Category Archives: Green

Going Green: two major solar power projects launched in the Western Cape!

VandA SolarIn the past two weeks two major solar power projects have been announced, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, and at the DGB factory in Wellington.

The R20 million Waterfront solar project is at an early stage, and reflects the commitment by the country’s most popular tourist Continue reading →

Will Pharrell Williams be ‘Happy’ in his new association with Woolworths?

Woolworths Pharrel WilliamsWoolworths had barely announced its association with ‘Happy’ singer Pharrell Williams ten days ago when the retail store’s critics started questioning the rationale for the association, and encouraged Williams to reconsider his relationship. Pharrell is the new Style Director (whatever that may entail) of Woolworths!  The main question asked was why an American artist is to be used, when surely our country has an equally good role model. At a function last week a Woolworths executive explained the reason for Williams’ appointment.

To write this blogpost I Googled Woolworths and Pharrell Williams, and was Continue reading →

Should politics threaten Oranjezicht City Farm market held at ‘Villa Zille’?

OZCF Marquees Whale CottageIt was a surprise to read that the legality of the Oranjezicht City Farm market, now held on the lawns of Premier Helen Zille’s Leeuwenhof residence in Oranjezicht, is being questioned, in what smacks of political posturing by the ANC.

Resulting from a suggestion received on Twitter to help save the market from closing down whilst it was operating alongside the Oranjezicht City Farm, Premier Zille agreed to hosting the Saturday morning market in December. While she checked security and logistical arrangements, she ‘had opened Leeuwenhof to the market without following due process because state red tape would have delayed it‘, reports City Press.

Complaints re hosting the market at Premier Zille’s official residence, itself a provincial heritage site, are that a Continue reading →

New Tourism Incentive Programme launched, assists accommodation go green!

Clifton beachA new tourism marketing scheme has been launched by the Department of Tourism to assist accommodation establishments to become graded and finding new clients, and to encourage them to go green, a total of investment of R600 million over the next three years.

At the launch of the Tourism Incentive Programme by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom earlier this week, he shared that the growth rate of the tourism industry is faster than that of the country’s economy.  It is for this reason that the Programme has been launched, to grow the tourism sector, and to transform it to make it more inclusive and sustainable.   Investing in tourism businesses will benefit the economy, Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 21 January

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA has received the awards for Best Airline in Africa, and Best Business Class in Africa from the US Business Traveler magazine.

*   An international (but excluding Africa) Hotel WiFi quality survey found that hotels in Europe are more likely to offer quality WiFi, but American hotels are more likely to offer it for free.  Asia is most likely to offer WiFi, but least likely to not charge for it. Stockholm, Budapest, and Tokyo offer the best quality WiFi, but hotels in Istanbul, Paris, and Stockholm are most likely to offer it for free.

 *   Grootbos Nature Reserve has been nominated for its sustainable tourism work at the World Travel and Tourism Council 2015 Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 17/18/19 October

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The South African Football Federation (SAFA) has declined the offer to host the 2015 African Confederations (Afcon) Cup, due to Morocco cancelling its hosting due to the Ebola threat. SAFA says that our country does not have the funds to host the event.

*  A host of South African companies is participating in the South Africa-China Expos next week, 51 local companies participating in the expos in five Chinese cities. Their participation is supported by the Department of Trade and Industry, so that trade and investment between the two countries can be increased.  Bayede wine company is one of the participants, and wants to enhance its presence in China. Robinson and Sinclair Wine Company is another exhibitor, while Rooibos Tea will be promoted generically.

*   The Nedbank Green Wine Awards 2014 recognised Reyneke Chenin Blanc 2013 as Best Wine Overall in the Made from Organically Grown Grapes category, as well as Organic Best White Wine.  Hermanuspietersfontein Die Bartho 2012 won Continue reading →

Grass Consumer Action Sweet Service and Pick ‘n Pay Sour Service Awards!

Grass logoThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Grass Consumer Action group, which is keeping retailers generally, and Woolworths specifically, on their toes in respect of the humane treatment of their suppliers’ animals, and the ethical and honest labeling of products.  Ayrshire milk and cream has been misleadingly labeled, and falsely described as organic, just because (only half of)  the cows eat grass; products containing GMO ingredients should be better identified and those ingredients removed;  the Sustainability series ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa  has been a greenwash of Woolworths’ misleading consumer communication; and more.  Every time Grass challenges Woolworths on an ethical issue, the retail adjusts its labels!

Pick n Pay logo smallerThe Sour Service Award goes to Pick ‘n Pay in the V&A Waterfront, and its manager Faizel, the only manager on duty on a recent Sunday evening.  I had popped in to buy some bread and bananas, and saw the fruit weighing lady and a colleague chatting away, one even sitting down on the boxes of paw paws.  I asked her what the problem was, and was told that she was ill.  I asked why she didn’t go home if ill, but she said she was not allowed to.  From the time I saw a Pick ‘n Pay staff member and requested her assistance to find the store manager, it took 15 minutes for Faizel to arrive at the till, where I was waiting for him, having already paid.  He was rude in telling me that it is the staff member’s duty to tell him when they are ill, not that of customers!  Cheekily he asked me if that was the reason why I had called for him!

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 Chris von Ulmenstein at  whalecot@iafrica.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog.  FOR THE DURATION OF MASTERCHEF SA SEASON 3 WE ARE MOVING THE SWEET & SOUR SERVICE AWARDS TO SATURDAYS.

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

FitChef: healthy, clean, and fresh meals and smoothies delivered to one’s home!

FitChef Mediterranean fresh veg Whale CottageLast night I was invited to the first media launch in the country of FitChef, a new service of healthy meals and smoothies delivered into one’s home, as per one’s chosen mealplan.  A range of options is offered, including Banting/LCHF, detox and weight loss, vegetarian, and wellness. More than 50000 meal portions and 35000 smoothies are sold around the country monthly.

Developed by founder Wayne Kaminsky, who told us that he was a superfit fitness fanatic sportsman, participating in Ironman and Cape Epic challenges, and needing to find a more healthy eating pattern to lose weight.  He was using antibiotics, and could let them go when the benefits of the ‘clean eating’ came to the fore.  He moved more and more to healthy foods which he enjoyed cooking, making a batch of portions over weekends, and finding them selling well when he posted photographs of them on Facebook.  He started FitChef three years ago, and the Cape region was opened a year ago.  Wayne has tremendous energy, and his food preparation skills were impressive, preparing our dinner simultaneously at 10 food stations, at each of which a different dish was prepared.  He had prepared some of the dishes, and talked us through each food preparation station, each containing a different set of ingredients for a dish to be made. I noticed that a lot of ingredients came from Woolworths, but Wayne said that they prefer to use Pick ‘n Pay products. I questioned Wayne about his use of some Robertsons products, and he said that it was just for our dinner, and that they use fresh herbs in the factory food preparation. Continue reading →

Sustainability not (yet) guiding South Africans in the seafood they buy!

Sustainable SeafoodDespite good publicity for the WWF-SASSI classification of seafood available in restaurants, and for sale in supermarkets on MasterChef (Seasons 1 and 3), and on ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘, a study has found that many consumers do not question the sustainability of the fish they buy!

A survey, conducted by Added Value for the World Wild Fund (WWF) campaign for its South Africa Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) communication, concluded that most South African consumers do not consider sustainability when buying seafood, and almost half do not ask Continue reading →

Chef Chris Erasmus to branch out into new Franschhoek Folliage restaurant!

Folliage Chef Chris Erasmus Whale Cottage PortfolioA quick Easter Hot Cross Bun and coffee at Pierneef à La Motte was a double treat when Chef Chris Erasmus came to say hello and joined me at the table to share the news about his new Folliage restaurant, which he plans to open in the heart of the Franschhoek village just before the Bastille weekend in mid-July.

Chef Chris was beaming, clearly excited about his new project, even though he says that he is a little nervous about running his own business for the first time.  Chef Chris worked at Le Quartier Français, at Pied à Terre in London, and at Ginja in Cape Town before he joined Pierneef à La Motte almost four years ago, and took the restaurant to Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant last year.  He leaves La Motte on 15 June. He is opening his restaurant on the corner of Berg Street and main road, just two blocks from our Whale Cottage Franschhoek, in walking distance for our guests, who prefer to walk to the village for dinner than to drive to any of the good restaurants on theFolliage exterior building Whale Cottage Portfolio wine estates just outside the village. The restaurant will seat up to 70 for lunch, including outside, and 40 inside at night.  The building belongs to the owners of La Petite Dauphine, and one of its owners, Gert Gertzen, is a highly regarded interior designer, and he is working with Chef Chris in planning the decor, which will have a wood ceiling, and wood furniture, on a concrete floor.

Right next door is the IS art gallery, which moved into the same building a week ago, a Continue reading →