Entries tagged with “culture”.

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Globally spirit sales barely grew in 2013, after a growth of 6,5% between 2007 – 2011. Vodka is the largest selling spirit category, at 496 million cases.  Whisky/whiskey sales grew the fastest, and stand at 361 million cases. Rum sales were 146 million, a decrease on the year prior.  Whilst the largest market for spirits is Asia, at 1,9 billion cases, growth was minimal.

*   More than 70 World Design Capital 2014 projects are on display in the Civic Centre as the project reaches its halfway mark, reports the Cape Times.  The projects on display include the MyCiTi Bus, Green Point Urban Park, and the Buitengracht Pedestrian Bridge.  There is no entrance fee to view the display, which runs until the end of this year.

*   Millennials will be the travelers of the future, being the biggest tourism spenders in the next 5 – 10 years, and already (more…)

Ferran Adria Culinary Conclave Ryan KingLooking at the past 20 year’s of our country’s democracy yesterday, I chose an article written about a recent ‘Culinary Conclave’ (or Indaba or Kosberaad, as we would call it) held by one of the world’s greatest chefs, Ferran Adrià of the former El Bulli, for inspiration for today’s blogpost.

Adrià and fellow chef Andoni Luis Aduriz invited 15 ‘gastronomic journalists‘ from around the world (none from our country) for a two day discussion about the past 20 years of gastronomy.  Each attendee was requested to present the gastronomic trends over the past two decades in their country, the impact of gastronomyFerran Adria Culinary Conclave group Ryan King original_ferran-conclave-group on society and culture, how the media has changed and influenced gastronomy, and how the definitions of ‘great cuisine‘ and ‘dining experience‘ have changed.

These were some of the gastronomic trends identified: (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Malusi Gigaba, the Minister of Public Enterprises, has instructed SAA to cancel its order for 23 wide-body long-haul aircraft, which the airline said that the fuel efficient aircraft would turn around its loss situation.

*   SAA is resuming its non-stop flights between OR Thambo and JF Kennedy airports from 9 March, ahead of schedule.  On its return flights SAA made a refueling stop at Dakar.

*  Simonsig has begun harvesting its Pinot Noir, a week later than normal due to higher summer rainfalls.  The grapes have higher levels of acidity than usual, and will go into the making of their Kaapse Vonkel MCC. (received via media release from GC Communications)

*   South African Cuisine and Culture are of greater interest than Wildlife to Indian tourists.  The role of Robben Island, and the incarceration of the late Nelson Mandela, is of great interest to them, and is being added to tour itineraries.

*   SA Tourism has hosted a pre-launch screening celebration for ‘Mandela: The Long walk to Freedom, in Sydney, ahead of the movie launch (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The theme song ‘Ordinary Love’ of  ‘Mandela; Long Walk to Freedom’ won a Golden Globe last night for Best Original Song, written and performed by Bono and U2, reports The New Age.

*   SA Tourism USA has launched a new website, with the theme ‘What’s Your Big 5?’, highlighting the top travel experiences our country offers in addition to safaris.  The focus now is on ‘Big 5 Ambassadors’, focusing on ‘celebrities, tastemakers and travel influencers’.   The website accessibility has been improved, making it easier to search, navigate, and book the next South African holiday.  The website also provides travel itineraries by theme: Adventure and Exploration;  Culture and Heritage;  Safari and Nature;  Entertainment and Lifestyle; and Luxury and Romance.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde is delighted by two top accolades for Cape Town, being top listed by the New York Times and The Guardian.  He reacted as follows: ‘This is great news for our city’s tourism sector and excellent publicity for our destination.  These awards will no doubt help to elevate Cape Town to the top of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A TripAdvisor TripBarometer survey has found that hotel guests expect free wifi, free parking, and free breakfast.  Items which guests are most likely to take home with them are toiletries, tea and coffee, towels, clothes hangers, and TV remote batteries. Guests are interested in learning more about the culture of the inhabitants of the town in which they are visiting, in visiting a unique icon of the town, trying new food but also wanting to eat food from their home country, as well as watching TV and movies in their home language.

*   London hotels have received the lowest ratings of hotels in 30 European destinations on the measure of recommending a hotel to others, according to a survey in the last 24 months on bookings made via Expedia, scoring even more poorly than Paris and Nice. Berlin tops the recommendation rating.

*   Grande Provence in Franschhoek is celebrating its 2014 harvest with a Harvest Festival on 22 February, starting the day with coffee and muffins, followed by a talk by the vine grower, winetasting, and then a country feast.  Cost is R450. (received via e-mail from Grande Provence)

*   It is sad to see how the death of Mr Mandela is being used by his daughter  Dr Maki Mandela and his granddaughter Tukwini Mandela to market their House of Mandela wines, saying that his legacy lives on through their wines! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Town has been selected to be on the route for the Volvo Oceans Race 2014/2015, which means that all five continents will be included in the race.

*   Distell owns 99% of the cider market in South Africa with its Savanna and Hunter’s brands.

*   Chinese tourists are spending less, a more middle class Chinese tourist focusing on practical purchases rather than on luxury top-end products.

*   While it benefits Franschhoek, this Australian travel article gets the food focus of Cape Town very wrong, referring to ‘5 star restaurants’!  But it does focus Australians on our (more…)

Franschhoek Uncorked Graham BeckA number of Food and Wine, sport, as well as art and cultural Festivals have been organised for September, and one can attend a festival on almost every day of the month!  It appears a shame that so many Festivals overlap throughout the month.

We list some of them, and will update the list during the month:

31 August:         Bot River Spring Festival

1 September:    Bot River Spring Festival

5 September:    ‘Chefs who Share’ gala charity dinner, City Hall, Cape Town/First Thursday Cape Town art galleries open until 21h00 in the city centre.

6 September:   Tru-Cape Windgat Festival and Kogelberg Mountain Challenge /Tulbagh Spring Arts Festival/Darling Voorkamerfest (more…)

Yesterday was the first day of the 2013 Franschhoek Literary Festival, and was an action-packed day with good attendance.  ‘Cooking up a storm‘ was the only food-related session of the Festival, and was chaired by Taste Food editor and Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly (left), with a panel of ‘Scrumptious’ writer Jane-Anne Hobbs-Rayner (second from right), ‘Karoo Kitchen”s Sydda Essop (second on left), and Hilary Biller (right), editor of the Sunday Times Food Weekly insert, and of a book with a collection of its recipes.  The panelists were unanimous in heaping praise on ‘Karoo Kitchen’.

Sydda Essop grew up in the Great Karoo, and used to travel with her father to farmworkers in the region, as his job was to fight for their rights. This allowed her to enter the (more…)

After huge protests about the poorly run Indaba 2012, Africa’s top tourism and travel exhibition appears to have improved its organisation, and has promised a larger number of international trade visitors for Indaba 2013, taking place in Durban this weekend. SA Tourism has stated that 3000 international ‘buyers’ are attending, as are more than 13000 delegates, according to the Daily News. The majority of the delegates are involved with tourism product stands.  The country’s world heritage sites, culture, arts, design and music are on display, in addition to tourism products and services.  Cape Town’s tourism product appears unfocused and fragmented at Indaba!

Cape Town is being represented by the Western Cape government (its party headed by Alan Winde, Minister of Finance, Economic Development and Tourism); the ineffective Western Cape tourism and trade development agency Wesgro, which has not delivered at all in the first year of taking over the role of marketing tourism in the province; Cape Town Tourism, SA National Parks; the city’s Big Six attractions; the Cape Higher Education Consortium (what on earth are they doing at a tourism exhibition?); Cape Town World Design Capital 2014; and The City of Cape Town’s Arts and Culture department. Odd is that the City of Cape Town’s Tourism, Events and Marketing department is not represented in Durban.

Minister Winde said in a media statement that this year’s Indaba theme is ‘heritage and culture’, and that he ‘hoped’ that Robben Island and the San cultural landmarks of our province will be featured on the ‘South African Heritage Cultural Pavilion’, an odd comment as one would think that the Minister’s tourism department or his marketing arm Wesgro would have ensured their inclusion on the national stand! ‘Foreign visitors want to see more of what do (sic) and how we live, they want authentic local experiences. The Western Cape has a rich and diverse history and is home to iconic heritage sites such as Robben Island. The Western Cape Government is currently devising a cultural and heritage tourism strategy, which will be aligned with that of the national government. We are pleased the Tourism Indaba profiles this offering so prominently this year’, the Minister is quoted as saying!  Disappointing is that the Minister believes the misleading tourism information put out by Cape Town Tourism, in claiming that ‘the sector experienced its best ever summer season‘! The Minister clearly does not know that the last good summer season was in 2007!

The Western Cape has developed a new slogan which has not been seen before, but will be on show at Indaba, in an interactive stand showcasing the province’s top sights and activities, such as shark diving, the top restaurants, the Winelands, paragliding, and river rafting. ‘Adventurously yours…naturally ours’ appears contrived as a slogan, and there is no Western Cape branding in it!  The Western Cape World Heritage sites Robben Island, the Cape Floral Region, and the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape will be on show on the Heritage Cultural Pavilion.

On the same Cape Town stand the City of Cape Town (according to the Cape Town Tourism media release but quoting Councillor Grant Pascoe, Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, extensively) ‘will reflect Cape Town’s position (sic) as a value-for-money destination famed for sporting, entertainment and arts events but will also examine (sic) its focus on golf and adventure tourism, as well as Responsible Tourism‘, states yet another poorly written media release by Cape Town Tourism PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove (our underlining)!  The Councillor added that Cape Town will also focus on ‘the fastest growing markets’ (one wonders where he obtained this information, as Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro have not ever referred to them in the past) of Arts and Culture tourism, Muslim travel, youth travel, and sports tourism!

Cape Town Tourism has compiled a ‘Love Cape Town City Breaks‘ winter packages broadsheet in conjunction with Thompson Holidays, which will be handed out at the stand, on Mango flights, at Cape Town Tourism information centres, and at Cape Town events (not that there are any upcoming ones other than some soccer matches to keep the Cape Town Stadium alive, and to make Cape Town soccer lovers happy, the Liverpool friendly match against Ajax Cape Town just having been cancelled)!   Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism CEO, said that her organisation’s role at Indaba is to represent a place that is a hot bed (sic) of experiences, hidden gems and adventures‘, not even mentioning Brand Cape Town (our underlining)!

As tourism players we know that the presence of Cape Town and Wesgro at Indaba will do little to improve what is already a very bleak winter season, which cannot even be blamed on the rain, as there has been barely any to date!

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

A unique magical musical and dinner show has opened at The Rainbow Room in Mandela Rhodes Place, in time for the festive season, as well as for tourists arriving in Cape Town.    It is a unique way in which the his(story) of the establishment of Cape Town until the present day is told via music, dance and food.

Conceptualised by dynamic event co-ordinator Alison McCutcheon of event company Rainbow Experience Marketing, written by Deney Willie, directed by Godfrey Johnson (known for his Brel productions) and choreographed by ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Didi Moses, the Cape Town Show is a ‘Marvellous celebration of the people of the Cape, their history, freedom and magnanimous spirit of Ubuntu”.  Talented young 19 and 20 years olds have been selected into The Rainbow Academy,  and trained for the show.  The Rainbow Academy allows its students “to earn while they learn”   The show is hosted in a large space, perhaps too large initially until the audience size builds up, and is complemented with audio-visual images screened alongside the stage – the vibrancy of the performers attracts one’s attention to the stage, so that one does not pick up much of the additional information on the screens. Images of Nelson Mandela flank the screens. The show with a three course dinner costs R295, and without dinner it costs R 120.

Prior to the first act one is served the starter, which is the most more-ish French-inspired Lavache crisp bread coated with black and white sesame seeds, served with hummus and a real Cape delicacy Cape snoek fish paté.   The first act focused on the arrival of the first visitors to the Cape, going as far back as 1488, with first arrival Bartholomew Diaz making a stop on his way from Portugal to the East.  The cultures of the Dutch, German, French, Malaysian, Northern African peoples and other settlers is described, and the historical events of occupations and settlements, as well as the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 and of the Republic of South Africa in 1961 is narrated and sung. The songs chosen to tell the story were not all known, and included a David Kramer/Taliep Pietersen song from their musical ‘Goem’, a very vibey 1930’s ‘Get Happy’, and the emotive ‘Meadowlands’.  A Klopse scene includes standards such as ‘Suikerbossie’, ‘Vat jou goed en trek Ferreira’ and more.  District Six also makes an appearance in the show.

In the break, the main course is served, the orders for which are taken prior to the start of the show.  Whilst not typically Cape, we ordered the dukkah-crusted beef fillet served on mash and spinach, with a very strongly spiced chakalaka sauce.  The fillet was served perfectly as ordered, medium and medium rare for my colleague and for me, respectively.  One has two other choices for the main courses, which are more Cape-like: vegetarian curried lentil cottage pie, and Cape butter chicken curry served with a homemade roll and sambas.  

The second half of the show focused on the impact of the apartheid laws, the defiance of the population affected by them, and the freedom achieved for the nation, with soundbites of then-President FW de Klerk announcing the scrapping of all laws of segregation, and Nelson Mandela’s speech after his release from Victor Verster prison, saying that all South Africans have the “right to human dignity in our rainbow nation”.  The show ended with the celebration of freedom and the spirit of Ubuntu.  The music chosen for the second act included the well-known ‘Pata Pata’, made famous by Miriam Makeba; Jeremy Taylor’s ‘ Ag Pleez Deddy’ brought back nostalgic memories of a by-gone era of drive-in movies, popcorn and bubblegum!;  ‘Gimme Hope Jo’anna’; ‘Paradise Road’ by Eddie Grant; and the national anthem ‘Nkosi Sikelelel iAfrika’, presented in a vibey way.  

Dessert is a sweet treat trio of a mini-koeksister, melktert and chocolate brownie.   I had it with an excellent LavAzza cappuccino, a surprise, in that I was wondering where I would have to go to find one close by after the show.    The catering is done in-house, with a contracted chef doing a great job in a tiny kitchen, we were told.  The Beverage list is short and sweet, especially on the wine side, and very inexpensive.   Wines-by-the-glass offered are M’Hudi Rea Dry at R20/R90, M’Hudi Kwea Red at R20/R90, and Excelsior Pure Bred Red R25/R100.   No Shiraz is offered, with only one or two Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinotage options.   Pongracz Brut costs R150, and 2 Oceans Rosé R 20/R90.  Amstel, Castle, Windhoek Lager and Windhoek Lite all cost R16;  Heineken, Peroni and Millers, Hunter’s Dry and Savannah cost R17; and Jack Black costs R20.

A surprise was when the cast came back on the stage for an un-announced encore, singing real Cape classics such as ‘Daar kom the Alabama’, ‘Dina Dina Oh’, as well as Ipi Tombi. 

The Cape Town Show is a great way for locals to be reminded of the colourful and often painful history of the Cape, and the rich heritage it has.   It is also a quick way for tourists to learn about the history of our country, and have a memorable evening, enjoying Cape culture and food.  The audience enjoyed the enthusiasm of the performers, and were captivated by the music. There are a few teething problem, like waiter training and understandability of all the words in the spoken story, but as it is early days for the show, they are sure to be addressed.

Disclosure:  As a member of the Food & Wine Bloggers” Club, having attended the October meeting which was hosted by the Rainbow Experience, we received complimentary tickets to the Cape Town Show.

Cape Town Show, The Rainbow Room, Mandela Rhodes Place, Wale Street, Cape Town.  Tel 072 875 9723.  Book at www.webtickets.co.za.  Wednesday and Friday evenings.  Doors open at 19h00, show starts at 20h00.

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