Entries tagged with “Lindt”.


Taste CT 2014 Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioFor the seventh year ‘Taste of Cape Town’ is delighting Capetonians with a feast of delectable food, excellent wines, talks and demonstrations about food and beverages, as well as entertainment, held at the Green Point Cricket Club near the Cape Town Stadium until today.

‘Taste of Cape Town’ has had incredible luck with the weather over the years, and temperatures have been climbing since opening day on Thursday, touching on 30ºC yesterday afternoon, and forecast to exceed  this temperature today.  Other than the Lindt stand, the ‘Taste of Cape Town’ stands do not have airconditioning, but attendees sought shade on the cricket ground to eat and drink their purchases. Outside each food stand a stand-up table allows one to eat, and to meet other ‘Taste of Cape Town’ attendees and obtain tips from them as to what to try at other stands on the route.  The chefs have a challenging time preparing hundreds of portions of three dishes each, with limited space and cooking facilities. There was barely any waiting time at any of the stands,  once one had ordered.  Payment is in terms of ‘scoins’, vouchers valued at R5 each, available to buy in booklets of 20 at R100. The cost of each dish is priced in scoins, none costing more than 8 scoins (R40).  The prices have not been increased in the past six (more…)

franschhoek-uncorked_logo-1_841For the first time in six years Franschhoek Uncorked is blessed with excellent weather, having had the most unfortunate bad weather luck in the first five years of the event, which sees wine lovers drive from wine estate to wine estate in Franschhoek today and tomorrow.

Each wine estate offers a unique mix of entertainment and food to serve with its wines, many launching its latest vintages.  Highlights include:

*   Antonij Rupert:  ‘La Dolce Vita’ at the Terra del Capo tasting room and Antipasto Bar, with free tastings of latest releases, and antipasto platters (R120).  Private Italian food and wine pairing lunch at R280 per person for 3 courses including wine. Newton& Co live music. At the Anthonij Rupert tasting room exclusive tasting of top (more…)

The sixth Taste of Cape Town, to be held at the Green Point Cricket Club from today until Sunday, promises to be a feast of food and beverages, prepared by some of the Cape’s leading chefs, and offered for tasting by top wine estates and beverage houses.

A pop-up restaurant will feature some of our region’s best chefs, hosted by a different chef each day:

*   Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, representing The Pot Luck Club, offering Miso-glazed short rib with kimchi, pork belly with XO and red cabbage slaw, and Thai-style prawns with Tom Yum butter on Friday.

*   Chef Bruce Robertson, past owner of award-winning The Showroom, and now running The Boathouse from his home in Scarborough, will dish up snot vis (photograph) and sea cucumber, ‘Viss ‘n Tjips’, and Lucky Star pie on Saturday.

*   Chef Scot Kirton of La Colombe will offer Lemon verbena cured trout, ostrich tataki, and rose and coconut pannacotta on Thursday.

*   Chef Tanja Kruger of Makaron Restaurant, and member of the SA Culinary team, will serve Nigiri sustainable fish, smoked lamb belly, and a rum, caramel and banana dessert on Sunday.

Eleven restaurant stands will offer food to taste, in exchange for crowns (R5 per crown, and dish prices range from 4 – 8 crowns each, as a means of payment:

*   Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles hotel, with Chef Henrico Grobbelaar at the helm, serving duck liver cream, Chalmar beef fillet, and Bea Tollman’s rice pudding

*   96 Winery Road in Stellenbosch, led by Chef Natasha Wray, serving crispy pork belly strips, line fish Nobu style, and parmesan and chorizo risotto

*   De Grendel Restaurant, which opened a year ago, with Chef Ian Bergh, serving duck and risotto, braised beef, and quail.

*   Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms-Delta, with Chef Shaun Schoeman, offering Tiger prwan and calamari breyani, Karoo ‘lamsoutribbetjie‘, and venison wild rosemary pie

*   Signal Restaurant at the Cape Grace, with Chef Malika van Reenen, serving prawn salad, beef short rib, and pear dessert

*   Savour at 15 on Orange, headed by Chef Sanel Esterhuyse, offering Norwegian salmon and avocado tartare (photograph), quail curry, and seared scallops

*   Jewel of India, now located in Bo-Kaap, with Chef Dayanand Shankar Poojary, serving Chicken Tikka, Paneer Makhani, and Madras fish curry

*   Beefcakes Burger Bar, based in Green Point, with Chef Wonderful Ndhlovu offering poppers, gourmet ostrich burge, and chocolate brownie.

*   Dash Restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel in the V&A Waterfront, with Chef Craig Paterson, serving fish rillettes, braised lamb breast, and ‘Go Bananas’ dessert

*   The Brasserie (sister restaurant to Societi Bistro) with Chef Stefan Marais, offering West Coast mussels, Brasserie Scotch egg, and French onion soup

*   Il Leone Mastrantonio with Chef Daniel Toledo, serving Linguine ai Gamberetti (prawns), flash-fried calamari, and coffee-flavoured panacotta.

Top chefs will do demonstrations in the Pick ‘n Pay Chef’s Theatre, while the Pick ‘n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience will teach Festival goers how to pair wines and canapés. Lindt’s Master Chocolatiers will demonstrate making Lindor truffles and pralines and chocolate sculpturing, with their Excellence and Creation ranges available for sale.   A special focus on Thai foods will be offered via cooking demonstrations by Thai chefs, organised by the Royal Thai Embassy.  A Food Market will not only offer artisanal foods for sale, but also beverages such as the new award-winning Bains Cape Mountain whisky from Wellington, the best single grain whisky in the world, as well as Fairtrade wines.

The Taste of Cape Town is one of 18 Taste festivals hosted around the world.  Taste of Durban will be held in July and Taste of Joburg in September.  Taste of Cape Town is environmentally friendly, with Interwaste recycling at the festival, and biodegradable eating utensils and bowls made by Green Home Products will be used.

POSTSCRIPT 12/4: Parking is in short supply, and traffic cops are all around the venue, to frighten anyone off parking anywhere else except inside the Cape Town Stadium, at a reasonable charge of R20.  The evening was wonderful, mild weather wise, lots of attendees but it never felt crowded.  The pop-up restaurant (Pot Luck Club this evening, but without Luke Dale-Roberts, as advertised on the program) had the longest queue, so one should go there first.  Tweeting is difficult, almost impossible from the festival, given the network overload.  Signal Restaurant of the Cape Grace hotel was the ‘best dressed’ restaurant, in giving one a feel of its real counterpart.  It is difficult to present one’s dishes under such trying conditions, and there can be little talk of ‘plating’ on a small recycled plate, but the best looking dish was Savour’s Norwegian salmon and avocado tartare with parmesan galette, Ikura caviar, soy-lime broth (this detracted from the dish) and micro-herbs (right).  The best tasting dish was the Twelve Apostles’ Azure starter of Duck liver cream, pickled red apple, and lentil leek mignonette (left).  I enjoyed sitting at the tables spread around the grounds, just chatting about the dishes and the restaurants they came from.  There are a lot of Capetonians interested in our Cape Town restaurants.  I heard a lot of Afrikaans spoken, and the PR representative Errieda du Toit told me that Afrikaans media had covered the festival for the first time. Lindt impressed with its shop and demonstration area, the making of pralines and Lindor being demonstrated. One should go here at the beginning or end, as it became very full.

Taste of Cape Town, 11 and 12 April 18h30 – 22h30, 13 April 13h00 – 17h00 and 18h30 – 22h30, 14 April 12h00 – 17h00,  www.tasteofcapetown.com Twitter: @Taste  Taste Fest app available for free for Apple, Blackberry, and Android devices.  R80 entrance and tasting glass, R180 includes R100 tasting crowns.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

I have been to eat at Goloso Deli and Restaurant on Regent Road twice in ten days, and have been impressed with how popular this eatery has become amongst Atlantic Seaboard locals and tourists walking past in four short months.  Chef Alessandra Masciadri and her husband Chris Kennedy have created a rustic eatery that brings the best of Italian home cooking to our city.

Chef Alessandra is a qualified lawyer, and left her practice in Milan to follow her husband Chris’ dream to come back to his home country, on condition it was Cape Town, to be near the ocean, and because it is more continental.  Chris grew up in Johannesburg, where he had worked at an international law practice, and was sent to Milan.  This is where he and Alessandra met.  Chris now practices as an advocate in Cape Town, but is hands on in chatting to the guests. Alessandra is not so confident in her English, and asks Chris to translate if she cannot think of the right English word.  She told me that her family loves cooking, and it was her grandfather making charcuterie and selling it in a deli near Como that shaped her family’s love for food.  She and her sisters were taught by their mother to cook, ‘deepening their passion for cooking’, and they went for cooking lessons too, which expanded their repertoire.  Chris and Alessandra love travelling around the world, as well as in Italy, and it is here that they focused on the small villages where they picked up unusual Italian dishes, and have brought them to Cape Town, finding the right ingredients locally being the only impediment.  She loves her restaurant, and says the immediate feedback from her customers makes this new career much better than the law one she left behind in Italy.

‘Goloso’ means ‘a little bit greedy’ or to be a glutton, Chris explained, and this was the name given to the outlet by the previous owner, who ran it mainly as a deli, and offered a few take-away and sit-down Italian dishes.  Chris and Alessandra bought the restaurant five months ago, and took over the neighbouring shoe shop space too, painted it red and yellow, and decorated it simply with wooden shelves to house the wines and Chef Alessandra’s cook books.  The red Vespa photograph says ‘Italy’ better than anything else!  The wooden tables have a table cloth,  with sheets of paper over them. Cutlery is unbranded, and a Goldcrest coarse sea salt grinder, a Natural pepper grinder, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar imported from Italy are on the table, with a paper serviette.  The restaurant can seat 43 inside and out.  Most of the deli part of Goloso has been removed, but they will be selling Chef Alessandra’s home-made pasta to take away.  The chef is also making basil pesto, tomato paste, aubergine paste, as well as olive paste, for customers to buy. Their pastes and pastas are freshly made, and do not contain preservatives.

Before my order arrived Chef Alessandra sent out tomato bruschetta, as well as a brown paper packet of bread slices, an unusual way of serving it. Preparation space is very limited for Chef Alessandra and her team, and a dry wall section taken out of the restaurant seating area has an open top so that one can hear the plates clanging as the dishes are prepared, the only negative of the restaurant. The Chef pops in at the tables, greeting her guests, many being locals, and some having become regulars and friends already.  It is no surprise that Goloso is fully booked most evenings.  I asked Alessandra what she enjoys eating, and she likes plain pasta sprinkled with olive oil, with chili, garlic, and parsley.  Her favourite pizza is a Margherita.  She rarely has time to go to a restaurant, but has enjoyed the Cape Malay restaurant in the Old Cape Quarter the most.

The menu comes in a black plastic cover, with plastic pockets, with a dish scratched out with a coki pen. It is changed regularly, and there is always a dish of the day.  I ordered the Polla al Limone, but did not like the sound of chick peas for the vegetable served with it, so Chef Alessandra offered some lovely fresh pasta and butternut with an assortment of nuts roasted in olive oil. The chicken was prepared in lemon and wine, and the sauce was heavenly, the dish being excellent value at R100.  The specials board on the day I ate at Goloso offered a special of pasta and chicken with mussels in white wine sauce, at R70. The menu offers Antipasto of carpaccio of beef (R70) and vegetables (R50); seven salads, including Caprese (in two sizes R27, R50), salmon, and Sicilian; sixteen pasta dishes, with Tagliatelle, penne, and Tagliolini, served with a range of ingredients, including bacon, smoked salmon, gorgonzola, chicken, mushrooms, eggplant and more. Main courses include rump steak, chicken, veal, and beef fillet.

The Tiramisu (R35) was excellent, a generous portion topped with cocoa and roasted flaked almonds, and thick and creamy.  I ordered a Hausbrandt (Italian coffee supplier from Trieste to Goloso, and also supplying their gelato) Cremoso (R25), a liquid coffee gelato, Chris explained, to which one can add a liqueur.

Chris and Alessandra are making the most of their space, and offer an extensive Breakfast menu, with add on items charged separately. Scrambled eggs cost R28, for example, and R32 with chorizo, and R55 with salmon.  Omelets (plain at R28, with a bolognese sauce at R36, or with three fillings out of a choice of nine R55), fried eggs, French Toast (plain at R25, or with a bolognese sauce at R36), muesli, fruit salad, yoghurt, smoothies, continental breakfast platters, antipasto platters, muffins (choice of carrot, honey and date, mixed berry, Lindt, banana, apple), and Swiss Lindt brownies are some of the Breakfast choices.

Goloso is licensed, and offers a mix of reasonably priced wines and liqueurs.  Chris showed me their Limoncello on Sorrento, which comes from Franschhoek, as well as the Organic liqore du cioccolato, which is available in mandarin and raspberry flavours too.  The wine list is a laminated sheet, not specifying vintages.  A fair number of the wines are served by the glass.  Arabella from Robertson serves as the house wine, the Sauvignon Blanc costing R25 per glass and R90 per bottle. Sauvignon Blancs from Noble Hill, Cederberg, La Motte, and Graham Beck are also available, a Graham Beck Unwooded Chardonnay (R20/R80), Amani (R140), and Ken Forrester Petit Chenin (R25/R90) on offer too. Red wines include a Fairbridge red blend (R20/R80), Umfiki Cabernet Sauvignon (R20/R80), Arabella Shiraz (R90), and Secret Cellar supplying the Merlot (R25/R95), and the MCC (R100).  Corkage costs R30.

Chris and Alessandra are having such a good time in what they do that they are opening Goloso Pizzeria across the road, closer to the refurbished Checkers, in March. The flour will be imported from Italy, being ‘doppio zero‘ finer flour, as will be the tomato base and most of the toppings, such as artichokes, olives, mozzarella di buffalo, sun-dried tomatoes, and olive oil and balsamic from Modena.

Goloso is a very friendly homely eatery without any airs and graces, at which one can enjoy genuine Italian fare prepared with love and passion, at good value.  Chef Alessandra and Chris would like their restaurants to feel like ‘mother’s kitchen’, with customers feeling at home, and well cared for by Alessandra and her team.  It looks as if they have achieved this in a very short period of time, being full most nights.

Goloso, 90 Regent Road, Sea Point, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 439-2144.   www.goloso.webs.com Monday – Sunday 7h00 – 22h00.  Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

I travel along fashionable Bree Street regularly, and noticed the new Latitude33, a mixed venue selling clothing, artwork, some deli items, and is a restaurant.  Its name reflects Cape Town’s geographical location, and its interior is dedicated to the oceans surrounding our city, and surfing in particular.  Its striking ceiling in the coffee preparation area reflects that this new Cape Town eatery is set to make waves!

I found the venue open last week, and was told that they close the kitchen at 15h00, and the venue at 15h30, as they open early in the morning.  I had never driven past Latitude33 before its closing time, and therefore never previously had found it open and operating.  Arriving just at closing time then, I was still made to feel welcome, was served an iced coffee (R25), and co-owner Charles Post came to chat, to share background information.  The venue was previously a nightclub which had burnt down, and the building was extensively renovated.  Charles lived in New Zealand, where he was a rugby player, but not quite at All Black level, he admitted. While he is not a surfer himself, he loves the surfing lifestyle, and that is what they have brought into the venue decor, with big surfing posters from Australia, and surfboards on some of the walls, some painted by Glen Roe, with tributes to Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and more.  A sports corner with big leather couches and a flatscreen TV will serve rugby lovers.  The interesting wave-like ceiling, seemingly flowing out of the shelving unit behind the coffee machine, was inspired by photographs which Charles saw on a website for Melbourne-based Baker D Chirico.  Wooden chairs and tables fill the venue, and also are on the pavement, interspersed with wine vats.  The chairs have blue and red stripes on them, almost giving them an Indian touch. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotelware, and blue paper serviettes are offered. Cape Herb & Spice Atlantic Sea Salt and Extra Bold Peppercorn grinders are on the table.  The multi-use venue was inspired by a shop which Charles saw in Bali. His girlfriend Olivia Franklin runs the upstairs section, with clothing for sale, as is her artwork.

The Chef is Gerald Walford, a friend of Charles from Johannesburg, and he said he enjoys the ‘change of pace in Cape Town’, although he expected it to be slower than it is!  He is aware of Cape Town’s reputation for less good service, and they want to ‘bring Johannesburg service flair’ to their restaurant, and have chosen staff to achieve this. Value for money is important, and they are striving to offer the best possible quality. The feedback they have received is that their portions are too big, and they have reduced them.  The menu changes regularly, and is ‘client-friendly‘.  Suppliers have been ‘hit and miss’, Gerald said, but he seems satisfied with them now.  They stock an interesting selection of unusual jam ‘blends’, supplied by Die Ou Pastorie in Pretoria, including Rooibos Sweet Chilli, Balsamic Pinotage Jelly, and Vanilla Plum. Chef Gerald worked with MasterChef SA judge Andrew Atkinson at the Michelangelo Hotel in Johannesburg, and calls him his mentor.  He also worked with MasterChef SA Culinary Producer Arnold Tanzer during Season 1 last year. His philosophy is to make his customers as happy as possible, and to offer consistency, and therefore he is hands-on in preparing the food.  I was impressed that he came to check on my feedback about the excellent Salmon Eggs Benedict (R65), which I had ordered from their all-day breakfast menu, a good enough reason to go back again.  The bread range which is offered is rye, bagels, sour dough, white, wholewheat and panini, baked in-house. Eggs Benedict is also available with bacon and spinach. A full cooked breakfast costs R65, and a mini breakfast R50. Omelettes start at R20, and one can select sixteen ingredients to add, the price of each specified.  French Toast sounds delicious, at R45, with a choice of bacon and syrup, Nutella and caramelized banana, berry compote and whipped cream, or chorizo and roasted coconut!  Lunch is served from 12h00, and consists simply of salads (cous cous, grilled chicken, and steak, ranging from R55 – R65), burgers (beef, chicken, or ostrich, at R65), sandwiches (with schnitzel, Asian Pork belly or Club, ranging from R50 – R65) and wraps (mushrooms, grilled chicken, and beef, at R35 – R40).

Andrea Maskew is the Pastry Chef, having owned a catering company previously, and has been a freelance food stylist for Woolworths’ Taste magazine, working with Food editor Abigail Donnelly and assistant Hannah Lewry.  She bakes fresh pastries and confectionery every day, including cupcakes, muffins, triple Lindt chocolate cookies, white chocolate mousse cake, and fudge.  She studied at the SA Chefs’ Academy.

Coffee is by Truth, and they have borrowed a barista from the coffee supplier.  Their iced coffee is good and strong.  Service is friendly, but seemed slow, given that I was the only customer eating at the time.  I returned yesterday, to try one of the dishes, and to photograph the interior, the chairs already having been placed on the tables on my previous visit, not making the eating section of Latitude33 photographable then. The food is excellent, but the paper menu, the paper serviettes, the menu offering, and the service all have potential for improvement.  A liquor licence will be applied for, and therefore clients are encouraged to bring their own wine.  No corkage is charged.

Latitude33, 165 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 4249520. www.lat33.co.za Twitter: @Latitude33_Cpt.  Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h30, Saturday 8h30 – 14h00.  Free WiFi.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio:  www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

After one of the wettest winters in a long time, Franschhoek is ready to welcome Spring with its ‘Franschhoek Uncorked‘ festival on 1 and 2 September, and has laid on a wine and food tasting feast in its honour. Nineteen wine estates are inviting wine lovers to meet their winemakers and taste their wines on their estates, at a cost of R100 for the weekend pass, covering both days.

Each participating wine estate will offer its wines for a free tasting (some have ‘bespoke‘ tastings too, at a fee). Each estate has some form of musical entertainment, and they all serve food to buy.  The wine estates participating, and their programme for the two days, are as follows:

*   Allée Bleue: live entertainment, fresh herbs of the estate to buy, new vintage Brut Rosé, and enjoy a meal at the Bistro

*   Anthonij Rupert Wines:  Taste Protea and Terra del Capo wines for free, or attend a ‘bespoke‘ tasting of Anthonij Rupert wines at R50.  Half price entrance to Motor Museum, at R30.

*   Boekenhoutskloof:  Taste new release Chocolate Block 2011, enjoy the band, and taste Reuben’s BBQ

*   Dieu Donné : cheese platters and spit braai offered, live music

*   Franschhoek Cellar: jazz band, free tasting of wines, cheeses, chocolates, and olives. Cheese lunch at R100 for two.

*   Grande Provence: free tasting; buy 11 bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Shiraz and get one free; taste the 2012 Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, and Chardonnay 2011; tapas; Marimba band; art exhibition ‘Walk this earth alone‘; five-course degustation menu on 1 September paired with Grande Provence and New Zealand Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines, at R495.

*   Haute Cabrière: Ratafia ball throwing competition, wine tasting, restaurant offers a la carte menu

*   Holden Manz: ShenFM performs, Chef Cheyne’s menu, taste wines

*   La Bri: offers cheese platters, olives, homemade bread and chocolates to buy, five year vertical wine tasting R100, chocolate and wine pairing R50.

*   La Chataigne: 2012 vintage, guitarist, boules, ‘Swedish street food’

*   La Vigne: wine tasting, art exhibition by Lötter de Jager, Pasta Fresca, outdoor chess.

*   Leopard’s Leap: free tasting, and introducing two cocktails: Chardonnay Margarita and Shiraz Cocktail

*   Lynx: tapas, Spanish guitarist, taste new Lynx Viognier 2012

*   Maison: taste Chenin Blanc 2011, Shiraz 2010, and new Blanc de Noir 2012, jazz band, slow roast pork belly with pickles, ciabatta and mustard (R85)

*   Noble Hill: taste first Rosé, gourmet taco, live music.

* Plaisir de Merle: sweet and savoury pancakes, live entertainment

*   Rickety Bridge: Reggae band, eat pork belly fingers, rib eye, mini burgers, tempura hake goujond

*   Solms-Delta: Kaapse music, Kaapse food, Kaapse wines!

*   Vrede & Lust: decor for sale, baguettes and mussels, Lindt chocolate.

Franschhoek Uncorked, 1 – 2 September, 11h00 – 17h00.  R100 weekend pass. www.webtickets.co.za

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

The fourth annual Col’Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series 2012 was celebrated on Tuesday at the first pizza outlet branch opened by Kinga Baranowska and Michael Terespolsky on Hans Strijdom Avenue in the Cape Town city centre 20 years ago, with special chefs in attendance, and special pizzas tasted. All attending the event were left with the feel-good evidence that the Col’Cacchio’s Celebrity Chef Series is making a difference in its contribution to funding new developments at and upgrades of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town.

The media event was an opportunity to introduce Pierneef à La Motte Chef Chris Erasmus and his July Col’Cacchio Celebrity Chef Series pizza, being the ‘Liplekker Ribbetjie’, which he demonstrated the making of at the event. Asking him about the first Afrikaans-named Col’Cacchio pizza, Chef Chris said that it was the dish that he had prepared when Pierneef à La Motte opened almost two years ago, and comes from theCape Winelands Cuisine’ cookbook, of which he was a collaborator, now served on a pizza.  The pizza consists of a bechamel base infused with roasted garlic and rosemary, topped with mozzarella, smoked and braised lamb soutribbetjie, caramelised onion, pears poached in port, fresh rocket, and a sprinkling of rosemary salt. Chef Chris radiated passion when he shared that he had decided to get involved due to its good work in benefiting the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, having a young 3 year old son himself.  He warmed to little 7 year old Mia, who attended the function with her parents, having undergone a liver transplant at the hospital three years ago. The young star stole the show, especially when Chef Chris picked her up and the cameras flashed.

R5 of every Celebrity Chef Series Signature Pizza Collection pizza costing R85 goes to the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust, which raises monies for upgrades of existing facilities at one of the best paediatric hospitals in Africa, and the purchase of new equipment.  We were told that more than R500000 has been donated to the Trust in the past three years, and that close to R86000 has already been raised from the Celebrity Chef Series pizza sales in May and June this year, higher than in previous years of the promotion.  In May Chef Jackie Cameron’s ‘Cape Funghi Pizza Delight‘ was the Celebrity Chef Series pizza, and in June it was Chef’s Coco Reinarhz’s ‘Bujumbura’ pizza, made with mozzarella, oven roasted brinjals, North African chicken tangine, green olives, preserved lemons, fresh coriander, drizzled with a coriander-infused yoghurt.

In the past the Col’Cacchio Celebrity Pizza Series has been run over the four winter months, a well-known chef lending his or her name to a pizza design each month.  This year the pizza design for August was thrown open to a consumer Pizza Challenge competition, the designer of the best pizza winning the honour of having her pizza on the Celebrity Chef Series menu for all of August, and a year’s supply of free pizza. Chef Chris and MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Benny Masekwameng were the judges in choosing the winner out of the top three pizza finalists. As we have got to know Chef Benny from MasterChef SA, ever the gentleman, he said that all three the finalist pizzas were good enough to be served in restaurants like Col’Cacchio:

*  Jessica Comninos’ ‘Liu Loren‘ pizza was designed as a ‘sexy‘ mix of Italian and Asian ingredients (tomato base, mozzarella, Asian marinated chicken, oven-caramelised apricots, fresh thyme, spring onion, fresh coriander, and drizzled with honey soy and orange reduction). The name of her pizza comes from two actress icons from these two regions: Sophia Loren and Lily Liu of Charlie’s Angels, Jessica explained.  The judges said that it was ‘addictive’, and one of the best ever eaten, perfect to be eaten while watching a movie.

*   ‘Salmon Dragon‘ was the entry by Keren Swanson, her pizza covered with mozzarella, braised rocket, smoked salmon, pickled ginger, spring onion, wasabi infused sour cream, and finished off with red salmon roe and balsamic glaze. Chef Chris described it as ‘sushi in a pizza‘, and ideal for summer next to a pool.

*   Stephanie Burtenshaw designed the ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’ pizza, which consists of a tomato base, mozzarella, feta, lamb stew, fresh garlic slivers, rosemary, finished off with honey pumpkin seed praline, and fresh basil leaves.  The pizza is ideal for winter, the judges said.

Chef Chris said that at least 40 chefs had submitted their nominations in the Pizza Challenge, and therefore praised the three finalists for making it so far. The creative pizza names could be a lesson for pizza restaurants, in creating intrigue and interest. It was Jessica’s ‘Liu Loren’ pizza that was chosen as the winner.  She said of her creation: I grew up under the culinary expertise of my dad, who loves to experiment with different Thai flavours. His signature dish is a Thai-inspired Peking duck 5 course meal which includes the fragrant flavours of garlic, ginger, chilli, lemongrass and coriander. These Thai staples made every meal my favourite and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate my favourite flavours than on a pizza!”

Sandi Sher of the Red Cross Children’s Hospital Trust said the funds raised this year will go to funding an upgrade of the B2 General Medical ward of the hospital, dealing with infectious diseases and general medical cases. The hospital was built 56 years ago,  and treats children with chronic illnesses from South Africa and other countries in Africa. The Trust was launched eighteen years ago, as a fund raising body, and none of the monies are used to fund administrative costs, emphasised Sandi.

Co-owner Michael Terespolsky emphasised that they are a ‘slow food’ pizza franchise, with 20 outlets currently, the ribbetjie for Chef Chris’ pizza taking seven hours of slow cooking, for example. ‘That is why chefs like working with Col’Cacchio’ on the Celebrity Chef Series promotion, he said.

Seeing the enjoyment of little Mia in cutting shapes out of the pizza dough it seemed that it would be good idea if Col’Cacchio could make pizzas for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, pizzas being loved by children, and they could become the ‘chicken soup’ for sick little people!

Disclosure: All guests attending received a slab of Lindt chocolate and a pizza slicer.

Col’Cocchia Celebrity Chef Series 2012. www.colcacchio.co.za.  Twitter: @ColCacchio

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

I was lucky to have been invited to the Lindt Chocolate Studio at the Good Food & Wine Show in May, not only to receive an update of its unusual ‘Spice up your Chocolate Life with Lindt Excellence’ range, but also to taste the superb cooking of One&Only Cape Town’s new Nobu Executive Chef Fred Faucheux, at his Chef’s Table.

Cape Town Lindt Head Chocolatier Dimo Simatos, who has been part of the South African Culinary Olympics’ pastry team, explained that Lindt’s Excellence range is all about flavours and tastes, and how to combine and mix them.  The very slim Dark range already consists of 70% Cocoa, A Touch of Sea Salt, and Chilli.  At the event the Wasabi flavoured Lindt Excellence was launched, available to the public from this month onward.

Lindt used the culinary skills of Chef Fred to demonstrate their Excellence chocolate range at the event.  He commented about their range: ‘Working with new and exciting flavours is what I love most about cooking, and being able to work with chocolate that contains some of my favourite spices – Wasabi, Chilli, and Sea Salt – has introduced me to brand new taste combinations’.

Chef Fred prepared tasting portions of Kingklip sashimi and dry miso enhanced by the Lindt Excellence Touch of Sea Salt chocolate, which he topped off with olive oil, yuzu sauce, and Maldon sea salt.  The chocolate slab only consists of cocoa butter, which melts quickly in the mouth, thus releasing its flavour quickly, we were told. The hand- harvested ‘Fleur de Sel’ comes from Brittany, and is blended into the Lindt Dark chocolate.

This was followed by Prawn yuzu anticucho and vegetable shavings, which were topped with a Lindt Excellence Chilli chocolate sauce, reflecting Nobu owner Nobu Matsuhisa’s unique Peruvian and Japanese cuisine mix.  The Chilli slab has ‘one drop of Essential oil of chilli pepper per 100g slab‘, to flavour it, and its taste is subtle due to the slow release of the spice.

Then Chef Fred served Goma Beef fillet with white sesame, Lindt Excellence Wasabi chocolate dressing, and shavings with Sake green vegetables, a dish he has added to Nobu’s current winter menu.  The wasabi flavour melts away once tasted.

To end off the tasting feast, Chocolatier Dimo prepared a Wasabi Miro dessert made from caramelised white chocolate, dark chocolate fudge cake, pear, vanilla, and ganache, topped with a Lindt Thin.

Lindt has an impressive Chocolate Studio & Boutique in the old Cape Quarter building in De Waterkant, Cape Town, at which one can buy all their chocolate ranges and also participate in their chocolate workshops on desserts, décor, and praline making.  There is a Lindt Studio in Fourways too.

Disclosure:  We received a most professionally packaged Lindt Excellence media pack, with recipes, chocolate slabs, and background information, literally good enough to eat!

POSTSCRIPT: 31/7: Lindt’s PR company Communication Services Africa delivered the two latest Lindt Excellence flavours today, being ‘A Touch of Vanilla’ and ‘Coconut Intense’.  The Madagascan Vanilla aroma is embedded in the white chocolate slab.  The Coconut flakes are enrobed in fine dark chocolate.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The MasterChef SA pace was fast and heavy last night, or so it seemed, with the 50 contestants that made the ‘bootcamp’ being whittled down to half in episode 2, by setting them what seemed to be three basic tasks: chopping onions, separating and whisking egg whites, and preparing a potato dish.  The confidence of the judges had grown, there were no more sympathy votes, and the judges set more fair measurable goals to decide on the future of the contestants.

The ‘bootcamp’ was held in Johannesburg, and most dramatically started on what probably is the Nelson Mandela Bridge, which was closed for the duration of the shoot.  The judges looked far more relaxed compared to episode 1, Chefs Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood wearing a T-shirt and waistcoat, and Chef Andrew Atkinson slightly more formal in an open shirt and waistcoat. The contestants proudly wore their Masterchef SA aprons.  Three activities were given to the contestants, with the judges asking the contestants once again to ‘impress us’ and to show their ‘passion’. This would reduce the number of contestants down to 25, for participation in the second day of the ‘bootcamp’, a braai they were told, which will reduce them down to 18, and take them to Nederburg, where the rest of the 15 episodes were filmed.

Even more dramatic than the bridge was the arrival of a helicopter, flying in a container of 3 tons of onions. Chef Pete showed the contestants how to professionally chop an onion, and then each contestant had to chop onions until they were told by one of the judges to stop, having mastered the art of chopping.  Some contestants clearly had not done much onion chopping before, and cried their eyes out, knowing that they might not be proceeding. Ten contestants were eliminated for their poor onion-chopping skills. Chef Pete said that it takes a good chef three years to learn how to chop onions perfectly. They were warned to watch their fingers, as the knives were razor sharp, and there were some mishaps.

Below the bridge, the old Johannesburg Market was pointed out to the visitors to the city, and the venue for the next two contestant challenges was the Bus House, a massive warehouse.  A massive long table contained eggs and bowls, and each contestant was instructed to separate the yolk from the egg whites, and beat twelve of them so stiff that they could turn the dish around and put it above their head without its content falling onto their head.  Not all contestants managed to keep their heads and hair clean!  The first five to finish were allowed to skip the third task of the day, and could go through to the second day (episode 3).  Ilse Fourie was the first to finish this task, and already impressed in episode 1, with the judges heaping great praise on her cooked dish.

The third task was to take the humble potato, and prepare a hot dish out of it in 45 minutes, adding some ingredients which had been made available in the hall.  Chef Pete was particularly harsh of (singing in episode 1) Sanjeev’s colourful dish, criticising it for being ‘plated by a four year old’, and after tasting it, saying that it tasted as if it was ‘made by a 4 year old’.  Jonathan was criticised for being over-ambitious with his potato fondant in the time available, Marianna’s potato soup was described as ‘dishwater’  (on Twitter this morning Chef Pete had even worse things to say about it), Mel’s dish was‘too basic’, and Peter and Ashley were told that their dishes were a ‘let down’.

The contestants that were eliminated across the three challenges last night included Dael, Anel, Abby, Mel, Ashley, Peter, Luxolo (a sympathy vote recipient last week, and who received lots of Twitter support last night), Megan, Karen, Helena, Stefan, Fortune, Charles, Cameron, Marianna, Sanjeev, Jonathan, Ken (he appeared to receive a sympathy vote last week too), Candice, Vani, and Bonguwusa.

There seemed to be more TV commercials in the ad breaks, including those for MasterChef SA sponsors Robertson’s, Nederburg, Woolworths, and Hyundai (with an interesting pay-off line ‘There’s a Hyundai for every taste’, and the commercial featured the car with sushi!).  Other advertisers were Spur, Outsurance, a Lindt promotion with M-Net, ESKOM, Clicks, Cape Town Fish Market, L’Oreal, Virgin Active, Jaguar, Johnnie Walker Red Label, Nivea, Cell C, Valentino perfume, and Hippo.

The MasterChef SA contestants seemed surprised about the tasks that they were given, and the time pressure placed on them, and preparing their dishes in front of others raised their level of nervousness.  Some of the contestants seemed to have been over-confident initially, and there seemed to be a correlation between this and their departure from the programme in yesterday’s episode!  The pace of the programme reminded one of Charly’s Cake Angels, who had impossible sounding cake challenges to complete against the clock, the episodes creating anxiety for the viewers too.  There is no doubt that MasterChef SA is gripping TV viewers, probably to the detriment of cinemas, restaurants, and theatres, as much of South Africa stays home on Tuesday evenings for the next sixteen weeks.

POSTSCRIPT 28/3: Candice Le Noury, who writes Gorgeous Blog, has written about her experience as a MasterChef SA Top 50 finalist.

POSTSCRIPT 1/4:  I met MasterChef SA Judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood at the Bay Harbour Market today, where he and his wife Elize have a steak sandwich stand. I enjoyed his feedback to the questions I asked him about MasterChef SA.  I asked him if Ilse Fourie or Jade de Waal is the winner, but (predictably) he said neither, as he may not share this information. He told us that pigeons were in the Bus House, and Marianna’s soup got hit by pigeon poo 5 minutes before her soup was judged. The judges were warned, and carefully avoided it in the soup they had to taste.  It was dreadful anyway, he said.  The judges wore an ear piece, and were reminded by the director of incidents about the particular contestant, to help shape their responses.  Not all the high and low lights experienced could be shown, and had to be edited to fit the hour time limit.  Three contestants were too scared to put the bowl with the whipped egg white over their heads by the deadline, and were sent off the programme.  The judges had a dress code, in what they should wear. Being a TV programme, the judges had to be more animated that on other TV cooking programmes.  Because the judges were not actors, they remained pretty natural throughout the show.  There are no programme viewership figures available yet.  Chef Pete is pretty confident that there will be a second MasterChef SA series.

MasterChef SA, M-Net, Tuesdays 19h30 – 20h30. www.masterchefsa.co.za Twitter:@MasterChefSA

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

I love House and Leisure magazine, and it is one of only two magazines that I subscribe to.  But as a decor magazine that is top-notch, its attempt to diversify into Food by publishing an annual The Food Issue damages its reputation, it obviously serving as an opportunistic advertising and promotional publication!  The cover design is very striking, however, one of the few positives to praise.

Containing 67 recipes, and divided into four sections (Easy Living, Summer, Winter warmth, and Luxury) which are not a logical classification, the second annual issue of this publication contains a less than half page Editor’s Letter by controversial House and Leisure editor Naomi Larkin.  This is where the editorial writing begins and ends. She writes: “We’ve drawn on old favourites as well as created new recipes specifically for this collection”.  This is one of the problems, in that any avid reader and therefore collector of the House and Leisure magazines will already have the bulk of the recipes, so there is little new in the dedicated The Food Issue.  We were critical of the 2011 issue too, which paired wines with the recipes, but this has been dropped in the latest issue.

Larkin boasts contributors to the publications as being top South African chefs such as Peter Tempelhoff (The Greenhouse, Eat Out 2012 Top Restaurant), Delaire Graff chef Christiaan Campbell, Eric Bulpitt (The Roundhouse), Malika van Reenen (Signal restaurant at the Cape Grace hotel), Werner Snoek (Toadbury Hall in Johannesburg), and Kevin Gouws ( ex-Shamwari Townhouse).  However, most of these chefs only have one recipe featured. None of the restaurant affiliations are mentioned in the editorial.  If recipes of top chefs (not all chefs meet this description) were included, one wonders why there were not more Eat Out Top 10 restaurants included, such as Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen.  I called one of the chefs, whose recipe is included, and he did not even know about the inclusion nor the publication, and remembers that his recipe was in a House and Leisure magazine some months ago!

Even worse is for other chefs, whose recipes were included, but who did not receive an honourable mention in the Editor’s Letter: Arnold Hoon (owner of Ah! guest house in Paternoster), Tina Bester (of Queen of Tarts), Susan Greig (offers cooking classes in Johannesburg), Craig Cormack and Bertus Basson (from Sofia’s and Overture, respectively), Laurent Deslandes (Bizerca Bistro), Heidi van Loggerenberg (only reference to her via Google is to Raw Pot Luck in Johannesburg), Darren Stewart (Saffron Restaurant at Abalone Guest House in Paternoster), Kirsten Zschokke (much better known as Miss K in Green Point!), Chantal Coady (Rococo Chocolate), Chris Erasmus (Pierneef à La Motte), Jonathan Cane and Kathryn White (Mess Kitchen), and Neil Jewell (Bread & Wine).   The overwhelming majority of the recipes are written by House and Leisure Food Editor Raphaella Frame, and many are by Phillippa Cheifitz, their former Food editor.  Photography is generally of a good standard, but interesting is that photographs in past House and Leisure issues have been used (e.g. the safari-look shoot at Kirstenbosch for the ‘Medley of Small Birds: roast quail, pigeon and poussin’ recipe was in the December 2011 issue.

Advertisers include VW Tiguan, Siemens, Luxaflex, Easylife Kitchens, Chateau d’Ax, Clicks, Fleur du Cap, Le Creuset, Rio Largo, Eclipse, Miele, Wiltshire, Kelvinator, Spier, Luigi Bormioli, Mount Grace, Lindt, Golden Cloud, Nedbank, The Beach House/theHomechannel, Frederique Constant, and Investec.  Not all the advertisements are relevant to the food content of the publication.

House and Leisure The Food Issue, 2012, R39,95.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage