Tag Archives: Genevieve MCC

Kamers food and design market builds on history of The Castle of Good Hope, first time in Cape Town!

Kamers Cover picOn Thursday I was invited to the opening of the Kamers food and design pop-up event, which is being held inside and outside the extensive The Castle, an apt venue as The Castle  of Good Hope was home to the market in Cape Town in early days.

Kamers started off in Stellenbosch twelve years ago when a collection of friends organised it as Kamers vol Geskenke, and its timing was close to Christmas, allowing one to buy unusual, unique, and stylish presents to give as gifts.   At that time they started with 40 stands, now they have 140, chosen out of a list of 600 applicants, we were told by the founder of the event, Wanda du Toit.  Her official title is Creative Director. Other members of the organising team include Magdel Kemp, Amelia van Zyl, and Hesta du Plessis.  Kamers has never been held in Cape Town, so hosting it in the city as well as in The Castle is a double historic event.  Now Kamers is spread over four events throughout the year, in Stellenbosch, Pretoria, and for the first time in Johannesburg and Cape Town this year.  It is organised by a team of twelve, and no one ever leaves, said Wanda.   Unique to the Cape Town event is the collaboration with the Cape Craft & Design Initiative (CCDI), a collective of 5000 small design and craft enterprises, which are offered business and marketing support to assist them in growing their businesses, to help them grow, and to enable them to employ staff, said Erica Elk, its Executive Director. World Design Capital 2014 has endorsed Kamers.

On arrival at The Castle, we were guided to park furthest from The Castle building, and fill up the space in this way, not making sense at all, the latecomers being lucky enough to park closest to The Castle building!  It was difficult to find the venue for the media launch, a number of us entering the building housing the William Fehr Collection. An Iziko Museums staff member was unfriendly in pointing us generally down a passage with her walkie-talkie, without explanation. Kamers Calvyn Gilfellan Whale Cottage PortfolioShe had no clue about Kamers taking place on the property, or where the media function was, and fortunately a colleague could guide us to a completely different building.  In the launch address Wanda hinted at some of the issues they had in using The Castle buildings, being a Military-owned property with rules and regulations, which created some challenges for the organisers, but these were not visible to us, other than the attitude of the Iziko staff and the parking ‘organisation’.  I fed back the problem with the Iziko Museums staff to Calvyn Gilfellan, the CEO of The Castle, who told me immediately that the Iziko Continue reading →

Winemakers and media need to get closer, to market wines better!

PRNET HPF Swart SkaapThe Public Relations networking association PRNet recently hosted an inaugural ‘PRNET Trade meet your media’ event at Mandela Rhodes Place Hotel & Spa, focusing on the Wine Trade.  Cape Wine Master Clive Torr encouraged wine estates and writers to get to know each other better, so that the former can provide writers with information about what is unique about their wine estate and its wines.

Torr was introduced as a garagiste winemaker, and has spent time in the Napa valley.  He said currently ‘Chenin is flying‘, being so popular.  He noted that consumers are shying away from ‘austere wines’, looking for ‘lesser acidity‘ and ‘quicker drinkability‘.  He said that grapes are often picked too quickly, and warned that one should wait for ‘physiological ripeness‘, judged by the colour of the pip, and other factors.  He suggested that many of our local winemakers are German-orientated in their winemaking, having studied PRNet Wine Clive Torr Whale Cottage Portfolioat Geisenheim, making them precise, clinical, adding what one is allowed, and controlling fermentation. One could sense that he supports the French style of winemaking, which is to add nothing at all, and to keep the wine making process as natural as possible. ‘It is time for transparency‘, he said, and intimated that this will increasingly be the future trend.  He was critical of Merlot production, saying that our winemakers are ‘floundering‘ in making it.  Riesling is not his favourite either, saying that it has ‘high acidity and little taste‘.  He talked about adding antibiotics, which is done locally, but is not allowed in the European Union.  He said that many wine drinkers are allergic to sulphur, feeling its effect the following day.

Should the threatened ban on advertising materialise, editorial coverage will be one of few means whereby coverage can be achieved.   He emphasised how important it is to stay in contact with the media, as it is free advertising if they write about one’s Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 18 February

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Taittinger has redesigned its bottle label and gift pack, to reflect its status as official champagne sponsor of the 2014 World Cup soccer in Brazil.   Holograms have been used, and the footballs on the label appear raised but are flat.  The brand has already been fined in France for advertising its link to the World Cup, but will communicate this in other countries, especially in South America, having the right to the title until the end of 2015.

*   The directive by the Minister of Finance that VAT be levied on international e-books levels the playing field says the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA), despite VAT being charged on books not being encouraged by the PASA.  The new legislation is not a surprise as governments are working on collecting VAT/sales tax on sales in their regions. Foreign retailers selling into South Africa will now have to register as VAT vendors. A healthier retail book trade is expect to result. Internationally digital book sales are at about 50%, but in South Africa they are currently only at 20%.  Charging VAT could generate R 1 billion in revenue for the country. The Cape Town Book Fair, running from 13 – 15 June, will showcase the latest technological developments on e-reading. (received via media release from The Embassy)

*   Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve is hosting a  number of Food and Wine Weekend treats in winter, pairing with top wine estates, including Meerlust (30 May – 1 June), Bouchard Finlayson (27 – Continue reading →

MCC Franschhoek is a bubbly new showcase of MCCs of Franschhoek!

One of the cleverest ideas for a new restaurant and champagne bar is MCC Franschhoek, and it is appropriate that its opening co-incided with the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival this weekend.  MCC Franschhoek is a showcase of 34 Franschhoek sparkling wines of 14 Franschhoek producers.

The brainchild of Philip and Christy Harrison, previously managing De Huguenot Estate, MCC Franschhoek allowed the couple to work with a beverage they love best. Christy told me that Philip loves cooking,  having started to do so in Majorca, after studying accountancy. Both Philip and Christie owned a Weatherspoons outlet in Heathrow, but moved back to Cape Town thirteen years ago, Philip managing The Galley in Fish Hoek. They moved to the design of wedding stationery, and it is Christy who designed the stylish logo for MCC Franschhoek.  Due to the closure of the De Huguenot restaurant and Harry Q Bar at De Huguenot Estate (to be run as a wedding and event venue only in future), Philip and Christie took part of their share of the venture in kind, and therefore they have the stylish silver-upholstered chairs, black bar chairs and tables, and couches from De Huguenot restaurant, which are spread out in the courtyard of the Village Square. Each table has the MCC range and price list, and a perspex salt and pepper grinder stand.  Quality material serviettes and Fortis cutlery are stylish.

Alleé Bleue (Brut Rosé), Boschendal (MCC Le Grande Pavillion Brut Rosé, MCC Grande Cuvée Brut), Cape Chamonix (MCC Blanc de Blancs), Colmant (Brut Reserve, Brut Rosé, Brut Chardonnay), Dieu Donné (Maingard Brut, Rose MCC), Franschhoek Pass Winery (Morena Brut, Brut Rosé, Cuvée Catherine, Malabar Shiraz), Graham Beck (Brut, Brut Rosé NV and 2008, Bliss Demi Sec, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Zero), GM & Ahrens (Cap Classique), Hauté Cabriere (Pierre Jourdan Brut, Cuvée Belle Rose, Brut Sauvage, Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Reserve), La Motte, Môreson (Miss Molly, Solitaire, Gala, Pink, One), My Wyn, Stony Brook (The Lyle), and Topiary (Blanc de Blancs Brut) sparkling wines are sold by the bottle, while a select number of bubbly brands can be bought by the glass, advertised on a blackboard.  Prices start at R110 for Miss Molly, peaking at R650 for the GM & Ahrens.  Surprisingly (given its name), a number of wines are offered too, and many are non-Franschhoek. Protea Sauvignon Blanc, Glenwood Sauvignon Blanc, Haute Cabrière Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Beyerskloof Pinotage Rosé, Glenwood Shiraz Merlot blend, Graham Beck Game Reserve, and Guardian Peak Shiraz are all available by the glass, reasonably priced in a range from R20 – R35.

MCC Franschhoek opens from 8h00, and serves well-priced breakfasts, one paying per item (e.g. 2 eggs, bacon and toast costs R47); muesli, yoghurt and berry coulis, and a croissant with cheese and preserves cost R20 each.   There is no breakfast cut-off time.  The ‘Bites’ menu has a mix of salads (R45 – R65), sundowner platters (R50 – R75, and includes oysters, cheese, cold meats, and biltong), main courses, and desserts (R35 – R45), which can be ordered throughout the day.   I ordered a perfectly prepared Franschhoek salmon trout served with boiled potatoes, and a crispy fresh asparagus salad (R75).  Other main course options are sirloin steak and prawns in a beer batter, also costing R75.  One can also order beef lasagne, mussels, an open chicken Satay burger, and two tarts.  The menu will be updated and amended regularly.

I was impressed with the scale of the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival in showcasing the leading bubbly brands for sale in this country.  It is held at the Huguenot Monument, which attracted 2000 bubbly-lovers yesterday, and more are expected today between 12h00 – 17h00.  Eight champagne brands (Billecart Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon Brut Tradition, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, Tribaut Brut Tradition, and Veuve Clicquot) presented their precious bubbles, as did 37 local sparkling wine producers. Staff representing the local brands Allée Bleue, Avondale, Bon Courage (in beautiful Carrol Boyes coolers), Boschendal, Bramon, Chabivin, Colmant, De Wetshof, Dieu Donné, Domaine Des Dieux, Francois la Garde, Genevieve MCC, The House of GM & Ahrens, Graham Beck, Groote Post, JC le Roux, Krone, Laborie, La Motte, Nicolas Feuillate Champagne for Woolworths, Morena, Môreson, My Wyn, Namaqua Wines (Guinevere very deep pink, with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, all 3000 bottles exported), Pierre Jourdan, Pongracz, Quoin Rock, Rickety Bridge (new 2010 release, 50% each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with only 3500 numbered bottles produced from Franschhoek grapes), Ross Gower, Saltare, Silverthorn, Simonsig, Steenberg, Sterhuis, Villiera, Weltevrede and Woolworths Wines all looked chic in their black and white outfits, the dress code of the Festival, which most attendees honoured too.  There were surprisingly few Franschhoek restaurants represented (Le Quartier Français, Mont Rochelle Country Kitchen, Haute Cabrière, Roca Restaurant, and the Salmon Bar), and the food was generally of a disappointing quality, given the theme of the Festival.  An exception was the sushi, salmon and other canapé platters made by new Le Franschhoek Hotel chef Oliver Cattermole.

MCC Franschhoek, 3 Village Square, 53 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel 083 772 9449/083 391 3869. No website.  Twitter: @MCCFranschhoek  Wednesday – Monday, 8h00 – until late, weather dependent.

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