About three weeks ago I visited Franschhoek for the day, and saw an amazing collection of brand new SA gin brands at Siegies on Huguenot, all being striking in being unknown to me, and each having very distinctive packaging. Autograph Gin was one of these, and it was one of the brands which I photographed and posted on Instagram and Facebook. On Monday I ‘met’ the brand and its Master Distiller Matt Beech, at the Autograph Distillery in Stellenbosch, a goosebump experience, the second of my day! Continue reading →
In an interesting move not seen before, La Colombe announced that its Restaurant Manager Jennifer Hugé would be leaving, after 14 years, to join a new city centre restaurant, but without providing details. Yesterday, the details were revealed, Hugé joining forces with Chef Ashley Moss in Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s new FYN Restaurant. The La Colombe restaurant group has no link to the new restaurant.
Yesterday I attended a Tutored Tasting of some of our country’s exceptional wines, which had in common that they were made from vines many decades old. The Tasting was led by South Africa’s leading expert on Old Vines, Rosa Kruger being a passionate pioneer for the preservation of our country’s vintage vines. Continue reading →
On Tuesday evening we were exposed to Vondeling wines, three wines of which we tasted two vintages each. The tasting was led by Jane Eedes, heading up Vondeling Sales & Marketing. At the tasting OpenWine owners Marta Gobbo and Raphael Paterniti announced that the regular Tuesday tastings will be placed on hold for a while. Continue reading →
On Saturday evening I was invited by Chef Matt Manning to attend the One Ingredient dinner, each of the magical five courses containing mushrooms, and each course paired with Vondeling wines. The highlight was the use of porcini in the dessert! Continue reading →
I did a quick visit to Hermanus yesterday, and at a stop at Rivendell Restaurant, between Bot River and Hermanus, I was told that Chef Thomas Sinn was coming back from his overseas holiday especially to participate in a super-sounding feast, for which he is one of eight chefs cooking on Monday evening. The staff brought a copy of the programme, and I could not believe what the organisers have planned for the 11-day Festival, ‘A Celebration of South African Arts’ its 80-page Festival brochure proudly proclaims!
The programme consists of different themes: Continue reading →
* The Tourism Business Council of South Africa FNB Tourism Business Index reflects that the tourism industry is improving, with a score of 108 for the last quarter of 2014. A score of 100 is the norm. The Accommodation sector did even better, with an Index of 113, despite the impact of Ebola, and the Immigration Regulation changes introduced late last year. ‘Other Tourism‘ (e.g. transport, food and beverage) scored 104, lower than had been forecast for the quarter. The exchange rate has played a role in the improving Index. For the first quarter of this year an average Index of about 102 is expected.
* The Cape Winelands is experiencing its earliest harvest in 49 years, having started very early in the new year, almost a month earlier than last year. VinPro explains that three perfect winters with enough cold and sufficient rain, combined with an unusually warmer August, has led to the earlier harvest. A smaller harvest is expected this year, but is expected to be of a good quality. Winemakers are facing a challenge in their cellars in that many cultivars are ripening almost at the same time.
* Cycling in Cape Town is one of the best ways to see our city, writes the Los Angeles Times, describing Continue reading →
We wrote recently how Woolworths has been misleading consumers with claims about its Ayrshire milk, deceiving food labelling, and how it tries to create an image of healthy produce via its ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ series on SABC3. The group Grass Consumer Food Action has been persistent in its criticism of Woolworths, and appears to have hit a raw nerve in the Good Business Journey division at Woolworths, the retailer having launched a brand new ‘Good Food News‘ 16-page insert in the Sunday Times yesterday! It looks like a Taste magazine (the Woolworths sponsored magazine published by New Media Publishing) but printed in Tabloid format on recycled paper!
While the Tabloid has ‘headlines’ on page 1, to attract one’s attention to the content, it consists of a mix of ‘advertorials’ of its award-winning wines (since when are wines a food, as per the name of the publication?) in ‘Crowned as the best‘; ‘responsibly sourced‘ fish; braai suggestions for ‘Ready Steady Braai’; and ‘Flavours of Home‘ (prepared foods with strong spices such as curries, and traditional foods such as koeksisters and milk tart); as well as editorial. It is obviously planned as a monthly insert, numbered ‘Issue 01′, and dated September 2014. The focus of the first issue is ‘lovelocal‘:
* ‘New on the shelf‘ (page 3) showcases new pack designs for wine boxes, braai tins, braai marinade, braai Continue reading →
‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ focused on the Overberg last night, visiting Hermanus and Stanford, as well as Elgin, but this was not mentioned, being described as being just outside Hermanus! It was a whale of an episode highlighting the Southern Right whale visitors, the sustainable apple and pear farming in Elgin, and Marianna’s sustainable restaurant in Stanford. No mention was made however of Hermanus’ produce nor its world-renowned wines in the Hemel en Aarde Valley!
Hayden raved about the Southern Right whales, which visit Hermanus’ Walker Bay from July, he said incorrectly (they arrive from the Antarctic from May onwards) until early December. On the Facebook page of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ it is incorrectly claimed that Hermanus is the ‘Whale Watching Capital of the World‘, copywriting nonsense. Hermanus is however known as the offering the best land-based whale watching in the world, which is something different, and Hayden did say words to this effect in the episode!
To add some real adventure to his visit to Hermanus, Forest Adventures’ Clinton Lerm (infamous for wanting to change the name of the village to ‘Lermanus‘ when his family tried to take over the tourism management of the town, to their own Continue reading →
Indian businessman Analjit Singh has made a substantial investment in Franschhoek, buying three wine farms and a guest house. Last year Mr Singh bought a share in Mullineux Wines, now called Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines.
In Franschhoek Mr Singh has bought the wine estates Von Ortloff, Dieu Donné, and the neighbouring Dassenberg, which will be consolidated into Leeu Dassenberg Estates. Fynbos is to be planted and alien vegetation to be removed. This will become the foundation for a new luxury boutique hotel, a spa, a winery, and a wine tasting facility, which will be run under the guidance of General Manager Matthew Smith.
Mr Singh has also bought the Rusthof guest house on the top of main road in Franschhoek, which will change its name to Leeu Rusthof Country Inn when it re-opens in summer, after refurbishments commence in July.
Mr Singh’s hospitality and property interests and new developments will be looked after for him by Hector de Galard. Mr Singh founded The Max India Group, which has interests in life insurance, health insurance, and health care. His local business investments have been made in his personal capacity, and he is using the ‘Leeu’ name, given that his surname means ‘lion’ in Sanskrit. He first came to our country during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and investigated investments at that time already. This led to his Continue reading →