Tag Archives: Ernest Hemingway

My Top 21 recommendations for what to see and do in Havana, Cuba!

I arrived in Havana on 3 July 2019, with no preparation of what I wanted to see or do, except that I wanted to learn to dance the Salsa. I was lucky that a slightly out of date ‘Cuba’ Guide by Lonely Planet was lying in the lounge of the San Lazaro BnB I stayed at. I annexed it for the more than three weeks that I stayed there, and found useful background information in it, but perhaps it contains too much information, not just focused on Havana, my only destination in Cuba, therefore making a large part of the book irrelevant to me. Much more useful was the Guidebook ‘300 Things to love about Havana’ by Heidi Hollinger, focused on Havana, divided into the various suburbs of Havana, with an address, a good representative photograph, and largely accurate in its descriptions, even if published in 2018. 
 

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Ernest Hemingway: an earnest author as well as drinker, a man’s man, who has left his mark on Cuba!

I have a fascination with the late author Ernest Hemingway, referred to as ‘Papa’ in Cuba, but I have yet to read one of his books. In Havana I followed in the author’s footsteps yet again, after having been ‘introduced’ to him in Pamplona in Spain whilst walking the Camino in 2018. My interest in him is growing, and I will look to buy his books on my return. There is no doubt that Hemingway may be equally or better known for his drinking and hanging around in bars as he is for his books!
 

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Neil Ellis and Rianie Strydom Cabernet Sauvignons co-winners in Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2017!

Yesterday the 2017 Winemag.co.za Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report awards were presented at the colorful The Stack, a well attended function, and offering good lighting for photography. Winemag goes to great lengths to find interesting venues to host its awards. It is the sixth Cabernet Sauvignon Report presented by Winemag.
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Taste South Africa new multi-brand winetasting venue in Franschhoek

In walking around Franschhoek during the Bastille Festival yesterday, I was surprised to discover Taste South Africa, the most beautiful transformation of what was previously the Le Grange decor shop in The Yard, behind the Salmon Bar, off the main road in Franschhoek.  Taste South Africa belongs to Fiona Phillips of Cybercellar (“Where else can you buy virtually all your South African wine?”, her business card asks cleverly), and is the first multi-brand winetasting venue in Franschhoek.

Fiona started Cybercellar twelve years ago, having been an equity trader on both the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchanges.  It represents more than 700 wine estates in South Africa, with deliveries of wines made by courier 3 – 5 days after purchase.    Taste South Africa will function as a tasting venue not only for South African wines, but for local products too, such as olive oils, and cheeses.  For the Bastille Festival, Fiona and her manager Dominic Adelbert, previously sommelier at Aubergine restaurant, have focused on twelve Franschhoek wine estates, including Chamonix, Topiary, Solms-Delta, Mont Rochelle, Vrede & Lust, Backsberg, Lynx, Boschendal, Noble Hill, La Motte, Rickety Bridge, and Holden Manz, giving them free exposure, to introduce their facility.

Not only is the concept unique for Franschhoek, but I was bowled over by the interior design by Xperiencemakers.  Lots of white on the floors and walls, with neat shelving, standardised presentation of information about each wine estate, and the most impressive red lamps, which contain the word “Taste” in South Africa’s official languages, create an interior of class.  A grey carpet has the following Ernest Hemingway quote printed on it: “Wine is the most civilised thing in the world”.   On display too are bronze sculptures by Vincent da Silva, an architectural student.  They add to the classy interior.

Wine will not be physically sold from the tasting venue, but orders can be placed via Cybercellar while one is at the tasting venue.  This Bastille weekend is a dry run for Taste South Africa, and it officially opens on 1 August.

Taste South Africa is an exciting new asset of Franschhoek, and a beautiful showcase of South African wines.  Exciting functions have been planned, including food and wine pairing events, bloggers’ dinners, Twitter tastings, and a live-feed Twitter screen is to be added.  The next Taste South Africa tasting venue will open at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.

Taste South Africa, The Yard, off Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel 021 876-2649.  www.tastesouthafrica.co.za Twitter: @TastingSA

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