WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The South African Brandy Foundation has welcomed Finance Minister Nene’s indication that excise duty on brandies are to be reviewed, during his budget speech on Wednesday.  An excise duty increase of 8,5% was announced by Minister Nene for brandy. (received via media release from Manley Communications)

*   The Spur Corporation is planning to open 21 new restaurants in our country for its brands, as well as five more in Africa.  The company said that continued loadshedding could affect its turnover.

*    Three white wines have been selected as the best in our country by The Telegraph: Boschendal Jan (more…)

MelissasThe Sweet Service Award goes to Melissa’s in the V&A Waterfront, and its new Manager Natasha, for assisting me in having a table near their till set up, so that I could charg and work on my laptop while waiting for my iPhone screen to be replaced at iFix.  Sadly the MWeb V&A Waterfront internet service did not work, even though it showed the wifi symbol and reflected connectivity.  No e-mails downloaded and web pages did not open, apparently due to the V&A Waterfront wifi service not working throughout the whole shopping mall!

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WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA has slashed its fares to 35 destinations by up to 40%, a special promotion which ends on Saturday 28 February. Discounted routes include domestic flights, Munich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, and London. SAA says the promotion is designed to ‘stimulate travel‘.

*   Kleine Zalze has been named the most distributed South African on-premise wine brand in the UK, and the 13th most distributed brand in restaurants and bars overall, according to the ‘Wine On-Premise UK 2014′ report.  The brand is distributed by UK importers Hatch Mansfield and distributors Matthew Clark.  (received via media release from Manley Communications)

*   South African wine blends are praised by American wine writer Louis Marmon, especially Alheit Cartology (more…)

Cape Town Art Fair Wayne Barker Whale CottageThe Cape Town Art & Design Week opened in the V&A Waterfront last night, consisting of two dominant events: Cape Town Art Fair 2015; and the Guild International Design Fair.

I was annoyed in not receiving any upfront media releases about the Cape Town Art Fair 2015, as I had received in the past two years when Lana was the Wired PR Account Director for Cape Town Art Fair.  Even worse was that the PR poppie who ticked my name off the list could not give me any information about what to expect and where to find it.  Some brochures about the Cape Town Art Fair were lying on the table, but she did not proactively give me anything.  Astrid Stark from Wired PR was found, and she walked me through the start of the exhibition on the upstairs floor.  The venue is not as perfect as the BMW Pavilion in which the Cape Town Art Fair was held last year, or The Lookout venue for 2013, each of them having had a beginning and an end, be it in circular walkways, or a maze.  In The Avenue one has to make one’s way back to where one started, creating blockages when the venue is full.  What was not explained was that more than half of the artworks are in The Marquee near (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA is doing its own loadshedding, to save on fuel costs of international flights, by leaving behind old magazines, left-over food, and used blankets!  Every kilogram shed on a long-haul flight saves one-third of a litre of fuel. The cost of fuel is SAA’s single biggest cost item, representing one-third of costs. SAA used 120 million litres of jet fuel a month in the last financial year.  Other ways of cutting costs is shorter routes, and to ‘optimise landing and take-off techniques’.

*   The Minister of Finance Nhlanhla Nene hiked the excise duty of alcoholic beverages in his 2015 Budget speech today. A 340 ml can of beer goes up by 7 cents, a 750ml bottle of wine by 19 cents, spirits go up by R3,77 per 750 ml bottle, and sparkling wine will cost 48 cents per 750 ml bottle more.  The price of cigarettes goes up by 82 cents per packet of 20 cigarettes.  In future brandy may have a lower increase in excise duty.

*   Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom opened Meetings Africa in Johannesburg on Monday, and shared that (more…)

Mondiall entranceWhat a surprise to read this morning that Chef Peter Tempelhoff, co-owner of Mondiall Restaurant with Patrick Symington, is leaving his own restaurant, to focus more time on The Greenhouse and the other restaurants in the McGrath hotel portfolio!

The announcement was made via Eat Out, and Chef Peter is quoted as saying:  ‘Along with the sudden death of one of my greatest mentors, Liz McGrath, a few weeks ago, Mondiall Peter Tempelhoff Whale Cottagehas come a change of thinking and a new challenge. My role in the three Relais & Chateaux hotels of The Collection by Liz McGrath has become more important than ever before, as I have been offered a more significant role within The Greenhouse and the company… a challenge I cannot ignore. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Department of Home Affairs has done a turnaround in terms of its requirement of the language for the unabridged birth certificates of children traveling with their parents to our country.  Previously the Department announced that the certificates could be in the language of the traveler.  Now the Department says that it will only accept such certificates in English!

*   Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom said last week that the Deputy President, the Department of International Relations and Co-operation, and the Department of Home Affairs will meet to discuss the Immigration Regulations. The Association of Travel Agents (ASATA) CEO Otto de Vries said: ‘This is a big step in the right direction.We are grateful that President Zuma acknowledged and confirmed that there would be a full review of the Immigration act during his SONA.  However, things might change now that government has acknowledged that the unintended consequences of the amendments are having a profound impact on travel and tourism to and from South Africa’.

*   SAA has denied that it is to cancel its domestic flights.  SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali said: ‘This is not the case at all. The SAA Group, which comprises SAA and Mango as well as airlines like SAX and Airlink that carry the SAA code, will continue to service all South African network points optimally and efficiently’.   SAA allocates 60% (more…)

Young Chefs Posters Whale CottageAs a writer I receive invitations to many special events.  Yesterday’s Africa/Middle East finals of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, held at the SA Chef’s Academy, was one of those memorable events, particularly as the nine finalists no doubt will become the future top chefs of our country and of Dubai.

Originally ten finalist chefs aged 30 years or younger were selected to represent Africa and the Middle East. Chef Eka Mochamad of the Pepper Fine Dining Restaurant at Jumeirah in Dubai had to withdraw due to the early birth of his child. The nine finalist chefs were from Johannesburg, Cape Town, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, and Dubai, many meeting for the first time at the competition. The (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Meetings Africa was opened in Johannesburg by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom today, the leading business tourism expo, and runs over three days.  Johannesburg is attracting global events, including the following forthcoming business events: Breakbulk Africa 2015, CIDESCO World Congress from 20-25 May, the Summit on Healthy Ageing from 30 July to 2 August, Johannesburg International Motor Show from 14-25 October, as well as the 2016 Africa & Middle East Conference of Junior Chamber International from 4-6 May 2016.

*   Our country’s newest low-cost local airline Skywise will take off on 5 March.  The airline has been welcomed by SA Tourism:  ‘We wish Skywise every success, and we look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship that will help grow tourism in South Africa‘.  Initially two return flights per day between Cape Town and Johannesburg will be scheduled, with Durban to follow over time.

*   World Travel Market (WTM) Africa will be held in Cape Town from 15 – 17 April, with 400 exhibitors, and (more…)

Waterkloof Rtaurant Intrior Whale CottageIt is about three months ago that I popped in at Waterkloof outside Somerset West for a spontaneous lunch on a Sunday, just before the Eat Out Awards Gala Dinner in November.  I have long been impressed with the magnificent plating by Chef Gregory Czarnecki, which he has posted on Facebook regularly, and found a restaurant with perfection as far as theWaterkloof Chef Gregory 2 kitchen goes, but sadly lacking on service, feeling like service sabotage of the good work done by the chefs!

I arrived reasonably early,  just after midday, and Minette Notjie the hostess tried to find a table for me.  It took quite some time, and with the intervention of Chef Gregory a table was made available. I was told that Sundays are hectic in the restaurant, so was grateful for the table (more…)

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