Entries tagged with “Daniel Waldis”.


Last year I was subject to an urgent interdict in the Western Cape High Court with a demand to remove a Blogpost about the misleading packaging which Le Chocolatier had used for its chocolate slabs, claiming them to be sugar-free and Banting-friendly. In a landmark case in terms of freedom of speech and defamation in digital Social Media, Judge Dennis Davis refused the demand for my Blogpost to be taken down, with only two sentences required to be removed from the Blogpost. The case sets a precedent for future cases regarding defamation on Social Media platforms. (more…)

Le ChocolatierOne cannot get more notorious than being featured in Noseweek (July 2015 issue), and to have a Facebook group created about one’s business. Such an ‘honour’ has been bestowed upon Daniel Waldis, owner of Le Chocolatier, who has operated in Franschhoek, now in Stellenbosch, and with a factory in Paarl!

I first met Waldis at his restaurant in Franschhoek, after I had written a less than complimentary review of it. He was (more…)

Craft logoI had heard that Craft had opened in the space from which Apprentice operated for a number of years earlier this year, having been a ‘test kitchen’ for the students of Letetia Prinsloo’s Institute of Culinary Arts.  An unfortunate association with Le Chocolatier owner Daniel Waldis led to the closure of the restaurant. In its place is a dual restaurant and bar, separated only by a bar counter, but the difference in attitude of the two managers is massive.   The two Crafts are owned by Francois Jooste, who also owns Java and Apres Bistro, all close to each other in a tourist rich area of Stellenbosch.

I visited on Monday, entering on the left, at Craft Wheat & Hops, which I did not immediately associate with a bar specialising in beers.   Once oneCraft Wheat & Hops Exterior Whale Cottage enters, it is very clear what it serves, with 16 beers on tap offered, and a similar number of beers displayed on shelves.  I recognised the voice of the friendly lady behind the counter, and she reminded me that she was the Chef and Manager of The Stall in Franschhoek when it first opened eighteen months ago.  Marilie van Niekerk left when she had her baby.  She made a menu available for me immediately, without having to ask for it, it being such a pleasure to experience her excellent service.  The bar had not yet been set up, tables having been placed on top of each other, as the bar only opens at 15h00 on week days.  Interestingly Craft Wheat & Hops offers food as well, but with only two options. Flammkuchen is prepared in what look like a massive pizza oven inside the bar, seven options offered in a price range from R40 (for Caprese) to R52 (smoked salmon, red onion, rocket, and caviar).  An extensive list of Tapas dishes is offered, ranging from R29 (crumbed mozzarella sticks with berry compote) to R45 (roast chicken and cheddar quesadilla served with homemade salsa, guacemole and cream cheese).   Other tapas include lamb meat balls, ‘corn dogs‘,  chorizo and mozzarella crostini, mini mushroom burgers, and ‘beer brats wrapped in bacon‘. (more…)

The first taste of the Cape winter this weekend is likely to be felt by the restaurant industry, which will see hard times in the next two months, if close to zero accommodation bookings in the Cape are anything to go by.  Other than Hermanus FynArts and the Wacky Wine Weekend kicking off next week, ‘Cook Franschhoek‘ running over the Youth Day long weekend, and the Bastille Festival weekend on 13 – 14 July, no significant events are planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands.  A number of restaurants are closing for an annual break in the next two months.

This list of restaurant openings and closings isupdated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Frères Bistro has opened next door to Col’Cacchio on Hans Strydom (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Bar1 in Camps Bay, who helped to make a birthday celebration at their restaurant on a perfect Camps Bay day very special.  The restaurant only opened about 10 days ago, and its relaxed feel, and its attractive interior, friendly owner, and light menu of salmon and prosciutto pizzas, calamari, lamb burgers, wraps, and nachos gave us the confidence to book them for the function.  Our expectations were exceeded, and everyone had a very good time. They sourced cupcakes in the requested colours, and everything ran smoothly for the function.

The Sour Service Award goes to Bosman’s at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, once a Top 10 Eat Out restaurant, and is nominated by Daniel Waldis from Franschhoek.  He writes (in imperfect English, being Swiss): “It is now the second time that we made a booking at Bosman restaurant where we arrive and no booking was noted and no table prepared; the cold, unfriendly welcome through the staff member – questioning me about with who we made the booking is shocking;  professional would be an excuse and sorry and while waiting in a lounge with a ” train station atmosphere”; at least a drink should been offered to 7 waiting customers; it doesnt help to be rated in SA’s top 10 restaurants if the welcome service – and this in a empty restaurant – is by far worse then at any Wimpy restaurant!” Once they were seated, it took two hours for the main course to be served, but 80% of the fillet was tough and inedible, which was embarrassing, as Mr Waldis had European guests, he added in a later e-mail.

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.

When Franschhoek does something, it does it really well!  No longer being able to claim Gourmet Capital status, due to the dominance by Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is now focusing on chocolate-making, with two new chocolate shops having opened in the past two months, in addition to the long-established Huguenot Fine Chocolates:

Huguenot Fine Chocolates: This started as an empowerment project for the local community with the aid of the Franschhoek Belgium Development Trust, and has operated for years on Franschhoek’s main road.  Staff have been sent to Belgium, to learn chocolate-making, and Belgian chocolate is used to make a range of 35 chocolates.  Partners Danny Windvogel and Denver Adonis run the operation, and offer ‘The Chocolate Experience’ half-hour tour of their operation. Chocolates with customised logos can be made. 62 Huguenot Road, Tel (021) 876-4096. www.huguenotchocolates.com

Le Chocolatier Factory:  This chocolate manufacturing facility and shop opened next door to Café Le Chocolatier in Place Vendome, and uses Lindt chocolate. Swiss owner Daniel Waldis is passionate about chocolate, and is closely involved in his business. They use very little cocoa butter, to make the chocolates less fattening, the dark chocolates containing little sugar. They have the largest selection of chocolates sold (photograph above), and also serve chocolate-related products in their restaurant, including the best cakes in the village, muffins, and drinks (including a chocolate liqueur). Tours as well as chocolate-making courses offered.  Place Vendome, Main Road.  Tel (021) 876-2233.

Bijoux Chocolates: This chocolate shop opened officially this week, and is owned by Suzette and Jason de Jongh, owners of Bijoux Square.  Bertie is the chocolatier, having previously worked at Huguenot Fine Chocolates, and having trained in Belgium.   Bertie did a specialist course in marzipan, ice-cream and chocolate-making in Anderlecht.  With him works Joshua, a Franschhoek local. They use ‘chocolate mousse‘ to make their chocolates, rather than ‘fattening chocolate‘, they say.  They plan to teach young locals the art of ‘chocolate tempering’, which gives chocolates a shiny finish.  Bijoux Square, Tel (021) 876-3407.  Website www.bijouxchocolates.com under construction.  Twitter: @BijouxChoc1

Time will tell if three chocolate shops are sustainable in Franschhoek.

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

Franschhoek has been known for its gourmet status for many years, not only for its top restaurants, but also for the excellent ancillary food businesses in the village.   Now a new chocolate manufacturing facility adds another dimension to Franschhoek’s status, with the opening of Le Chocolatier Factory, offering 90 different chocolate types at any time, out of a total repertoire of 250.

While chocolates are made in the shop, Le Chocolatier Factory is no factory at all, and one can see the staff making the chocolate when coming in to buy chocolates, next door to their restaurant Café le Chocolatier, in Place Vendôme, as one enters Franschhoek.  Dark chocolate outsells milk chocolate by 60 to 40 %, and champagne truffles are the most popular seller.  The Le Chocolatier chocolates contain little cocoa butter, and the dark chocolates have very little sugar content.

Three ex-staff of Huguenot Fine Chocolates, of which two chocolatiers did their training in chocolate-making in Belgium, make the chocolates, using Lindt chocolate and also their equipment.  Passionate owner Daniel Waldis is Swiss, and his love for chocolate led him to buy the restaurant about two years ago, and to introduce more chocolate items to his menu, given the name of the restaurant.  They have wonderful cakes such as Black Forest, Vanilla Mousse, muffins, brownies and Chocolate Dreams, a well as chocolate frappé and hot chocolate.  All coffee is served with a complimentary chocolate.

Initially, chocolates were made on a small scale inside the restaurant, until they ran out of space, and the restaurant became busier, being one of few to stay open until 20h00, even in winter.  A shop which Waldis owned next door to his restaurant, for another business, has now become the home of his chocolate business. Waldis is seeing a tourist benefit in his business, and is offering packages for individuals and tour groups.   The Silver Tour costs R40, and one can observe the chocolate making and choose 5 chocolates.   The Gold Tour costs R69, and includes the observation of the chocolate making, as well as a selection of six chocolates, and a cappuccino or a hot chocolate.  The Platinum Tour costs R249, and allows one to make one’s own chocolates, with a certificate provided of one’s newly gained chocolate skills.  The price includes an hour with the chocolatiers, as well as a coffee. Children are enjoying this tour too, and are charged R149, with a minimum of two to be booked. Chocolates are charged at R79 per 100g, and R149 per 200g.  Hospitality turn-down packs will also be available on order. Chocolate-making demos are also taken to events.

Waldis says of this course that it is better than the one at the Lindt Chocolate Studio in the Cape Quarter in Cape Town, which is not owned by Lindt. Their course was attended by one of his staff, and they had to ask him questions about chocolate-making!  He explained how complicated chocolate-making is, in getting the base thinner rather than thick, and to keep the exterior of the chocolate shiny.  He is a strong supporter of Lindt, preferring its taste to Belgian chocolate, which has a higher cocoa butter content.

Seeing a gap in the Franschhoek market, Waldis has also introduced a little deli, selling predominantly German but also Italian, imported goods such as pudding powders, bulk Lindt chocolate, waffle biscuits, Schwartau jams, créme cappuccino, Haribo sweets, sour cherries, bottled gherkins, bottled garlic, Remoulade sauce, German mustard, black olives, German mayonnaise, biscuits, and lemon tea.   They will be adding Valrhona chocolate slabs to the range too.

Due to the popularity of the restaurant, as well as the additional business that the Le Chocolatier Factory is bringing to the restaurant, a part of the Place Vendôme garden space has been allocated alongside the restaurant, providing additional seating for 36 guests.

Le Chocolatier Factory, Place Vendôme, Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-2233.  Website under construction.  Monday – Sunday, 8h00 – 18h00

POSTSCRIPT: Le Chocolatier has closed down in Franschhoek, and has moved to The Apprentice in Stellenbosch.

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