Tag Archives: Avontuur

Eat Out awards Best Everyday Eateries 2018 in the Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal!

It’s an Eat Out week, with the restaurant guide announcing not only its Top 30 Restaurant nominations for 2018, but also celebrating the top Everyday Eateries for the Western Cape, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal. Generally most would find the Eat Out Everyday Eatery choices to be acceptable, but could question why in some categories restaurants were not awarded.  Continue reading →

SA Brandy Foundation launches ‘Brandy Homes’ in the Cape, but not in homes!

imageNot to be confused with a private home in which one can drink Brandy, the new ‘Brandy Homes‘ are in fact Brandy producers in the Cape Winelands, the Karoo, and Northern Cape, which have been designed to make its visitors ‘sit back, relax, and learn all there is to know about Brandy‘. The ‘Brandy Homes‘ are an initiative created by the South African Brandy Foundation, allowing Brandy lovers Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 3 June

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reacted to the additional Immigration Regulations introduced on Monday, requesting our government ‘to act in the best interests of the country and review‚ modify‚ and if necessary‚ rescind‚ the new measures if they do not have the desired effect and if they act as a handbrake on travel‚ tourism and economic growth‚ not just for South Africa — which is experiencing its weakest GDP performance in decades — but for the entire region. From a commercial and economic perspective‚ the industry is concerned that the harsh and onerous requirements South Africa has prescribed for travellers will negatively impact on the sustainability of air services‚ travel‚ trade and tourism to‚ from and via South Africa‘!

*   The inaugural Cabernet Franc Carnival will be held at Avontuur on 20 June, with thirteen producers presenting their wines to taste, including Ridgeback Wines, Avontuur, Lynx Wines, Hermanuspietersfontein, Camberley Wines, Cape Chamonix, CK Wines, Doolhof Wine Estate, Druk-My-Niet Wine Estate, Mont du Toit, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, and Nelson Family Vineyards. Entrance R120.

Continue reading →

Whale Tales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 7 May

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has seen only a minimal improvement in the growth in revenue passenger kilometers of 5,6% in the first quarter of this year, compared to 5,2 % for the same quarter in 2013.   Global passenger growth in March 2014 was half that in February.  Most regions showed minimal growth in March compared to February, with the exception of the Middle East, which had a 10% passenger growth and Latin America a 4,7% passenger growth in March relative to February.  Africa was the only region with an outright passenger decline (2,6%), and South Africa’s passenger decline is said to be to blame due to poor economic conditions in our country.

*   TripAdvisor is negotiating to buy lafourchette, an European restaurant booking platform representing 12000 restaurants in France, Switzerland, and Spain.  At the World Travel Market Africa Conference held in Cape Town last week the audience was told that TripAdvisor would strongly focus on restaurants, this purchase being a reflection of the planned restaurant drive.

*   De Grendel Merlot 2011 has won a Gold and its Shiraz 2012 a Silver Award at the SAKURA Awards held in Tokyo.  Entries were received from 33 countries, and 1900 wines were evaluated on a 100 point scoring system. Continue reading →

Winemakers and media need to get closer, to market wines better!

PRNET HPF Swart SkaapThe Public Relations networking association PRNet recently hosted an inaugural ‘PRNET Trade meet your media’ event at Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel & Spa, focusing on the Wine Trade.  Cape Wine Master Clive Torr encouraged wine estates and writers to get to know each other better, so that the former can provide writers with information about what is unique about their wine estate and its wines.

Torr was introduced as a garagiste winemaker, and has spent time in the Napa valley.  He said currently ‘Chenin is flying‘, being so popular.  He noted that consumers are shying away from ‘austere wines’, looking for ‘lesser acidity‘ and ‘quicker drinkability‘.  He said that grapes are often picked too quickly, and warned that one should wait for ‘physiological ripeness‘, judged by the colour of the pip, and other factors.  He suggested that many of our local winemakers are German-orientated in their winemaking, having studied PRNet Wine Clive Torr Whale Cottage Portfolioat Geisenheim, making them precise, clinical, adding what one is allowed, and controlling fermentation. One could sense that he supports the French style of winemaking, which is to add nothing at all, and to keep the wine making process as natural as possible. ‘It is time for transparency‘, he said, and intimated that this will increasingly be the future trend.  He was critical of Merlot production, saying that our winemakers are ‘floundering‘ in making it.  Riesling is not his favourite either, saying that it has ‘high acidity and little taste‘.  He talked about adding antibiotics, which is done locally, but is not allowed in the European Union.  He said that many wine drinkers are allergic to sulphur, feeling its effect the following day.

Should the threatened ban on advertising materialise, editorial coverage will be one of few means whereby coverage can be achieved.   He emphasised how important it is to stay in contact with the media, as it is free advertising if they write about one’s Continue reading →

Chef Bertus Basson pops up at Oneiric Wines in Elgin!

Oneiric Chardonnay Whale Cottage PortfolioI spent a wonderful afternoon in the middle of nowhere yesterday at Oneiric Wines, 5 km off one of the Elgin roads, spoilt by Chef Bertus Basson of Overture, who set up a pop-up restaurant for 30 guests at the homestead of the owners overlooking the beautiful valley.

Shan Pascall did not tell me about the road I would be travelling to get to the homestead, which is beyond their tasting room, with steep inclines and declines, but she had ‘incentivised’ me by saying that not only would Chef Bertus be cooking, but that her friend David Bullard of former ‘Out to LunchSunday Times column fame would be there too.  I was shaking a little on arrivalOneiric Welcome Whale Cottage Portfolio, after the drive, so had to refuse the Sauvignon Blanc which was offered as a welcome drink.

David and I were introduced to each other where Chef Bertus was cooking, and we did a quick run through of our favourite restaurants in the Cape.  David writes for Prestige magazine, and moved to Somerset West six months ago.  I was surprised about the choice of the town, but he raved about the Croydon estate in which he lives, which is a producing vineyard with its own wine label, the Oneiric David Bullard Whale Cottage Portfoliowines being made by Beyers Truter of Beyerskloof. The 200 houses on the estate are separated by vineyards, so that one is hardly aware of one’s neighbours.  The residents are very social, finding any opportunity to meet for some wine, lovely resident Claudine Wheeler told me, sitting next to her and her husband Francis.  David’s restaurant favourites so far are The Long Table, Equus at Cavalli, Guardian Peak, Overture, Indochine, Avontuur, and Tokara.  It was hard to photograph David in serious mode, as he isn’t, so we settled on a ‘silver spoon in mouth’ portrait! Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 4 October

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Virginie Taittinger is following in her famous Champagne family’s footsteps by launching her own label Virginie T, a non-vintage Brut, 67% Pinot Noir and 33% Chardonnay.  She has made 100000 bottles.  She has also made a Rosé, a blend of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier.  She sells her champagnes directly from her website at £25,90, which includes delivery.

*   Bouchard Finlayson is pairing its wines with a 4-course meal prepared by new Executive Chef Christo Pretorius at Azure at the Twelve Apostles hotel on 29 November, at R545. (via newsletter from Bouchard Finlayson)

*   Waterkloof is hosting a ‘Six Senses Evening’ at the 2013 Helderberg Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: Valora brave new city class!

For all the doom and gloom in the hospitality industry at the moment, it is refreshing to discover a new restaurant in the center of town, that has raised the bar with a slick and chic new establishment. Valora Café, Restaurant and Bar opened on Monday, where L’Aperitivo used to be, next door to Skinny Legs & All.  Valora means ‘brave’ in Latin, and is one of a number of exciting city centre restaurants to open in the past few months, which include Roberto’s, Dear Me, and What’s On Eatery.

I had noticed the sudden closure of L’Aperitivo a month ago, often driving down Loop Street.  I stopped to have a chat to Chef Andrew Mendes, while the renovations were taking place.  He told me that the restaurant would open on 1 August, and it did!  L’Aperitivo had a large counter, which took a lot of the relatively small space. The Valora counter is smaller, positioned at the back of the restaurant, and has a far more spacious feel about it.  One part of a wall is rough brick, and the rest of it is painted a light gold yellow, the back wall behind the bar is a deep burgundy, while the other two sides have glass windows, letting the welcome winter sun in on a very chilly day, with snow on Table Mountain.  I liked the interior design, understated, chic, with dark wood-top tables, chairs with a white/silver fabric, and bar chars in a light rose burgundy colour. The bar counter has gold design tiles on it.  The decor reminds one of What’s On Eatery and La Mouette. There is no clutter. The shopfitting and interior design was done by Ricci Cinti, who remembered me as his first boss of many years ago. His partner in Epic Ark designed the logo, which has a similarity to that of the Queen Victoria Hotel, giving it a classy feel.  Outside, modern grey garden couches, with a rope to demarcate the Valora space on the pavement, add further class to the establishment.  The owner wanted to create an interior that was ‘sexy and modern, finer dining, offering value for money’. The floor is a laminate that looks like it is made from old wine barrels.  I found it very hot inside, and the waitress switched off the heaters.

Valora has been opened by Mike Mouneimme, who was the operator of Caprice in Camps Bay for ten years, and is the cousin of Caprice owner David Raad.  The family is Lebanese, and this reflects in the Mediterranean style restaurant, which consists of a collection of Lebanese, Italian and Greek dishes.  Chef Andrew worked at Tuscany Beach for more than three years before joining Valora, and prior to this at the previous Avontuur restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, and at Superior Catering, which did the private catering for the Atlantic Beach Golf Club as well as for Pearl Valley.  He was not given much creative freedom at Tuscany Beach, and he is excited about the freedom to develop the menu. Andrew laughed when he said that the restaurant name comes from the bravery in opening a restaurant in these challenging times, and for the small kitchen space he has to cook in.

The cutlery is smart, being Fortis Hotelware, and I loved the special edition LavAzza Calendar 2011 cups with a gold design on them.  The Fortis salt and pepper containers have a yin/yang design, and a ceramic hurricane candle holder was on the table.  The paper serviettes do not match the interior quality, and Manager Lisa said that she is working on getting these changed to material ones.

The menu/winelist has a golden cover, with the logo, and looks inviting and classy.  Inside the pages are in burgundy.  The menu offers an extensive range of items.  For Brunch one can order a baked bagel with salmon and scrambled egg, French Toast, a health breakfast, or toasted Focaccia, all at about R50.  The salad choice includes Lebanese Tabbouleh and Fattoush salads, as well as Tuna, Greek, chicken, and beef salads, ranging from R58 – R78.   Roast beef, cheese and tomato, and spicy chicken sandwiches made with home-made bread cost about R60.  Eleven mezze choices range in price from R12 – R40, and include Lebanese flat bread, Baba Ganoush, aubergine, and Lebanese Kefta kebabs.  Starters included a beautifully presented Two Tone soup, recommended by Chef Andrew, being a clever design of two soups, presented in a yin yang shape, with a rich dark beef soup sprinkled with biltong powder, and a light truffle cream with a hint of chilli, with two prawns, which was served with toasted brioche, costing R50. I enjoyed the deep fried crispy Patagonian calamari rings served with a separate bowl of lemon butter sauce, slices of lime and a sprig of origanum (R40).  Other starters include snails, spicy chicken livers, and stuffed mushrooms, all costing under R50.  Six main courses include a 350 gram rib eye steak (R135), Turkish spiced fillet (R125), beef ragout (R98), Psarri Plaki line fish (R105), chicken Parmagana (R75), and grilled Patagonia calamari (R70).  Pasta includes wild mushroom, ravioli bolognaise, seafood pasta, and Namibian desert truffles, ranging between R70 – R110. The Valora burger costs R55, and a Prego Roll R75.  Desserts cost R50 and less, and include chocolate baklava, berry panna cotta and chocolate truffles.

A small number of wines is offered, with a selection of cocktails.  Dom Perignon costs R2750, Veuve Cliquot R 750, Moet et Chandon R700, and Boschendal Brut R195. Brampton white (R25) and red (R28) is served by the glass.  White wines are by Lammershoek (R165), Ernst Gouws & Co, South Hill, Rickety Bridge, Seven Steps and Waverley Hills (R95).  Red wines come from the same wineries (R120 – R210), with the exception of Seven Steps, as well as Kanonkop Paul Sauer at R650.  The LavAzza cappuccino costs R17.

I was impressed by the classy feel of Valora, the smooth running of the restaurant on its fifth day, the creativity of Chef Andrew’s menu and food presentation, the wide choice offered, and the reasonable prices.  I was not charged for the Two Tone soup, Chef Andrew saying that he wanted me to try it.  Valora is a perfect spot to pop in before or after a concert or a show.  The service was attentive, and Lisa kindly went to have the menu copied at a nearby shop. Parking is a challenge during the day. The menu and beverage list contains a number of spelling errors. The business cards match the menu in gold and burgundy.  A cool unique touch was the stick of chewing gum which came with the bill, in a deep red wrapper with the Valora logo, although I am not sure if the Valora target market is into chewing gum!  I’ll be back to try more of Chef Andrew’s cooking creativity.

POSTSCRIPT 3/6/12: Valora has closed down.

Valora Café, Restaurant and Bar, Shop 70, corner Loop and Hout Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 426-1001.  www.valora.co.za (The website is still under construction).  10h00 – 22h00 weekdays, 17h00 – 23h00 on Saturdays.

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

Gourmet Food and Wine evenings will warm up winter!

One of the exciting things about winter is that a number of restaurants are offering excellent value Gourmet evenings, with top wine makers presenting their wines, paired with special dishes prepared by the chefs of the restaurants.  It is a shame that some of the dates clash.

The Pavilion at The Marine Hotel, Hermanus

6 May:   Bouchard Finlayson Winery

3 June:   Paul Cluver Wines

1 July:   Klein Constantia Wine Estate

5 August:   Creation Wines

2 September:   Hamilton Russell Vineyards & Southern Right

The 5-course dinners, paired with wines, cost R 320 per person.  Tel (028) 313-1000

The Grand Café Camps Bay

11 May:   Peter Falke Wines

15 June:   Stellekaya

13 July:   Haute Cabriere

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 438-4253 NOTE THAT THE RESTAURANT IS CLOSED UNTIL END JULY, CONTRADICTING THE NOTICE ABOUT THE PAIRINGS THEY SENT

The Grand on the Beach

18 May:   Antonij Rupert Wines

22 June:   Ernst Gouws & Co

20 July:   Peter Falke

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 425-0551

Bosman’s, Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl

27 May:   AA Badenhorst Family Wines with winemaker Adi Badenhorst

10 June:   The House of Krone with winemaker Matthew Krone

22 July:   Glen Carlou with winemaker Arco Laarman

26 August:   Backsberg with winemaker Guillaume Nell

3 September:   Nederburg Auction Pre-dinner with cellarmaster Razvan Macici

28 October:   Raats Family Wines with winemaker Bruwer Raats

The 5-course meal with wine, coffee, canapés and petit fours costs R690.  Tel (021) 863-5100

The Garden Room, Mount Nelson Hotel

29 April:   Vergelegen with winemaker Andre van Rensburg

27 May:   Bouchard Finlayson with winemaker and owner Peter Finlayson

24 June:   Neil Ellis Wines with owner Neil Ellis

29 July:   Groote Post with winemaker Lukas Wentzel

26 August:   Rust en Vrede with winemaker Coenie Snyman

30 September:   Deetlefs with winemaker Willie Stofberg

28 October:   Boschendal with winemaker Lizelle Gerber

15 November:   Moreson with winemaker Clayton Reabow

9 December:   Boekenhoutskloof with winemaker Marc Kent.

The 7-course dinner costs R 395 per person with matching wines.  Tel (021) 483-1000

Chenin Wine Bar and Restaurant

26 May:   Ernie Els Wines

Cost is R 100. Tel (021) 425-2200

Buitenverwachting

28 April: Buitenverwachting winemaker Brad Paton

Cost of the 5-course meal is R460.  Tel (021) 794-3522

Nobu at One&Only Cape Town

29 April:   Stark-Condé Wines

Cost of the 7-course meal is R R480.   Tel (021) 431-5111

What’s On, Watson Street

7 May:   Fleur du Cap winemaker Christoff de Wet

Cost of the 6-course dinner and wines is R300 per person or R500 per couple.  Tel (021) 422-5652

Marika’s, Gardens

9 May:   Mischa and Eventide

6 June:   Barton Wines winemaker JP Geyer

4 July:   Nabygelegen with winemaker James McKenzie

Cost of 5-course dinner and wines is R 200.  Tel (021) 465-2727

1800°C Grill Room, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel

7 May:   Hartenberg Estate

2 June:  Morgenhof

7 July:   Warwick wine estate

4 August: La Motte Wine Estate

Cost of 4-course dinner with welcome drink and wines R335.  Tel (021) 430-0506

Casa Nostra, Sea Point

28 May:   Fairview

2 July:   Klein Constantia

Cost of 4-course meal R230.  Tel (021) 433-0187

Bergkelder, Stellenbosch

30 June:   Fleur du Cap Unfiltered

Cost of 5-course meal, Wine and Flavoured Salt tasting by Craig Cormack of Sofia’s is R400.  Tel (021) 809-8025

French Toast

22 June: L’Avenir Vineyards

6 July:   Constantia Glen

3 August :  Diemersdal

7 September:   Creation Wines

5 October:   Rustenberg Wines

Cost of 3-course Tapas and wine pairing R 220 per person.  Tel (021) 422-3839.

24 August: Overgaauw vintage port pairing (with David van Velden) with food, R80.  Tel (021) 422-3839

Café BonBon, Franschhoek

8 June:  Jacoline Haasbroek from My Wyn

22 June:   Haut Espoir

4-course dinner and wine pairing R195 per person.  Tel (021) 876-3936

La Mouette, Sea Point

8 June:  Arco Laarman from Glen Carlou

4-course French theme dinner R240 per person. Tel (021) 433-0856

Swiss & Austrian Social Club, Sea Point

11 June:   Waverley Hills Organic Wines

5-course dinner paired with five wines R250.  Tel (021) 434-8405

Fork

19 July:   Joubert-Tradauw

9-course emal paired with wines R225.  Tel (021) 424-6334

15 on Orange

21 July:  Warwick wines

6-course meal paired with wines R295.  Tel (021) 469-8000

Knife Restaurant

27 July: Glenwood Wines

4-course meal paired with wines R220.  Tel (021) 551-5000

Warwick Wine Estate

22 and 29 July: 4-course dinner paired with Warwick wines, celebrating Stellenbosch Wine Festival.  R390. Tel (021) 884-4410

The Class Room, Hermanus

12 August: Rust en Vrede

3-course dinner paired with wines R195.  Tel (028) 316-3582

Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions

3 August: Avontuur Wine Estate

5-course dinner paired with 7 Avontuur wines R345. Tel (021) 434-2351

5 October: Luddite

5-course dinner paired with 6 Luddite wines at R345 per person Tel (021) 434-2351

Sinn’s, Wembley Square

25 August: Durbanville Hills with winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee

4-course dinner paired with 4 wines R225.  Tel (021) 465-0967

Pure Restaurant, Hout Bay Manor

24 September:   Groote Post wine estate

5-course dinner paired with wines R 260.  Tel (021) 791-9393

96 Winery Road

28 September:   Van Ryn’s

4-course dinner paired with Van Ryn’s brandy R320.  Tel (021) 842-2020

Cassia Restaurant, Nitida wine estate, Durbanville

30 September:  Nitida wines

4-course dinner paired with Nitida wines R 300.  Tel (021) 976-0640

Bayside Café, Camps Bay

30 September: Beyerskloof Wines

5-course dinner paired with Beyerskloof Wines R 175 per person.  Tel (021) 438-2650

Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch

28 October: Clos Malverne wines

5-course dinner paired with Clos Malverne wines R 445.  Tel (021) 865-2022

La Residence, Franschhoek

18 November: Waterford Wines with winemaker Francois Haasbroek

6-course Dinner paired with Waterford wines R 800.  Tel (021) 876-4100

The Vineyard Hotel

Friday 13 May

Schalk Burger & Sons

Friday 27 May

Warwick & Vilafonté

Friday 10 June

West Coast Wines with Tierhoek

Friday 24 June

Stellakaya with Ntsiki Biyela

Friday 1 July

La Motte

Friday 15 July

Solms Delta Wine Estate

Friday 5 August

Dombeya Wines with Rianie Strydom

Friday 19 August

Catherine Marshall Wines

Friday 2 September

Meerlust Wine Estate

Friday 16 September

Favourites from Wine Concepts

Friday 7 October

Hermanuspietersfontein

Friday 21 October

Wines from the Swartland (Kloovenburg, Babylon’s Peak)

Friday 28 October

Constantia Valley Wines

The dinner costs R 250 per person.  Tel (021) 657-4500.

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

Blog with passion, Food & Wine Bloggers advised

Food and wine bloggers should blog with passion, they were told by both wine blogger Dusan Jelic and food blogger Linda Harding, who addressed the first meeting of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club of 2011 and which was held at Pigalle Restaurant.   It was the largest attendance in the nine-month history of the Bloggers’ Club, and representatives of food and wine PR companies, food bloggers, wine bloggers, wine estates, and even the author of “Pinotage’, the only book written about this wine variety, UK-based Peter May, attended.

Dusan Jelic introduced the bloggers to wines he had brought along from Wederwill (12°C  and 17°C) and Avontuur (Vintner’s Blend Rosé and their Brut).    Dusan started working as the Social  Networking and Media Manager of wine.co.za in May last year, and he embraces Facebook, blogging and Twitter for the company, spending about 9,5 hours daily with social media.  His company’s website is the most comprehensive data base of wine information in South Africa, it was said.   He gave bloggers the following tips:

1.  Always be honest in what you say and write. One’s “reputation is priceless”, he said.

2.   Wine education is important, and should be constantly improved.  Dusan praised the Cape Wine Academy, as being a top-class institution, and its courses at three levels.  He himself is currently studying for his Diploma.  

3.   Dusan advised social media users to ‘don’t drink and Tweet’.  He warned that it “reveals deep fears and thoughts”, and gives away more about oneself than one would have wanted to.

4.   Have integrity, because you will be found out.  Dusan quoted winemaker Abrie Bruwer of Springfield, who has not released one of his 1999 wines, because it is not ready yet.  It could have been launched and earn revenue, but the brand would have suffered.  One cannot fake passion and work ethic, Dusan said.

5.   Trust your palate – Dusan explained about the different wine evaluation methods used, including the Decanter score out of 100, and the South African score out of 20.  Platter uses stars.   He said one should respect those wine drinkers who are able to express what they can smell and taste in a wine.   As one develops one skills, one will be able to smell and taste specific fruits.  Dusan advised one to be relaxed when tasting a wine:  “wine is a living thing”, he said, and advised that it was acceptable to ‘slurp’ one’s wine when tasting it, to bring in air.

6.   Do not be a freeloader.  Freebies must be acknowledged in blogging.  Give the sponsored brand credit, but also point out its weaknesses, if relevant.

7.  Do not write monotonously, approach an evaluation positively, and present the aspects which need to be improved.

8.   However, in contrast, Dusan said that one should not be a “people pleaser” in one’s blogging, as one would not have credibility.

Dusan was asked which wine blogs he reads regularly, and his list includes Simon Back from Backsberg, and Emile Joubert from Wine Goggle, both previous speakers at Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings.   He said that wine tasting was the beginning, but the ultimate was the pairing of wine and food.

Linda Harding is a bubbly blogger, who only started her blog Squashed Tomato, based on the title of a book she read as a child, in May last year.  She is an intern for Eat In and Eat Out, and works in tasting rooms too.  She described herself, highlighting that it is important to read other bloggers’ blogs, to get to know them and their personality, and that will determine who one will follow on Twitter and whose blogs one will read, she said.  Linda is a Sagittarian, and her star sign defines who she is.  She describes herself as a “flexitarian” as far as her eating goes, eating anything, especially seafood, but she once was a vegetarian!   Linda only started cooking four years ago, and blogs about her recipes, which are quick and easy to do and do not need expensive ingredients.    She started off using her cellphone camera, and has ‘progressed’ to a “mik en druk”, she laughed. 

From input gleaned from other food bloggers, Linda presented a list of food trends for 2011:

1.  Food markets are increasingly the source of purchase, away from supermarkets

2.   Eating out will increasingly be for lunch on weekends

3.  Fruit-based desserts will become increasingly popular

4.  Restaurants serving all-day breakfasts are on trend

5.   Meat will increasingly be bought from butchers who have personal relationships with the farmers that supply their meat

6.  Serving tapas in restaurants is a strong trend

7.   Good value for money quality offers will be a success formula for restaurants.

8.   Meat-free Mondays will grow in support

9.   Artisan bakers will receive increasing support

10.  Greater awareness of food origin and reading of pack labels.

Linda sees Twitter as an important networking tool, and it reflects what one is passionate about.  To be re-tweeted by Spit & Swallow, with their more than 6000 followers, is first prize, she said.   Linda advised bloggers to ‘write for what you want, for what you enjoy, and not for what you think others want’.   She also advised one to read other blogs regularly, and to evaluate their layout and photographs.  To build relationships and to receive support and traffic, bloggers must give by commenting on others’ blogposts.   One should use one’s own photographs, where possible.   Images are vital, as ‘one eats with one’s eyes’.  Spelling mistakes are unforgivable, especially as most blog platforms have a spellchecker.   One should become a real person on Twitter, sharing not just business information (such as a new blog post), but allow one’s personal side to come through as well, she advised.   Keeping awareness on Twitter throughout the day is vital, due to the volume of Tweets one is exposed to, but she advised against retweeting one’s blog link more than once a day.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to allow food and wine bloggers to meet other more established bloggers, to learn from them but also to network with them.  There is no formal blogging course, and the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club assists in growing the body of knowledge about blogging, through the sharing of information.   It also is an opportunity to taste good wines, and to sample good restaurant food.

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