Last Monday I attended The Sommeliers Selection 2018 tasting of the top-scoring wines at Tokara Delicatessen, driving through from Cape Town on a rainy day. My two favorites I tasted were Arra Shiraz 2015, as well as Trizanne Reserve Syrah 2017. The top wines in the tasting were selected by top Sommelier members of the South African SOmmeliers Association, and the Black Cellar Club. Continue reading →
I got terribly lost trying to find Mulberry Farm, Continue reading →
If luxury stands for being out of the ordinary, transporting one from the world one is in to something more special, enjoyed by some but not all, is beyond the day to day basics, provides good service, and leaves one with a good feeling, then Cape Town is a luxurious destination, said seasoned hotelier Nick Seewer at a meeting of PR-Net held at Continue reading →
I had been led to believe that one of the better restaurants in Knysna is Sirocco, and I do recall having eaten there once before, when it was more of a fine-dining restaurant. I was very disappointed when I spent part of my S&T allowance from the Department of Justice at Sirocco last night. Loadshedding was not the only problem the restaurant had to cope with, Manager Sonia de Lange having shed her service ethic too!
I had popped in at Thesen Island earlier in the afternoon, and had a look at the fire-damaged Ile de Pain, speaking to staff at a neighbouring shop, and they recommended Sirocco. When I visited Knysna a month ago, also with the compliments of the Department of Justice, I had experienced
dreadful service at three restaurants I had attempted to eat at, in particular at the Island Café at The Turbine Hotel & Spa! On Facebook a number of visitors to Knysna shared that the town appears to have a problem with restaurant service.
It was hard to see the entrance to the restaurant, as there is a Col’Cacchio now, and Continue reading →
* The French association of travel agents and tour operators has written to the Department of Home Affairs, the Department of Tourism, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, requesting an improvement regarding the new Immigration Regulations regarding children traveling to our country. The association points out that tourism to our country will be harmed, by up to 40% they warn!
* Africa now has 100 million Facebook users, still only half of the number of internet users on the continent. The majority of Facebook users access the site via mobile phone. While the growth in Social Media usage in Africa is massive, it is still very costly.
* The Open Book Festival will run at The Fugard Theatre for the second year running, from 17 – 21 September, with authors from 12 countries attending. Local authors will include Wilbur Smith, Zakes Mda, and Zelda la Grange.
* Shock news is the resignation with immediate effect of SA Tourism Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton. No reasons are provided, but the suddenness of the resignation is ominous. The industry has expressed its regret about the resignation of this dynamic marketer of our country.
* It’s a bad week for flying in Europe. On Monday a bomb scare at London Luton airport caused the cancellation of all EasyJet Continue reading →
Last night’s episode 4 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ was good marketing for Franschhoek, known for its food and wine, combined with its beauty, being filmed on a perfect summer’s day. There was minimal, if any, Woolworths punting in the episode!
Hayden started his Franschhoek journey at the Huguenot Monument, erected in honour of the French Huguenots, ‘exiles‘ who picked Franschhoek to grow vines viewers were told, a bit of creative licence, as they were given the land. Hayden explained that the village name, which he pronounced close to perfectly, means ‘French Corner’. He said that the monument represents peace, agriculture, and viticulture, copywriting nonsense, as the monument (erected in 1948) represents religious freedom, something the Huguenots could only experience in Franschhoek, having to flee France. The village was previously called Olifantshoek, after the elephants roaming in the valley. The main road of Franschhoek was shown, and Hayden referred to it as having buildings with ‘French style architecture‘ (sic)! Continue reading →
* British Airways has launched a You Tube video ‘On Top of the World’, which probably is a TV commercial for its A380 flights to South Africa (it does not say if they are flying to Cape Town too), and was filmed exclusively in Cape Town, including on top of Table Mountain, on Camps Bay beach, with Lion’s Head as a backdrop, at Boulders Beach, and showing a Cape Town flower seller, a rugby player, and a cyclist.
* SATSA (Southern African Tourism Services Association) CEO David Frost says that tourists should be encouraged to see more of South Africa than the Big Five, Cape Town, the Kruger National Park, Johannesburg, and the Garden Route. Attractions in other provinces are not known to travelers. Repeat visits to our country should be increased, and the deceased time spent should be reversed, he added. He encouraged SA Tourism to develop trade deals that draw visitors to lesser known attractions. Travelers are not only visiting South Africa, but are also incorporating Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique into their itineraries.
* Wellington Wines is planning to treble its sales of bulk wine to the UK to 6 million litres by next year, and projects Continue reading →
When the Cape Town branch of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international association of gastronomy, organised its first function of the year at the Table Bay hotel, I booked, on the off-chance that it could be held at Camissa Brasserie, which opened two months ago. It was a convivial evening with good company, but disappointed on its promise of Cape heritage food.
The Chaîne members are serious food-lovers, and include restaurant owners, chefs, wine estate owners, and gourmands. The Cape Town branch of the Chaîne has about 70 members, its Bailli of the Bailliage du Cap Samm Bain told me, and 35 members and guests attended the dinner, including Chaîne members from Saudi Arabia and Sweden. On arrival we were served The Table Bay Captain Table Brut, which Gershwin told me is made for the hotel by Graham Beck. Canapés served were oysters, duck confit croquettes with an Asian style plum sauce, tempura crab claw, and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with hollandaise sauce.
During the drinks I had a look at the 45-seater New York style Brasserie interior, which had been booked out for the Chaîne dinner, and Gershwin told me that the space previously was The Conservatory Restaurant and Terrace and Palm Court, which was an overflow venue for their breakfasts and when the Atlantic Grill restaurant was full, with a view onto the V & A Waterfront and Table Mountain. It received a make-over by designer Carolyn Davies, with a new grey ceiling with a pressed steel effect, bookshelves along the walls, and an impressive chandelier made from crystal whisky decanters in the main and slightly separate Captain’s Room at the end of the rectangular restaurant space. The length of the wall has black leather banquettes. Above these are brass railings. A wine room has been created too, for wine storage as well as tastings. A lounge area has been created outside Continue reading →
Yesterday we visited the Anthonij Rupert Tasting Room, one of two tasting rooms at Anthonij Rupert Wines, which previously belonged to Graham Beck Wines, and was bought by Johan Rupert from L’Ormarins next door, to enhance his access to water. Anthonij Rupert Wines has five wine brands, and 25 sub-brands, the largest range in Franschhoek, to our knowledge. Our invitation via PR consultancy Smart Communications & Events was to see the new tasting room and to try their new High Tea.
It was a grey wintry day, and the lit fire in the lounge was welcome and made the room cosy. Hospitality Manager Gidi Caetano, whom we know from her days as Manager of Salt Restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel, and then as GM of the previous French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar, explained the tasting room and company structure to us while we enjoyed the treats from the three tier High Tea stand, which consisted of scones, cream and jam, chocolate cupcakes, and candied orange and gooseberry tarts, prepared by Chef HW Pieterse and his team, beautifully decorated with rose buds, lavender, and pansies. We were served The Wellness Group teas, with its tea leaves in muslin bags. A range of flavours is available. One can book the High Tea with 24 hour notice, and organise a tea party to celebrate a special birthday, anniversary, stork tea, or just a special spoiling. The High Tea will usually include smoked salmon blinis, and cucumber, dill and horseradish sandwiches too. The treats offered change regularly, and could also include orange infused koeksisters, mini chocolate and hazelnut mousse pots, chocolate salami, and red berry tarts. Gidi told us about the herb garden growing alongside the manor house, with 32 medicinal (for educational use) and cooking herbs, the latter used in the food preparation on the estate. It was started from scratch a year ago.