I spent eight days in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) last week, in search of the perfect food experience, in a province I had last visited about ten years ago to attend Indaba, and the well-known Midlands area, which I had last visited more than 25 years ago.
The encouragement to visit the province was made more than a year ago by Chef Jackie Cameron, who is the most passionate proudly-KZNer I encountered on my journey, making it her business to support KZN produce, from the Midlands in particular, in using and in marketing it at every opportunity. Jackie has put KZN on the food and restaurant map over the past twelve years that she worked at Hartford House, making the Eat Out Top 10 Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to Melissa’s in the V&A Waterfront, and its new Manager Natasha, for assisting me in having a table near their till set up, so that I could charg and work on my laptop while waiting for my iPhone screen to be replaced at iFix. Sadly the MWeb V&A Waterfront internet service did not work, even though it showed the wifi symbol and reflected connectivity. No e-mails downloaded and web pages did not open, apparently due to the V&A Waterfront wifi service not working throughout the whole shopping mall!
The Sweet Service Award goes to iFix in the V&A Waterfront, for replacing the screen of my iPhone in less than an hour, despite the pain of paying R1299. The paperwork was done professionally by friendly Tania. I had popped in at the stand the day before, and all promises made then were met when the phone was handed in. Continue reading →
* British wine writer Tim Atkin writes that our country’s white blends are the best, the release of the Chenin Blanc-dominant Cartology Alheit 2011 being the motivation for his praise, being a new benchmark for South African whites. Our country has ‘some of the most exciting and best value wines in the New World‘, he wrote.
* A new free App Sideways (likely to have been named after the famous movie set in Napa Valley) has been launched, designed by iKineo, as a guide to the Winelands. ‘Each wine farm’s profile page in Continue reading →
* Eskom says that loadshedding may be over for this year, and will be doing further maintenance of power stations over the festive season. Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said: ‘Heading into the festive period, we will be doing a lot of maintenance, although the demand for electricity will be lighter as well. All in all, I think on balance we’ll do our best to avoid load shedding but we can’t rule it out unfortunately’. The public’s useof electricity will determine whether there will be loadshedding this month, he added.
* The Guala Closures Group is offering a range of liners for its screwcap wine bottle closures. Its Oenoseal was developed over the past two years, offering various levels of oxygenation, or lack of, depending on the type of wine bottled. Wine producers can select the best liner for their screwcaps without changing the settings on the bottling lines.
* ‘The Bachelor’ Australia is featuring Cape Town(with Table Mountain), the Winelands, and Pilanesberg Game Reserve in the last two episodes of the dating series, in which bachelor Blake Garvey shows the final three dates the beauty of the Cape. The series has been produced by Channel Ten in Australia, in conjunction with the Australia country office of SA Tourism. The publicity shot appears to have been taken at Delaire Graff. Three complete series of ‘Der Bachelor‘ Germany have been shot in Camps Bay in the past three years.
* A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Brazil and South Africa last week, to enhance the tourism relationship between the two countries. Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom visited Sao Paulo to attend the opening of the new SA Tourism office in that city, and to visit the ABAV Travel Tradeshow. Brazil is the last of the BRICS countries with which South Africa has signed such a Memorandum of Understanding. Last year tourism from South Africa grew by 8%, and from Brazil close to 6%.
* South African winemakers are getting younger, writes Wall Street Journal‘s Will Lyons, agreeing with UK wine writer Continue reading →
Forget Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, or even Scarlett Johansson. The star of ‘Chefs’ is Percy (played by Emjay Anthony), the 10 year old son of the main character in the movie, being Chef Carl Casper, played by Jon Favreau, the writer, director, and producer of the movie. The movie will boost Twitter, as much of it is based on Tweets sent by and about Chef Carl, as well as popularising buying from Food Trucks. Tourism to Miami, Austin in Texas, Los Angeles, and New Orleans should receive a boost too, while the image of food bloggers is unlikely to improve as a result of the movie!
Without giving away too much about the movie, Chef Carl is instructed by the restaurant owner Riva (Dustin Hoffman) to cook the same old way he has done for the past ten years, despite a well-known ‘food blogger’ restaurant critic Ramsey Michel (played by Oliver Platt) coming to eat at the restaurant that evening. The blogger is described as being extremely powerful, having just sold his blog to AOL for $10 million. The reviewer looks a lot like top Cape Town Chef Liam Tomlin! Chef Carl’s son Percy had just set up a Twitter account for his dad, and when the reviewer writes a scathing review about his restaurant experience and insults Chef Carl, saying that he has gained weight from all the poor food returned to the kitchen and which is eaten by Chef Carl, he explodes, and retaliates. On Twitter he tells the reviewer what he thinks of him, thinking that the reply would only be seen by the reviewer, but of course it is seen by all his Followers. His Twitter followers increase to 2000+ overnight, and grows to Continue reading →
At the Franschhoek Literary Festival I attended a one-hour panel discussion on ‘It’s news to me’, with heavy-weight panelists weighted to print media, a well-attended session. Ironically the complete communication failure in Franschhoek yesterday meant that no one could Tweet or share via any other form of Social Media what the eminent panel had to say about press freedom.
Ray Hartley was the panel chairman, and works in the Times Media Group, having previously been the editor of the Sunday Times. He resigned from the position, took a sabbatical, and now has a senior position in the Group. Much of the panel discussion focused on press freedom, ethics, and the depth of research of journalist’s stories, which were felt to be getting thinner on accuracy and content, much of the material of newspapers coming from Twitter and Reuters feeds. Hartley impressed with his humility and good chairing of the panel. He raised a laugh when he welcomed all the attendees who clearly didn’t get into the sold-out session addressed by Archbishop Tutu. The topic clearly was of interest, with the Franschhoek High School hall being full.
Janet Heard is a journalist wunderkind, her father Tony having been a well-known and highly regarded editor of the Cape Times. In 2010 she went to Harvard on a prestigious Nieman Journalism fellowship, and said she returned from the USA surprised about how much transformation had taken place in the newsroom at Independent Newspapers in the time that she was away. She resigned as deputy editor of the Cape Times earlier this year, and has been appointed as parliamentary editor of all the Media 24 titles. Heard praised South Africa’s media as being robust with good media voices asking Continue reading →
* The South African wine industry should be more assertive, and not try to please everybody, says Johann Krige, owner of Kanonkop and outgoing Chairman of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), who has handed over the reins to Dr Michael Jordaan.Transformation in the industry of 680 members of WOSA and exporting collectively 550000 litres of wine is vital, Krige said. He said that the two windfalls of the ‘Mandela factor’ and a weak rand may have been bad for the industry, despite benefiting it financially, allowing inferior wines to be produced too. The Board of WOSA has the five largest ‘black exporters‘ on its Board of 15, a positive development, Krige added. He praised his Board members for working together for the ‘good of the whole industry‘. Bulk wine exports are environmentally-friendly, it being more ‘green’ to bottle at the destination. He urged the industry to be ‘terroirists‘, planting cultivars suitable to the soils on its farms. He added that the government sees the wine industry as ‘too white, too male and too Afrikaans‘, and has not acknowledged the transformation that has already taken place.
* Cape Town is praised in the British InStyle, writing with the headline ‘Why Cape Town should be your next holiday destination’ and stating that ‘Cape Town is the place to be’. Focusing largely on the Mount Nelson Hotel, almost sounding like an advertorial, it does encourage visitors to go up Table Mountain and to experience Robben Island; go on a walking tour of the city centre; visit the ‘Boulders Penguin Colony‘; see whales, dolphins, and seals, and even Great White sharks; experience the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturday mornings; and go to Greenmarket Square.
The Sweet Service Award goes to hi, a new outlet with an odd name I discovered in the V&A Waterfront, and which belongs to The Foschini Group (designated by a TFG circular logo outside the store). I was looking for a new iPhone cover, and priced those at Vodacom (who have an irritating new queue numbering system, except that the number issuer was not at his post) as well as at the Apple store, both of these stores being out of stock of iPhone 4s covers. At hi the cost was only R149 for a reasonable looking cover. I also found a car charger for the phone at R99, something I did not know existed until I saw a guest using one last week. Continue reading →