WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  A beautiful and informative coffee table book about chocolate has been written by Di Burger, called ‘Chocolate’s African Odyssey‘,  reports WineStyle.

*   Eleven finalists of The Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier Cup, from a diversity of countries including China and Russia, have been shortlisted.

*   The Spur Corporation, which owns Spur Steak Ranches, Panarottis Pizza Pasta, and John Dory’s Fish & Grill, has grown sales by 16% in the past twelves months ending June, its advertising (by Haas) driving feet into their restaurants.

*   Chinese tourists are ‘smitten by the charms of Africa’.  Direct SAA flights between Johannesburg and Beijing as well as visa processing centres in Beijing and Shanghai have pushed China as a tourism source market for our country into fourth position!

*   Pierneef à La Motte has launched its winter menu, and it reflects Chef Chris Erasmus’ love for foraging wild mushrooms and other fresh ingredients for his beautifully styled dishes, which include forest mushroom ragout served with guinea fowl and duck ballotine.  From the impressive La Motte vegetable and herb garden he sources ingredients for winter soups, including King’s bread soup, and soups including Jerusalem artichokes, fennel, sorrel, mushrooms, and venison with pomegranate. The soups are served with artisan breads baked from stone-ground flour milled in the historic water mill on the estate.  Venison features on the menu too.  Last, but not least, is puddings, including Hazelnut and honey parfait served with chocolate brownie ice-cream, MCC poached pears, Malva pudding,  Apple tart, and a Dessert Nostalgia with pancakes, bread and butter pudding and steamed ginger pudding. (via media release from Amplicon PR)

*  A moving tribute to the late Tim Hamilton Russell, whom he calls ‘the father of the modern South African wine industry’, and was the chairman of J Walher Thompson when I worked at the agency in Johannesburg in the ‘Eighties, has been written by Michael Fridjhon in Business Day.

*   Food Network has commissioned Giggling Gourmet Chef Jenny Morris for a second series, ‘Jenny Morris Cooks the Riviera’, following the success of ‘Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco’. The new series which will air on DStv channel 175, explores the tastes of the Mediterranean, paying particular attention to French and Italian cuisine, including the cuisine of Saint-Tropez, Monte Carlo, Portofino, and Cinque Terre. (received via media release from Jenny Morris)

*   Registration has opened for the Stellenbosch Hills/Freddy Hirsch Droëwors Maker of the Year  2013.   ‘Stellenbosch Hills was the first cellar to combine two proudly South African delights with our Biltong & Wine Adventure to be enjoyed at our cellar door. The art of spicing and drying meat nowadays is as specialised as the art of winemaking. Our aim was to create a competition where some of South Africa’s favourite products – wine and biltong – could be combined’, said PG Slabbert, Winemaker and Manager of Stellenbosch Hills.  Freddy Hirsch, South Africa’s leading spice suppliers to the meat industry, has signed up as sponsor for the second year. ‘We chose to partner in the Stellenbosch Hills annual competition as it combines some South African favourites, droëwors and wine’, said Deanne Nicolau, Group Marketing Manager of Freddy Hirsch.  This year the choice of wine for the competition is Stellenbosch Hills 1707 Reserve, 2010. Entrants can use any meat for their entries, and prizes to the value of R 60000 can be won. Entry packs for the competition cost R150, which include a bottle of Stellenbosch Hills 1707 Reserve, a Freddy Hirsch spice pack, as well as delivery costs for the entry pack.  Registration closes on 2 September, and the closing date for the 500g droë wors entries is 27 September. (via media release from Waterford Communications)

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