Entries tagged with “bloggers”.


Travel bloggingTravel bloggers who charge for their service ‘have lost touch with the true spirit of travel blogging‘.

While blogging is a noble form of recording one’s experiences, it should at all times be honest and reflect the full travel experience, good and bad.  Bloggers receiving payment gush about the beautiful scenery, and their experiences, and never criticise.  In addition, they rarely declare receiving a gift or an experience for free, let alone being paid for writing about the experiences.

However, I fear that as tourist boards and travel principles have shifted some of their emphasis from traditional media reviews to blogger press trips, and blog posts about their products, the spirit of blogging (more…)

Eat Out 2015 cover Whale CottageThe Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards event is a highlight on the restaurant calendar, held for the 17th year, and at Thunder City for the first time last night.   The results surprised, with one heavyweight chef sliding right off the Top 10 list, while a new restaurant made Top 10. Two restaurants which did not make the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist in 2013 flew back into Top 10 last night.  Stellenbosch remains the Gourmet Capital of South Africa (4 Top 10 restaurants), followed by 3 in Johannesburg, and 1 each in Cape Town, Franschhoek, and Hermanus.   While the award recipients were acceptable, the food was a disaster.

Thunder City is not an ideal venue for a function of this magnitude (800 guests, but advertised asEat OUt Thunder City Whale Cottage 1000 initially), being difficult to find – the petrol station one block away from the turn-off had no clue where Thunder City is, and there were no signs off Borcherds Quarry Road, other than some posters held by men, only visible in the last minute.  I followed a taxi, there being no further signage to Thunder City.  We were collected from the VIP parking by a Mercedes-Benz shuttle van, and I arrived just as the event started, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood doing a tribute to Chef Bruce Robertson, who passed away two weeks ago.   The lighting was poor for (more…)

Burrata 'Pick me Up'  dessert Whale CottageLast year New Media Publishing changed its annual Eat Out magazine, having featured 1100 restaurants in earlier years.  Last year the Eat Out Top 500 restaurant guide was based on applications sent by restaurants themselves, and the top 500 selected by 50 food and restaurant writers and lovers.  This year the Eat Out 500 top restaurants could be nominated by anyone, mainly the public, and chosen and reviewed by a panel of 30, mainly food writers.

Earlier this week Eat Out announced the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist, which will guarantee those restaurants a space in the 2015 Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant Guide.

The selection and evaluation of the Eat Out Top 500 is sketchy: ‘...a list of candidates was selected (how, on which criteria?), rated (on which scale, on which criteria?), and reviewed by the panel‘ (the criteria for reviewing are mentioned as food – defined as menu composition, seasonality, and presentation – and ambiance, service, and wine/beverage selection).  Surely they mean that a particular member of the panel reviewed a particular restaurant?  The end result is described by Eat Out (twice in its media release) as a ‘power list of great restaurants‘! Someone alerted me to the hard sell to new restaurants by Eat Out to be listed on (more…)

Reciprocal Laundry Louis Roderer Whale Cottage Portfolio my Laundry hosted a tasting of French Champagnes led by Reciprocal Wines’ Tarryn Thomas, with oysters from Oyster King, at its Buitengracht Street branch with a number of bloggers last week.

We first met Tarryn at I my Laundry a year ago, when she did a fascinating tasting with The Winery of Good Hope wines and the effect of tasting them in Riedel Glassware on the enjoyment in wines compared to drinking the wine from ‘ordinary’ domestic glasses.

Riedel is one of the brands represented by Reciprocal Wines in South Africa, as is Miele temperature controlled wine storage units, but its major focus is imported wines, and 52 Champagnes specifically.  Tarryn told us that the company wasReciprocal Tarryn Thomas created in 1969, importing ‘gems and everyday drinking wines of family-owned businesses‘, which are accessible and not too expensive.

Tarryn poured Champagne Gardet Brut Premier Cru NV, made with 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir.  This was followed by Champagne Jacquinot Private Cuvée Brut, with 70% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, which comes from Épernay. The highlight was the Louis Roederer Brut and Brut Rosé.  The champagne producer also makes Cristal, but only in excellent years. (more…)

Robertsons #SkyDine 1012150_615996955141343_1635024227_nA workshop held above Truth coffee shop about ten days ago, at which One Up Agency’s Alex Harrington-Griffin and Cape Town Magazine Managing Director Marcus Zandhuis spoke, focused on the concept of Partnership and Collaboration Marketing, and used Robertsons’ recent #SkyDine collaboration with kulula.com as one example of such marketing.

The Robertsons #SkyDine promotion is an interesting if not bizarre example of Partnership Marketing. Chatting to the brand’s Social Media Manager at The Ultimate Braai Master Cape finals on Saturday, he explained that Liquorice, the company he works for, only handled the Social Media aspects of the campaign.  Durban-based ad agency The Hardy Boys, handling the Robertsons’ account, conceptualised the campaign. A planeful of bloggers and food journalists from Cape Town (and Johannesburg) was invited by marcusbrewster, the campaign PR agency, to a surprise flight to Johannesburg, and on the return flight to Cape Town, Reuben Robertsons Riffel introduced the surprise 3-course meal which he had designed, and which was prepared by airline catering company Foodirections. Utilising plane crockery and an airline catering company, food plating and presentation was disappointing.  We recognised (more…)

Ultimate BraaiMaster Season 3 Cape Final Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday I was invited to attend the judging of the Cape Finals of Season 3 of Ultimate Braai Master held in the parking area of The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront.  Not only was it a good way to catch up with a number of chefs who judged the Cape Finals, but it was also an opportunity to meet Cooked in Africa Films producer Justin Bonello.

Justin chatted to blogger Thuli Gogela of Mzansi Style Cuisine Blog (she appeared in the Bloggers episode of season 2 of MasterChef SA)  and I as the judging came to an end at the Finals.  One sensed his overriding passion for food, which has grown into TV production, with 21 productions to date, including two previous Ultimate Braai Master Ultimate Braaimaster Season 3 Cape Finals Thuli Gozela Justin Bonello Whale Cottage Portfolioseasons, two seasons of Charly’s Cake Angels, as well as Seasons at Terroir, which was launched last week and focuses on Chef Michael Broughton, and his restaurant Terroir at Kleine Zalze.   Justin denied that Terroir not making the Top 20 Eat Out restaurant list last November was a blow to their production, saying that Chef Michael’s food is beyond Top 10 competitions, clearly a fan of the chef’s food. He is fascinated by the revolution of growing one’s own vegetables and herbs, and proudly showed me a photograph of his vegetable garden at home, out Hout Bay way, which will become the subject of a TV series  ‘Green Time’ at the end of 2015, with seven pilot projects of vegetable gardening at schools being developed. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  UK X Factor judge and singer Cheryl Cole was spotted at The Duchess of Wisbeach in Sea Point on Saturday evening, and Tweeted to her 4,5 million Twitter followers, The Daily Mail reports.

*   Internationally revered and feared Wine Advocate reviewer Robert Parker is to publish a new magazine ’100 Points by Robert Parker,  with German Hubert Burda Media as publisher.

*   Beer sales in Africa are expected to be the fastest growing, predicts a report by Rabobank, the continent having the fastest growth in legal beer drinking population between 2013 – 2018.  SABMiller has announced that it will triple production at its plant in Nigeria, with an investment of £110 million.

*   The Good Food & Wine Show 2014 will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 29 May –  1 June, and an action-packed program has been announced: 8 top restaurants will offer signature dishes; Woolworths and Robertsons will (more…)

Wines1WineDude wine blogger Joe Roberts recently blogged about Wine Blogging, referring to the results of a 3-year study by the Burgundy School of Business, entitled ‘World Wide Wines: Digital Writing on Wine’.  The key finding of the study was that wine consumers and wine bloggers are one and the same, and that wine blogging is far from dead, Roberts writes.
Other interesting highlights about Wine Blogging from the study are:
*  the main reason for blogging by Chinese as well as American wine bloggers is sharing their passion for wine, Americans also referring to blogging as their hobby. Roberts describes bloggers as passionate wine consumers who are just more vocal about their passion digitally!
*   wine bloggers reach other bloggers and wine drinkers, bloggers’ passion for wine giving them credibility and reader interest.
*   there are an estimated 1000 wine bloggers in the USA, and about 150 in Europe.
*   only a third of wine bloggers in the USA are professional journalists, while the bulk of the balance have no wine industry job link (more…)

Taj logoDear Michael

I laughed when I received your letter of 28 February in the post this weekend, to advise that I have been banned from your five star establishment, a member of Leading Hotels of the World!

You wrote: ‘This letter serves to inform you of our shock and disappointment at the manner in which you have dealt with our establishment in the social media.  As a fellow colleague in the hospitality industry I have been (sic) amazed that you have failed to address our perceived shortcomings and your concerns, (sic) directly with me, the general manager. We are fully supportive of social media, however, one should have details 100% correct before publicly. (sic) Slandering (sic) one of my team and our establishment, it is so unnecessary and unprofessional.  To this end, we wish to advise you that you are no longer welcome nor permitted to enter or be in the Taj Cape Town hotel without my personal permission. Should you enter the premises, you will be apprehended by our Security Department and asked to leave’.

You do not state which 0f the references by us to the Taj in ‘Social Media‘ you refer to:

*   was it the Tweet about the rude service from your barman during the interval of a concert at the St George’s Cathedral a few weeks ago, which I reported to your Duty Manager?

*   was it the poor accommodation at your hotel after the poor Gastronauts gourmet dinner at Mint more than 3 years ago, so bad that I chose to go home in the middle of the night?

*   was it the Tweet four months ago about the poor non-caring attitude of your Banqueting Manager Eugene Myburgh, when he showed no regard for my complaint about slipping on your dangerous highly polished wooden floor in your Banqueting section, once again reported to your Duty Manager, with no response?

*   was it the mention a month ago about your new Conference facility you are opening in The Reserve this month, mentioning my doubt that your Manager Myburgh will be capable in running it if he cannot even run the tiny Banqueting section in your hotel? (more…)

StellenboschWhen I see any writing by Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of tourism consultancy Destinate and former ineffective Mommy-Tweeting CEO of Cape Town Tourism, I have to hold back the urge to laugh, not only because of her poor writing skills (despite English being one of her BA majors!) but also because of her lack of marketing skills.  Helmbold has just launched the ‘Stellenbosch Wine Experience’ for the Stellenbosch Wine Routes and Stellenbosch 360, as a joint venture between the wine and tourism elements of the second oldest town in South Africa, with the goal of becoming ‘the leading wine tourism destination in Africa‘. Helmbold adds in her document that Stellenbosch should be positioned as ‘amongst top in the world‘ too, and become ‘Africa’s wine tourism capital’!

The Stellenbosch Wine Routes is the first wine route in our country, having been established in 1971 by Spatz Sperling of Delheim, the late Frans Malan of Simonsog, and the late Neil Joubert of Spier.  Its mandate is to market the wine estates and wines of the 150 or so wineries in Stellenbosch, with its CEO Annareth Bolton having mainly run a PR campaign to date.  Previously sponsored by American Express, it no longer appears to have the backing of the credit card company.  Credit card companies appear to be all over the seemingly lucrative wine industry, Diners Club appearing to have a head start. Stellenbosch 360 is the new name for the Stellenbosch Tourism Bureau, and is run by a very competent Annemarie Ferns, long the SA Tourism Country Manager for Germany.

Helmbold spent nine years at the helm of Cape Town Tourism, never being able to rise to the level of the marketing done with close to zero budget by her predecessor, the vivacious Sheryl Ozinsky.  Helmbold did formula marketing, if one can call it that (more…)