MARCH 2011

 

 
The hospitality industry is concerned about the slow March and poor bookings lying ahead for April, before the dreaded winter arrives after a very long weekend period, stretching from 22 April – 2 May, due to a number of public holidays. Yet more new restaurants are opening, while a few have closed down.
 
The Consumer Protection Act comes into operation later this week, and will be a wake-up call for every business dealing with the public. We have written a summary of the eight Consumer Rights embodied in the Act below. We are delighted that its end-result should be better service and better product quality.
 
We are grateful for all the events that have been organised in Cape Town in the past three months, and the benefit that these have had for the hospitality industry in Cape Town. Sadly, these have not extended beyond the borders of Cape Town. We do look forward to the Franschhoek Literary Festival, from 13 – 15 May, Cook Franschhoek from 10 - 12 June, and the Bastille Festival in July.

   
We recently had to create a new Facebook page (see Sour Award below), and encourage you to bookmark the new link to it.

  

Chris von Ulmenstein
Owner, Whale Cottage Portfolio  


IN THIS MONTH'S NEWSLETTER

Cape of Events boosts Cape economy

Consumer Protection Act no April Fool’s joke!
Franschhoek introduces
Food & Wine Route
Reuben Riffel puts Cape cuisine on international menu
Cook Franschhoek
Eat In 2011 is Smart Shopping for Home Entertainment
New Restaurant Openings
Cape Town is the centre of Design in South Africa

Sweet & Sour Service Awards

     

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Article1

CAPE OF EVENTS BOOSTS CAPE ECONOMY

 

  

A number of sport events, as well as two major concerts, have hugely added to the economy of Cape Town in the past three months.
 
The 12th Cape Town International Jazz Festival, held last week, is estimated to have injected R475 million into the economy of Cape Town, to have contributed R685 million to the GDP of South Africa, and to have created 2000 jobs, reports the Cape Argus. The headline act was Earth, Wind and Fire, and 42 artists performed at the Jazz Festival for about 34000 jazz lovers over two days, making it the single largest event in Cape Town, said Joey Pather, the CEO of the Cape Town International Convention Centre. President Jacob Zuma acknowledged the economic importance of the Festival during his State of the Nation address in February. More visitors to the Jazz Festival were from Gauteng, with the Western Cape surprisingly having the lowest number of Jazz Festival attendees, and a quarter of attendees are from overseas. S A Tourism CEO, Thandiwe January-McLean, praised its contribution: “South African Tourism takes great pride in supporting this world-class event that has helped showcase our country as a (sic) unique lifestyle and musical destination”.
 
Writing in the Sunday Argus, the City of Cape Town’s Executive Director of Economic, Social Development and Tourism, Mansoor Mohamed, stated that films and events are the largest contributors to the Cape Town economy, the film industry generating R5 billion, and conferences and live events R4 billion each. Two movies are being filmed in Cape Town - ‘Safe House’ stars Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds, and ‘Judge Dredd’ is being filmed too, the two movies combined having a production budget of R400 million, going to two Cape Town companies (Moonlighting and Cape Town Film Studios, respectively). Cape Town residents have been requested to be tolerant of road closures and other inconveniences linked to these, in understanding that every R1 billion income allows 15000 jobs to be sustained in the city – the noise of the ‘Safe House’ shoot at the Cape Town Stadium had local residents up in arms.
 
The Mining Indaba, held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, filled up all surrounding hotels, created a taxi shortage in the city, and filled up restaurants in Cape Town on a scale not often experienced in the city. In September the World Veterinary Congress takes place, and will be attended by 3000 delegates and will contribute R30 million to the economy. Other conferences to be hosted this year include the 4th Pan African Pain Congress (500 delegates), the World Congress of the World Federation for Mental Health (800 delegates), the Global Forum for Health Research Forum 2011 Meeting (1500 delegates), World Conference of the International Association for Educational and Vocational Guidance (600 delegates), The Southern African Association for Learning and Educational Differences Conference (500 delegates), and the World Economic Forum on Africa (2000 delegates). The 20th Cape Town Pairs, the largest sponsored open bowls event in South Africa, was held at the Glen Country Club in Clifton last month, and attracted 36 teams from around the country, as well as from the United Kingdom, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Cape leg of the Cell C Tour of SA 2011 took place last month. The J&B Met, and the Cape Epic (running this week), have an economic impact of R200 million each, and the Two Oceans Marathon R223 million.
 
The U2 360° concert in Cape Town last month contributed largely to the R 4 billion the City of Cape Town estimates is generated annually for the local economy from live performances, with 72000 music lovers having attended a visually stunning and extremely well organised concert at the Cape Town Stadium. It was a ‘must attend’ concert, with amazing lighting effects on The Claw and the 360° screen ensured that every attendee saw the band on the relatively small stage, no matter where they were sitting or standing. Neil Diamond is the next big name performer at the Cape Town Stadium, his concert taking place on 11 April.
 

The 34th annual Argus Pick ‘n Pay Cycle Tour 110km race, with 35000 cyclists, was a welcome three-day income injection for the Cape Town hospitality industry. The economy of the Cape is expected to have benefited by R500 million, an increase in R10 million relative to last year, estimated Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan, reports the Weekend Argus. The Cycle Tour, with its large number of participants and supporters, was bigger for Cape Town than the World Cup was last year, said the Chairman of the Cape Town Chamber of Commerce, Michael Bagraim.

  
For brand participants, the Cycle Tour is big - 65000 litres of Coca Cola, 82500 litres of Powerade, and 100000 litres of water, with 100 tons of ice, were available to the cyclists. David Bellairs, the CEO of the Cape Town Cycle Tour Trust, the organisers of the Cycle Tour, hailed Cape Town’s new dedicated cycle lanes as a ’sweet victory’ for cyclists, who have had to train in dangerous conditions. One of the first cycling lanes to have been opened is the West Coast one, out to Table View. Others to follow include Athlone, Gatesville, Khayelitsha, Gugulethu, Nyanga, Philippi, Strand, Brackenfell, Kuils River, Eerste River, and along the Liesbeeck Parkway. About 300 km of cycle lanes have been developed in Cape Town to date. Bellairs is confident that the new cycle lanes will lead to an increased interest in cycling.
 
There is regular talk of a Grand Prix coming to Cape Town. The latest bid, one of three, proposes a Monaco-style street Grand Prix in September 2013, to be held in Sea Point, Green Point and Mouille Point, reports the Cape Argus. The Cape Town Grand Prix Bid Company (Pty) Limited was invited by Formula One’s Ernie Ecclestone to present a proposal. A 5,3 km route is proposed, which will have Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop, with magnificent benefits for tourism, given the TV coverage that the event would attract. The route includes the Cape Town Stadium, which is proposed as the start and end to the Grand Prix route. Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde said:”…..generally, I think this is something we could put within the strategy of attracting major events. We would support that as a city and a province, absolutely. A Grand Prix would profile the city very well”. If the streets in the area were to be used (at a cost of R100 million to adjust them according to the international rules), instead of building a costly new track (at R4 billion), it would inconvenience locals, as the Argus Cycle Tour does, but the race would be good for the city, Winde added. The last time South Africa hosted a Grand Prix event was in 1993 at Kyalami in Johannesburg.
 
The J&B Met is the fashion and society highlight of the year. Now the sponsorship of the event by one of the world’s best-known brands is under threat, and could be a threat to the hospitality industry in Cape Town too. It is proposed that new legislation will see a ban on advertising of alcoholic beverages, and therefore the sponsorship of the horse racing event by J&B would no longer be allowed. It would need a hugely powerful non-alcoholic brand, with an extensive marketing budget, to fill the J&B ‘hooves’, given the focus they have placed on the event for a number of years, not only on the day itself, but linking PR to it too, inviting VIP’s, and organising after-parties and best-dressed shop competitions too. The event is so successful that South Africa generates the third highest J&B sales in the world. More than 50000 fashionistas attend the event, which is a boost for fashion designers. The Cape Argus reports that R18 million alone is spent on clothing for the event, while the event adds another R34 million in accommodation, meals and travel related income to the economy of the Western Cape.
 
Andrew Moth, editor of Hotel & Restaurant, writes an interesting editorial in his monthly magazine, which is widely read by the hospitality industry. In the March edition he questioned the future of the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa’s accommodation star-grading system. Moth writes that the United Kingdom government-run star-grading system may soon see the withdrawal of government funding (he does not explain why, but it may be part of that country’s austerity drive, to cut spending). He also states that he has been critical of the South African star-grading system, in that “the system is far from perfect”. He writes: “But the vast majority of South Africa’s hotel rooms do not need a star grading to attract guests. The big national and international groups have their images to protect and, although there will always be cases where the experience does not match the brand promise, group-branded hotels in South Africa usually offer a good deal to savvy travellers”. Moth’s biggest gripe appears to be that the annual grading fees, which are intended for the marketing of South Africa, almost all land in the civil service pot, paying for “salaries, operating costs and unnecessary and unwarranted expenditure”. He writes that the accommodation industry does not need civil servants or their marketing consultants to market the country as a business and leisure travel destination. This should be left to the tourism product and service operators. Quite rightly Moth writes that the law of demand and supply will “deal” with those accommodation operators who do not meet acceptable quality standards, and that this does not have to be regulated by the Tourism Grading Council. Last year we reported about the
dramatic changes that the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa had planned for its grading system, spending a fortune on consultants advising them on the new system, only to face an outcry from the accommodation industry, resulting in many establishments threatening to withdraw their support or to not renew their grading. The outcry clearly was large enough for the Tourism Grading Council to throw out most of the changes it had initially proposed, leaving the grading system largely as it had been before. 
 

The Green Point Park, which opened in January, has transformed the area previously known as the Green Point Common into one of the most charming parks in Cape Town, making it a treasure not only for the citizens of Cape Town, but also to its visitors, and to future generations. In conjunction with the construction of the new Cape Town Stadium, and the redevelopment of the Metropolitan golf course, the City of Cape Town redeveloped the 12,5 ha area at a reported cost of close to R600 million, renaming it the Green Point Park.

 
The conditions set for the development of the Park were that it be safe, that the golf course and the Park appear integrated and almost seamless, that the Park be accessible to physically challenged citizens, and that sufficient parking be made available. All of these conditions have been admirably met, so much so that one can feel proudly-Capetonian in how well our rates and taxes have been spent in developing the park. The major focus is the Biodiversity showcase, the gardens having been developed along ecological principles and includes indigenous landscaping. Fauna is represented by buck, rabbits, and more animals, in metalwork in-between the plants. The Park teems with bird life. Information boards explain how the Khoikhoi sought berries in the veld, used claypots to make their variation of “potjiekos” in those days already, roasted and baked their food, and made tea from bushes. The bricked pathways allow Capetonians, visitors and their children to cycle, walk with or without their dogs, run, do exercises, read a book, use their skateboards, and meet friends safely. One can also bring a picnic basket and enjoy the beautiful views onto Signal Hill, Cape Town Stadium, Mouille Point, and the golf course. Functions can be hosted at the park, and outdoor events such as markets and concerts will be held.

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CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT NO APRIL FOOL’S JOKE!

 

 
It is surprising how little has been written about the new Consumer Protection Act No 68 of 2008, which comes into operation on 1 April. It gives tremendous power to consumers in their dealings with businesses, and will put every business on its toes, the punitive fines of R1 million or more being a strong motivator. The Act itself runs to just under 100 pages, and whilst written to be understood, it is a volume of information to comprehend. Advocate Neville Melville’s ‘The Consumer Protection Act Made Easy’ guides businesses about the requirements of the new Act. Accommodation provision is identified as a type of Service covered by the Act, whereas restaurants are not mentioned as such, but the Act applies to the provider of “Goods”, which includes anything “marketed for human consumption”. Any contracts that were entered into before 1 April 2011 are excluded from the provisions of the Act.
 
 

The Act is introduced as follows: “To promote a fair, accessible and sustainable marketplace for consumer products and services and for that purpose to establish national norms and standards relating to consumer protection, to provide for improved standards of consumer information, to prohibit certain unfair marketing and business practices, to promote responsible consumer behaviour, to promote a consistent legislative and enforcement framework relating to consumer transactions and agreements, to establish the National Consumer Commission…”. It has been designed with the express purpose to protect the poor, and vulnerable and historically disadvantaged consumers, and to ‘promote their full participation as consumers’. It also aims to apply ‘internationally recognised customer rights’, and seeks to ensure transparent ‘redress’ for consumers subjected to ‘abuse or exploitation in the marketplace’. From a consumer perspective, it will certainly lead to improved customer service and better quality products, as complaints about service and product quality, as incorporated by the Act, can be taken to the newly established National Consumer Commission. The penalties that businesses can face are R1 million or 10 % of the annual turnover, whichever is the higher figure. Advocate Melville advises that businesses must ensure that they have sufficient public liability insurance.
 
The Consumer Protection Act ascribes eight rights to consumers:
 
1. The Right of Equality
 
A business may not exclude or unfairly discriminate against any person, or category of persons, prioritise one set of persons over another, or charge certain types of persons more than another. This raises an important issue about the “Right of Admission” signs in hotels and restaurants. Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, in banning patrons from its establishments, may fall foul of the new Act on this point. One may not contract with a minor, or with mentally challenged persons.
 
2. The Right to Privacy

Consumers have the right to reject or block unwanted direct marketing or any other communication via e-mail, telephone and sms. Allowable contact times for direct marketing may be specified in future.
 
3. The Right to Choose 
 
Products may not be bundled together with another product or service linked to it, and therefore a supplier or retailer cannot make it mandatory to buy another (possibly unwanted) product as part of a package.
 
4. The Right to Disclosure
 
All documentation must be written in plain and understandable language (the tenancy clause in the Taj Cape Town hotel ‘legal document’ when one checks in will not meet this criterion in the Act!). The advertised or marked price is the one that must be honoured, even if it is an error. A brand name or trade mark must not attempt to mislead consumers. Important to note is that a ‘written record of the transaction’ must be provided, and must contain prescribed information, including the unit price, the price before VAT, the VAT amount, and the total price.
 
5. The Right to Responsible and Fair Marketing
 
Marketing must be honest. One may not over-promise, exaggerate, mislead or make false claims, so as to lead the consumer to have a different expectation. One must honour one’s commitment to have a specified product or service available on the date/time that was agreed. Restaurants, for example, may not claim that their dishes contain ingredients that they do not, or that they are imported when they are sourced locally. Advertising must realistically portray the benefits of the product or service. Loyalty programs are specifically mentioned, and the ruling is that the promised reward must be available to the consumer. The communication of how the loyalty programme works must be clear.
 
6. The Right to Fair and Honest Dealing
 
The Act uses the word ‘unconscionable’, a complex word Melville writes, given that the Act itself calls for ‘plain language’ in all dealings with the consumer! This clause calls for positive conduct with the consumer, and does not allow a supplier to use ‘undue influence, pressure, duress or harassment, unfair tactics or any similar conduct’ in getting payment due to the supplier, or goods returned. The supplier may not withhold material facts about the product or service (e.g. renovations taking place at a guest house), nor imply a benefit of the product or service that does not exist, or fail to correct a misunderstanding that the consumer expresses about the product or the service. Reasonable availability of the product or service must be accurately communicated, as must be the availability of parts for repairs. Overbooking, with the express purpose of taking more bookings than one has the capacity for, based on the knowledge that not all booked customers will arrive (e.g. airlines, hotels), is no longer allowed, as one must have the service/product available if it has been booked. Any such overbooking, and therefore inability to honour a booking, calls for a refund of the cost of the booked service as well as the costs involved in the cancelled booking (e.g. loss of business suffered by the customer), which could become very costly for the supplier! However, the supplier may make an alternative arrangement on behalf of the customer, and that customer is reasonably expected to accept the alternative arrangement.
 
7. The Right to fair, just and reasonable terms and conditions
 
The Act regulates ‘agreements’ (not calling them contracts) between suppliers and consumers. Information in the agreement must be in plain understandable language. Repairs must be pre-quoted. Any risk to the consumer that may lead to serious injury or death must be highlighted. Any other potential risks associated with the product or the service must be highlighted. A ‘fair’ price must be offered, and the terms must be ‘fair’ and reasonable, although ‘fair’ is not defined. “Unfair” is however defined as agreements which are one-sided in benefit to a party other than the consumer, or are based on misleading information. No clause in an agreement can be in contravention, or cancel any provisions, of the Consumer Protection Act. PIN codes and ID books may not be kept by the supplier, and only copies may be made of the ID book and the PIN code used for a transaction.
 
A contentious provision for businesses is the right to a cooling-off period, which allows the consumer to return bought goods within five days of purchase, and must be refunded in full within 15 business days. The notice of cancellation must be in writing. Melville uses the word ‘good’, and not ’service’, so it is not clear if this applies to bookings made for services such as accommodation, for which a 50 % deposit is likely to have been taken. Even more uncertain is how the provision that a consumer can return a ‘good’ if he/she did not have a chance to see the product beforehand, but only of it is not hazardous to the public health (which would exclude food and beverages), or if it has been tampered with. Such a clause could apply to accommodation too, being an unsighted purchase (but is defined as a ’service’), so this may not be applicable.
 
Consumers have the right to cancel an advance booking or order, ‘but may be liable for a charge for doing so’. A supplier may “require payment of a reasonable deposit in advance and impose a reasonable charge for the cancellation” . The ‘reasonable’ is not defined, but Melville writes that it should be decided on the basis of the nature of the products and services, the length of notice of the cancellation, the “reasonable potential for the service provider, acting diligently, to find an alternative consumer between the time of receiving the cancellation notice and the time of the cancelled reservation”, and the general practice of the industry. In the case of the death or hospitalisation of the person making the booking, the deposit paid must be refunded in full, but this does not apply to a family member’s death or hospitalisation.
 
8. The Right to fair value, good quality and safety
 
Any good, or element within a good, that can cause harm, injury or potential death to the consumer, must be spelt out to the consumer. These risks can include those that the consumer may not ordinarily have expected, especially those which can lead to serious injury or death. Products that are available to or sold to the consumer that may contain hazardous substances must have the warning and description on the pack, or available separately. The Act calls for compensation to consumers if the products bought caused harm to themselves and/or their property. Not only the direct supplier is liable, but also the importer, the retailer, the manufacturer, the distributor, and the installer can be sued for damages within a three year period from the date of the loss or damage. A further requirement is that products and services should be of a quality that consumers are ‘generally entitled to expect’. It states that industry association codes and practice would guide what this reasonable level of quality would be. For the accommodation industry, the Tourism Grading Council guidelines and requirements probably would be a good quality guide. Timing of the delivery of the service is once again highlighted as having to be ‘reasonable’, and suppliers must give consumers ‘reasonable’ notice (timing undefined) of ‘unavoidable’ delays. A good requirement, for anyone dealing with builders or repairmen, is that the property must be left in the condition it was when they first started their work. Suppliers of repair services must safeguard the consumers’ goods in their care, and this includes deposits that may have been paid. Products bought must deliver on what they are expected to perform. They must be in good working condition and free of defects. If the product does not perform, the consumer can return the product within a six month period, and can demand a new replacement product, money back, or repair of the item. The consumer has the right of choice in this regard, not the supplier. Repaired goods have a three month warranty period through the Act.
 
The Consumer Protection Act could become an explosive minefield if opportunistic consumers were to try to exploit the provisions of the Act, especially for the service industry, where things are not always black or white. However, the protection it affords consumers is welcomed, and the improvement in the level of service and quality of products one can expect as a result is too. Read our detailed blogpost about the Consumer Protection Act.

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FRANSCHHOEK INTRODUCES FOOD & WINE ROUTE

 

  

The Franschhoek Wine Valley Food & Wine Route has been launched, and soon will be presented in a new map, that will reflect the 42 restaurants, 48 wine estates and 3 delis and shops that sell foodstuffs in and around Franschhoek. The new Food & Wine Route is a good marketing reaction to the increasing dominance of Stellenbosch as the new gourmet centre of South Africa, and its large number of wine estates.  The Food & Wine Route incorporates mainly the restaurants and wine estates that are members of Franschhoek Wine Valley. Interestingly, the geographic delineation of Franschhoek has been broadened to incorporate the wine estates and restaurants on the R45 between Klapmuts and Simondium, including Noble Hill, Backsberg, and Babel at Babylonstoren, on the basis that they have become members of the Franschhoek Wine Valley association, even if they fall under the Paarl wine district. Glen Carlou has chosen to not be part of the Route, even though it is one of the first properties one passes when driving to Franschhoek on the R45.
 
Tania Steyn, the Marketing Manager of Franschhoek Wine Valley, explained that the new project consists of two parts.  The first is the Food & Wine Route map, in A3 size, which will list all the restaurants and wine estates.  The Food & Wine Route map will replace the Franschhoek wine map, which guest houses and their guests have found to be useful in highlighting all the Vigneron members in Franschhoek.  The second part of the project is an e-commerce platform for specific Food and Wine Route Experiences,  that one cannot visit spontaneously without a booking.  The bookings will be made on the website, and it is hoped that visitors to Franschhoek will book a number of such experiences, and will therefore stay in the area for longer.
 
The wine estates on the new Franschhoek Wine Valley Food & Wine Route are Akkerdal, Allèe Bleue, Anthonij Rupert Wines (L’Ormarins and Protea brands, and home of the outstanding Motor Museum), Backsberg, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal Wines, Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Dieu Donnè Vineyards, Franschhoek Cellar, Glenwood, Graham Beck Franschhoek, Grande Provence Estate, Haute Cabriere, Holden Manz (previously Klein Genot), La Bri, La Chataigne, La Motte (with Pierneef art gallery), La Petite Dauphine, La Petite Ferme, La Manoir de Brendel, Leopard’s Leap, Lynx Wines, Maison, Mont Rochelle, Moreson, My Wyn, Noble Hill, Plaisir de Merle, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta, Stony Brook, Topiary Wines (newest Platter 5-star sparkling wine in Franschhoek), Val de Vie, Vrede & Lust, Eikehof, Franschhoek Pass Winery, Haut Espoir, La Bourgogne, La Roche estate, La Vigne, Landau du Val, Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, Von Ortloff,  Bellingham Wines, Klein Dauphine, La Chaumière and Veraison Vineyards.
 
The Franschhoek restaurants and food outlets on the Food & Wine Route are Allora, Babel at Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Boschendal, Café Allèe Bleue, Cafè BonBon, Col’Cacchio Pizzeria, Cosecha Restaurant at Noble Hill, Dalewood Fromage (but not open to the public), Dieu Donnè Restaurant, Dutch East, Elephant & Barrel, Essence, Fizz Affair Champagne Lounge, Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, Freedom Hill Restaurant, Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms-Delta, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Haute Cabrière, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Kalfi’s,  Fromages de France ,  Le Bon Vivant, Dish @ Le Franschhoek, Le Verger The Orchard Restaurant (Le Franschhoek Hotel), The Common Room, The Tasting Room,  L’Ermitage Restaurant, Mon Plaisir at Chamonix, Mange Tout,  Monneaux, Reuben’s, Rickety Bridge, Ryan’s Kitchen, Salmon Bar, The Country Kitchen, The French Connection, The Grill Room, The Jam Jar, The Olive Shack, and The Polo Club Restaurant (at La Vie). Oddly, Pierneef à La Motte is not listed, and one hopes this is just an oversight. Other missing restaurants are Café Benedict, BICCCS, Chez D’Or, Cotage Fromage at Vrede & Lust, Crepe & Cidre, Café Le Chocolatier, Café des Arts, and the Franschhoek Food Emporium.
 
The Franschhoek Food & Wine Route Experiences which one can book include the Plaisir de Merle wine tasting, Flavour Sensation Tasting, and Wine & Chocolate Tasting;  Franschhoek Cellar Cheese and Wine pairing,  Huguenot Fine Chocolates Chocolate Tour and Tasting; Chamonix Grappa & Schnapps Tasting; Dieu Donné Micro-brewery and beer tasting;  Babylonstoren Guided Garden Visit;  Le Bon Vivant Surprise Menu;  Food and wine pairing at Pierneef à La Motte; and Cape Gourmet Delights Tour, with stops at Grande Provence, Moreson and Vrede & Lust.
 
One hopes that the Franschhoek Wine Valley Food & Wine Route map will also indicate which wine estates, food shops and restaurants sell foods, such as the vegetables, breads and chocolates at the Farm Shop at Pierneef à La Motte; salmon products and breads at the Salmon Bar; the Mediterranean delicacies at The Olive Shack; wonderful freshly baked wholewheat bread at Grande Provence; breads and sweet treats at Café BonBon and Café Benedict; olive oils and balsamic vinegar at Allèe Bleue; heavenly chocolates as well as breads at Café Le Chocolatier; Truckles cheeses at Franschhoek Cellar; and a selection of home-made  pies, preserves, dips, cold meats and breads at the new Franschhoek Food Emporium.

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REUBEN RIFFEL PUTS CAPE CUISINE ON INTERNATIONAL MENU

 

  

Chef Reuben Riffel’s connection with the One&Only Cape Town is putting him, and Cape Town with it, on the world map, and he had a whirlwind tour of New York, with the compliments of SAA and the One&Only Hotel group, in January.  His first stop was the studios of the Martha Stewart Show, watched on cable by an audience of about 80000.  Reuben had to prepare South African dishes, being Cape Malay pickled fish, and a grilled peri peri beef salad.  The Reuben’s slot ran for 15 minutes and had shots of the One&Only Cape Town too, with Stewart endorsing the hotel by stating that it is her favourite resort in South Africa.

 

He was also invited to appear on NBC’s Today Show, with a viewership of 3,3 million, and here too he had to prepare two dishes (crisp prawn dumplings with rooibos tea salt, and pan roasted red snapper prepared in a West Coast basting sauce of apricot jam, garlic and soya).  Reuben also prepared food for an One&Only Hotel event for travel agents and tour operators, as well as one for the media.
 
Meeting Chef Reuben and his wife Maryke at Reuben’s at the One & Only Cape Town after his trip was time for an update: manager Samantha Housden has left, and has been replaced by Kagiso Mmebe.  In the kitchen Maritz Jacobs has been joined by Aviv Liebenberg, previously at Reuben’s Robertson.  Camil Haas, who was meant to shadow Chef Reuben in Franschhoek and Cape Town, will be more behind the scenes now, and will manage Chef Reuben’s appearances and outside events. New menus have been launched at the One&Only Cape Town and in Franschhoek, as well as a Sunday buffet lunch introduced at the One&Only Cape Town.  The Reuben’s Cape Town menu indicates which dishes contain alcohol, shellfish, nuts, and pork.  A new Reuben’s cookbook is in the pipeline, and will focus on seasons.   Chef Reuben says there are definitely no further restaurant openings on his agenda, and he is learning to delegate more, to enjoy a more balanced personal and business life. 

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COOK FRANSCHHOEK

 

  

A number of hands-on demonstrations by some of the top chefs in Franschhoek will take place over the weekend of 10 -12 June, chefs sharing their knowledge and passion for their craft, in what Franschhoek Wine Valley is calling ‘Cook Franschhoek’.   The chefs that have been included  in ‘Cook Franschhoek’ are Margot Janse of Le Quartier Français, Bjorn Dingemans from Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, Judy Sendzul from the Salmon Bar, Ryan Smith from Ryan’s Kitchen, Leigh Trout from Mange Tout at Mont Rochelle Hotel,  Chris Erasmus at Pierneef à La Motte, Pierre Hendriks of Le Bon Vivant, Matthew Gordon from Haute Cabriere, Adrian Buchanan from Freedom Hill, as well as representatives of L’ermitage, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Le Franschhoek Hotel, and Franschhoek Country House and Villas.   Each demonstration will be paired with a Franschhoek wine, including those from Franschhoek Pass Winery, La Motte, Grande Provence, Cabrière, Haut Espoir, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Mont Rochelle and Môreson. 

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EAT IN 2011 IS SMART SHOPPING FOR HOME ENTERTAINMENT

 
  

Increasingly consumers are entertaining their guests at home, by shopping at a select number of specialist food shops and delis, and preparing something last minute.  This is partly due to the recession South Africans have experienced in the past two years, as well as the general shortage of time, and this has stimulated the production of wonderfully healthy and creative food products for in-home use.   It also reflects the greater time that consumers spend on shopping for produce and ingredients than they do cooking or preparing it.   This was said by Anelde Greeff, editor of Eat In, at the announcement of the winners of the 4th Eat In Produce Awards, which was held as a Night Market at the Old Biscuit Mill.  To co-incide with the Awards,
S A Breweries launched two craft beers at the event - a Newlands Extra Special, and the Sunset Wheat Beer. A new  Newlands Spring water was also available.

The Best New Product winner of the 2011 SAB Eat In Produce Awards was Totally Wild’s Aloe and Baobab Juice, which contains calcium, iron and vitamins. The South African Heritage Award went to Enaleni Farm in KwaZulu-Natal.  The other 2011 SAB Eat In Produce Awards winners were the following:
 
*   Best Organic Product: Kimilili’s Witzenberger cheese  
*   Small Produce Award: Paddock - Chuck and Bobs
*   Small Produce Award: Earth - The Drift Farm’s range of organic fruit and vegetables
*   Small Produce Award: Bakery - The Foodbarn’s ciabatta and rye bread  
*   Small Produce Award: Dairy - Swissland St Maure cheese
*   Small Produce Award: Grocery - Quality Pickles’ range of chutneys, atchars and pickles
*   Merit Award: The Kitchen Garden sprouts 
 
The 2011 edition of Eat In magazine was launched at the event, the tenth issue, with 850 listings in categories such as bakeries, butcheries, cheese suppliers, delis, cooking schools, kitchen tool suppliers, spice and imported product suppliers, fish suppliers, farm stalls and markets, organic food suppliers, caterers, olives and olive oils, and tea and coffee suppliers.  For the first time quick and easy recipes are provided as well.  

Article7
 

NEW RESTAURANT OPENINGS

 

  

Recent restaurants and coffee shops that have opened include What’s On Eatery, Mozzarella Bar, Caffe Milano,  Cassis Salon de The’, Power & The Glory, The Franschhoek Food Emporium, and the Haas Coffee Collective.  The long-awaited new Etienne Bonthuys (ex-Tokara) restaurant Casparus on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch, a partnership with artist Strijdom van der Merwe, has opened, and is sure to wow foodies visually as well as in taste.  Jardine, previously an Eat Out Top 10 restaurant, closed at the end of February, and other restaurant closures include Cheyne's, The Bistro in Franschhoek, Liquorice & Lime on St George’s Mall, Kitchen Bar in Hermanus, and a six-month closure of Blonde.
 

Restaurants that we visited and reviewed recently include Reuben’s to go Deli, Fairview’s Goatshed, dinner at Grande Provence, Valentine’s Dinner at Café Benedict, Glen Carlou, Grand Dedale Country House, The Taj Cape Town, Seasons at Diemersfontein, Mange Toute at Mont Rochelle Hotel, Le Bon Vivant, Laborie le Restaurant, The Afternoon Tea at the One&Only Cape Town, the new High Tea at the Grande Roche, and Proviant Kaapse Tafel & Spens in Paarl Patchi is a classy Lebanese chocolate shop in the new Hilton Hotel in Bo-Kaap.  
 
The Wellington Wine Route has some excellent quality wine estates and wines.  The launch of the excellent value Overhex Balance wines at The Test Kitchen was a wonderful event.   De Grendel must have the most beautiful view of all wine estates in Cape Town.  Graham Beck Wines has sold its Franschhoek property to neighbour Johan Rupert of Antonij Rupert Wines, but its cellar door will remain open until mid-2012.   The most talked-about South African wines this year will be those of Dombeya, which will be served at the wedding of Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock in Monaco on 2 July. 

Article8

 

CAPE TOWN IS THE CENTRE OF DESIGN IN SOUTH AFRICA

 

  

The Design Indaba Expo, running alongside the Design Indaba in February, was an amazing ode to the quality and diversity of design, by mainly Cape Town based designers, in the jam-packed Cape Town International Convention Centre exhibition hall, with 250 exhibitors. The Design Indaba attracted top international designers, such as Alberto Alessi, Michael Wolff, and trend forecaster Li Edelkoort, with about 37000 delegates attending the Design Conference, according to Cape Town Tourism, contributing R 232 million to the Cape economy.
 

Pierre le Roux was one of the most interesting designers at the Expo, and described his furniture as being works of art more than functional seating. Near the entrance was an impactful rainbow-coloured display to attract attention to Cape Town’s bid for Design Capital of the world in 2014. The furniture exhibits attracted attention, because the exhibitors required more space, and they tended to not be confined within walls. Other furniture designers at the Expo included the Western Cape Furniture Initiative, Haldane Martin, Cabinetworks, Pierre Cronje, Raw Studios, Recreate, Pedersen + Lennard, …XYZ Design, Sofa Studio from Franschhoek, and a most cleverly named Flower Power, making protea-shaped lamps.

  
At the Design Indaba Expo the latest map of the Cape Town Design Route was launched, which has more than doubled to 59 designers, and their work is permanently showcased at their studios, via a map that provides contact and location details of designers in the City area, in the southern and northern suburbs, on the Atlantic Seaboard, and in the Winelands.
 

Article9
 

SWEET & SOUR SERVICE AWARDS

 
  

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to info@whalecottage.com. Winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of the WhaleTales blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

 

The latest Sweet Service Awards winners are the following:

 

Orbis Security Solutions, for their Reginald being an excellent service ambassador in the Cape Town International parking garage ... read more

Twitter, for its ability to keep the world up to date with the recent catastrophes in New Zealand and Japan, with regular updates from its citizens shared with all ... read more
Café Benedict, for re-opening, to allow a customer to connect to the internet ... read more
Watson Incorporated, for doing the Whale Cottage Portfolio accounts and tax returns at short notice ... read more

Ria’s Pools, for offering a same-day DIY service ... read more

Wild Flour Bakery, for delivering Valentine’s biscuits to Camps Bay at no extra charge ... read more
Café Le Chocolatier, for its manager calling and proactively admitting that an error had been made with the charge for bread ... read more
Cape Town Fish Market, in the V&A, for their service recovery ... read more
Huguenot Fine Chocolates, for their chocolate-making tour, and consistent good service… read more ... read more

 

The Sour Service Awards recently went to the following:
 

Waltons Hermanus, for their rudeness in dealing with a customer ... read more

Naashon Zalk and Facebook, for Zalk having the Whale Cottage Facebook page removed ... read more
The Village Beanery, for wanting to charge for a cup of undrinkable coffee ... read more
Krugmann’s Grill in the V&A. for the poor and rude service linked to their recent steak special ... read more
Pick ‘n Pay’s liquor department in Franschhoek, for their incompetent staff ... read more
Vodacom in Paarl Mall, for poor service ... read more

Pep Stores, for their inconsistency in cellphone sale requirements across different branches ... read more

Afrique Senti, for selling diluted guest amenities to accommodation suppliers ... read more
Nedbank, for its slow service at the Sea Point branch ... read more
 
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