* KWV has been named the Best Brandy and Cognac Producers in the World in the 2015 International Spirits Challenge held in London yesterday. It is the first time in the 20-year history of the Challenge that a brandy has outperformed a cognac. The 20 year-old KWV brandy was also named Best Brandy in the World, and Grand Continue reading →
* Michelin star Chef Heston Blumenthal’s The Perfectionists Café has opened at the new Heathrow Terminal 2, serving burgers, fish and chips, and pizzas prepared in the first ever wood-burning oven in an airport, as well as molecular liquid nitrogen ice cream.
* American travellers are booking last-minute, something that became a habit in 2008 during the economic crisis, but has remained and is now a booking trend, despite the recession being something of the past.
* Tourists often are better informed about the tourism attractions and highlights of a city than are the local residents of the city, given their ability to use technology to garner information about and make bookings for the destination that they are visiting. Nick Hall, Head of the Digital Tourism Think Tank, says: ‘So, what we have witnessed so far will accelerate. We can expect far more change, far faster. In this light the rise of mobile technologies is poised to change the industry as much as it has already. Visitors will be innately digital. They will be hyper-informed and seamlessly connected throughout their travel. The challenge this poses to existing tourist businesses is immense, as is the opportunity it holds out‘. While technology is important, tourists still want the ‘reality of the experience, not the virtual reality’.
* Three Ships Premium Select 5 Year Old won gold at the 2014 International Spirits Challenge in London. The whisky is blended Continue reading →
On Thursday evening my friend Bettie Coetzee-Lambrecht and I attended Fine Brandy Fusion at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, having been invited by Manley Communications. Fine Brandy Fusion is a fine showcase for the local brandy industry, the Bisquit cognac with South African links being our highlight.
At the registration desk we received a goody bag, and a booklet of coupons, to allow us to taste brandy cocktails and taste some of the 50 fine brandies neat. Immediately on entering we passed a smallish restaurant, catered by the Convention Centre kitchen. The food quality of the Convention Centre has been poor at every exhibition attended in the past, but picked up when its new Chef Warwick Thomas arrived a year ago, reaching a new low at World Travel Market Africa last month. I was immediately sceptical, but the food options which were displayed in a refrigerated unit looked better (just from the plating) than I have ever seen there before. We received two food coupons each, which Bettie used for linefish and I ordered tasty calamari rings, Bettie saying that it would be important to line our tummies for the brandy tasting to come. We both ordered a cheese platter as well. The service was excellent and professional, and the prices very reasonable at about R50 each. We felt severely under-dressed when a fashionista wearing fur and her partner shared our table! Continue reading →