* The Good Food & Wine Show will be brought to Mumbai in India for the first year this year, after 16 years of running the show in Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, show organisers Fiero Milano have announced. Continue reading →
Hayden Quinn covered a large distance in last night’s episode, travelling from Oudtshoorn to Prieska via Prince Albert, and ending off in Hertzogville in the Free State. Farmer Hennie de Bod tried to teach Hayden some Afrikaans sayings, which Hayden wasn’t too bad at repeating.
The 500 km trip in a lovely red new Mercedes-Benz GLA began outside Oudtshoorn, at the Gamkaberg Reserve, where Dr Quinton Martins, the founder and Director of the Cape Leopard Trust, showed Hayden the research camera capturing the movement of leopards, as well as of other wildlife, demonstrating the Biodiversity in the area. Hayden was made to do a leopard crawl, to get a feel of a leopard’s movement. Dr Martins has more than 1000 photographs of leopards, and his research shows that there is an average of one leopard per 100 km². Then it was onto the gravel road of the Swartberg Pass, which separates the Little and Great Karoo and was built in 1888 by Thomas Bain, which took Hayden to Prince Albert. Here he only spent the night at the only hotel in town, the Swartberg Hotel and its Victoria Room Restaurant ‘from a bygone era’, Hayden said. Hayden did not see anything else in the village, which has become famous in serving as the location for Kokkedoor Seasons 1 and 2. Continue reading →
* Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Minister of Tourism Alan Winde will launch three wifi hotspots next week, in Atlantis, George, and Robertson, with Delft to follow two months later, connecting 50000 residents in the province to the internet. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)
* Minister of Public Enterprises Lynne Brown is talking about ‘collapsing’ SAA, SA Express, and Mango into one airline, which would have one Board of Directors, and create a ‘leaner and meaner‘ airline. Privatisation is not being considered.
* Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has issued a media statement regarding the new Immigration Regulations and their effect on Tourism for the first time. Acting on feedback from hoteliers, travel agents and tour operators in the province, he Continue reading →
* Professor Francis Petersen has been appointed as Chairman of Cape Town Design NPC, the company co-ordinating Cape Town’s reign of World Design Capital 2014, after the recent passing of its former Chairman Professor Russel Botman.
* Influential travel writer Sarah Khan, originally from New York, fell in love with Cape Town and lives in our city, having met her now husband here two years ago. She tells a romantic tale about her transnational love affair, engagement, wedding and reception, held on three continents! She has written fantastic stories about our city for leading international titles.
* South African rugby player Francois Hougaard has been appointed to work with the tourism authority of the Seychelles, to promote the island to South Africans!
* Brent Perremore of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, who won the National World Class finals recently, has been prevented from Continue reading →
A top event held at the African Pride Crystal Towers last night saw an attendance of close to 700 invited guests, despite the bad weather, testimony to the pulling power of the Mercedes-Benz Opulent Living Style Night, which celebrated the 10th Jubilee edition of the Opulent Living magazine, and the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz C Class. The function tied in with the Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week, which runs until today, and highlighted style, beauty, and design.
Despite the large number of invited guests, the Century City hotel foyer, in which the function was held, never felt over-crowded, and provided an unusual party venue, probably previously unknown to many of the guests attending. The choice of the venue may have been motivated by the proximity of the Mercedes-Benz dealership close by. The weather was kind to guests on arrival, allowing most to get inside without getting wet. We were handed a paid-for parking ticket on arrival, an organised touch!
Inside the foyer, a number of artists were performing, two of them doing interesting things with large hoops, sometimes performing movements with them separately and at times Continue reading →
* The South African Wine Tasting Championships 2014 will be held at the Hilton Hotel on 2 August. Each participant will taste 50 wines, whereafter they must identify 10 wines tasted blind, out of the 50. The 50 highest scoring participants will participate at the World Championships at Champagne Bollinger in October. (received via media release from Jean-Vincent Ridon)
* The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has warned that the new Immigration Regulations could affect the profitability of airlines serving South Africa, in that they ‘might stop people travelling‘, even if they were ‘well intentioned‘.
* London is the most visited city in the world for the third time in four years, according to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index. The survey estimates that the city will receive 18,7 million visitors this year, beating Bangkok, which was ranked first last year. Paris, Singapore, and Dubai also fall into the Top 5 visitor cities list. Continue reading →
* Skywise and FlySafair are both low cost airlines due to take off soon in flying between Cape Town and Johannesburg, with FlySafair having an advantage in taking off on 17 October, despite criticism that it is not meeting the ownership criterion of no more than 25% foreign ownership.
* BA will cut its number of flights per week between London and Johannesburg from 17 to 14 in February, when it introduces the A380 aircraft on this route.
* Ending its themed ‘Taking Tapas to…’ dinners, Bistro Sixteen82 is going Asian for the month of October. Ten dishes from the Orient include Sticky Chinese Ribs and Teriyaki Chicken. From November the restaurant returns to its classic tapas menu. (via media release from Communication Services Africa)
* Parliament has a wine cellar with 3000 wines, writes Emile Joubert. Called the Speaker’s Parliamentary Wine Cellar, Speaker of the National Assembly Max Sisulu said that Parliament is situated ‘around the Continue reading →
When superb wine marketer and CEO Hein Koegelenberg is involved in a project one can expect it to be of a superlative quality, reflecting La Motte’s slogan of ‘A Culture of Excellence’. So it was on Wednesday, when we were invited to attend the launch of ‘sister’ wine brand Leopard’s Leap’s new Culinaria Collection of six wines, a range developed on the basis of terroir, inspired by the regionality of French wines, and its suitability for different food types. Continue reading →
I was invited by La Motte and Leopard’s Leap Culinary Consultant Hetta van Deventer-Terblanche to try out their new The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap for lunch on Saturday, and enjoyed the beautiful display of their salads, made from just-picked vegetables and herbs on the property, and the excellent pork and chicken prepared in their impressive-looking rotisserie.
The Leopard’s Leap tasting room opened a year ago as a brand new tasting centre combined with the Liam Tomlin Food culinary store and cookery school. Chef Liam Tomlin has decided to move back to Cape Town, returning to his Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School. This has allowed Leopard’s Leap to utilise its rotisserie imported from France, and its impressive herb and vegetable garden to source ingredients for a number of salads, and to offer Leopard’s Leap wine tasting guests lunch and sweet treats. Hetta put together the concept, inspired by CEO Hein Koegelenberg, yet is very modest about her role.
Chef Pieter de Jager has moved across from Pierneef à La Motte, to run The Rotisserie kitchen. He started at La Motte when the restaurant opened two years ago, having moved across from Le Quartier Français. He has worked in London at The Waterside Inn Restaurant with Chef Alain Roux. His father Chef Chris owned Die Fonteine and Chagalls, French inspired restaurants in Pretoria, when he was still at school.
One takes a tray with linen/cotton serviette and modern Sola cutlery and makes one’s way through to the salad bar, which is then weighed and charged, at R15 per 100 gram. Salad options include a pasta salad, garden leaves, a root vegetable salad, a papaya salad, a potato salad, onion salad, couscous and date salad, marinated mushroom salad, feta, beetroot salad, cucumber and carrot shavings, chicken and bean salad, and stuffed mushrooms, all beautifully displayed. The names of the salads are written on mini ‘blackboards’, attached to sticks and placed in jars containing miniature white pebbles. The selection of salads will vary according to what is available in the herb and vegetable garden. Bunches of herbs add green to the display, presented in a mini watering can, and in little terracotta plant pots. A Leopard’s Leap ice bucket holds bottles of home-made beetroot, carrot and ginger, as well as pineapple juice, and ginger ale, all made by Chef Pieter’s team. Three different vinaigrettes add further colour to the display. One is then asked if one would like chicken or pork from the rotisserie, which Chef Pieter and his colleague cut, and then add to the plate. A quarter piece of herb grilled chicken costs R29, half R64, and a whole chicken costs R128. A 100g slice of pork costs R25 and 200g R45. For vegetarians there is a vegetable wrap filled with roasted butternut, carrots, sorrel, feta, sweet potato, and aioli, costing R25. A special children’s menu will be made available too. Miniature ciabatta and wrapped portions of herb butter are available at the till, and are included in the price.
For dessert there is a tempting selection of cupcakes, each in an individual mini bell jar (R15), miniature berry cheese cake (R10), popsicles (R10), berry jelly and custard (R10), brownies (R15), Rice Crispie treats (R9), and lemon tarts (R10).
One sits down at one of the tables, with fun tops of illustrations of knives and other kitchen utensils, the cuts of beef, and even some wine ‘stains’. Glassware is the German Rastal, which Hetta said brings out the best in the wine for tasting. One can also sit in a lounge area, with a cosy fireplace for winter lunches, or outside in summer. The tables only have water glasses, so that one knows that it is self-service. The Leopard’s Leap wines are sold at a small premium to the prices in the tasting room, exceptionally well priced at R15/R33 per glass/bottle of the Leopard’s Leap Lookout range; R20/R38 for the Classic range; R25/R49 for the Family Collection Chenin Blanc and R25/R70 for the Family Collection Shiraz Mourvèdre; and R95 per bottle of the new Culinaria MCC, which was launched at the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival this past weekend.
Hetta is setting up a shop which will sell culinary, wine and conservation (Leopard’s Leap supports the Cape Leopard Trust, and sponsors literary events) related items. One will be able to pop in The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap, and buy a piece or a whole chicken, or even a cupcake or popsicle, to take home or sit down and eat there. The 24-station kitchen is available to chefs in Franschhoek to host demonstrations, and other events, Hetta emphasising that they are willing to share what they would like to call ‘Franschoek’s Kitchen’ with their chef colleagues. Ideally they would love a cooking program to be filmed in their state of the art kitchen.
The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap is a friendly informal restaurant at which to enjoy a light meal for about R100 a head. It joins an increasing number of Winelands estates offering the convenience of being able to eat after a wine tasting.
The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap, R45, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-8002. www.leopards-leap.com Twitter: @LeopardLeapWine. Wednesday – Sunday from 10h00. The Tasting Room is open from Tuesdays – Sundays.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
I was very impressed with the new state-of-the-art Leopard’s Leap Tasting Room and Liam Tomlin Culinary Studio and Culinary Store in Franschhoek, which opened yesterday with a demonstration to 80 chefs by Wild Peacock Pastry Chef Vanessa Quellec of Valrhona chocolates, and opens officially on Saturday.
Liam Tomlin is an international chef, and opened the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School in Cape Town two years ago. He has created a joint venture, Liam Tomlin Food, with Hein and Hanlie (Rupert) Koegelenberg, and Hanlie’s daughter Berdine Neethling, who is the Project Manager. The venue will be shared with Leopard’s Leap wines, which has a central winetasting station, a dedicated group winetasting room, as well as a Boardroom and offices. The building impresses with lots of woodwork on the exterior, which is carried through into the interior. One walks in (carefully) through a glass floor over water, into an open plan space, starting with the Boardroom, and then the Lounge/Library decorated in the Leopard’s Leap colours of black, red and gold. The Lounge will have information about the Cape Leopard Trust projected onto one of the walls. Then comes the large interestingly-shaped winetasting desk, with contrasting white and natural wood, followed by a generous space for more than 50 chairs for cooking demonstrations, some chairs set up cinema style, and some around tables. Two large-screen TV’s project what is happening on the food preparation counter. Behind the demonstration counter is the shiny stainless steel kitchen, with 6 work stations for 4 persons each. The idea is for Liam Tomlin Food to get into culinary tourism, hosting cooking workshops on specific culinary themes. Along the side is a group winetasting room, a wine storage area, and the Culinary Store, all with glass walls. The shop will contain a selection of top quality products for chefs and food-lovers to buy, as well as produce from the Winelands, such as cheeses, charcuterie, mushrooms, and fresh herbs and vegetables.
The emphasis is on education in the building, and hence the tables have meat cut diagrams on them. I loved the whisk lamps in the demonstration seating area, and in the wallpaper in the shop. Whisks are very in all of a sudden, the ‘i’ in The Kitchen logo at Maison across the road being a whisk too! The building was designed by Makeka Design Lab, and the interior decor was designed by Christo Barnard, who also designed the stylish Pierneef à La Motte. A herb and vegetable garden will be planted alongside the building. Picnics will be introduced next summer.
The inaugural function was to celebrate the appointment of Vanessa Quellec as Pastry Chef at Wild Peacock, a ‘dream job’ she said, her sole focus being to promote Valrhona chocolate and to assist chefs in making the best of this delectable French chocolate. I first got to know Chef Vanessa at Caffe Milano, and she only used Valrhona in her baking. She left the restaurant earlier this year, and went to Valrhona’s training school in Paris, as well as its head office in the Rhone valley, where the chocolate is hand-made by locals, using the best cocoa beans sourced from around the world. Relationship-building is important to Valrhona, and Chef Vanessa is an excellent ambassador for its products, if the amazing turn-out of chefs from more than fifty restaurants, such as The Tasting Room (including Chef Margot Janse), Delaire Graff (with Chefs Christiaan Campbell and Jonathan Heath), The Mount Nelson, The Roundhouse, Bushman’s Kloof, Dear Me, and Aubergine is anything to go by. Attendees were welcomed by Charlotte Codron from Valrhona in France, telling us that the company was established in 1922. Its Ecole du Grand Chocolat provides a training facility for top pastry chefs around the world. Eleven Valrhona couvertures are available locally, ranging from 85% dark chocolate to 34% milk chocolate. Chef Vanessa demonstrated the making of a truly African dessert, which consisted of cocoa almond streussel, Valrhona Nyangbo (made from cocoa beans from Ghana) 68% cremeux, pink grapefruit sauce and segments, Rooibos infused ice cream, Valrhona Ivoire tempered chocolate shards containing rooibos tea, as well as Valrhona Nyangbo 68% chocolate shards. Each attendee was served the dessert at the end of the demonstration, which I chose to have with a LavAzza cappuccino, available from the winetasting station, as an alternative to Leopard’s Leap’s wines.
Valrhona is imported from France by Wild Peacock, and will be for sale at Liam Tomlin Food Culinary Store, from its Deli in Stellenbosch, as well as on order. I have only got to know Sue Baker more recently, seeing each other at many functions. She told me that she was once a nursery school teacher, and found an opportunity to sell oysters from Knysna to leading restaurants in 1992. Over time the chefs requested more and more lines from her, and she started sourcing foie gras, duck, mussels, free-range chicken, porcini mushrooms, French cheeses, and many more products. Now she sources mussels and oysters from the West Coast. Her son Ross is responsible for adding more product lines and attracting new clients, while daughter Sarah, previously Manager of Rust en Vrede restaurant, runs the Food Emporium. Husband Andrew is MD of Wineworks, handling the local distribution of eighteen wines, such as Warwick, Muratie, Veenwouden, and Etienne le Riche wines. The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has just started a wine section.
The new Leopards’ Leap venue will help to regain Franschhoek’s gourmet reputation, with this new state-of-the-art Liam Tomlin Food Culinary Studio and Culinary Store, as well as Leopards’ Leap winetasting centre. The wine brand is a very successful one, making significant inroads into the Chinese market, thanks to the passion of Hein Koegelenberg.
POSTSCRIPT 9/12: I popped in at Leopard’s Leap today, where great strides have been made with the landscaping as well as building interior. Inge helped me to photograph the building interior from the upstairs offices. Liam Tomlin showed me his completed cooking stations in the kitchen. Next week the produce is expected to be sold in the Liam Tomlin Food Store. The Leopard’s Leap branding has been erected on the wall facing the R45.
POSTSCRIPT 17/2: I attended the official opening of Leopard’s Leap Winery and Liam Tomlim Food last night, an amazing event attended by 300 guests, including Premier Helen Zille and Ex-President FW de Klerk.
Wild Peacock Products and Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str , Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 801-3663. Tel (021) 082 923 1582 (Ross Baker) 082 088 1629 (Vanessa Quellec). www.wildpeacock.co.za www.valrhona.com. Food Emporium Monday – Sunday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage