalisation with graffiti of the ‘Perceptions’ Ray-Ban glasses sculpture on the Sea Point Promenade.   The art work has generated a huge debate about its suitability in its perceived commercialisation, by promoting the glasses brand.  The organisers said: ‘As WDC 2014, we condone creativity and condemn in the strictest sense, lawlessness. It is a sad day when public debate is substituted with vandalism‘.

*   KWV is hosting ‘Brandy Sensations‘, a ‘long table dinner‘ to be held at the KWV Sensorium art gallery in Paarl tomorrow. (more…)

Montblanc Lectern Caroline Rupert Whale CottageMontblanc’s pay-off line is based on Excellence.  Its launch of a special community project to honour the late Nelson Mandela last Thursday was anything but excellent, coming second in the worst organised events we attended in Cape Town this year (the other was the World Design Capital 2014 ‘Gala Dinner‘ Braai held at the end of February).

My invitation to attend initially came verbally from Elzilda Becker, MD of African Sky Communications, when we met at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel for the launch of the Diners Club Platter’s Wine Guide.  Her promise (at the same function) to fly me to Johannesburg for the launch of the Diners Club Rossouw’s Restaurants Guide disappeared into thin air, and never materialised.  She raved about the fabulous Montblanc event that was coming up, and wanted me to attend that function too.  Surprisingly the invitation arrived a few days later and I accepted.   Ms Becker became extremely annoyed with me about my feedback about the drama her company put me through to obtain a copy of the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide, which was delivered three days after the launch (in Johannesburg!) with the most shocking inefficiency!  I never heard another word from African Sky Communications about the Montblanc event, but decided to go anyway, as I had sent my RSVP.

The function venue was The Reserve at the Taj, and we were specifically told to use the St George’s Mall entrance, and arrive at 19h00.  I walked inside, and a staff member looked at me as if I had lost it, as there was no Montblanc function in The Reserve, he said.  I was (more…)

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