WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Professor Francis Petersen has been appointed as Chairman of Cape Town Design NPC, the company co-ordinating Cape Town’s reign of World Design Capital 2014, after the recent passing of its former Chairman Professor Russel Botman. 

*   Influential travel writer Sarah Khan, originally from New York,  fell in love with Cape Town and lives in our city, having met her now husband here two years ago.  She tells a romantic  tale about her transnational love affair, engagement, wedding and reception, held on three continents!   She has written fantastic stories about our city for leading international titles.

*   South African rugby player Francois Hougaard has been appointed to work with the tourism authority of the Seychelles, to promote the island to South Africans!

*   Brent Perremore of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, who won the National World Class finals recently, has been prevented from (more…)

Saronsberg Banner Whale CottageI was sorry to miss the vertical tasting of ten vintages of Saronsberg Shiraz at Auslese last week, not being able to attend earlier in the day due to a work commitment.  I was however able to taste two of the vintages with the lunch prepared by Aubergine Chef Harald Bresselschmidt.

Saronsberg has been very low-key in the past ten years in terms of its media coverage, and only recently commenced with a PR campaign via Waterford Communications.  Its Shiraz has been regarded as one of this country’s best, and has won a 5 star Platter rating for its 2010 and 2011 vintages.  Other  awards which the Shiraz has won include double gold at the Veritas Awards, Gold at Michelangelo International Wine Awards, Gold at Syrah du Monde, the Red Wine Trophy at the Winemakers’ Choice awards, Gold and trophies at the Decanter Asia awards, and the South African Shiraz Trophy at the International WineSaronsberg Bottles Whale Cottage Challenge.  Winemaker Dewaldt Heyns has been building the Saronsberg wine brand since owner Nick van Huyssteen bought the farm in Tulbagh in 2012, the year in which he joined Saronsberg.  Half of the farm is planted with Shiraz, due to the good quality red wines made in the region.  Dewaldt’s expertise in making the Saronsberg wines led to him being invited to become a member of the Cape Winemakers’ Guild, an association of top winemakers for which membership is by invitation only.  Just a few days ago wine writer Tim James included Dewaldt in a list of 12 top winemakers of our country! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   While international sporting events boost tourism to South Africa, our country has a great potential to increase tourism spend.  Two constraints to tourism income have been identified: the perceptions about crime, created through media reports; and the negative publicity relating to the new Immigration Regulations, making it far more onerous for international tourists to visit our country, especially if they have children.

*   Charlize Theron and Sean Penn were seen at the Mount Nelson Hotel with co-star Javier Bardem on Friday evening, after which they had dinner at Duchess of Wisbeach in Sea Point.  Filming of their ‘The Last Face‘ movie is reported by the Weekend Argus to commence next month.   Wedding bells are said to be ringing for a South African wedding of the couple later this year.

*   The Sunday Times reported today that a number of other top actors are in Cape Town to film movies, including Sacha Baron (more…)

Lanique Board Whale CottageA month ago we were given the scoop of the then planned opening of Lanique Restaurant & Bar within Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter, which opened in the record time of two weeks thereafter.  The former Andiamo Deli space is unrecognisable as the new Lanique Restaurant & Bar, and its new look reflects the history and heritage of the Lanique spirit.

The venue is named after the exclusive Lanique 200 year old Polish crafted liqueur made with Attar of Rose, the oil said to be worth  its weight in gold.  A former employer of Nigel Price, Lawrence Huggler from Jersey, liked the liqueur so much that he bought the brand!   Nigel hasLanique-Liqueur-Spirit-cid_image001_jpg@01CF9154-209x300 been given the right to distribute Lanique in Africa, and Australia and New Zealand will follow.   The Lanique Restaurant and Bar within Andiamo is a collaboration between Nigel and Andiamo owner Bruce Walker, who got to know each other as Nigel’s mineral water company aquav supplies Andiamo.

The previous Deli space has been cladded with red brick, to give the space an old world feel.  A Lanique Bar Whale Cottage Portfoliostage for live music, a dance floor, and a door separating Andiamo restaurant and Lanique have been built.   Tables and bar stools have been made from wood, a banquette has blue and gold upholstery, and chandeliers have been added.  During the day the Lanique Bar counter will be closed off, but lunch will be served and its coffee bar will be open throughout the day. The Lanique Bar within Andiamo will stock a full complement of spirits, beers, and wines, and its liquor licence will allow it to remain open until 2h00.  Electro Swing Alternative is played when the dance floor operates.  Free wifi (more…)

Opulent Living Logo Whale CottageA top event held at the African Pride Crystal Towers last night saw an attendance of close to 700 invited guests, despite the bad weather, testimony to the pulling power of the Mercedes-Benz Opulent Living Style Night, which celebrated the 10th Jubilee edition of the Opulent Living magazine, and the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz C Class. The function tied in with the Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week, which runs until today, and highlighted Opulent Livig Magazine Whale Cottagestyle, beauty, and design.

Despite the large number of invited guests, the Century City hotel foyer, in which the function was held, never felt over-crowded, and provided an unusual party venue, probably previously unknown to many of the guests attending.  The choice of the venue may have been motivated by the proximity of the Mercedes-Benz dealership close by.  The weather was kind to guests on arrival, allowing most to get inside without getting wet.  We were handed a paid-for parking ticket on arrival, an organised touch!

Inside the foyer, a number of  artists were performing, two of them doing interesting things with large hoops, sometimes performing movements with them separately and at times (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Good news for our local tourism is the updated forecast of the economic growth of the UK, now at 3,2%, for 2014, the highest growth of all developed countries!   The UK was once the most important tourism source for Cape Town.

*   five hundred at The Saxon is the only South African restaurant to be included in Huffington Post‘s international list of Best New Chef”s Tables, praised for its six course Tasting Menu, each course prepared by Chef David Higgs paired with Ruinart champagne.  Cost is R4900.

*   We are delighted to have been included in the 100 Africa Travel Experts on Twitter list.

*   Wesgro has released a video to promote Cape Town and the Western Cape, with a host of activities locals and visitors (more…)

Bastille Marquee inside Whale CottageThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Franschhoek Wine Valley and DnA Event Management, for a superb organisation of the Bastille Festival two weekends ago.  The perfect weather, the new massive marquee, and new location next to the Huguenot Monument met with great acclaim from visitors as well as participating visitors, and even the shop owners and restaurateurs on the main road were happy, despite their initial reservations about the marquee moving out of the centre of the village.  The only complaint from some visitors was the many drunk revellers crossing the main road without concern for motorists.   A heavy presence of Stellenbosch Traffic police on Saturday helped to keep some of the problems under control. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima seems to have making a rare visit to Cape Town, the jewel in the tourism crown, where he has come to attend the Mercedes-Benz  Cape Town Fashion Week at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.  He is upbeat about tourism to our country, saying it is ‘the new mining!  It is good to hear him compliment our city, which receives the bulk of international tourists to our country: ‘It is endowed with natural beauty. No matter how other provinces want to compete, they don’t have Table Mountain, Robben Island, the wine routes’.  Good media coverage for Cape Town, as well as its conference facilities benefit Cape Town.  When asked about the new Immigration Regulations he said that he would wait for the Ministers of Tourism and Home Affairs to discuss the impact of the Regulations on tourism.

*   Lovers of the MasterChef cooking series can now join a MasterChef Cruise around the Caribbean from 8 – 15 November, passengers being put through their paces in a  number of challenges including Pressure Tests and Mystery Boxes.   MasterChef judge Graham Elliot, and past winners of the series will be taking the passengers through the cooking programme, which includes blind taste tests, making macaroons, sushi, pasta, cocktails, all leading to a winner chosen as the MasterChef Cruise Champion.

*  The Bacardi Legacy Global Cocktail Competition 2015 has kicked off, seeking the best cocktail in the country.  The competition (more…)

Chopped SA TitleHaving attended the launch of Food Networks’  ‘Chopped South Africa’ at Jenny Morris’ Chef’s Playground a week ago, we were shown most of the first episode of the programme, so the four contestants for the first episode last night were familiar to us.   Feedback on Social Media was varied, Chef Jenny Morris being praised for her supportive yet honest feedback to the chef contestants.

Packaging the preparation and evaluation of a three-course meal into a 45 minute programme was a tough challenge, which meant that everything had to be prepared chop-chop, the contestants being given 20 minutes to prepare their main course, and 30 minutes each for their main course and starter, being very tight and unrealistic timing deadlines.   The time pressure made it hard to follow which chef’s dish was being evaluated at times.  There also was little time for the contestant chefs to explain which additional ingredients they had chosen from the pantry, in addition to the mystery basket of ingredients.  The local ingredients such as mebos, putu pap, and koeksisters were not well explained to foreign viewers.

Chopped South Africa‘ follows the format of the American ‘Chopped’, and is broadcast on Food Network on channel 175 on Monday evenings at 21h00.    It is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, and the first international adaptation of the programme.  The local version was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company is closing for its annual maintenance from 28 July to 10 August, to meet the standards of the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways.   The Cableway originates from Switzerland.

*   Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Cape Town will be held from tomorrow until Saturday, organised by African Fashion International with sponsorship support from the City of Cape Town.  The fashion industry has an important impact on the economy of the Cape.  During the event, 27 designers will present their collections over 15 shows.

*   Reuben Robertsons Pop-Up and Pop-In Riffel is travelling through Africa with the Land Rover Africa magazine and TV crew, driving 6500 km from Cape Town to Dar es Salaam.   The purpose of the feature is to promote overland tourism to Sub- (more…)

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