Entries tagged with “Paarl”.


Tracy van Maaren Tracy Whale Cottage PortfolioLast night I attended the first Tracy van Maaren Wines Trade Tasting, representing a handful of select fine boutique wine estates, held at Auslese. Each of the wine estate’s wines offered for tasting was personally paired with a canapé designed by Chef Harald Bresselschmidt of Aubergine.

Tracy started her wine career by working as PA to Dana Buys at Vrede en Lust.  She then moved into the clothing industry, but regretted this move.  She returned to the wine industry, working at Jordan.  Almost nine years ago she started her company, her first wine clients being Vriesenhof, Raats, and Catherine Marshall.   She represents her clients’ wines in the ‘mid to top restaurants’ and independent retailers (e.g. Caroline’s, Wine Concepts, and Vino Pronto) in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with Paarl and Franschhoek.

Auslese is a renovated house, available to rent for functions, about two blocks from Aubergine.  It has a smallish kitchen, and the space was cleverly used to set up tasting tables for nine brands, with Pol Roger (Churchill’s favourite champagne) represented in the entrance hall by Great Domaines’ Derek Kilpin andTracy van Maaren Pol Roger Whale Cottage Portfolio their brand new French import Morgan Delacloche.

Arriving at about 18h30, there was no crush, and one could get to easily taste the wines and food pairings, chat to the wine representatives, and to the invited guests, which included John Maytham of Cape Talk, Mark Bland of Expresso, Mandi Jarman of Aquila, Chef Vanessa Marx and her colleague  Rumby of Dear Me, Catharina’s Manager Ronel Smidt, sommelier and consultant Jörg Pfützner, John and Lynne Ford, and Mike Duggan of Wine Concepts. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Mango is tightening up its credit card procedures, to prevent fraud, by demanding that tickets bought by credit card are verified with the actual card.  If the card is not with the passenger, he/she may not board.

*   ESKOM started load-shedding around the country today, without prior warning, the rain in Johannesburg allegedly wetting the coal and therefore affecting its supply!  The Cape has not been spared, with electricity cuts in Somerset West, Claremont, Durbanville, Tokai, Kenilworth, Parow, Elsies River, Wellington, and Hout Bay this morning, followed by Sea Point, Camps Bay, and many other Cape Town suburbs later in the day.  Our international visitors (other than those from other African countries) are shocked! (via Twitter)

*   Chef Chris Erasmus will leave Pierneef à La Motte in June, to open his own restaurant with his wife in Franschhoek in September.

*   The Bols Bartending World Champion Rusty Cerven chose Cape Town as one of his four world cities to visit, with Sydney, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro, as part of his prize when he beat 3000 bartenders from 66 countries.  In Cape Town he demonstrated (more…)

Bread at The Browmell Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Sweet Service Award goes to Bread at The Bromwell in Woodstock, and its manager Ivan da Silva, for his service recovery when I had lunch there last Saturday.  I arrived in the deli and bakery section without any staff present, and when a waiter did arrive, he called another colleague who was upstairs at the time, but was meant to man the section.  Ivan listened to my complaint about the unnecessary waiting time.  He also took immediate action when I challenged him on the menu description of the buttermilk pancake with ‘fresh seasonal fruit‘, which was hidden away inside the pancake instead of being on top, and was not fresh at all, being cooked pears and apples. He accepted that the description of the dish was misleading, saying that the fruit was fresh when it was cooked! His staff made a new portion, topped with a beautiful selection of fresh berries, strawberries, apples, and pears! (more…)

Wine Tourism South Africa HandbookMonika Elias of World Focus Media has done a great job over the past ten years in documenting the contribution of the wine routes, and the wine estates on them, to Wine Tourism South Africa, in helping to inform and educate locals as well as tourists about wine in general, and to boost wine sales.  Her 2014 edition of ‘Wine Tourism South Africa’ handbook has just been published , bearing the slogan of ‘sip, stay and play‘!

In her ‘Publisher’s Letter‘, Monika defines Wine Tourism as ‘…in the glass, on the plate, in the bed, around the vines, and for the planet’.  She writes about ‘winery atmospherics’, such as architecture, lighting, sound, temperature, and kinetics, playing an important role in creating a point of difference for wine estates in an increasingly competitive world.  Wine is becoming an increasingly important part of the Tourism experience, and most visitors to Cape Town and the Western Cape will be very likely to visit a wine farm to taste their wines, to eat at a Winelands restaurant, or visit an event linked to wines.

The Handbook evaluates top restaurants on wine estates, using chefs hats (three maximum) to denote how good or not they are;  and evaluates the winelists of the restaurants on the wine estates, by means of wine glasses (three maximum).  A price range indication is also provided for the Winelands restaurants.  The Handbook starts with tourist information and advice about car rental, taxis, trains, parking attendants, banking hours, VAT, the weather, tipping, and more.  It lists the winners of the fifteen categories in the 2013 KLINK Wine Tourism Awards, which received votes from 15000 consumers last year. (more…)

Jazz Festival Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioAt the media launch yesterday of the 15th Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Mayor Patricia de Lille said that the goal of Cape Town is to become the Events Capital of Africa, and with it the Capital of Jazz in Africa, attracting 37000 Festival goers.  An exciting line-up of international and local jazz artists was announced at the launch.

The launch was addressed by a number of speakers. Billy Domingo, the Chief Operating Officer of espAfrika, the events company organising the Jazz Festival, was a witty MC for the event.  Rashid Lombard organises the musical side of things, and announced that since ticket sales opened last month, all two-day passes have been sold,.  There are about 500 day tickets available for each of the two days.  The event is a team effort, within their company (of mainly ladies he joked) and also with the City of Cape Town.  They want to create a legacy through the event, which includes a training and development Jazz FEstival Rashid Lombard Whale Cottage Portfolioprogramme which has already seen six students study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the USA.  Job creation is another goal.  Lombard proudly shared their Social Media statistics, having more than 14000 Twitter followers, close to 9000 Likes on Facebook, and 140000 YouTube views.

Lombard also presented the eagerly awaited line up for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which includes top international jazz artists Level 42, Shakatak, Eryka Badu (but not mentioned in the media release), and Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya.  Other international artists are Andreya (more…)

South African FruitReceiving Google Alerts about a wide range of topics, we came across one of the strangest links, for South African Fruit, but which looks like it has been designed to market South Africa as a tourism destination, associating different fruits with beautiful top South African destinations!

While the SA Tourism logo is liberally used on the South African Fruit website, the Contact page leads one to Hortgro in Paarl, its pay-off line being ‘supporting the horticultural industry‘.  Its members are Dried Fruit Technical Services, South African Stone Fruit Producers’ Association, and the South African Apple and Pear Producers’ Association.  Affiliated members of Hortgro are The Pomegranate Association of South Africa, South African Olive Industry Association, South African Honeybush Tea Association, South African Bee Industry Association, and South African Fruit and Vegetable Canners’ Association.

The South African Fruit website focuses only on the Stone Fruit, and the Apple and Pear Producers associations’ products, featuring apples, pears, plums, nectarines and peaches, and appears to focus on marketing our local fruit in the UK.  Using the headline ‘South Africa: Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit’, different pages show a child holding one of the fruits, with SA Fruit applean iconic view in the background.  For example, the view onto Lion’s Head and Cape Town from Table Mountain is linked to an apple; the view of Table Mountain from Bloubergstrand is linked to a plum; the Drakensberg is paired with a pear; and an unknown destination is associated with a nectarine.  Each photograph is SA Tourism branded.

The South African Fruit website also features Reuben ‘Robertsons’ Riffel, who endorses South African Fruit, and has developed a number of recipes for each for the four fruit types.  The site also contains a promotional page, and entries are invited for the development of a South African menu by student chefs or chefs under the age of 25, the prize being to spend one week in the kitchen of Chef Margot Janse of Le Quartier Français’ ‘The Tasting Rooms’ (sic)  in Franschhoek! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Cape Town International is to introduce licence reading machines, to register one’s parking ticket number and where one has parked, to assist visitors with lost and unreadable parking tickets!

*   SAA’s profitability is being influenced by high airport taxes in African destinations it flies to.

*  London Gateway deep sea port has been completed and the first ship from South Africa has arrived with 1.7 million bottles of  wine on board.  The port is closer to London, which will reduce transport costs and will allow the products to get to customers more quickly.

*   The Long Walk to Freedom‘ movie will be used by SAA and SA Tourism (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Angola and Nigeria will be the two African countries on which Wines of South Africa (WOSA) will focus its attention, says new CEO Siobhan Thompson

*   Jancis Robinson chose two South African cultivars, out of a total of seven,  at a New York tasting of  ’unusual grape varieties that typify an ongoing trend in wine to re-visit traditional grapes in their historical homes around the world‘, being Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.

*   The price of petrol has decreased by 28 cents a liter.

*   Huffington Post Travel recommends ten wine destinations around the world, and includes ‘Cape Town’, but elaborates that the Cape Winelands is meant, and Stellenbosch, Paarl, and Franschhoek in particular. Groot Constantia is recommended for a visit.   The other destinations are the Yarra Valley in Australia, Napa and Sonoma in the USA, Okanagan in Canada, Bordeaux in France, Finger Lakes in the USA, Mendoza in Argentina, Willamette Valley in the USA, Tuscany in Italy, and Barcelona in Spain.

*   New World wines from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa make up 30% of world wine exports, states the Morgan Stanley report.

*  A bottle made from recycled paper and weighing only 65 (more…)

WOSA Sommelier Cup Will Predhomme Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.

The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch.   After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this (more…)

The action on the MasterChef SA Season 2 set was immediate, the sixteen Finalists flown in to Cape Town from Johannesburg arriving late in the afternoon at the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg in Paarl.  The first Invention Test challenge appeared to be an easy one, but making a sandwich that represented the Finalist was not, six Finalists going into the Pressure Test, which will be seen today in episode 6. (more…)