For the first time I was invited to assist in the judging of the 2016 SA Dairy Championships, 72 judges evaluating 895 dairy products entered by 85 producers, both record numbers. A total of 23 products received a Qualité Award, and one of these was named as the South African Dairy Product of the Year 2016, namely Dalewood Fromage Huguenot 12 months matured. Continue reading →
The 14th South African Cheese Festival opens today, and runs over the next three days, with more than 30000 visitors expected. Western Cape Minister of Economic Opportunities Alan Winde will open the Festival today, and wants to see Western Cape cheese the focus of our country’s cheese industry, and that it be exported.
Two records have already been set for the 2015 Cheese Festival: it has the highest number of exhibitors ever, and the largest amount of space dedicated to cheese exhibitors in the history of the Cheese Festival. The Cheese Festival is so popular that tickets for today and tomorrow are sold out already.
Visitors to the Cheese Festival will be introduced to new cheeses, and can enjoy cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, and meet personalities:
* In Dairy Square the Checkers Cheese Emporium has been set up. In the Checkers Continue reading →
* Moody’s has downgraded our country’s debt rating to Baa2, one level lower, due to ‘poor growth prospects and rising public debt’, a rating on a par with the company’s ratings of Russia and Brazil, and two notches removed from ‘junk status‘. Electricity shortages were highlighted as one specific reason for the downgrade.
* The Volvo Ocean Race yachts have arrived in the V&A Waterfront, and a host of activities are planned until the yachts head for Abu Dhabi on 19 November. Only seven teams are participating in the world’s leading offshore sailing race covering four oceans and five continents. An inaugural Open Ocean Festival runs in this period, but has been very poorly publicised (shoppers to the V&A Waterfront received brochures yesterday as they entered the underground parking). Events of the Festival include the Open Ocean Film Festival this weekend, Fly Boarding today, Xtreme Water Polo from 10 – 12 November, Canoe Polo today, a Sunset Mile open ocean swim on 12 November, and the third day of the IRC National Regatta today.
* Waterford Wine Estate has been named a Global Winner in the categories Wine Tourism Service and Sustainable Continue reading →
* UK X Factor judge and singer Cheryl Cole was spotted at The Duchess of Wisbeach in Sea Point on Saturday evening, and Tweeted to her 4,5 million Twitter followers, The Daily Mail reports.
* Beer sales in Africa are expected to be the fastest growing, predicts a report by Rabobank, the continent having the fastest growth in legal beer drinking population between 2013 – 2018. SABMiller has announced that it will triple production at its plant in Nigeria, with an investment of £110 million.
* The Good Food & Wine Show 2014 will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 29 May – 1 June, and an action-packed program has been announced: 8 top restaurants will offer signature dishes; Woolworths and Robertsons will Continue reading →
* The 15th Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 28 and 29 March. The top artists performing in the past fifteen years can be expected on the stage next year. Last year 60000 jazz lovers attended the jazz performances. Early bird specials are available for the first 1000 tickets booked at Computicket.
Rashid Lombard, CEO of espAfrika, organisers of the Jazz Festival, said: ‘Fifteen years ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the festival would have such a massive impact. It’s got its own beat now – and we just love the fact that we are able to keep giving people what they want and to promote jazz and jazz related as a music genre in this country’. (received via media release from networx public relations)
* Taipei has been announced as World Design Capital 2016, it was announced today by Cape Town Design NPC, the company managing World Design Capital 2014 for Cape Town. (received via newsletter)
* The Free World Design Centre in Cape Town is hosting trendtalk#6 on 3 September, with the theme ‘the colour of the times’. It forms part of National Colour Week, which runs from 1 – 7 September. Key presenters will share the latest design and décor trends. Entry is free of charge. The trendtalk#6 speaker panel includes journalist Les Aupiais, fashion stylist Catherine Bowen, and colour trend forecaster Anne Roselt. (via media release from Free World Design Centre)
* The Table Mountain Cableway re-opens tomorrow, after a five week closure.
Episode 13 of MasterChef SA last night marked the halfway mark for the reality TV cooking show, and focused on the use of Dairy. Many panna cotta dishes were made for the Dairy Challenge, which panned out for some, and not so for others.
The episode began with the Finalists discovering that all their dairy products had been removed from the fridge in their house, and they reacted grumpily to not being able to have coffee to wake up with. Herman Cloete said their mood was ‘scratchy‘. When they arrived at the MasterChef kitchen, Chef Andrew Atkinson cheekily asked why they looked as if they did not have a good start to the day, knowing full well what had happened at the house. It was meant to introduce the Invention Test, to test the Finalists’ creativity with the products most commonly found in households, being dairy. The Pantry had been stocked with milk, cream, cheese, and yoghurts, and the Finalists were challenged to make any dish with dairy, be it a starter or dessert, as long as they got the basics right. They were given 10 minutes to grab their products in the Pantry, and 60 minutes to prepare their dish. Continue reading →
A chance notice about Ike Moriz performing at the recently opened The Crypt Jazz Restaurant below St George’s Cathedral last night caught my eye, and turned out to be a most enjoyable evening, with excellent music and ambiance, live jazz being on offer five evenings a week. The service was sadly lacking.
The termination of the lease of the coffee shop which previously operated in the space led the Dean of St George’s Cathedral to contact Mario Thompson, the first owner of Gourmet Burger, which he had sold on to the owners of the ex-Caveau around the corner. Simultaneously the Dean had been approached by Derk Blaisse, a jazz lover from Franschhoek, and leader of the Cape Continue reading →
For the 20th year the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival will be paying tribute to the Southern Right whales, who visit Walker Bay in Hermanus from May – December to mate and give birth, giving Hermanus the enviable reputation of offering the best land-based whale watching in the world. Food and wine pairing forms a strong foundation of the Festival this year, sponsored by Two Oceans for the first time, the brand also supporting the SASSI (Southern African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) responsible eating of fish.
Billed as an ‘enviro-arts’ festival, the Two Oceans Whale Festival starts tomorrow and runs until Tuesday 4 October. On the environmental side, the focus will be educational, incorporating whales, sharks, dolphins, penguins and seals, the ‘Big 5′ for the Cape Whale Coast. A strong focus is on education for children. Saving the endangered rhinos has been incorporated into the Festival too.
On the arts side, the Festival is mainly music-focused, with concerts by well-known performers such as Chris Chameleon, Dr Victor and the Rasta Rebels, Steve Hofmeyer, and Prime Circle spread over six music venues. Many concerts are free of charge. A Classical concert by the Odeion Quartet takes place at Bouchard Finlayson in the Hemel en Aarde Valley on Friday evening, while the Fidelio Trio will perform in the Municipal Auditorium on Saturday evening. A Quilters’ exhibition can be viewed at the Dutch Reformed Church, and there is a craft marquee too. In addition, a vintage car show, a Mardi Gras, as well as a number of sport activities such as a mountain bike race, a half marathon, and a Harbour to Harbour swim will take place. The sport events run from 4 – 9 October. Kfm will be broadcasting live from Hermanus.
It is the food and wine pairing that is of particular interest, and has far more focus than in past years. At the Two Oceans Food Court at Market Square, a number of food vendors will focus on seafood, and other marine-themed and speciality dishes. In addition, local produce, artisanal cheeses, bakery items, charcuterie, as well as chocolates will be available to taste and buy. Two Oceans’ wines will be sold at R45 a bottle. Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris, entertainer and Checkers cheese spokesperson Nataniel, and actresses Shaleen Surtie-Richards and Brumilda van Rensburg will be doing cooking demonstrations, and allowing visitors to taste their food as well as wine for free at the Checkers’ Living Table, at different time slots. A new Mountie Fisherman’s Market will be held in Mount Pleasant, offering fresh fish, snoek, fishcakes, and Cape Malay delicacies for sale. Throughout September twenty members of the Hermanus Restaurant Owners’ Forum, under the chairmanship of restaurateur Fabio Lenci, have been offering a special on Two Ocean’s wines, at R55 per bottle and R15 per glass, and this will continue throughout the Festival. Each of the participants will offer a combination food item with a bottle of Two Oceans’ wine at a special price.
Festival visitors are advised to leave home early, and to expect a traffic build-up coming into Hermanus. Last year 133000 whale lovers visited Hermanus, and this year 150000 are expected to attend the Whale Festival. Tomorrow Tourism Month will be officially concluded with the opening of the Two Oceans Hermanus Whale Festival by Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, with Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde also attending. The Whale Festival, and the Southern Right whales with it, have received fantastic coverage, on the front page of the Sunday Times last week, and daily on Kfm this week. SABC2 is broadcasting about Hermanus and the Whale Festival from 6h00 – 8h00 tomorrow morning, and its camera crews have been in Hermanus, filming the beautiful assets of the region, including whales and the Hermanus Wine Route, for most of September.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
I have driven past BREAD in The Bromwell Boutique Mall on my way to the Old Biscuit Mill on numerous occasions. It was a welcome escape from my visit to the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturday. It has been open for 22 months, and I was impressed with the quality and design focus in this beautiful building, housing the BREAD Deli, Boulangerie and Café downstairs, and a fashion, furniture and art boutique upstairs.
The Bromwell is a beautifully restored 1927 erstwhile hotel building, once an ‘infamous house of red doors’, the website says. It belongs to Adelaide Potgieter, the founder of the nearby The mad (Marketing, Advertising, Design) Agency, which handles the advertising and promotions for Shoprite and Checkers exclusively, and her brother Solomon, who is now the CEO of the agency. The building, with its lovely parquet flooring, has been restored, with Heritage Society approval, to its former glory, and works of art are displayed throughout, with prices indicated. In the restaurant, for example, a large painting by Mark Matthysen of the Dalai Lama is for sale at R10000. The entrance is manned by a very smart doorman, almost out of place on a Woodstock street dominated by poverty. At the reception counter a Swiss German lady directed me to the Deli/Boulangerie section, and I followed the path to the right. She was very cagey about providing information about the owners. One steps into the Deli section, with a range of imported and local products, including NoMU rubs, Jenny Morris spice grinders (I had not seen these before), Vanilla Man grinders, Hillcrest Berry jams, pickled walnuts, bottled gherkins, Apfelmuss, olive chutney, different brands of balsamic vinegar, stone ground wheat, Honest Chocolate organic spread, Italian pasta products, and much more. The advertising side of the owners came to the fore in the striking black branded bag that the lady from the Boulangerie offered me to put my purchases into, and the bags form part of the neat Deli display. Opposite it is the Boulangerie (and patisserie!), in which well-lit baskets with wholewheat and white baguettes, country loaves, rye bread, Portuguese rolls, sesame seed rolls, croissants, pain au chocolat, and brioche, are displayed. Glass cabinets display the most beautiful selection of pastries, including velvet cupcakes, triple chocolate tarts, fruit tarts, lemon meringue, milk tarts, tiramisu, Babel chocolate tower, Apfelstrudel, lemon pound cake, marble cake, blackberry tarts, frangipani tarts, and Turkish delight. On the dessert page of the BREAD menu it states: “We produce the best quality cakes, cookies and pastries using only real chocolate, real cream, real butter and the freshest fruits and other ingredients. We simply do not compromise on quality“. The Pastry Chef is Shana Faes and the Baker is Eugene Knight.
Beyond the Deli/Boulangerie is a seating area for the Café, but it had hardly anyone sitting there, so I followed the sound of a guitar to a much nicer second room of the restaurant, with a window to the street, furnished with attractive genuine chandeliers, and the most comfortable restaurant chairs that I have ever sat on, some in red and some in green fabric. Tables have Singer sewing machine-style legs and concrete tops. Red upholstered benches run along two walls. There are no table cloths, but each table has a BREAD-branded material serviette, beautiful Italian Pinti cutlery with the most unusually long handles, yin yang salt and pepper pots, BREAD-branded sugar sticks, and surprisingly, a terribly old-fashioned non-designer wooden pepper grinder. I suggested to Manager Daniel Justus that the Jenny Morris pepper grinders in their Deli would match the designer feel of the restaurant far better. The guitarist walking around the restaurant was an odd touch. One can sit outside too, which some guests did, despite it being a chilly Saturday. A most elegant gentleman, wearing a long pin-striped jacket on a Saturday morning, making him look like the father of a bride, attracted attention. I was told that he is the father of the owner, and is at the restaurant regularly, called the ‘Godfather’ by the staff!
The red leather menu and beverage list cover contains well-presented information printed in white on black laminated paper. The first page contains a piece written about bread by Nataniël (the Checkers cheese spokesperson and avant garde singer), starting with “She was old, but she was wise and powerful. Give us food, we told her. Make us strong. Teach us magic and endurance. She gave us bread. We ate and came alive.” The lyrics are framed and hung in the restaurant too. The breakfast options are unusual, a twist on familiar items. I had a BREAD Benedict, and the requested removal of the prosciutto or salmon trout accompaniment probably made the dish look less attractive, with only one free-range egg served on a delicious slice of wholewheat bread with hollandaise sauce, for which I was charged R35 instead of the usual R65. The menu proudly emphasises for each dish which items are free-range and organic, probably adding a premium to the prices charged, but a commendable touch. Most egg dishes cost R45. Fried egg is served with ‘free-range mozzarella’ (an odd concept), slow-roasted tomato, and home-made mayonnaise. Bacon and mascarpone scrambled eggs served on a baguette sounded interesting, and would be a choice for a next visit. ‘BREAD Frenchie’ is a home-made brioche served with bacon and maple syrup. The Breakfast Cocktail contains organic muesli, ‘free-range yoghurt’, and ‘organic mountain honey’. The ‘Morning Yorkie’ is a take on Yorkshire Pudding, served with banana, bacon, tomato pesto, and maple syrup. A croissant with ‘free-range cheese’ and preserves costs R35.
Starters are soup of the day (R30), a platter of breads, dips and patés (R35), and tapas from R25 each. Salads cost R55 – R60, and some are unusual: Chicken and Chorizo, Kudu Loin carpaccio, Butternut and Danish Feta, Camembert and Fig, and a warm Bocconcini Bowl. Sandwiches range from R45 – R65, and include Wild Turkey, Spicy Prego, Smoked Salmon bagel, Club sandwich, roast beef, Green curry wrap, and garlic chicken. Main courses include ‘Lucky Fish’ of the day, lamb burger, chicken burger, melanzane, and prawn tagliatelle, all under R100, and ‘Sir Lowry’s Medallions’ 25-day aged sirloin (R120), and ‘Beef on the Bone’, being oven-grilled short rib (R110). The dessert offering is the pastries from the Boulangerie, costing R10 for croissants, and R15 – R25 for the tarts. I took home a most delicious, rich, creamy chocolate mousse topped with strawberries in a BREAD-branded container.
The winelist has an unspecified red and white wine by the glass at R25. Rosés are by Boschendal (R70), Delheim (R80), and ‘Solms’ (R100). Twelve white wines are separated by variety, being Chardonnays (R100 – R170), and Sauvignon Blancs (R85 – R160) in the main. Twenty red wines, not all identified by vintage or variety, range from R95 (Beyerskloof Pinotage) – R1000 (Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005). The cappuccino costs R19, and was served with a mini-meringue on the side.
Upstairs is a collection of rooms with beautifully displayed furniture, decor items, hand-made leather ballet shoes by Coastal & Koi (on my wishlist despite the R1100 price tag!), clothing items, jewellery, handbags, paintings, and sculptures. No-photography signs are visible upstairs, and I was given permission to photograph when I told the manager that I wanted to write a story about this amazing design centre. About a week ago, Top Billing featured the launch of a new clothing range by designer David Tlale, which was held at The Bromwell during Cape Town Fashion Week, I was told by Daniel.
I’ll be back to try more of the BREAD menu, to eye the shoes again, and to buy some of the wonderful bread. Waiter service was disappointingly slow, even though the restaurant was not full, and there appearing to be enough staff on duty. The lady in the Boulangerie was very service-driven, being proactive. Daniel was helpful in copying the menu for me, offering this service. He told me that they are working on an integrated POS system, which allows the restaurant to add Deli and Boulangerie items to the bill, which caused a hiccup in my case, and had to be added by hand. I liked the health focus of BREAD, many products supplied by Mushrooms & Things, Eureka Milling, Espresso Lab, and Imhoff.
BREAD Café, Boulangerie, Deli. The Bromwell Boutique Mall, 250 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town. Tel (021) 447-4730. www.breadcafe.co.za. (The website has the menu, but no Image Gallery, nor a link to The Bromwell Boutique Mall website). www.thebromwell.co.za (The website is a collection of photographs, and contains a link to the BREAD website). Monday – Friday 8h00 – 17h00, Saturday 9h00 – 17h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage