* The FNB/Bureau for Economic Research Consumer Confidence Index ‘plummeted’ to -4 in the first quarter of 2015, reflecting the pessimism created by loadshedding, increases in income tax and the price of petrol, as well as ‘social and political turmoil‘.
* Angelo Scirocco of Chef’s Warehouse and winner of the S. Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year Award for Africa/Middle East, has been ‘paired’ with fashion designer Ashi Studio of Beirut, each designer reinterpreting ‘the work of their team-mate through a fashion creation inspired by the chef’s dish, in an unprecedented fusion of fine food and style’. In a Q&A with Chef Angelo, we learn that colour is the most powerful element of a dish, his dishes are ‘avant garde’, he loves artisanal breads, cheese and charcuterie, he would never eat insects, and a fashion creation of his dish would be simple and ‘edgy‘. A Q&A with the designer highlighted that textures influence his designs, Chef Heston Blumenthal inspires him, he loves eating potatoes and caviar in Paris, the mystery of veiled women in his country inspires his designs, and one of his fashion creations translated into food would be crispy seaweed.
* Spain has been named as the most tourism-friendly country in the world, in the World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, which ranks 141 countries on 14 criteria. Spain is particularly rated for its cultural treasures, its ease of online entertainment search facilities, and its infrastructure. Other top ten countries are France, Germany, the USA, the UK, Switzerland, Australia, Italy, Japan, and Canada. South Africa is ranked 48th.
* The Fairtrade brand name is a big hit in the UK, even if it makes the wines more expensive. It is sold via The Co-operative’s 2800 stores, and another 2200 independent outlets. South Africa is praised as being ‘way ahead‘ in embracing the Fairtrade brand, and the latest South African brands to join are Arniston Bay and Namaqua. The company estimates that it will sell one million cases of Fairtrade wines this year.
* Reza Mahammad of Food Network will form the core of the Plett Food Film Festival in Plettenberg Bay from 9 – 11 July. Chef Karen Dudley of The Kitchen will also cook for the movie ‘Big Night‘. Chef Reza cooks for ‘Cheese Nun‘, ‘A Year in Burgundy‘, ‘Feast‘, and ‘The Lunchbox’. (received via e-mail from Plett Tourism)
* Award-winning Knysna bakery and restaurant Ile de Pain on Thesen Island has burnt down.