I was recently invited by Le Lude PR consultant Ann Ferreira to visit the Le Lude Cap Classique Cellar, and to enjoy lunch with her and cellarmaster Paul Gerber at the Orangerie Restaurant. Le Lude is the first cellar in our country to produce Agrafe Cap Classique, fermenting its wine under cork instead of crown cap. Continue reading →
In a survey conducted about the cost of accommodation in 30 South African suburbs, towns and villages, Camps Bay was found to offer the most expensive accommodation for the peak summer season. Surprising is that smaller towns also feature on the most Continue reading →
Last night (7 September) the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016 were presented for Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route at The Watershed in the V&A Waterfront, a total of 31 awards presented. Last night (14 September) the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards were presented at Katy’s Palace Bar in Johannesburg.
Interesting announcements made during the evening in Cape Town appear to indicate that the Platinum Taste Awards (new name from next year) will take Eat Out head on next year! At the awards event, the name change for next year was announced, as was that the Platinum Taste Awards will introduce seven award categories. It is no longer a criterion for a restaurant to accept Continue reading →
It was the last episode of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night, going full circle in Hayden having surfed off Muizenberg in episode 1, and doing so as well in Umhlanga in episode 13 last night. It was a shame that Hayden chose to end off his endorsement for Woolworths’ sustainability program by playing silly games with two pieces of Naan bread and stick out his tongue, a photograph placed on the programme series’ Facebook page.
Hayden visited a hydroponic cucumber farm Qutom Farms outside Durban, which supplies Woolworths. They catch rain water, and therefore they have not had to use external water for more than two years. The plants are grown in glasshouses with covering over the roofs to allow the staff to adapt the amount of light shining onto the cucumber plants. Derrick Baird, Director of Qutam Farms, said that the hydroponic farm ‘is a little bit of Europe here in South Africa’. They also use solar heating for the plant, generating about 220 kw per day. The plants are grown in cocopeat instead of in soil. A fine mist is sprayed if it gets too hot. No pesticides are used, allowing Hayden to eat a crunchy cucumber without having to wash it.
The Victoria Spice Market in Durban is known as the best place in which to buy curry spices. Viewers were Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 12 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ showed many South Africans an area of the country they have little exposure to, being Shakaland, a Zulu Cultural Centre, where Quinn was exposed to Zulu stick fighting, dancing, and traditional food and beer. The link to Woolworths in rhino spotting and to Shakaland is not clear, other than that Woolworths sells Rhino-themed shopper bags.
The Wildlife ACT (African Conservation Trust) Rhino monitor guide Zama Ncube took Quinn and Justin Smith, Head of Sustainability at Woolworths, to track black and white rhino, finding fresh dung and tracks of the rhino in the thick grass, and they were able to spot them too. Woolworths’ shopper bags with rhino visuals were plugged, as was the My Planet shopper card, proceeds of which go to the Wildlife ACT program. The link between Woolworths’ Sustainability focus and Wildlife ACT was not explained. Quinn then took to the skies in a helicopter, flown by pilot Etienne Gerber of the Zululand Anti-Poaching Wing of Project Rhino KZN, making it far easier to see the rhinos from above, and to control their movement and protection. Quinn was spoilt with sightings of zebra, giraffe, and buck. He was told that there are 20000 rhinos now. Continue reading →
It was ironic that episode 11 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night focused on the Natal Midlands, and that a large part of the half-hour episode focused on farmer Kevin Lang’s Fairfield Dairy Ayrshire farm, given our Blogpost yesterday about the new defensive Woolworths ‘Good Food News’ supplement in the Sunday Times.
The episode started off with Hayden having a cooling swim near the Howick Falls, which have a 105 meter drop. Once refreshed, he met Chef Jackie Cameron, then Executive Chef of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant at Hartford House, but who has left to establish her Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, which opens in Hilton in January. Chef Jackie was identified as a WWF-SASSI Trailblazer Chef. They met at the Karkloof Market, which is just outside Howick, and here Jackie introduced Hayden to farmer Rob Symons of Broadleaze Organics, offering unusual herbs such as Vietnamese coriander. Dutch cheesemaker MJ Mook of Just Cheese introduced Hayden to and allowed him to taste her special cheeses. The market seemed a jolly space, with fresh vegetables, herbs, meat, flowers, cheeses, and more. Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 10 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ showed Hayden Quinn leaving South Africa, and visiting the beautiful Lesotho, ‘Kingdom in the Sky‘, southernmost land-locked country in Africa, and completely surrounded by South Africa. The content of the episode was motivated by the Katse Fish Farms, which grows trout in Lesotho, a supplier to Woolworths in a production process which is linked to the company’s sister operation Three-Streams Smokehouse in Franschhoek. Content-wise it was the thinnest episode, both in terms of little meaningful information provided, and even in terms of the few TV commercials flighted!
Hayden was seen on a horse in a traditional BaSotho outfit, with a blanket wrapped around him and wearing a BaSotho hat. It was explained to him that Lesotho is 3800 meters above sealevel, its lowest regions still being higher than South Africa, and therefore the locals keep warm by wrapping the blankets around them. About three-quarters of the country is rural.
In a village near the Katse Dam, Hayden met Rose Lekhoakhoa, a teacher and cook, who grows vegetables Continue reading →
Hayden Quinn covered a large distance in last night’s episode, travelling from Oudtshoorn to Prieska via Prince Albert, and ending off in Hertzogville in the Free State. Farmer Hennie de Bod tried to teach Hayden some Afrikaans sayings, which Hayden wasn’t too bad at repeating.
The 500 km trip in a lovely red new Mercedes-Benz GLA began outside Oudtshoorn, at the Gamkaberg Reserve, where Dr Quinton Martins, the founder and Director of the Cape Leopard Trust, showed Hayden the research camera capturing the movement of leopards, as well as of other wildlife, demonstrating the Biodiversity in the area. Hayden was made to do a leopard crawl, to get a feel of a leopard’s movement. Dr Martins has more than 1000 photographs of leopards, and his research shows that there is an average of one leopard per 100 km². Then it was onto the gravel road of the Swartberg Pass, which separates the Little and Great Karoo and was built in 1888 by Thomas Bain, which took Hayden to Prince Albert. Here he only spent the night at the only hotel in town, the Swartberg Hotel and its Victoria Room Restaurant ‘from a bygone era’, Hayden said. Hayden did not see anything else in the village, which has become famous in serving as the location for Kokkedoor Seasons 1 and 2. Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 7 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ was focused on Oudtshoorn, and will attract tourists to the town, now not only known for its Cango Caves and ostriches, but also for the cutest Meerkats!
The episode opened with Hayden sitting in the veld in the Klein Karoo, awaiting the sighting of Meerkat in the Meerkat conservation farm, his guide being Devey of Meerkat Adventures, who looked very Australian with his big leather hat! The Meerkat are observed on De Zeekoe Guest Farm outside Oudtshoorn, creeping out of their burrows to catch the first rays of sun, to warm up their tummies, to get themselves going to forage for food for the rest of the day, including insects, bugs, and worms.
Hayden went to visit Chef Allister Scharneck of Buffelsdrift Game Lodge outside Oudtshoorn, who taught Hayden how to make an Ostrich Egg Frittata. The first step was to open the thick ostrich egg shell, which 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.