Entries tagged with “Cape”.


Day Zero’ – the day on which Cape Town will run out of water unless consumption is curbed further – has been extended from March to May 2018. Confusing is that the date of Day Zero varies within May, but a discussion on Kfm highlighted that the water usage in Cape Town increased since the postponement of ‘Day Zero’ to May, which could move ‘Day Zero’ back to April! Tourist arrivals and their water usage in our Summer Season is a grave concern to Capetonians.  (more…)

imageEarlier this evening German TV channel 3sat broadcast a flattering 45-minute documentary on Cape Town, entitled ‘Reisen in Ferne Welten: Kapstadt’ (Travel in far worlds: Cape Town). Cape Town is (more…)

MasterChef 3 15 Top 5 ForagingMasterChef Season 3 is slowly coming to an end, with only three more episodes to go.  Last night it was clearly winter when episode 15 was shot in the Cape forests, the focus being foraging.  It also meant the end for Mel Sutherland, who was sent home due to an unsatisfactory ‘muscle (sic) ceviche with wild garlic panna cotta and squid ink jelly‘!

On arrival at the MasterChef SA Top 5 were told that they would have to find their own ingredients in nature. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood told them: ‘The first part of this challenge you have to find your own ingredients. And you’re going to do it in the way we’ve been doing it for thousands of years – you’re going to go foraging’.   The Top 5 were to go out into nature to gather (more…)

Diners Club Winelist banner Whale CottageThe Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape.  During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.

A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years!  Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday!  A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.

Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have Diners Club Pongracz Whale Cottageenough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue.  We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi!  There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year.  It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws (more…)

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. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Africa now has 100 million Facebook users, still only half of the number of internet users on the continent.  The majority of Facebook users access the site via mobile phone.   While the growth in Social Media usage in Africa is massive, it is still very costly.

*   The Open Book Festival will run at The Fugard Theatre for the second year running, from 17 – 21 September, with authors from 12 countries attending.  Local authors will include Wilbur Smith, Zakes Mda, and Zelda la Grange.

*   Shock news is the resignation with immediate effect of SA Tourism Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton. No reasons are provided, but the suddenness of the resignation is ominous.  The industry has expressed its regret about the resignation of this dynamic marketer of our country.

*  It’s a bad week for flying in Europe.  On Monday a bomb scare at London Luton airport caused the cancellation of all EasyJet (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The United Arab Emirates publication The National praises the culinary climax of the Cape (‘South Africa: cape of good grub‘), with its ‘laughable’ prices of tasting menus and meals at some of our top restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands, including The Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club, Delaire Graff (they mistakenly refer to Indochine as ‘Asiate‘) Tokara, The Tasting Room, Bread & Wine, Pierneef à La Motte, and The Greenhouse!

*   South African wines will be available to taste, at no charge, at the Asheville Wine Market in North Carolina. Wines offered are Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2013, Sutherland Chardonnay 2010, Indaba Mosaic Red 2013, and Kanonkop Kadette 2011.

*   Horst Frehse has been promoted to Executive Director of the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, with his role as (more…)

A fantastic last half of April weather-wise has been a ‘second wind’ for Cape Town’s restaurants, delaying the closure of restaurants which will be inevitable in the long winter lying ahead.  Already April has seen six restaurant closures.  This list of restaurant openings and closings is  updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Frères Bistro has opened next door to Col’Cacchio on Hans Strydom Avenue in the city centre.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Pearl Culture in Canal Walk, and its shop assistant Hanile Hugo, for whom nothing was too much trouble in restringing a bracelet in 20 minutes, so that I did not have to return to Canal Walk a few days later to fetch it again.  A pearl bracelet which I bought in their sale was lengthened by Hanile while I waited too, without a charge for the added pearls.    It is sad news that the retail outlet will close down later this year, as it has been a reliable source of pearls, and their restringing service is one of few available by jewellers in Cape Town.  She was friendly and a pleasure to deal with.

The Sour Service Award goes to ‘digitally-led full-service marketing agency‘ NATIVE (who in South Africa would choose such an inappropriate company name?), and its Cape Head Ben Wagner.  Wagner wanted to get hold of a guest of ours, and called us to speak to him.  I explained that we do not have telephones in the rooms, as all guests have cellphones, that all calls are diverted to my cellphone, and that I had left the guest house for the day.  I asked him to contact his friend directly on his German cellphone number as I would only see the guest the next morning – surprisingly he did not have his friend’s number, and neither did I.  Wagner was enraged that he could not get the message to his friend immediately, and was rude and demanding on the phone.  His reaction was beyond the norm for an annoyed person, and he unleashed a Twitter tantrum, with extreme abuse to ourselves!  We had to ask our security company for extra protection of our guest house in Camps Bay, as he tried to gain access to our property.  One wonders how abusive he could become if he were to be annoyed by his clients, including Distell, Foschini, Pernod Ricard, and Pick ‘n Pay, judging by his abusive behaviour towards ourselves.  Wagner’s Twitter Bio states that his Tweets express his own opinions, yet it has the link to the NATIVE website!

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 info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Valentine’s Day is excellent for business in the Cape in February, and this year is no different.  Falling on Thursday, it is being celebrated this weekend, with numerous couples taking a romantic break, and weddings galore are taking place, with couples from all over the world saying ‘I do’ in the world’s most beautiful city and winelands.

Previously Franschhoek held the honours of the Wedding Capital of South Africa, and is still popular as a wedding destination.  Whilst we had seen a decline in weddings in the gourmet and wine valley in the past two years, we are surprised at the vast number of wedding guests we are accommodating at Whale Cottage Camps Bay currently, attending weddings in Cape Town and in Stellenbosch in particular.

Berlin-based Benjamin Pochhammer and his fiancée Johanna Henning chose to marry in the Cape because Benjamin had studied at UCT. Bringing Julia to Cape Town to show her the beautiful city, they decided to get married in sunny Cape Town instead of in wintry Berlin. More than 100 of their friends flew in from Germany and other countries for the wedding, for which a detailed wedding programme had been prepared for the wedding guests, all concentrated in Camps Bay.  So, for example, they played Beach Volleyball followed by drinks and snacks at Café Caprice.  The next day a special party was held at The Grand Camps Bay exclusively for the wedding party guests.  The wedding was held last Wednesday at Webbersburg in Stellenbosch, to which the guests were bussed to and from Camps Bay.  The day after the wedding they guests were invited to an afternoon braai in Camps Bay.   All wedding guests were sent a list of suggestions of Camps Bay and Cape Town restaurants and bars, and recommended tourist attractions and outings.  Roughly calculated, the wedding will have generated R1 million in income for Camps Bay in the five day wedding period, in addition to the R400000 costs of the wedding event.

Yesterday we welcomed the close family from Austria, Australia, the UK, and Johannesburg of Niki Foreman, originally from the UK, and Tom Dirnberger, originally from Johannesburg, who met in London and now live in Sydney. They have booked seven rooms at Whale Cottage Camps Bay for the next five days, before they move across to Stellenbosch, to the wedding venue at Marianne wine estate.  Their wedding party consists of about 60 guests, and their contribution to Camps Bay alone should be in the region of R 500000.

We also accommodated a guest who attended the wedding of her step brother at the Twelve Apostles hotel on Valentine’s Day.  Yesterday four American guests arrived, for a wedding of a nephew, which will be held in Paarl. All pre-wedding festivities are being held in Camps Bay.  At Whale Cottage Camps Bay we are also hosting the Wolthaus couple from Germany for eight days, celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary with us on Monday.

Yesterday the posh wedding of Nathi Mthethwa and Philiswe Buthelezi, with 500 guests, was held at Allée Bleue, the menu having been developed by Chef Reuben Riffel.   It was attended by President Jacob Zuma, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Cyril Ramaphosa, Tokyo Sexwale, and Mangosuthu Buthelezi, reports the Sunday Times.

Cape Town and the Winelands deserve to be named the ‘Cape of Love’, and this romantic wedding tourism should be heavily promoted, as it benefits the accommodation, restaurant, tourism, wedding venue, wine, and related industries.  It is also a feel-good type of tourism, the guests being in a particularly good mood, loving every minute of their stay in Cape Town and the Winelands, and the wedding celebrations they have travelled to from far!

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