Tag Archives: Sainsbury’s

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 17 July

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) countries have signed an agreement to create a New Development Bank, reports The New Age. The Bank’s first loans will be made in 2016, from its pooled resources of $50 billion.  South Africa is reported to have contributed R 5 billion to the establishment of the Bank.  In addition, a $100 billion ‘contingency reserves pool‘ will be set up, to safeguard any of the five countries from being hit by ‘an exodus of foreign capital‘.   The Bank headquarters will be in Shanghai, reports Mail & Guardian, while Johannesburg will be the regional centre of the Bank for Africa.

*   SAA has been named Best Airline Africa for the 12th year running, and won the Best Airline Staff Service Africa award for the third time, presented at the Skytrax World Airline Awards in London.  The airlines were evaluated on the basis of customer surveys conducted amongst 18 million travelers.   SAA has a 4-star rating from Skytrax, the only airline in Africa to have achieved the service quality rating.

*  SA Tourism is working on improving Indaba, its Chief Marketing Officer Jan Hutton has said, adding that she is taking Continue reading →

Clem Sunter: Looking at the future like a fox: climate change, entrepreneurism, aging in our future!

Clem Sunter Book Whale Cottage PortfolioWhat an amazing experience it was to sit next to Clem Sunter at the 5th anniversary of the Thursday Club lunch at Buitenverwachting yesterday, the guest of the wine estate’s PR consultant Sandy Bailey.  At the lunch Sunter’s new book ‘21st Century Megatrends: perspectives from a Fox‘ was launched.  Sunter was the first speaker at the Thursday Club at its launch five years ago.

We were welcomed with a choice of a glass of Buitenverwachting Blanc de Noir or Meifort (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon).  Sunter was already in the restaurant, and was happy to pose for a photograph, volunteering to move away from the glass door so that the light did not affect the photograph, clearly an old hand at this.   We started chatting before the lunch started, and I received a quick overview of his talk, and learnt a lot more about him.

Christopher Sunter was born in the UK, the only son of a mother he was very close to, and went to school at Winchester College. At school Sunter played the guitar, and the first song he sang was ‘Oh my Darling Clementine‘, which led to his classmates calling him ‘Clem‘ after the song, and the name stuck.  He went to Oxford, and there he started a band with his friend, called the Clem & John Band.  His biggest claim to fame is the fact that the band co-headed a concert in Oxford at which the Rolling Stones performed as well, in June 1964, and he ended off his talk with this information.  We were lucky to have Clem sing for us at the table, his face lighting up as he did so. He shared that he performed with eleven other CEOs at a concert at The Barnyard in Johannesburg last year, organised by Reg Lascaris, the proceeds going Clem Sunter Clem Whale Cottage Portfolioto charity.  He sang ‘Peggy Sue‘ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes‘ at the concert, and ‘Peggy Sue‘ for us at the table too.  Should his career as a scenario planner ever fail, which is highly unlikely, he can fall back into a career as singer!  Sunter also is very funny, saying that every year for three weeks he lived in the home in which his mother lived before she passed away. Every evening they were served a glass of wine, and he told a funny story about the residents of the home which brought the house down as he started his talk.   Sunter joined Anglo in London after university, and moved to Anglo Zambia in 1971, and then to Anglo South Africa two years later, serving as a Non-Executive Director of the company now, as well as consulting to corporates around the world as a scenario planner, and writing books.  Sunter has owned a holiday house in Simonstown for a number of years already, and he and his wife plan to move to Cape Town next year, a ‘semi-gration trend’, he said.  They live in Rosebank in Johannesburg and he said that he loves living in Africa, and feels completely at home in this country.  Two of his three children live outside South Africa, one of them in Perth, which caused a laugh as I had asked him whether we need to pack for Perth again, which he now refers to ‘parched Perth’ due to the impact of climate change on Australia. Continue reading →

Balance wines are ‘hip, hop, and happening’!

Balance Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Bay Hotel in Camps Bay was a perfect venue for the tasting of the newest Overhex Wines International’s Balance wines on Tuesday, the venue being as light and crisp as the Balance wines.

The function moved to different venues inside the hotel, a welcome glass of Balance Boldly Brut being served with a canapé of samoosa filled with crocodile (luckily we were not told what was inside when it was served!), bacon, and green apple on an Asian spoon,Balance Canapes Whale Cottage Portfolio in Sandy B, the downstairs bar.

The tasting was held in the downstairs Bistro, with an introduction of Overhex Wines International by co-owner and MD Gerhard van der Wath.  The company was established seven years ago, and he got Swiss winemaker JC Martin, co-owner of Creation and son-in-law of highly respected winemaker Walter Finlayson, on board as winemaker.  JC and Gerhard recently bought out the other partners, and JC makes his own Creation wines as well as blending the Balance wines.  The company is one of the top 20 exporters of South African wines.  Their strategy is to be different, Gerhard said, which shows in their fun label of an elephant balancing on the letter ‘l’!   They develop different styles of wines for different markets.   All the grapes are bought in for their wine production, a total of 10000 tons.  He shared that they have won the largest number of wine tenders in Finland in the past Continue reading →

Marine Stewardship Council ecolabel shows restaurants care about seafood sustainability

I have only recently become aware of the (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) and its good work in trying to retain and enhance endangered fish and shellfish species, through a consumer awareness campaign which helps fish shoppers and restaurant patrons to identify which of the fishes they eat are green, orange or red, depending on their degree of endangeredness.   Last week I spent a most interesting day with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an international organisation that encourages seafood sustainability by conducting audits of seafood products, from the catch until it appears in the supermarket or on the restaurant table.  Each of these steps is audited, which results in being awarded the MSC’s ecolabel, guaranteeing fishlovers that the fish they are eating is sustainable in its availability, as well as its fishing method, its processing, and transport to and use in restaurants as well as sales in supermarkets.

The Mission statement of the MSC is as follows:”to use our ecolabel and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis”.

The South African branch of the MSC, with the pay-off line “The best environmental choice in seafood”, hosted the workshop, which was held at Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris’ Cooks’ Playground in De Waterkant last week.   The MSC “is a global non-profit organisation promoting solutions to the problem of overfishing”.  Its blue ecolabel is an environmental standard reflecting “the world’s leading sustainability certification for wild-caught fish”.  Consumers are encouraged to choose MSC ecolabel fish products when shopping, to help in reversing the decline in fish stocks.  In South Africa brands such as I&J and Sea Harvest carry the MSC ecolabel.

Restaurants have been slow in coming on board the sustainability boat, and we are only aware of WildWoods in Hout Bay and Blowfish in Blouberg that actively promote SASSI on their menus, particularly the latter.    Those restaurants buying their fish from MSC certified fish suppliers are encouraged to display the MSC ecolabel on their menus.  This will require an annual audit by independent auditors.  At the workshop the Shoreline Café at the Two Oceans Aquarium won a free MSC sustainable seafood audit.   The work of the MSC internationally has already changed the habits of a leading chef such as Jamie Oliver, who only selects sustainable fish from the MSC website for his dishes now. Raymond Blanc, Chef Patron at Le Manoir aux Quat Saisons in the UK, says about MSC:  “I passionately believe that it is up to each of us, be it consumer or chef, to make a responsible choice.  By supporting MSC, I am ensuring that as a chef, I am helping to ensure fish stocks will be replenished for generations to come.  I also hope that many more chefs will join this worthy cause”. 

Internationally, the following companies have become involved in the MSC seafood sustainability programme:  Walmart and Asda (pledged to be 100% certified for fresh and frozen fish by next year); Carrefour; the Dutch Retail Association, representing 99% of retailers in Holland, has committed to 99% of wild seafood sold will be MSC certified by next year;  Sainsbury’s; Marks and Spencer; Aldi; Dansk; Compass; Sodexo UK; Iglo; Bird’s Eye, John West; KLM; and many more. 

Internationally 5500 product lines from 1100 companies carry the MSC ecolabel, in 66 countries, at an estimated retail value of $1,5 billion.   In July 92 fisheries around the world were MSC-standard certified, representing 4 million metric tons of fish, with another 120 fisheries undergoing assessment, representing a further 3 million metric tons.

The MSC certification programme has helped SASSI in its work, according to Dr Samantha Petersen of SASSI: “The MSC certification provided a platform and an incentive for us to work together. Prior to that, the industry was more suspicious of us.  Once MSC status was on the cards, it gave us a common goal and opened up a dialogue that was not there before.” 

After some demonstrations by Jenny, the workshop participants grouped into teams, and I was lucky to be paired with Ingrid Gold from Caxton Magazines and Eat Out reviewer Greg Landman.  Greg is clearly a creative cook, especially when I saw him add honey to the hake he prepared for our team!   It was delicious, and it was a good way to get involvement by the participants.  Jenny’s team had prepared the most amazing seafood and salad buffet, with salmon and mussels, and we were spoilt with the wonderful looking display and tasty food.  I loved Jenny’s paper thin crispy fried butternut slices.  Then followed the most delicious seared tuna, as well as a dessert. 

What made the lunch really special was the mix of persons at our table.  Martin Purves, the Southern Africa Programme Manager for the MSC; Odette Herbert, a photographer and blogger; chefs from Bodega at Dornier wine estate, the Arabella at Kleinmond and the Shoreline Café at the Two Oceans Aquarium; and Ingrid and Greg. 

Marine Stewardship Council.   www.msc.org  Tel (021) 551-0620.  The MSC also has offices in the UK (its head office), as well as in Japan, Australia, and the USA.

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