WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   British wine writer Jancis Robinson has ended her visit to the Cape Winelands this week, and writes that she has beenhugely impressed by the quality of the wines of the best producers and by the much broader range of wine styles and provenances than there was on my last visit’ seven years ago. She described our country as the ‘wonderful source of underpriced fine white wine.  It has taken longer for red wines to please this finicky international palate‘.  Our industry does not need to be defined by our indigenous Pinotage, she feels.

*   Could Cape Town/South Africa/Africa get a Grand Prix again, after more than 20 years?   Bernie Ecclestone has speculated that such a race could be possible by next year.  As Killarney is not suitable, it would have to be a street race in Cape Town. This proposal was however rejected by City of Cape Town’s Directorate of Tourism, Events, and Marketing in 2013, due to the cost.

*   Roger Jones, owner of Michelin star restaurant Harrow at Little Bedwyn in the UK, has just returned from a trip to our country. (more…)

Hermanus fireThe Sweet Service Award goes to the firefighters and community of Hermanus, for its work last weekend in fighting a massive fire in Onrus, which led to the evacuation of residents of retirement villages Kidbrooke and Onrus Manor, as well as residents of Chanteclair and Bergsig. The Windsor Hotel and guest houses also accommodated residents for the night.  Social Media played an important role in preventing residents threatened by the fire from panicking, and to call on Hermanus locals to assist with bedding for those that had to sleep in community halls.  Ultimately too it was Mother Nature, which brought pouring rain late that night, putting an end to the fires. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The inflation rate has dropped to 5,3%, leading economists to speculate that the interest rate will remain unchanged or may even drop when the Reserve Bank meets next week.  Inflation is expected to decrease further when the petrol price drops by an estimated R1 per litre in February, to as low as 3,3% by April.

*   SAA has received a guarantee of a further R6,5 billion from the government, to allow its auditors to publish its financial results.

*   The One&Only Cape Town is offering a new Wedding Concierge service, including ‘one-of-a-kind wedding proposals‘.  Wedding (more…)

CTFM West Coast Fire Whale CottageWhat a fun birthday party Jenny Morris laid on at the new location of the V & A Waterfront branch of Cape Town Fish Market, on the business side of the Waterfront, where Paulaner and Moyo used to be.  The restaurant has created The West Coast Village, complete with sea sand,  replicating a Strandloper-type restaurant, but just done better!

The Cape Town Fish Market space is massive, and can seat up to 600 patrons inCTFM West Coast Jenny Morris Whale Cottage total, on a green artificial lawn outside, and inside too, a retractable roof allowing the restaurant patrons to sit under the stars if the weather allows it.   A minimum of 20 guests must book the West Coast Village, so that the food for this special menu can be prepped in advance.  We were seated at long tables, with Jenny’s friends, most sitting at tables set on the beach sand.  It is difficult to walk on it, and Jenny’s instruction to bring flat shoes was understandable in retrospect.   At the side of The West Coast Village area is a dedicated fireplace, at (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA has received the awards for Best Airline in Africa, and Best Business Class in Africa from the US Business Traveler magazine.

*   An international (but excluding Africa) Hotel WiFi quality survey found that hotels in Europe are more likely to offer quality WiFi, but American hotels are more likely to offer it for free.  Asia is most likely to offer WiFi, but least likely to not charge for it. Stockholm, Budapest, and Tokyo offer the best quality WiFi, but hotels in Istanbul, Paris, and Stockholm are most likely to offer it for free.

 *   Grootbos Nature Reserve has been nominated for its sustainable tourism work at the World Travel and Tourism Council 2015 (more…)

Palma Interior candles Whale CottageAbout ten days ago Orphanage Cocktail Emporium co-owner Katie Friedman introduced me to new eateries Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar and Palma in the next street block on Bree Street, being landlord to both.  My experience of Palma on that evening differed vastly from that of our dinner last night.

I had invited my friend Whitney to join me, and we chose an outside table, given how hot it still was when we arrived.  It was lighter than on my previous visit, and the ‘less is more’ interior design impressed.  General Manager Roberto Carluzzo did not seem to recognise me, or to react to the Facebook posts and the blogpost I had written about the 26 eateries on Bree Street subsequent to my first visit.  The doorman did however welcome me back, a nice touch.  Mama Palma Carluzzo was in the bar, putting on finishing touches to leaving, and I was disappointed, as we had been told that she is the chef, in charge of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   International airline traffic in November 2014 grew by 3,6% on the year prior, the same level of growth as in October.   Travel within Europe grew at a somewhat faster rate, especially to Asian countries.

*   The International Monetary Fund has downscaled its forecast for the growth of our country’s economy this year to 2,1%, mainly due to strikes,  weak demand,  and electricity loadshedding. The growth projection for next year has been downscaled from 2,8 to 2,5%.

*   Statistics South Africa  has not issued tourism arrival figures since March 2014, awaiting data from the (more…)

wine glassesJamie Goode is a well-known award-winning ‘wine journalist‘ and wine judge from the UK, writing his Wine Anorak blog for the past 14 years.  Uncharacteristically he has lashed out at ‘wine writers ripping off wineries’, describing this as a ‘disturbing trend‘!

Goode wrote on his Blog last week: ‘A rant. I don’t rant often, but I’m driven to do it today. As a wine writer, I’m alarmed by the recent trend for other wine writers to behave parasitically by charging wineries to reproduce reviews.  I’m (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Esteemed British wine writer Jancis Robinson is in the Winelands this week, addressing a workshop and tasting our local wines. Micheal Fridjhon comments about her focus: ‘Robinson focuses on whatever is of interest to her readers. This means that the bulk of her notes and comments relate to European — in fact mainly French — wine. Once outside the so-called Old World she devotes her energies to the US, New Zealand and Australia. This leaves little column space for regular assessments of Argentina, Chile, SA, Central Europe and the dozens of other wine-producing regions of the world‘.

*  Vanguard Drive in Cape Town has officially been renamed Jakes Gerwel Drive, after the late friend of the late Nelson Mandela, a Director-General in the Presidency, Rector and Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Western Cape, and Chancellor of Rhodes University.  The Mandela Rhodes Foundation nominated the road-name change.

*   First Thursdays is launching Museum Night in Cape Town on 26 February, in conjunction with Iziko Museums of South Africa. (more…)

Cape TownFrom number one in the New York Times 52 Places to go in 2014, Cape Town has fallen right off the list of 52 Places to go in 2015. In its place, Durban has made 7th on this prestigious list this year!   Cape Town too has lost out to Los Angeles as the home for filming the German reality series ‘Der Bachelor’.

The South African stories for the New York Times  are written by Sarah Khan, an American writer who now lives in Cape Town.  Having become proudly-Cape Town, Khan has written many articles about Cape Town, even though her restaurant recommendations for Cape Town in Travel + Leisure left much to be desired (more…)

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