WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Tourism numbers from traditional source markets (USA, UK, Germany, France, and Netherlands) for our country showed good growth in 2014, but emerging and BRICS markets, especially China, reflected plummeting figures, reports the Department of Statistics.  International tourist numbers grew by 2,9% in total, to 2,2 million, in 2014 relative to 2013.  The UK remains the largest source market (402000), followed by the USA (300000), and Germany (275000), the German increase being the highest at just over 10%.  Tourism from China declined by (more…)

Lindt logoThe Sweet Service Award goes to Lindt Chocolate Studio and its Manager Dimo Simatos, for organising a special delivery of its Lindt turndown chocolates we use for the guest houses. Having popped in at the Studio almost two weeks ago, with all the staff attending a conference on that day other than one young disinterested lady, who told me that they would only receive delivery of the chocolates two days later.  She did not tell me that I would have to place an order for the chocolates, something I have never had to do before. Calling later in the week, I was told that all 10000 such chocolates had sold out in the two days since delivery.  The next delivery would only take place in two weeks from that time.  I told Dimo that I needed the chocolates desperately, having run out due to their supply problem.  He promised to make a plan, and was true to his word, in that I could fetch the chocolates yesterday, one week earlier than delivery had been promised. (more…)

Al JarreauAl Jarreau is the best known jazz musician who will perform at the 16th Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre tomorrow and on Saturday.  The event, described as ‘Africa’s Grandest Gathering’, is an event that will attract about 37000 local and international jazz lovers to Cape Town.   From a Jazz Festival initially, the event has grown into a ‘premier lifestyle festival’, contributing about R500 million to the economy of Cape Town!

With more than 40 jazz musicians performing on five stages at the Convention Centre over two evenings, jazz lovers can look forward to hearing artists such as Jarreau, Basia Trzetrzelewska (who achieved fame in the ‘Eighties when singing with Matt Bianco), Beatenberg, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse, Prophets of da City, Hugh (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   KWV has launched its first ever Finish Great‘ consumer advertising campaign, reflecting the wine and spirits company’s proud heritage and product innovation it has embodied since 1918.  The campaign has been launched with the flighting of its first-ever TV commercial, representing both its range of wines and its brandies. Ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi Brandrock motivated its campaign as follows: ‘This is a tribute to the great legacy of KWV, but also demonstrates that by standing on the shoulders of giants, we are inspired to aim higher, to reach even greater heights and inevitably ‘Finish Great’.  The campaign idea was based on a core insight that through persistence, character is revealed and in everything we do, we strive to finish great. The heart of KWV is Proud Pioneers brought to life through the spirit of: respecting tradition while challenging convention and through persistence character is revealed. We are telling this story through the campaign theme of ‘On the shoulders of giants’’.  Giants have stature, they are larger than life and undeniably impressive. We revere them and in South Africa, KWV is a giant, it’s a brand that has a 97 year-old history and credible credentials to support such a bold statement.  The story line follows an affirmation to the giants who enable us to Finish Great. We are bringing to life this story with a 360 degree approach, which we will aim to further build on the ‘Giants’ theme through a product-centric print and fully integrated user generated social and digital campaign’.  The TV ad will be (more…)

World Design Capital 2014The Cape Argus has reported that the City of Cape Town may have overpaid more than R300000 on Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014 to International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the organisation which coordinates and awards the biennial World Design Capital host cities.

The cost to the City of Cape Town and its ratepayers for the honour of having been elected as World Design Capital 2014 was R1,5 million, payable in three instalments of €150000 each.  Despite an agreement by the City to get forward cover on the Rand/Euro exchange rate, this was not done, and the declining Rand relative to the Euro meant (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*   Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden has won the Garden of the Year award at the International Garden Tourism Awards 2015.  The awards are presented to those ‘who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction’.  The new Centenary Tree Canopy Walkway (Boomslang), recently named as South Africa’s best design, has enhanced the attractiveness of Kirstenbosch, the gardens receiving more than 1 million visitors in 2014.

*   Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle wines will be made and marketed by UK Litmus Wines, offering (more…)

The Sommelier SelectionDnA Event Management has announced that it is calling for entries for the inaugural The Sommelier Selection, which will become a list of wines which will receive the stamp of approval of sommelier judges who serve on the committee of the South African Sommelier Association, the first local wine competition judged by a panel of sommeliers, and aimed at assisting the ‘everyday wine drinker’ in selecting good and affordable wines.

Not only wines in categories of House Wine under R110 a bottle (White, Red, Rosé, ‘Bubbles‘, ‘Sweets‘); Whites (Fresh/Crunchy, Elegant/Classy, Full/Rich, Luscious/Aromatic); Reds (Fresh/Juicy, Elegant/Classy, Voluptuous/Rich); Pinks (Rosés, Blanc de Noirs); ‘Fizzys/Bubbles‘ (MCC Non Vintage, MCC Vintage, MCC Rosé, MCC (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The cost of the devastating fires to the Table Mountain National Park early this month is estimated at R6 million, not only for the fire-fighting costs, but also for facilities damaged or destroyed, and lost income in having to close the Silvermine and Tokai recreation areas for the next 6 – 24 months.

*   Sun International is to buy the Peermont Group, consisting of nine casino resorts in our country and in Botswana, for R9,4 billion.

*   The second season of the ‘Clover Little Big Cook Off‘ will be aired from 28 June on SABC3, with judges and hosts (more…)

Racine signage Whal e CottageI met with Chef Reuben Riffel in December, for a coffee date at Crisp.  I spoke to him about going to Racine, his second restaurant in Franschhoek which he opened two years ago, and he requested that he accompany me to Racine. Last Thursday our diaries both had a lunch opening, and we met for what was an early but long lunch.

He told me that the idea of the second restaurant arose when Chamonix wine estate owner Chris Hellinger ate at Reuben’s Franschhoek, and suggested that Chef Reuben take over what was already a vacant Racine Chef Nico Whale Cottagerestaurant, after the owners of the former Mon Plaisir had left.  The rental offer by Mr Hellinger was a very generous one, and Chef Nico Pretorius working with Chef Reuben at the One&Only Cape Town was looking for growth, so Chef Reuben signed the lease and offered Chef Nico the job two years ago.  I met Chef Nico when I arrived, and he seems very quiet and introverted, not returning to our table during our three-hour lunch.

Having only been to Racine once before, I had not noticed that Racine has its own entrance,  (more…)

five hundred dishIt was a recent article by Nick Lander, husband of renowned wine critic Jancis Robinson and restaurant critic in the UK, about restaurants in hotels he had visited in Dubai that made me consider once again why hotel restaurants fare so poorly in patron support and in the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant awards in our country.
Lander writes that specific rules about restaurants and liquor licences force restaurants to be linked to hotels in Dubai.  In our country no such rules apply, and as a service to guests, hotels have over the years added dining facilities, in early days being the only restaurants offering tea and cake, and lunch and dunner.  My parents drove us with overseas visitors to Franschhoek’s Swiss Farm Excelsior (now the Le Franschhoek Hotel), the benchmark of restaurants in those years.

(more…)

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