Tag Archives: Jorgensen’s Distillery

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 3 July

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   London’s first underground farm Growing Underground has been created in a disused bunker from World War II, below the Northern Line  at Clapham, reports The Daily Telegraph. The Farm will soon supply herbs to London restaurants, all grown without any impact on the environment.

*   More capacity has been added to flights traveling to Cape Town in Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 24 November

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Washington Post has visited, and was so impressed with the Van Ryn’s Distillery outside Stellenbosch, and the taste of brandy, that the writer recommends that tourists should go for our brandy instead of our wines!  The writer visited Jorgensen’s Distillery Upland Organic Estate, both in Wellington, as well as Tokara.

*   The 2014 BestCities Client Workshop will be held in Cape Town from 8 – 10 December, hosted by the Cape Town & Western Cape Convention Bureau.  Delegates representing 22 international associations across a diversity of disciplines such as pharmaceutical, medical, science, academia, and technology will meet.  Cape Town and its conference facilities will also be showcased to the delegates.

*   The City of Cape Town is awaiting input from the public to its draft Coastal Management Programme, with a deadline Continue reading →

Fine Brandy Fusion: an evening of fine flavours, Bisquit takes the cake!

Fine Brandy Fusion This Is Brandy Whale Cottage PortfolioOn 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 couponsFine Brandy Fusion Food Whale Cottage Portfolio 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 →

Cape Town Art Fair Sweet and SA Vodka Festival Sour Service Awards!

Cape Town Art Fair Colourful painting 1 Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Cape Town Art Fair and its impressive inaugural mega multi-gallery art exhibition at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront last weekend, with hundreds of artworks, about 40 galleries, and more than a hundred artists’ works on show.  The excellent food by four chefs, offered by Culinary Art by Opulent Living, the Graham Beck MCCs, and excellent organisation impressed.

SA Vodka Festival 1002958_653207881360110_1228639401_nThe Sour Service Award goes to the SA Vodka Festival, an inaugural vodka tasting festival which was organised by Monyetla Communications and Events, based in Johannesburg and ‘…a young vibrant and fast growing 100% black owned event management‘ company, says its Facebook page with 31 likes! The Festival was cancelled at short notice on Continue reading →

Help predict MasterChef SA winner and win a whale of a weekend away!

In 15 weeks we will know who our own MasterChef SA is.  We are curious to hear who our readers think will become MasterChef SA, and why.  We ask you to send in your nominations with a motivation via Comment to this Blog (please add your name and surname).

To thank you for your input, we will award one lucky reader a complimentary weekend of your choice location at one of our Whale Cottages in Camps Bay, Hermanus, or Franschhoek, subject to availability, out of all of those entries correctly predicting the winner of MasterChef SA.

Whale Cottage Camps Bay is ideally located 500 meters from Camps Bay beach and 25 restaurants on the Camps Bay Promenade.  It offers secure parking on the property, with seven seafacing double rooms, and single rooms facing the Twelve Apostles and Lion’s Head.

Whale Cottage Hermanus is located on the seafront, with a wonderful view onto Walker Bay, in which Southern Right whales and their calves frolic from May – November.  The region is also known for its excellent Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines in particular, from estates such as Hamilton Russell, Hermanuspietersfontein, and Creation on the Hermanus Wine Route.

Franschhoek is best known as the Gourmet and Wedding capital of South Africa, and some of its wine estates recognised  as the best in the country. Whale Cottage Franschhoek is situated 200 meters from the main road in the village, up the road from Le Quartier Français and Reuben’s Franschhoek.

Jorgensen’s Distillery has generously donated two of its brands to the runner-up of the competition to correctly predict MasterChef SA, their Savingnac Potstill Brandy (value R300) and Naked Lemon Limoncello (value R120). The Savingnac Potstill Brandy is made in Wellington, and has roots of brandy making on the same property going back more than 300 years. Specially made wine is double distilled in owner Roger Jorgensen’s copper pot still to concentrate the flavour and the alcohol, and then is matured for a period of ten years or more in French oak barrels. The Naked Lemon Limoncello is made from hand-picked organic lemons, hand zested, with the skins macerated for 12 days in fragrant wine spirits to infuse the spirit with the lemon oils, giving the liqueur the vibrant yellow colour. It is bottled at 30% alcohol, and can be served with desserts or drunk ice cold.

To get the ball rolling, a listing of the eighteen MasterChef SA finalists, and our predictions of the chances of some of them winning MasterChef SA, follows:

Babalwa Baartman – would it be feasible for her to run the MondoVino restaurant at Montecasino in Johannesburg for a year, being from Cape Town, if she wins MasterChef SA? No exposure in episode 4 and 6. Eliminated in episode 8.

Berdina Schurink – she auditioned in each of the three MasterChef SA cities, so determined was she to become a finalist. The MasterChef SA write-up describes her as ‘serious, determined and focused’. They warn viewers to not be fooled by her quiet and reserved nature. Pastry is her speciality.  Berdina kept her pose when she fell into the bottom five for a childhood dish in episode 4, and her ‘pressure test’ koeksisters were judged to be perfect. She went into the ‘Pressure Test’ for the second time, but her lamb was undercooked, and therefore she was voted out by the judges in episode 5.  Berdina has opened Bella Sophia Culinary Café in Riviera in Pretoria.

Brandon Law – little is known about him, but he has done fan signings at Eastgate. He is interested in molecular gastronomy. Could he become our next Chef Richard Carstens?  No exposure in episode 4 and 6. Eliminated in episode 8.

Charles Canning – being based in Cape Town, can he afford to be away from his family panel beating business, a family with four children, and the Cape Town Highlanders, which he leads, to take over the MondoVino restaurant for a year?  Both his childhood dish and ‘pressure test’ koeksisters bombed and he was one of two sent home in episode 4.

Deena Naidoo – his Butter Chicken was loved by Chef Pete in episode 1 and he finished it all, it tasted so good!  He has been interviewed by the Sunday Times. on 15 April.  There is no real story to the interview, entitled “Masterchef hopeful not just ‘curry guy’“, but it does state that he took unpaid leave to participate in the competition.  Interesting is that he wears a MasterChef branded chefs’ top in the newspaper photograph.  Interesting too is that he is the only one of the 18 contestants to use ‘mcsa’ in his Twitter address.  No exposure in episode 4.  Made top curry dish of all in episode 6.  Leader of winning Blue team in Navy challenge.  Did well with Denningvleis dish in episode 8. Only finalist not yet in a pressure test. To go into his first Pressure Test in episode 12. One wonders how MasterChef SA could have chosen Deena as a candidate if he does not drink, given that a chef would have to know his wines, and pair them with his foods. Given that Nederburg is a sponsor, and a wine training course offered by the South African Sommelier Association is part of the prize, they could not have a MasterChef SA winner who does not drink wines. Deena made a superb Passion Hazelnut Gateau in his Pressure Test, to his own surprise, in episode 12. In Pressure Test in episode 13, but survived it, despite heavy criticism from Chef Pete Goffe-Wood of over-smoking his fish.  Not very successful in his Springbok loin Pressure Test in episode 15. Won the bell for best dish, to call on Chef/Judge input in episode 17, in episode 16. Highly praised by Chef Michel Roux Jnr from La Gavroche in London.  Deena won the best dessert in episode 17, winning him a test drive in the Hyundai Elantra for a picnic with his wife Cathy at Plaisir de Merle in Franschhoek. Deena has gone through to the Finale.

Fortune Kangueehi – could a MasterChef SA come from Namibia?  The judges may vote this advertising executive out over time on this basis alone.  Her childhood dish did not make it, and she forgot to add baking powder to her ‘pressure test’ koeksisters, and became the second person to leave in episode 4.

Guy Clark – from friends of friends we have heard that he has made it close to the top.  He is not visible on Social Media.  Has this former model and now property broker gone underground? Does this make him the winner? No exposure in episode 4 and 6. In Red Team ‘Pressure Test’ with not so good pig’s ear dish. Eliminated in episode 9 for his soufflé.

Ilse Fourieshe attracted attention for the most favourable comments of all for her hot cooking (salmon steak) in episode 1, and she was the fastest egg whisker of all finalists in episode 2. She has had a write up on Channel 24. She is also pretty, having been a lingerie model, and this would add an extra touch of spice to the award! No exposure in episode 4. Praise for her curry dish in episode 6, and pork shoulder in episode 7.  Did well with Tripe dish in episode 8. Not visible in episode 9 and 10.  Seen in M-Net promo ad for MasterChef SA on 15/6, in which she says she will move to Johannesburg, should she win.  Eliminated in episode 14, after her mini Boerewors popped, and she struggled to debone her lamb shoulder in the resultant Pressure/Perseverance Test.

Jade de Waal – loved by some and hated by others for her odd English/Afrikaans/undefined accent, she is a true character.  Her cardamon ice cream was loved by the judges in episode 1. She was interviewed extensively after this episode by her aunt Sonia Cabano on the Robertsons Twitter account, when she still was the Social Media Manager for Robertsons.  Jade received extensive ‘airtime’ in this Twitter interview, which no other contestant has received on this account to date.  She has changed the name of her Twitter account, and has locked it as well, only allowing certain Tweeters to read it.  Is she too hip, trendy, and frivolous for such a serious accolade?  Based in Cape Town.  Her Avo Ritz with a twist was highly praised in episode 4.  She has announced that she has written a Cook Book on vegetables with her aunt.  She was interviewed by Huisgenoot, she announced on Twitter. No exposure in episode 6.  First criticism seen, for her Waterblommetjie bredie dish (with Sue-Ann Allen). She made a very poor soufflé, which should have seen her eliminated in episode 9, many on Twitter felt. In the Elimination Challenge in episode 10. Going into Pressure Test in episode 12.  Voted out in episode 12, for a mess of a Passion Hazelnut Gateau.  Reported to have written a cookbook ‘Luscious Vegetarian’ with her aunt Sonia Cabano, to be published in October.

Khaya Silingile – this Marketing Co-ordinator attracted attention in episode 1 for her highly praised scallop and smoked salmon dish, which she served with an unusual rhubarb tart. Her salmon childhood dish was praised by the judges in episode 4. No exposure in episode 6. Won the International Cuisine challenge in episode 9, with her French dish.  In the Elimination Challenge in episode 10.  Won best wine and food pairing in episode 11.  Was beaten by 4-point margin by Chef Reuben Riffel in making his Seafood Fricasee – had she won, she would have won an Immunity Pin for the next five episodes.  Announced her pregnancy in episode 13. In Pressure Test in episode 14. Eliminated due to her Springbok loin dish errors in episode 15.

Lungile Nhlanhla – this young fashion designer from Durban wants to create a link between fashion and food, says her MasterChef SA profile. No exposure in episode 4.  Was praised for her curry in episode 6 and pork tail in episode 7. Came in on budget and her R150 budget meal acceptable in episode 10. Eliminated in episode 16 for not getting her chicken ballotine correct.  It has been announced that Lungi has been appointed Junior Food editor of Drum magazine.

Lwazi Mngoma – appears very confident in his Tweets, and has been interviewed on Johannesburg radio stations Highveld Stereo and Kaya FM, and proud of it!  Due to a less than satisfactory childhood memory dish, he went into the ‘pressure test’, and was lucky to have been retained, as his koeksisters were not perfect in episode 4.  Back into ‘Pressure Test’ in episode 6, and was sent home due to his ‘Salmon Three Ways’ not meeting the judges approval.

Manisha Naidu – she cut short her honeymoon to audition for the show, says her MasterChef SA profile. She made the second best childhood memory dish, and was voted a team leader by the judges in episode 4. Commendably she elected herself into the ‘pressure test’ in episode 5, taking responsibility for her team losing the Harvest Celebration challenge, and she did not perform well in preparing the lamb rack.  She will live with the conscience of having taken Berdina into the ‘pressure test’, and causing her elimination indirectly. No exposure in episode 6. Did well in Tripe dish in episode 8. Made top Budget family meal in episode 10.  Her Boerewors dish voted best of all by the judges in episode 14, becoming a team leader in episode 15. In the Sunday Times on 8 July, a most honest interview reflected a sad past for Manisha, battling bulimia, a suicide attempt, and a divorce. But she remarried last year, and was on honeymoon when she received notification that she had been selected to participate, and therefore cut the honeymoon short. Manisha did not have to go into the Pressure Test in episode 17. Manisha forgot to add the pea shoot to her dish in episode 18, and made plating mistakes which cost her a place in the Finale, and she was sent home.

Mmutsi Maseko – as a ‘stay-at-home’ mum, she may not be able to take up the prize of the restaurant chef. She ‘cooks from within’, says her MasterChef SA profile, and her favourite foods to prepare are meat, pap, and chakalaka.  Floundering in her childhood memory dish by running out of time, she redeemed herself in the ‘pressure test’, making perfect koeksisters in episode 4.  She went into the ‘pressure test‘ for the second time in episode 5, but her rack of lamb was praised by the judges. No exposure in episode 6.  Voted out in episode 7.

Samantha Nolan – also from Cape Town, and ‘stay-at-home’ mother of four children, according to her MasterChef SA profile, so the MondoVino restaurant prize may also be a problem. Her childhood memory dish was voted the best of all, and she was chosen a team leader too in episode 4. Best judge of spices in Chef Vanie Padayachee’s curry, and could choose main ingredient for curry in episode 6.  Clearly leading the winning Blue team in the Navy challenge. First time in Pressure Test in episode 9, for having too many spices in her mince with the vetkoek.  Voted out in episode 10 for Minestrone soup.

Sarel Loots – very quick to correct an error on this blog, asked to be followed on Twitter (a no-no), and subsequently blocked our account, possibly due to our Robertsons blogpost. He also auditioned at all three MasterChef SA venues.  He loves making desserts most.  Embarrassing poorly spelt Tweets were sent by him to Chefs Nigella Lawson, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal, and Guy Fieri, all with the same message:”Love your programs. U insired (sic) me to enter @MasterChef_SA and made it to top 18 and stil (sic) going“!  He also Tweeted ‘I will win this’, at a time when the MasterChef SA winner is known to some or all of the last 18 finalists. His poor English and Afrikaans spelling should be enough reason to disqualify him. No exposure in episode 4. Into Pressure Test in episode 6 due to his curry dish, but redeemed himself with an excellent ‘Salmon Three Ways’. In Pressure Test in episode 9, for not trying hard enough with his Brazilian dish.  No exposure in episode 10.  Second best Boerewors dish in episode 14, to be second team leader in episode 15. Except for his Bearnaise sauce, his Springbok loin dish for the Pressure Test in episode 15 was a close copy of the dish by Chef Andrew Atkinson.  His peppadew stuffing of his chicken ballotine clashed with the truffle on his stuffed artichoke in episode 16. Voted out in episode 17, for forgetting the hazelnut gel.

Sue-Ann Allen – also from Cape Town, so the MondoVino restaurant prize may also be a problem.  She was so dedicated to participate in MasterChef SA that she resigned her job as lighting designer. No exposure in episode 4.  In ‘Pressure Test’ in episode 6, and was lucky to not be voted out.  Pork loin not well received by judges in Red Team ‘Pressure Test’ in episode 7.  Criticised for poor Waterblommetjie dish in episode 8. No exposure in episodes 9 and 10. Sue-Ann is on holiday in Croatia (June).  Due to her Boerewors becoming ‘droë wors’ in episode 14, she did a brilliant Rolled lamb shoulder in the Pressure Test, judged to be her best MasterChef SA dish. Her stuffed artichoke said to be closest to that of Chef Michel Roux Jnr, but her chicken ballotine, stuffed with cream cheese, less successful, in episode 16.  Survived the Pressure Test in episode 17.  One of the two Finalists going into the Finale in episode 19.  Sue-Ann was the Runner-up to Deena Naidoo to MasterChef SA.  She is doing a one-month apprenticeship with The Greenhouse, Eat Out‘s number one Top 10 restaurant, from 21 August.

Thys Hattingh – received high praise for his dessert in episode 3, when the challenge was to make the best braai dish.  Not a ‘braaier’, by his own admission. No exposure in episode 4.  Made second best curry dish in episode 6.  Leader of losing Red team in Navy challenge in episode 7.  Did well in Denningvleis dish in episode 8.  Came second with his Moroccan poached pear dish in episode 9, even if he poached it in Nederburg wine, Morocco being a Muslim country!  Into Pressure Test in episode 12.  Struggled greatly with his chocolate mousse in making the Passion Hazelnut Gateau in the Pressure Test, and was lucky that Jade de Waal’s Gateau was even less perfect than his. Eliminated in episode 13, for overcooking his fish in Zanzibar.

We look forward to your votes – please keep them coming!

POSTSCRIPT 16/4: M-Net’s Senior Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht provided the following information about the restaurant prize: Regarding the restaurant prize, Southern Sun is happy to tailor-make the options in order to meet the needs of the winner and to ensure that all parties are happy going forward with this amazing prize. They will take into account factors such as the contestant not being from Johannesburg, having a family and any other obligations, and will assist to whatever degree is necessary’.

POSTSCRIPT 19/5: Die Burger ran a poll today, asking readers to vote who will win MasterChef SA. This is how they voted:

Ilse Fourie 32 % 367 Stemme

Jade de Waal 6 % 70 Stemme

Sarel Loots 15 % 175 Stemme

Thys Hattingh 22 % 246 Stemme

Deena Naidoo 5 % 59 Stemme

Khaya Silingile 5 % 56 Stemme

Lungile Nhlanhla 3 % 33 Stemme

Manisha Naidu 2 % 20 Stemme

Samantha Nolan 4 % 41 Stemme

Sue-Ann Allen 6 % 68 Stemme

POSTSCRIPT 27/7: The winners of the MasterChef SA Winner competition are the following:

*   Weekend at a Whale Cottage guest house in Camps Bay, Hermanus, or Franschhoek: Francesca Tiganis. Her motivation for nominating Deena was as follows:My vote is for Deena Naidoo – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him evolve with such passion and confidence, but in the most humble way. The way he listened so carefully to Chef Michel Roux and Chef Margot Janse really helped him execute his dishes so very well – he deserves to win Masterchef SA!’

*   Jorgensen’s Distillery’ Savingnac Potstill Brandy and Naked Lemon Limoncello: Alicia Peter, for nominating Deena as follows:I nominate Deena Naidoo – because he has managed to impress the judges and audience with almost all his dishes. To impress THE Michel Roux Jnr himself is simply superb! He is so talented yet so humble. I take my hat off to him…Go Deena!’

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

2012 Eat In Awards salute quality SA producers’ integrity and innovation!

I should have known that going to the Stellenbosch Slow Market at Oude Libertas yesterday would bring on claustrophobia, it being the fullest I have ever seen this popular market, and one that I had sworn that I would never go back to again.  The announcement of the winners of the 2012 Eat In DStv Food Network Produce Awards was the reason for my visit, and once I had received a copy of the magazine with the winners’ names, and tasted some of their produce, it was a good time to leave.

Given the increased passion for food preparation, spurred by cooking programs such as MasterChef Australia and now our own South African reality TV cooking show, as well as the recession reducing the frequency of eating out, buying healthy produce to use and eat at home is becoming increasingly popular.   Five years ago Eat In, sister publication to Eat Out, which presents the annual Top 10 Restaurant awards, was launched by New Media Publishing. The magazine’s Awards ‘aim to acknowledge and celebrate outstanding independent South African producers for their integrity, passion and innovation’. The crucial criterion is that the produce is South African grown, and added criteria were that the products are produced ethically in terms of the workforce, and in an environmentally responsible manner.  The winners were judged Continue reading →

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club pairs Jorgensen’s potstill brandy, Honest Chocolate, and the Haas Coffee Collective

This month, the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club marries three unique Cape artisanal businesses, and hosts Jorgensen’s Savignac Potstill Brandy and Honest Chocolate, at coffee merchants and art and design specialists Haas Collective.

Jorgensen’s Distillery is in Wellington, and Dawn Jorgensen has been a faithful attendee of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings, having briefly introduced their Primitiv Vodka to members last year. Their portfolio of handcrafted spirits has since grown, to include Jorgensen’s Gin, Field of Dreams Absinthe, Naked Lemon Limoncello, Naked Lime Liqueur, and the Savignac Potsill Brandy. Roger Jorgensen lovingly handcrafts the spirits products with passion, hard work and endeavour. Dawn handles Marketing and Sales, and is an ardent user of Social Media.

Honest Chocolate opened for business earlier this year, handcrafting their organic chocolate. Both owners Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk are passionate about chocolate, and evolved from experimenting with raw cocoa powder. Anthony is a self-taught chocolate maker, and was joined by Michael, who had similarly experimented with chocolate making in London. Last month they opened their first shop, on Wale Street, and manufacture and sell from this outlet. They also have a representative in Johannesburg, supplying outlets and they have a stand at the new Neighbourgoods Market there. They Blog and Tweet, in-between their chocolate making.

The Haas Collective is ever-evolving, with its Haas Coffee Collective, Haas Communications Collective, Haas Design Collective, and Haas Gallery Collective, four businesses that have Capetonians raving, the coffee shop having become a firm favorite of many, the only outlet serving Kopi Lawak coffee in South Africa. Coffee is supplied from Strictly Coffee in Robertson.They also serve breakfasts, lunches and cakes, seven days a week. Haas uses Twitter to entice followers into their emporium. Haas is owned by Francois Irvine and Glynn Venter.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.

Dawn and Roger Jorgensen, as well as Anthony and Michael will each speak for about half an hour about their businesses, and the role that Social Media plays in them, and there will be product tastings too. The meeting will be held in the Haas Gallery. The Club gives fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

*   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Wednesday 19 October: Haas Collective, 67 Rose Street, corner Church Street, Bo-Kaap, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com. The cost of attendance is R100.  Twitter: @FoodWineBlogClu  Facebook: click here.

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club pairs food and wine blogging at Steenberg Vineyards

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was treated to a wonderful feast of Bistro Sixteen82 tapas with five excellent Steenberg Vineyards wines, and informed about their Social Media activities last week.

First to speak was Sales and Marketing Manager Anetha Homan, who has been at Steenberg Vineyards for almost five years, and at Constantia Uitsig for eight years before that.  Graham de Vries was recently appointed to manage Social Media for Steenberg Vineyards, and the ‘Totally Stoned’ Blog focuses on the wine side of the estate, but does incorporate information about Bistro Sixteen82 and Catharina restaurants.  Social Media was first introduced at Steenberg in 2007, and Tweeting and Blogging is done corporately.  Initially Anetha was so enthusiastic about Social Media, that she wanted her GM and the winemaker to blog too.  In 2009 Steenberg Vineyards did its first Twitter Tasting, and it was a creative way for the wine estate to attract attention.  This was repeated on a larger scale a few months ago. Research findings on Twitter trends in 2010 of South Africans (most Tweeters live in Cape Town, most Tweeting is done on Tuesdays, and from 7 – 8 pm) has been implemented in the Social Media strategy of Steenberg Vineyards. Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging has given Steenberg Vineyards a consumer communication channel, to pass on communication in a fun and informal manner, but even more importantly, to receive it back from their consumers.  The GM, winemaker and restaurant receive welcome messages of support. New friends have been made via Social Media dialogue, and these have become Followers and, even better, Brand Ambassadors.  Anetha cited the example of Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club member Andre Pentz, who met Graham at the previous meeting, and has since interacted regularly with Steenberg Vineyards.  The immediacy of sharing information is a major advantage. Anetha shared with bloggers her rules of Social Media engagement:

1.  No one is interested in how you feel

2.  Dare to be controversial, but do not insult. Tweeters prefer to read feel-good Tweets.  It is a shame that wine writers are tearing other writers apart, she said.

3.  Respond when written to.  Tweeters want dialogue.

4.  Show personality and passion, and don’t be too ‘sterile’ or ‘corporate’ in writing.  Customers want to be talked to as individuals.

5.   Don’t hard-sell.  Provide information

6.   Don’t do ambush marketing

7.   Add value in sending out information

8.   Re-Tweets are an important means of distributing information, and for adding Followers.

9.  Visuals have become more important, and less copy is read.

The ‘Totally Stoned’ website name was chosen as a tongue in cheek reference to the ‘stone mountain’ of Steenberg, from which the wine estate takes its name.  Graham did a fun blogpost about Planking, showing various Steenberg staff ‘planked’ on the wine estate. It was a fun colourful communication which created visual impact for the estate, and doubled traffic to the blog.  It also demonstrated the human side of the business, showing the company as a team of human beings.

Bloggers were offered a glass of Steenberg Brut 1682 MCC Chardonnay 2010 (R120) on arrival, first made by Steenberg Vineyards in 2000.  Initially it contained Pinot Noir as well, but is now 100% made from Chardonnay, with 12 – 18 months on the lees. In 2007 the first Steenberg Brut 1682 Pinot Noir MCC was made, and was launched earlier this month, having spent three years on the lees.  It costs R275.  The Sauvignon Blanc Reserve is what put Steenberg Vineyards on the map, and vintages sell out very quickly. Semillon is one of the oldest grape varieties in South Africa, haviung been planted 200 years ago, and used to make up 96% of planting.  It has reduced down to only 2%, and is often used in making Sauvignon Blanc to give it more body.  It is an excellent pairing with food.  The Steenberg Semillon 2010 comes from a 16 year block, and now spends a longer time in new French oak.  It has a buchu and fynbos character, from the plants growing around it.  Steenberg Nebellio refers to the mist they often experience on the wine estate, and the first plantings were brought in from Italy by the previous GM of Steenberg Vineyards. It has a very earthy character, and also is an excellent wine paired with foods.   Catharina Red is named after the characterful first owner of the wine estate, who had five husbands, and five grape varities have gone into the making of this blend, a more complex wine with a strong mint character coming from the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Brad Ball has been the chef at Bistro Sixteen82 for two years, having opened it at Steenberg Vineyards.  They have appointed Linda Harding as the Social Media consultant for the restaurants and hotel on the estate. Thoughts and experiences of customers are shared, and they look for interaction with guests.  They like the flexibility of being able to promote a particular dish immediately, and not wait for three months or more until they receive coverage in a magazine. ‘Our blog is our press’, Brad said, referring to it as a cost-effective communication medium.   Chef Brad has recently opened his own personal Twitter account (@BradBallBrand), to allow him to Tweet more personally, but he does realise that he still has limitations as to what he says, as he is linked to Steenberg and the Bistro.  He advised that consistency in content is important for the reader of blogs.  He says that one ‘eats with one eyes’, and that is why they post photographs of their dishes on the blog as well as on Twitter, Tweets being carefully scheduled.  The power of Social Media was demonstrated to the Bistro after they re-opened after a three week break at the beginning of the month, to a fully booked first day, and it has been full every day thereafter.  A year ago it took ten days for business to pick up again after their break.  The Bistro did not stop Tweeting while they were closed, and competitions were run, with a count-down to opening day.  The Social Media program for Bistro Sixteen82 positions it as fun, vibey and enticing restaurant to eat at.   Linda did a one-week internship with Chef Brad, and that has helped her with her understanding of the business.  Chef Brad welcomes kitchen help, to share with interested persons how a restaurant kitchen works.   Bistro Sixteen82 has four seasonal menu changes, and Chef Brad sources local produce.  The pork belly and beef tataki are absolute favourites, and cannot be taken off the menu. Produce is sourced from the hotel’s herb and vegetable garden.  Worm composting is used for the large amount of vegetable waste the restaurants generate.  Chef Brad talked about the collegiality that exists between chefs and that they meet regularly.  He would interact with dialogue about other chefs and their restaurants on Twitter, he said.  It is a reciprocal endorsement, and gives credibility.  We commend Chef Brad for being the only restaurant chef to have attended meetings of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, demonstrating his dedication to and understanding of the benefits of Social Media.

To close the meeting, Matt Allison, one of the speakers at our August meeting, shared his experience of being the only South African to attend the Mad Food Camp organised by the world’s top restaurant, Noma in Copenhagen, organised by its owner Rene Redzepi last month. It was a huge honour for Matt to have been selected as one of 250 urban gardeners and chefs from around the world.  The Food Camp was the largest Northern European food festival, and alongside it ran the workshop, focusing on the relationship between restaurants and purveyors of fruit and vegetables.  Chefs are encouraged to grow their own produce, if feasible.  He was wowed by what he saw and heard, for example Amazonian ants preserved in gelatine by the chef of South American  restaurant Dom.  Matt is passionate about honouring the value of food.  He has become such an authority on urban farming, working with local Cape Town restaurants and farming his own vegetables and herbs, which he sells on Wednesdays at Starlings Café, that he was featured in the Sunday Times yesterday, and an article in the New York Times is to appear too.

Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

*   19 October:   Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery, and Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk of Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street.

*   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com. The cost of attendance is R100.  Twitter: @FoodWineBlogClu  Facebook: click here.

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

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club spoilt at Steenberg and Bistro Sixteen82 in September

The members of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club have been very fortunate to have been wined and dined in the past eighteen months of the Club’s existence.  This month is no different, and our visist to Steenberg Vineyards, and to their Bistro Sixteen82, is likely to be a very popular event.   The meeting will feature two speakers, being Anetha Homan, Sales and Marketing Manager of Steenberg Vineyards, and Chef Brad Ball of Bistro Sixteen82.

Anetha Homan has been the Sales and Marketing Manager of Steenberg Vineyards for the past four years, and worked at Constantia Uitsig for eight years prior to that. She graduated with a BA Communications at the University of Stellenbosch.  Steenberg’s winemaker is JD Pretorius.  Steenberg is committed to Social Media, having the Totally Stoned Steenberg Blog, which includes wine news and news about its restaurant Bistro Sixteen82.  Anetha says that Social Media allows Steenberg to communicate with its customers in an informal way, and it allows the wine estate to receive feedback from their customers too.

Chef Brad Ball is destined for great things, and deserves to be in the Eat Out Top 20 restaurant list, and is a strong contender for the newly created Bistro category.  Chef Brad comes from a foodie family, in that his mom managed a catering company.   It was a heavenly Tuna Nicoise that inspired him to apply for his first position as chef, and he was appointed at Simon’s Table in Simonstown 14 years ago.  Two years later he went to London, where he worked with Chef Patron Rowley Leigh, known as the father of modern British cuisine, at Kensington Place. It is here that his love for Bistro-style food was born.  On his return to Cape Town he worked as Head Chef at Olympia Café and Deli, followed by the Post House Hotel & Restaurant in Greyton, Pastis Brasserie in Constantia, and at The River Café.  He started his own catering consultancy before he joined Steenberg Vineyards to open the new restaurant Bistro Sixteen82.  Chef Brad believes in ‘simple is better’, and ‘local is lekker’.   He is inspired by Japanese cuisine and Provencal food. He puts his heart and soul into whatever he does, delivering passion and pizzaz in the food that he serves.  Bistro Sixteen82 is probably best known for its Friday Steenburger, and Beef Tataki.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.

Anetha and Chef Brad will talk for about half an hour each about the Steenberg Blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun. Anetha Homan will lead bloggers through a tasting of the Steenberg wines, while snacks will be prepared by Chef Brad.

Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

*   19 October:   Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery, and Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk of Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street.

*   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Wednesday 21 September, 6 – 8 pm: Steenberg Vineyards, Steenberg, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com. The cost of attendance is R100.  Twitter: @FoodWineBlogClu  Facebook: click here.

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

ImnoJamieOliver food blog ‘paired’ with Swirl wine blog at August Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club

The August Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting will ‘pair’ Food blogger Matt Allison of I’mnoJamieOliver Blog and Wine blogger Nikki Dumas of Swirl blog,  and will be held at Den Anker in the V&A Waterfront  on Wednesday 17 August, from 6 – 8 pm.

Matt Allison, author of www.imnojamieoliver.com blog, is a “husband, stay at home father, urban farmer, eco advocate, closet designer, photographer & designated household cook”, he writes about himself. His blog originally started when he committed to cooking his way through Jamie Oliver’s ’20 minute meals’ for the iPhone, completing all 60 recipes in under 90 days. It has since grown into a platform to explore the origins of food, rethinking it one meal at a time.

Nikki Dumas has always been in the leisure industry, as Training Manager at Greyhound Citiliner, having obtained her training background at South African Airways.  She has managed restaurants in Johannesburg, including the first store set-up and operations of Moyo on Grant Avenue in Norwood.   She moved to Cape Town in 2000, managing a number of restaurants: Villamoura in Camps Bay, Belthazar in the Waterfront, and Balducci’s in the Waterfront.  Two years ago she started her own consultancy, called Winestyle.biz, and  it specialises in wine list design, wine training, and wine accessories for several wine estates and restaurants.  The company has received the highest accolades, both locally and internationally, for its wine list design and compilation from Diners’ Club International and Wine Spectator.  With its restaurant on-site tutoring program, the company guarantees an increase in turnover in wine sales.  Nikki has produced and manufactured a wine tasting journal, to record one’s tasting experiences.  Nikki writes Swirl Blog.

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club aims to foster this informal training, and to serve as a social media networking opportunity.

Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

   Future Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings have been organised as follows:

      *   21 September:  Chef Brad Ball of Bistro 1682, and wine speaker from Steenberg, at Steenberg

   *   19 October:   Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery, and Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk of Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street. 

   *   12 November: Visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek   

Jordan Wines from Stellenbosch will lead bloggers through a tasting of their wines.  Snacks will be served by Den Anker. 

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, Wednesday 17 August, 6 – 8 pm:  Den Anker, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Bookings can be made by e-mailing Chris at whalecot@iafrica.com.  The cost of attendance is R100.  Twitter: @FoodWineBlogClu  Facebook: click here.

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