Entries tagged with “Chamonix”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   New York has the best wine lists in the world, ahead of those of London. San Francisco, and Chicago, according to the UK World of Fine Wine.   Rust en Vrede won best winelist in Africa.  The wine list at Palais Coburg Residenz was judged to be the best in the world.

*   Germany’s record 7-1 win over Brazil in the Soccer World Cup semi-final on Tuesday set new records on Twitter, with 35,6 million Tweets being the highest ever for a sports match.  When Sami Khedira scored the fifth goal for Germany in the first half, Twitter reached a new record of 580166 Tweets per minute!    

*   The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) has introduced 30 minutes of free wifi at its nine airports.  After the half an hour usage, one can use the service on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis.

*   The Pot Luck Club is offering ‘Edible Entertainment’ this winter. New Bloody Mary recipes have been concocted, containing (more…)

Holden Manz Chef Julia Hattingh Whale Cotatge PortfolioJulia Hattingh is the fourth chef at Franschhoek Kitchen since Holden Manz bought the previously named Klein Genot wine estate, and it was renamed after the owners’ surnames.  She is a breath of fresh air, and the restaurant will attract back customers, as Chef Julia settles in and takes the restaurant to a new level.

Security is stricter now, one having to fill in a sheet at the boom, but friendly.   One walks through the downstairs tasting room to get to the upstairs restaurant, and I chose the smaller room with the fireplace. Front of House Manager Cobi Bosch is new, and he and I did not gel at all.  He previously worked at Rhapsody’s at Cape Town International and in Bloemfontein.  I knew that Manager Wayne Buckley would pop in, and I did want to meet Chef Julia, which made me stay.  Cobi also served as the waiter on Monday.   He recommended to a neighbouring table what his favourite dishes are, in guiding them what to order (they ordered a cheese platter to share in the end), but did not offer me this service.   He brought two wine lists, one with Holden Manz wines, and the other with wines from their ‘friends’, being other wine estates in Franschhoek and one in Stellenbosch, telling me that the Chardonnay on the list was sold out already.  He seemed most put out when I requested butter instead of the bottles of Willow Creek extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for the slices of olive oil bread which he had brought to the table. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Women business travelers want to ‘feel safe, comfortable, empowered, and pampered’, says an American research report. About 50 % of business travelers are women, and they control up top 85% of business travel expenditure.

*   Actress Claire Danes is in Cape Town for the filming of the fourth season of the TV series ‘Homeland’. She and her husband have been spotted eating at Harbour House in Kalk Bay, dining at The Test Kitchen, shopping at the Biscuit Mill, and walking down Kloof Street, near Yours Truly.   Cape Town is doubling up for ‘both Istanbul and Turkey‘ (sic)!

 *   Chenin Blanc was praised by Greg Sherwood of Handford Wines in London, at a tasting of Chenin Blanc and Pinotage wines, organised by Wines of South Africa (WOSA). Sherwood led the Chenin Blanc tasting, and said about the varietal:  ’Chenin is a massive and unique selling point for South Africa.  It has a variety of styles and gives you a Burgundy textural experience without having to pay Burgundian prices. The days of too much oak and batonnage are now in the past. These practices have (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

  Going on safari is an increasing trend, which is good for tourism in Africa, popular not only amongst European and American tourists, but also amongst BRICS travelers from Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Gaining Edge to help increase our country’s profile as a Business Events destination in India and China, for the South Africa National Convention Bureau.  South Africa is ranked highest as a business events destination in Africa, and 34th in the world.

*   Topless Tours have a new meaning, and do not refer to Cape Town’s Hop On Hop Off buses.  It’s a new trend started in the UK, whereby ladies take photographs of themselves topless at top tourist spots, including Table Mountain! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Going on safari is an increasing trend, which is good for tourism in Africa, popular not only amongst European and American tourists, but also amongst BRICS travelers from Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Gaining Edge to help increase our country’s profile as a Business Events destination in India and China, for the South Africa National Convention Bureau.  South Africa is ranked highest as a business events destination in Africa, and 34th in the world.

*   Topless Tours have a new meaning, and do not refer to Cape Town’s Hop On Hop Off buses.  It’s a new trend started in the UK, whereby ladies take photographs of themselves topless at top tourist spots, (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Tim James has used an aggregation poll of 29 wine retailers as well as writers, some international, to compile a Top 5 and Top 20 South African winery list.  The Top 5 ranked list is Sadie Family Wines, Mullineux Family Wines, Kanonkop, Boekenhoutskloof, and Chamonix.  The ranking from 6th to 20th is as follows: Paul Cluver, Newton Johnson, Cape Point Vineyards, Hamilton Russell, Vergelegen, Tokara, Thelema, Jordan, Cederberg, Delaire Graff, AA Badenhorst, Klein Constantia, Meerlust, Reyneke, and De Trafford.

*   A consumer promotion has been launched in the UK by Kumala wines, the largest selling SA wine in that country, to tie in with the launch of the ‘Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom‘ DVD, with prizes of a visit to South Africa offered, DVDs, and wine.

*   Eat Out is inviting nominations for its Eat Out Top 500 restaurants to be included in the 2015 edition. The nominated restaurants will be evaluated by a panel, to choose the top 500 restaurants.  The closing date for nominations (on www.eatout.co.za) is 13 May. (received via media release from Irvine Bartlett)

*   The inaugural Mandela International Film Festival will be held from 3 – 12 December 2015 in Port Elizabeth.  Given (more…)

Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak 2012 Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Wednesday evening I attended a special tasting of the wines of Bouchard Finlayson, a Boutique Vineyard according to its marketing material,  at the invitation of Janie van der Spuy of FIVE STAR PR.  It was held in the special function room upstairs at Mondiall, with Chef Oliver Cattermole and his team preparing excellent tapas dishes which were paired with the four flights of wines we tasted.

I have to admit that I have not previously stopped at Bouchard Finlayson on the R320 Wine Route in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in Hermanus, it being the longest standing wine farm in the area.  I was fortunate to sit next to Peter Finlayson, who has been at the farm for 25 years.  He studied Oenology (Chemistry was a tough subject, but he is grateful for the grounding it gave him for winemaking) at Stellenbosch University, which he followed up with a year at Geisenheim in Germany.    Of his class of nine graduating in 1974, only two have become winemakers.  Peter previously worked at Boschendal.  Only 22 ha of the 125 ha farm is planted to vine, Peter having bought it in 1989 from a farmer Bouchard Finlayson Peter Finlayson Whale Cottage Portfoliowho farmed with ‘mielies, sheep, and baboons‘, Peter said, at a time when the locals said that the valley was only suitable ‘for farming by poor Whites’!  The baboons are still there, he told me with a laugh!   The remainder of the land is covered with fynbos, and Bouchard Finlayson is committed to conserving and adding fynbos, and they joined the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. Peter was the first winemaker to import Nebbiolo and Sangiovese vines, planting them in 1994.  His real achievement has been with Pinot Noir, known as the ‘Pioneer of Pinot Noir’, and now the whole valley is synonymous with the varietal.    Galpin Peak Pinot Noir is the flagship Bouchard Finlayson wine.   Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc also do exceptionally well in the valley. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has announced that CapeWine 2015 will be held from 15 – 17 September 2015. (via Twitter)

*   Franschhoek resident Nolan Hoffman has won the 2014 Cape Argus Pick ‘n Pay Momentum Cycle Tour. (Via Twitter)

*   While online accommodation evaluations are much more responsibly handled, about half of travellers feel that a substantial part of accommodation reviews have been ‘manipulated, a Tourism professor told the travel industry at ITB, the international travel  expo which ended in Berlin this weekend.

*   The most child-friendly airports in the world, according to Travel News Weekly,  are Heathrow (number one on the list, and offers children play areas, a quiet room, and a game zone), Zürich (with child minders), Frankfurt (with boarding passes for teddies too!), Munich (with touch screen terminals to explain how an airport works, and German TV series shown), Singapore (with a Butterfly Garden, arcade games, a four storey slide, and internet terminals), and Chicago (with an interactive educational play area).

*   The flagship MCC Villiera Monro Brut 2008 won one of 20 Bacchus Trophies at the 16th Annual Taj Classic Wine Trophy (more…)

Constantia Fresh posterI was invited to the Constantia Fresh Fine Wine and Food Festival held at Buitenverwachting yesterday afternoon. It was a sold out fun event, 44 wine estates (not only from Constantia) presenting their 200 ‘freshest’ and most interesting wines, and chefs (mainly from Constantia) preparing food.

The entrance fee was R400 per person, and included as much wine tasting and food as one liked.  The tables were set out by region, with Constantia having the central stage around a massive oak tree in the middle of the large lawn on which the Festival was held.  It is always interesting to see how the wine estates market themselves in the relatively small space they have.  It was impossible to taste all the wines of all the wine estates represented at the Festival, and it was a pity that one did not receive a leaflet or information about each of the wines and wine estates at the Festival.  The Festival is the concept of wine editor, Platter taster, sommelier, and wine consultant Jörg Pfützner, who is known as a Riesling fan.

The Constantia Fresh Festival was preceded by two events on Friday: Jörg led a themed tasting with the interesting title: ‘If modernity is sexy, is tradition passé?’  This was followed by a four course dinner cooked by Chef Bertus Basson, paired with a total of twelve wines from the Constantia valley, which was held at Klein Constantia.  Yesterday the ‘walkabout tasting‘ allowed attendees to taste to their heart’s content, and to meet wine estate representatives, although most top winemakers were not present due to the harvest being in full swing. On its website, Constantia (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   MasterChef USA is said to have been ‘cooking up a lie’, Chef Gordon Ramsay giving contestants cooking lessons prior to the filming of episodes, according to the revelations on the blog of a former contestant on the show.   The producers responded that each contestant has access to information and to training. ‘Each home cook is given professional training before the challenges to ensure they can cook something decent when they start recording’, it was written.   No such training has been given to MasterChef UK contestants however.

*   Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with his counterpart in Saudi Arabia.  No further details about the agreement are available.

*   The Franschhoek Wine Tram has grown from strength to strength in its first year of operation, having added buses on two routes, and still running the Tram to Grande Provence and (more…)