Tag Archives: supermarkets

Corona Virus: My Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 1, 27 March 2020!


Friday 27 March 2020, Day 12 of SA Corona Virus, Day 1 of SA Lockdown ūüė∑

Corona Gratitude ūüôŹ

#Grateful for dancing the day away, KFM playing the most fabulous music; for Kfm broadcasting my Voicenote of Gratitude; for my now sparkling clean home; and for being so happy in my home, not feeling claustrophobic in my confinement, as I was worried might happen. ūüôŹūüíô


I finished my Sweet & Sour Service Awards Blogpost. I decided to discipline myself in going to Facebook, otherwise I would be there all day.

I did all the obvious Day 1 things, putting on new Bed linen, cleaning my bathroom, putting away clothes, tidying up my terrace garden, neatening my Heart stone collection, making a bigger space for skipping and dancing on a second terrace at the side of the bedrooms by moving a table out of the way, and tidying up my far too full stockpiled fridge.

I met Veronica, a sweet tourist from Buenos Aires, who is holed up next door to me because she and her partner could not get back. But then her husband started flying his drone all over Camps Bay, directly over our apartment block, and over my terrace. I lost my cool, but his English was not good enough to speak to me, wanting to Google Translate talk via his phone, between our partition slats. Luckily the apartment owner seemed more understanding than I‚Äôve seen in almost 2 years, and seems to have communicated with him. Now they are on the terrace, doing What‚Äôs App calls full blast. ūü•Ķūü•Ķūü•Ķ Ir‚Äôs going to be a long 21 days with them. ūü•Ķ

While I was cleaning this morning, I started dancing to Kfm, loving their music from 12h00 onwards. Tracy Laing and her ‚Äėflou‚Äô jokes were too irritating, so I switched to my Playlist until she was done. By midday I‚Äôd done 5000 steps, easily, and I realized that I‚Äôd get to 10000 ūüĎ£ easily, and I was able to exert my heart too. I‚Äôm struggling with the skipping, needing to practice harder tomorrow. Carl Wastie did a Corona Gratitude section, asking listeners to tell a positive story. So I sent a message about my thanks to Kfm for keeping me dancing all day, which they broadcast ūüíÉūüĎ£ And how moving was the Nkosi Sikilele broadcast on all radio stations, at 13h00 every Friday during lockdown. #loveSA‚̧ԳŹ

I’ve seen about five persons walking, going to the supermarkets, and one homeless person scratching bins. And at least ten cars drive by.

I’m hoping to chat to Alain Barrios Chávez in Havana via Whats App.

As the Lockdown is a once in a lifetime event, I will post these daily Facebook posts on my Blog, feeling a book coming on.

I loved hearing a Western Cape Government anti-Litter ad on Kfm this morning, for the first time. And seeing a fabulous positive SA Tourism video, which I shared.

COVID-19: 1170 cases, 1 death in Durbanville, Cape Town, first in our country.

Keep safe and strong, and healthyūüė∑‚̧ԳŹ

FitBit 14500 steps 10,5 km ūüĎ£



The Corona Virus Lockdown, announced by our President Cyril Ramaphosa earlier this week to commence on 27 March and to continue until 16 April, is an unprecedented event in my lifetime. I am posting my daily Facebook post to journal this Corona Lockdown Journey, perhaps to serve as material for a future Book.


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein

Corona Virus: new emergency regulations to control excessive price hikes of most-needed food and medical supplies!


Last week fin24 wrote that the Government has announced emergency regulations to control excessive price increases of medical, food, and beverage items most needed during the Corona Virus COVID-19 pandemic. Punitive fines could be levied against companies violating these regulations.  Continue reading →

First Franschhoek One Naughty Lemon Limoncello!

One Naughty Lemon 001 lrThe first artisanal Limoncello made from Franschhoek lemons has been produced, with the naughty name of One Naughty Lemon!

The limoncello has been made by Franschhoek-based Sicilian Giuseppe La Gattuta, using an old family recipe, from the juice and skins of the lemons only, and without any colourants or preservatives. Continue reading →

Influential UK wine writer Jancis Robinson praises SA white wines, deserve more international attention!

Jancis Robinson Delaire GraffUK wine judge and writer Jancis Robinson spent most of this past week in the Cape Winelands, after a seven-year absence. ¬†She spoke kindly about our industry, and offered insights into the UK and USA markets. ¬†She wrote from Delaire Graff, where she had attended a Chenin Blanc tasting and stayed over: ‘South African wine is in full ferment. It deserves far more international attention than it is currently getting‘!

Unable to attend two public meetings addressed by Ms Robinson, I have looked for information aboutJancis Robinson her talks, admired by some, and slated by a few.

A detailed summary about Ms Robinson’s (with her husband Nick Lander) talk at #RootstockSA, held at Alle√© Bleue, was written by Judy Bouwer of wine.co.za. ¬† Key points she summarised were:

* ¬† SA wine estates should target UK restaurants, which have far more reasonable mark-ups. ¬†Young British people spend their money on food and wine, not being able to afford to buy Continue reading →

Salads, seaweed, seasonings, and smoking some of 2014 Food Trends!

Top 10 Food TrendsThe top ten food trends in supermarkets and restaurants for 2014 have been identified by the Sterling-Rice Group in the USA, reports eTurboNews.  Not a surprise is that health dominates the trends, but with a touch of indulgence.

The top food trends were generated by Sterling-Rice’s Culinary Council, consisting of 100 top chefs, restaurateurs, and foodies. ¬†The research generating the top 100 trends highlights shifts in society, helping food industry suppliers to better create, position, market, and sell their products. ¬†Its food trends are used by small fledgling companies as well as food corporates:

1.    Lemon is the main ingredient in dressings and sauces, used fresh or preserved.

2.    Black, green, and other leaf  teas add a twist to dinner, desserts, and more, even used to smoke fish and meat.

3. ¬† ¬† Middle Eastern seasonings such as sumac, za’atar, and marash Continue reading →

‘100 Women, 100 Wines’ “frivolous, patronising joke”, wasted tourism spend!

We have previously written about Cape Town Tourism embracing the ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ competition, promoting it actively, and listing it in its ‘Strategic Plan’ as a means to ‘stimulate domestic tourism demand’.¬†¬† The competition brought 100 women to the V&A Hotel in the Cape Town Waterfront¬†on Saturday for one day, hardly a major boost to domestic tourism, especially¬†as a number¬†of the¬†participants were from the Cape anyway! The wine industry has slated the event as ‘frivolous’,¬†‘patronising’, and a¬†‘joke’!

Sceptical as¬†I tend to be when it¬†comes to the marketing activities of¬†Cape Town Tourism, I checked what information was available via Google, as we have not received information about this event as members of Cape Town Tourism.¬† Not much¬†was written about the competition – only¬†two blogposts by organiser Clare “Mack” McKeon-McLoughlin (why does she not use her real surname?)¬†of Spill Blog,¬†a media release and two website posts¬†by¬†Cape Town Tourism, and three participant blogposts.¬†¬† Sponsors of the competition were TOPS by Spar, Newmark Hotels (V&A Hotel), Destiny magazine (with a circulation of 26128 ‘black diamonds’), and Cape Town Tourism.¬†The aim of the competition was to generate “South Africa’s Best 100 Wines” list, a ludicrous claim made by Cape Town Tourism in its media release.

The competition premise was that 80% of women buy wines in supermarkets, thus making the brand decision, which is largely made on the basis of word of mouth recommendation by friends.¬† On the basis of this statistic, Ms McKeon-McLoughlin devised a competition whereby 50 women could enter, by motivating by e-mail why they and a friend should be invited to be a ‘judge’ in a wine competition “where you choose and pick the wines that you prefer, wines that suit your palate and mood, and that you would¬†be more than happy to recommend to¬†a friend”. The ‘judging’ took place at the V&A Hotel¬†in the Waterfront,¬†with participants having been flown to Cape Town (if not from the Cape); attending a lunch,¬†a cocktail¬†party,¬†and a gala dinner; participating in the ‘judging’; and spending the night in the V&A Hotel.¬† About 30 % of the group of hundred women were from Cape Town and the Winelands, judging from¬†Twitter. Cape Town Tourism refused to confirm the geographic breakdown.

The patronising media release written by Cape Town Tourism stated that ‘this event will see women from different backgrounds being empowered as opinion leaders in the field of wine, and will set in motion the debunking of the myth that this right is reserved for the connoisseurs and the ‘bourgeois” (who writes stuff like this?!).¬† Their website post also¬†stated that the participants reflected the South African demographic profile, but the ‘black diamonds’ dominated.¬† Cape Town Tourism appears to have forgotten that this country has four ‘demographics’, and not just two, as is visible from their delegate photograph. Categories in which wines were selected are ‘Girls Night Out’, ‘Celebration’, ‘Sunday Lunch’,¬†‘Braai drinking’, ‘The in-laws are coming’, The Big date – romance is in the air’, ‘Long lunch’, ‘Mid-week easy drinking’, Posh Present, ‘Baby it’s cold outside, ‘Bubbly’, and ‘Kiss and Make Up’.¬†¬†Ten wines were allocated per each of the ten categories, hardly a ‘judging’, and more of a classification of the 100 wines, information not provided as to how the original list of 100 was selected!¬† The Cape Town Tourism media release quoted its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold as follows: “The innovation of food and wine is an integral part of what makes Cape Town an inspirational city.¬† We are looking forward to welcoming 100 women from across South Africa to Cape Town, and sharing our best wines and gourmet offerings with them.¬† Winter is the perfect time to explore our wine culture and our partnership with 100 Women 100 Wines demonstrates our commitment to unlocking Cape Town’s superb winter offering to the domestic market. We look forward to celebrating this as an annual event”! We do not believe that the event met the stated goal at all, as only the food of one hotel was experienced by the delegates, and mainly non-Cape Town wines were ‘judged’!

We asked Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold two questions about her organisation’s involvement in the event: what would¬†its benefit be for domestic tourism to Cape Town, and how much did Cape Town Tourism pay for sponsoring the event.¬†¬†This is the rude response we received on Twitter to our e-mails from Mrs Helmbold (she has not replied to our e-mails about the event):” For info on role in #100women event follow @CapeTownTourism‘s tweets. Event fund = R20 000″.

We question Cape Town Tourism’s sponsorship of the event, which will have gone to the organisers.¬† If Cape Town Tourism pays R20 000 for each of the 70 local and international events (we did not know that there are so many events in Cape Town in a year) it claims to support, it would be paying a precious R1,4 million,¬†which it could use to greater¬†benefit to attract more tourists to Cape Town¬†by means of¬†fewer, more fundamental events.¬† It is unheard of for a tourism bureau to pay a sponsorship fee, it being usual for them to just endorse an event, to give it credibility.¬† One wonders how Cape Town Tourism could have seen¬†so much benefit in the event that they paid for it, and had the time to handle the (poor) publicity for it!¬†It is clear that Cape Town Tourism has little knowledge of the wine industry, and blindly endorsed an event without credibility in the wine industry, and without any tourism benefit.¬† No local media (radio or newspaper) covered the event.

Mrs Helmbold did not attend the event at all, spending the weekend in Pringle Bay, and Cape Town Tourism’s PR Manager Skye Grove¬†appears to have only popped in at the sponsored¬†event. However, Mrs Helmbold was at great pains to Tweet about¬†the event on Saturday,¬†overstating the ‘benefits’ of the event for tourism to Cape Town as follows:

*¬†#100women is supported by @CapeTownTourism as part of focus on building winter brand, food/wine tourism and domestic tourism”

*¬†¬† “#100women is 1 of many good examples of how partnerships can be used to accomplish much through events without investing a lot of money”.

*¬†¬† “#100women 100 wines event is 1 of more than 70 events supported by @CapeTownTourism and 1 of earmarked domestic tourism events of year”.

Cape Town Tourism¬†Tweeted ‘comments’ from delegates about how¬†good they felt about being in Cape Town, but these were prescheduled¬†via Tweetdeck, and do not appear to have been ‘live’ comments from delegates, making one question their credibility.¬†In its website post at the conclusion of the event, Cape Town Tourism wrote ‘testimonial’ comments about Cape Town, quoting senior executives who apparently had never been to Cape Town before.¬†¬†¬†Some ‘justification’ Tweets were sent by them during the weekend event:

*¬†¬† #100women 100 wines event proving that South African women love their friends, their wine, their food…. and Cape Town” (no delegate¬†Tweets¬†proved this!)

* City Press & Sunday Times at #100women event – this is how we do business. Unlocking CapeTown’s stories through national & int (sic) media” (City Press sent only a Trainee Journalist, and the Sunday Times was represented by their wine writer Neil Pendock, who in fact was one of the organisers!¬† There were no international media representatives).

*¬†¬† We are loving the vibe at #100women 100wines. Women from all over SA falling in love with the Mother City and our food and wine offering” (not supported by delegate Tweets)

*¬†Proud partners with @NewmarkHotels, @1time_Airline & Tops at Spar of #100women100 wines. All about telling CapeTown’s food & wine stories” (no such ‘stories’ have been seen in the media!).

Pendock is known to be a good friend of Mrs McKeon-McLoughlin, and¬†wrote about the event twice on his The Times ‘Pendock Uncorked’ blog in two days. He was the scorer at a previous round ‘judging’ event, as well as at¬†the weekend event, at which the list of 100 wines was finalised.¬† He ‘shyly’ discloses in his first blogpost that he ‘advised 100 Women 100 Wines on selection of wines for the event’, vastly understating his involvement, and he makes no disclosure of his involvement in the second blogpost.¬† He praises¬† the ‘seminal’ idea of the ‘revolutionary’ competition (these two descriptions seem a gross exaggeration), alliteratingly (as he is fond to do) writing that “Mack” (whose real surname is known to him) gathered ‘ordinary women’ (not ordinary at all, from the descriptions of their careers) from ‘Pretoria, Porterville and Putsonderwater’ (maybe his creativity to alliterate town/city names with Johannesburg and Stellenbosch was limited!).¬† Pendock gives sponsors 1Time Airlines, V&A Hotel, Destiny magazine, and ‘Spar’ (not getting its bottle store brand correct) a punt¬†in his blogpost, but does¬†not mention sponsor Cape Town Tourism nor brand ‘Cape Town’ in his blogpost at all!¬†Pendock is known as a very critical wine writer, and would have slated such a frivolous competition, had he not been involved in its organisation, especially as the wines were ‘judged’ sighted¬†at the weekend event, his biggest criticism of Platter judging.

On Twitter only 55 Tweets were generated by 15 Twitterers over the two days, a poor tally.¬†The ‘black diamond’ Destiny delegates from Johannesburg appear to not have embraced Twitter yet. ¬†Newmark Hotels probably received the best benefit of the exposure on¬†Twitter, with some Tweets praising its V&A Hotel.¬† The sponsors airline 1-Time, Cape Town Tourism, and Destiny,¬†and TOPS at Spar came off worst, in receiving no acknowledgement at all from the delegates!¬†¬† Only¬†eight wines out of the 100 tasted and tested, being Graham Beck MCC, Stellenrust Timeless, Warwick The First Lady, Nederburg Riesling, JC le Roux, Miss Molly, Le Bonheur Sauvignon Blanc, and De Morgenzon Sauvignon Blanc, received Twitter mentions during the tasting. Distell¬† sponsored the wines for the dinner, and the Fleur du¬† Cap wines appeared to receive more favourable comments on Twitter than did the wines in the 100 Wines testing collection!

Nigel Cattermole, fearless wine-knowledgeable owner of Wine¬†@ the Mill, laughed about the event, and called it¬†patronising and a joke.¬† He said that most of the 100 wines in the collection were bulk mass-produced wines, being ‘mediocre to poor’.¬† ‘There is no providence in these wines’, he added.

The ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ competition is a farce in more ways than one: The results, in generating a ‘Top 100 best wine list for women’,¬†will hardly be an accolade winemakers would strive to achieve, not having any credibility.¬† Cape Town Tourism’s involvement in the competition is questioned, given that its energy should be focused on attracting as many tourists to Cape Town as possible, a group of 100 (of which many¬†were from Cape Town or Stellenbosch¬†anyway) making only a negligible¬† impact¬†on tourism in our city, if any at all, given that the delegates stayed at¬†the V&A Hotel, had all their meals and drinks there, and all activities took place at the hotel,¬†meaning that there was little spend by them in the rest of the V&A or in Cape Town.¬†The association with the competition is a serious dent to the credibility of Cape Town Tourism, in supporting a competition that is patronising to women; is frivolous and lacking credibility in its results; was poorly marketed; benefits the Winelands more than Cape Town; does not meet its intended goal of growing ‘domestic¬†& intl (sic) markets’; does not meet the goal of ‘building winter brand, food/wine tourism and domestic tourism’, and makes no¬†contribution in addressing the tourism crisis in Cape Town!

POSTSCRIPT 31/8: Cape Town Tourism has¬†sent us¬†a¬†comment in reaction to this blogpost, in the¬†name of ‘Thandiwe’, with a false e-mail address thandimotse@yahoo.com, in defence of Cape Town Tourism’s sponsorship of the ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ event, using similar yet contradictory information contained in its Media blogpost and a Tweet about the event.¬† A Google search confirmed that the only reference to ‘Thandiwe Motse’¬†is from two mentions¬†on the¬†Cape Town Tourism website.¬† We have not allowed the false comment, and we are surprised that¬†Cape Town Tourism’s PR department¬†would stoop so low in trying to justify their involvement.

POSTSCRIPT 1/9: The latest Spill blogpost brags about the success of the ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ event, quoting¬†all feedback it has received on Twitter and its blog, even from its co-organiser ‘Dr Neil Pendock’!¬†¬†Interestingly, the blogpost refers to ‘Thandiwe Moitse’, with a different spelling of the surname compared to the way Cape Town Tourism spells it.¬†¬† There are no Google entries for this business executive,¬†on either spellings of her surname!¬† The Cape Town Tourism spelling in¬†its Tweets and media blogpost is the same as the spelling¬†in the Comments posted to this blogpost!

POSTSCRIPT 3/9: A ‘judge’ of the first stage of the event, who was given a voucher for a meal at Societi Bistro by the organisers, and who expressed her dissatisfaction on Twitter with the poor quality of the meal and the service, was called by Mrs McKeon-McLoughlin and asked to remove her Tweet, as she had promised Societi Bistro that they would receive good publicity if the restaurant donated¬†the¬†vouchers!

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

Passionate plea by Swirl! and ImNoJamieOliver bloggers to be oneself in blogging!

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting, held at Den Anker last night, and addressed by Matt Allison of ImNoJamieOliver Blog and Nikki Dumas of Swirl! Blog, was characterised by PASSION: not only in terms of the blogger speakers, but also in the fantastic food paired by Den Anker with six excellent Jordan wines.

Prior to the speakers sharing their blogging passion, Robyn Martin, the most charming, organised and passionate representative for Jordan wine estate, took us through the tasting of the first three Jordan wines.¬† Being the organised person that she is, she had prepared a tasting summary for groups of wines.¬† The first three wines tasted were white:¬†the Jordan 2009 Riesling, being ‘aromatic and appley’, and a winner of the Old Mutual Trophy, SA Terroir, and the Five Nations awards,¬†was paired with just-seared sesame-coated tuna, one of the highlights¬†prepared by Chef Doekle Vlietman at Den Anker.¬† On the same plate was the sweetest presentation of truffle-enhanced scrambled egg served in an egg shell on a¬†bed of coarse salt, paired with creamy and toasty Jordan 2009 Chardonnay.¬† Wrapping up¬†the trio was a beer-poached katifi-wrapped prawn, draped in a¬†saffron beurre blanc, paired with the tropical green notes of Jordan 2010 Sauvignon Blanc.¬†

Nikki Dumas, another highly organised lady, presented each of the attendees with a sheet of her ‘Twenty-one Commandments’ on how to blog successfully.¬† She passionately¬†expressed her love for wine, and all things related to it.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Nikki’s suggestions for successful blogging are: 1. write something useful¬† 2. write something unique 3. write something newsworthy¬† 4.¬†write something first¬†¬† 5.¬†write something that makes those who read it smarter¬† 6.¬†write something controversial¬† 7.¬†write something insightful¬† 8.¬†write something that taps into a fear people have¬† 9.¬†write something that helps other people achieve¬† 10.¬†write something that elicits a response¬† 11. write something that gives a sense of belonging¬† 12.¬†write something passionately¬† 13.¬†write something that interprets or translates news for people¬†¬† 14.¬†write something inspirational¬†¬† 15.¬†write something that tells a story¬†¬† 16.¬†write something that solves a problem¬†¬† 17.¬†¬†write something that gets a laugh¬†¬† 18.¬†write something that saves people time or money¬†¬† 19.¬†¬†write something opinionated¬† 20.¬† write something that is a resource¬† 21.¬†write something about something ‘cool’.

Nikki’s passion for her own brand ‘Nikki Dumas’ came to the fore, and she is a confident blogger, who knows exactly where she is going.¬† She has two blogs – Swirl!¬†¬†is a blog she uses to document information about the wine industry, coming from PR agencies, for example.¬† She does not allow comments on this blog.¬†¬†Winestyle.biz¬†is the blog on which she writes her own¬†blogposts, with about 4000 hits since she started it in April.¬†She allows comments on this blog, even if they are controversial, to create debate.¬†¬†She emphasised that she is not a writer nor journalist, and that she will only write about something she judged to be good.¬† Everything she experiences in terms of food and wine she evaluates against¬†her career in restaurant management.¬†¬† She likes using Google’s Blogger platform, saying it is user-friendly.¬† Her blogpost attracting the largest number of hits is the anonymous survey she conducted on restaurant listing fees for wines.¬† She said she is a ‘Mac junkie’, and evaluates her blog performance¬†through all the statistics that Google makes available, including Google Analytics, AdSense, and more.¬† She knows exactly where her traffic is coming from, and which keywords are used to get to her blog (wine, winestyle, wine journal, Nikki Dumas).¬† Nikki ¬†was asked to share her background, and she told us that she moved to Cape Town from Johannesburg ten years ago.¬† She started Moyo in Norwood, and opened Vilamoura in Camps Bay, and then moved to Belthazar and Balducci.¬† Nikki¬†offers restaurant wine training, is a wine consultant in designing winelists for restaurants, assists wine estates in getting better sales in restaurants, and sells branded Wine Journals. Nikki told us that 60 % of wines in supermarkets are by Distell.¬† She feels that the wine industry should teach the consumer more about wine.

The next stage of the food and wine pairing was a lovely plumy and stylish Jordan Merlot 2008 paired with the most ‘butter-tender’ peppered fillet, and the rich Jordan Prospector 2008 Syrah, which was paired with venison served with sauce bordelaise.¬† Robyn told us that the power of Social Media was demonstrated when more than 6000 persons protested against the planned mining on the Jordan wine estate.¬† The¬†threat was withdrawn, and in gratitude Gary Jordan named his new Syrah, launched last year, The Prospector.¬† With our yummy chocolate ravioli with pomegranate jelly the¬†flagship Bordeaux-style Jordan Cobblers Hill was served.¬†

Without any notes, Matt Allison spoke from¬†his heart,¬†reflecting his passion and principles.¬†¬†With¬†careers¬†in the wine trade, as a graphic designer, and first as a musician and then as a¬†music producer, Matt realised that he was spending too much time away from home, not what he wanted with his new baby boy.¬† He realised he needed a change, and became a rare ‘house-husband’, spending almost all his time with his son at home.¬† He loves food, and became the cook for the family, and his blog ‘ImNoJamieOliver’ was born a year ago when he decided to cook all 60 recipes of a Jamie Oliver recipe book in 90 days.¬† He lost twenty days when he had his kitchen redone.¬†¬† We laughed when he told us that his mother had engendered independence amongst her children, and it was a matter of ‘cook or die’ in their household.¬†¬† He has since blogged a further 60 recipes from a second Jamie Oliver recipe book.¬† Matt presented who he is honestly, and described himself as a person with a 30’s nature, a 50’s style, living in 2011.

Matt told us that blogging for him¬†is a means to an end, and he has changed direction in that his interest now is the provenance of food.¬† He has rented a piece of land from the City of Cape Town, and now grows 40 vegetable and herbs, not counting different varieties.¬† This has led to seasonal eating, fresh out of his garden.¬† He does not grow potatoes and corn, as these take too much space.¬† Matt is critical of Woolworths, for their vegetables sourced from countries such as Kenya.¬† On a Wednesday afternoon he sells his vegetables he harvested an hour earlier,¬†between 4 – 6 pm at Starlings Caf√© in Claremont.¬† He told us horror stories about supermarket vegetables being picked unripe weeks earlier, and artificially ripened.¬†¬† Matt also would not touch fast-food any more, and expressed concern that so many people grab a McDonald’s in-between meetings.¬†There are no TV dinners in his home. ¬†He would like people to question where their food is coming from.¬† He believes that obesity and diabetes can be fixed via ‘healthy food’.¬† With his help, Cape Town and Winelands chefs at restaurants such as Societi Bistro,¬†Warwick wine estate,¬†El Burro, and Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz wine estate,¬†are moving to sourcing their herbs and vegetables from small ‘bio-dynamic’ (he does not like the word ‘organic’) producers, or planting their own.¬†¬† He likes restaurants that serve local, seasonal, and sustainable¬†food, and operate ethically in all respects.¬† Matt has about 5000 unique readers of his blog per month, and about 1300 Twitter followers, but his readership is of no consequence to him.¬† He is ruthless in unfollowing and blocking on Twitter.¬† He recently changed his Twitter name to @MattAllison, to build his own brand.¬† Given his focus on the provenance of food, he will be launching a new blog “Planting Thoughts” soon.¬† One of the most exciting experiences for Matt is that he has been selected as one of 250 chefs and urban farmers to attend a symposium in Copenhagen, organised by the chef/owner Rene Redzepi of the world’s number one restaurant Noma, the only South African hand-picked by Redzepi.¬†¬† The symposium takes place next weekend, and co-incides with the world’s largest food festival, the MAD Food Camp, also organised by Redzepi, with more than 10000 visitors expected!¬† Matt says we pay too little for our food in South Africa, and told us what it costs to raise a chicken.¬† He buys his meat from Gogo’s Deli in Newlands, or directly from farmers.¬† Matt¬†encouraged us to¬†‘think about your food’, that one should not evaluate a restaurant if one has not been a chef and a waiter, given that most chefs put their heart and soul into their meals.¬† For him a good restaurant is one in which the chef comes out of the kitchen, offers great service, and has staff who love what they do.¬†¬† He encouraged one to do one’s own blogging and Tweeting, to reflect one’s personality, and to not outsource social media.¬†

Dusan Jelic of wine.co.za, who has been a passionate supporter of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club since its inception, was wished well, who will be returning to his home country Serbia in September.¬†

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 talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  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:

      *   21 September:  Chef Brad Ball of Bistro 1682, and Anetha Homan, Marketing Manager of 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   

Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club. Bookings can be made by e-mailing 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

SA wine sales grow in China, my China!

South African bottled wine sales into China have increased by 50 %, albeit off a low base, and this market is estimated to be worth $6 billion by 2014, and about 34 million Chinese could be drinking wine by 2015, reports the Weekend Argus. 

A number of leading South African wine brands will be exported into China via Cape Legends, a Distell-owned company, after the signing of an export contract.  The exported wine brands are Alto, Jacobsdal, Neethlingshof, Plaisir de Merle, and Stellenzicht, using Chinese distributor Guangzhou South Africa Valley.  One wonders how the Chinese market will cope in pronouncing these wine brand names, with the exception of Alto.

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) spokesperson Andre Morgenthal said that China is a huge market due to the size of its population, but the population’s knowledge of South African wines is ‘limited’.¬†¬† France and Australia have the edge on wine awareness and sales in China.¬† Hein Koegelenberg, who exports his Leopard’s Leap to China, echoes this, in saying that the Chinese market buys on perceived brand value, and the P√©trus, Lafayette and Mouton Rothschild brands are the best selling wines in China, he says, as the French were the first to recognise the potential size of the Chinese market.¬† Leopard’s Leap has the dubious honour of having been faked,¬†non-certified wine from Stellenbosch¬†having been¬†seen with¬†a similar¬†Leopard’s Leap¬†label at a recent wine show in China.

The move to marketing wine in China is one way of countering the 20% decline in sales of wine to the UK, says Neil Pendock, reports the Cape Times.¬† “The future of South African wines is in the East” he says.¬† Michael Fridjhon added that the weak Rand is causing export sales at a loss, and that British supermarkets “are absolutely calling the shots to South African wine producers.¬† In short, the guys are stuffed”.¬† A further threat to local wine producers is that supermarkets are increasingly stocking inexpensive imported wines, helped by the weak Rand.

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

Restaurant Trends: Which USA trends apply to South Africa?

Local restaurant consultant Michael Said has evaluated the potential impact of eleven international restaurant trends on restaurants in our country, writing for www.bizcommunity.com.  The trends were documented by Technomic Inc, an American market research company.

1.¬†¬† More ordering of “retro cocktails and high-end spirits” and craft beers, away from mass-produced alternatives,¬†at fine-dining restaurants, as restaurant patrons want to celebrate their increasing confidence in the year.¬†¬† Said’s reaction is that the stricter ‘drink/driving’ legislation may counter this trend locally, and predicts a greater focus on non-alcoholic cocktails in general, and cocktails for designated drivers in particular.

2.   Restaurants are becoming mobile, moving location, without a fixed abode.  Said says that rent-free location is attractive, but is still too large a leap for South African restaurants.

3.¬†¬† A move away from a celebrity chef to the celebrity farmer, who supplied the ingredients, in marketing communication.¬† Said is sceptical of seeing “Farmer Brown” style advertising in South Africa.

4.   Technology in restaurants, to gain a competitive edge, including iPads with menus and winelists, and hand-held devices for payment at the table, will grow.  Said says that social media marketing, location-based advertising and online reputation management will certainly be replicated in South Africa.   He is however sceptical about the widespread use of iPads, with the danger of them disappearing with the cutlery and condiments!

5.¬†¬† The ‘Korean Influence’ is forecast for the USA, resulting from immigration, but is discounted by Said for South Africa.

6.¬†¬† The trend of ‘Tired of being poor’ could see restaurant patrons spoiling themselves with indulgences¬†on higher-priced menu items.¬† Said says this could apply locally, given that interest rate decreases have put more Rands into customers’ pockets.

7.  Contradicting the previous trend, but not mutually exclusive, is that customers are demanding even greater value for money, and restaurants will have permanent value offers on their menus, a trend Said agrees will apply locally too.   I would like to add that Cape restaurants have recognised the value of value-offerings, and 37 Cape Town restaurants are offering summer specials, a commendable business policy.

8.¬† Restaurant chains will reinvent themselves with new branding and looks, as customers look for “new and exciting places to celebrate the new found financial freedom”.¬†¬† Said recommends that restaurants reinvest their greater income back into their businesses.

9.¬†¬† Comfort food will remain in demand, as will traditional dishes, either as they are, or with a modern interpretation.¬†¬† Said questions this trend forecast, as he doubts that patrons want to eat more of the same ‘home food’ at restaurants.¬† He recommends that they be enticed back to restaurants with ‘old favourites, new experiences and plenty of “love”‘.

10.¬† Supermarkets are increasingly competing against restaurants, offering their customers family value-for-money eat-in ideas and products.¬†¬† Locally, Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths “are taking customers out of restaurants and into the aisle”.¬† Said recommends that ‘warmth and hospitality’ cannot be bought in a supermarket, and are points of difference for restaurants.

11.¬†¬† Restaurant menus will see a balance of healthy (starters)¬†and indulgent (desserts)¬†items.¬† Said sees challenges for restaurants caused by menu-labelling requirements, and the Consumer Protection Act, said to be effective from April.¬†¬† I would like to add my own note to this trend, and call on restaurants to specify the fat content per 100g portion, and the carbohydrate content per serving for diabetics, as it is done on all Woolworths packaging – diabetes is a ‘price’ that is paid by restaurant lovers, and¬†diabetics should be encouraged to eat out healthily without feeling that they are losing out.

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

New Cape Town liquor trading by-law put on ice!

The City of Cape Town has lost face with its planned introduction of the new Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law today, in that it has had to backtrack twice in the past few days, demonstrating the lack of professionalism of the City’s Liquor Policy Task Team, which worked on the by-law for the past two years, and thereby one questions if they can be taken seriously going forward.

The long-awaited City of Cape Town Liquor¬†by-law was meant to¬†become effective today, and many outlets selling alcohol are unhappy about what is perceived to be draconian legislation to curb liquor sales, in the interest of reducing accidents due to drunk driving, a problem particularly prevalent in the Western Cape – however the City’s by-law ads do not mention this reason for the city’s new Liquor by-law!¬†

A UCT student in Social Development, Policy and Management, Rowan Dunne, discovered earlier this week that the by-law has not been fully gazetted, in that three amendments made since it was gazetted in September 2010 have not yet been gazetted, and will only be so on 14 January, making any attempt by the City to apply the liquor regulations illegal until then, reports the Cape Times.

In addition, the new by-law would have meant that all pubs, hotels and restaurants selling alcohol would have had to close their sales at 2h00 this morning, the new time limit meant to have been introduced by the by-law.  But given that it has not been gazetted, outlets could stay open as late as they liked on this longest party night of the year.

From today, the by-law was meant to have prohibited the selling or drinking of alcohol in hospitality establishments before 11h00, and after 23h00 in residential areas, and after 2h00 in CBD areas.   The City already had to amend the 11h00 morning deadline, to accommodate champagne breakfasts.   Sparkling wine may be used for such breakfasts, on condition that it is served with food.

Ironically, the number of deaths due to accidents has fallen dramatically this festive season, compared to the previous two years, due to stricter roadside controls by the traffic authorities, and strict new laws regarding fines/imprisonment due to excessive speeding, and driving drunk.¬†¬† In addition, the Cape Argus has commenced a “Name and Shame” campaign, publishing on its first page names of persons who have been convicted of drunk driving.

Strangely too Mayor Dan Plato said in an interview on Kfm earlier this week that the City did not have enough law enforcement officers, and that these would initially be visiting establishments to educate them about the new by-law.   The City has also advertised the by-law regulations in the local Cape Times and Cape Argus newspapers.

The times at which alcohol may be served and drunk are as follows:

Residential areas:¬† B&B’s, guest houses, backpackers, pubs, taverns, restaurants, night clubs, theatres, places of entertainment, sports clubs – ¬†11h00 – 23h00¬† (Hotels until 2h00)

“Local or neighbourhood business centres”:¬†¬† B&B’s, guest houses, hotels, backpackers, pubs, bars, taverns, restaurants, night clubs, theatres, sports clubs, places of entertainment¬†– 11h00 – 23h00¬†¬†¬†¬†(Sports clubs until midnight, rezoned Hotels until 2h00.¬† Liquor stores and specialised wine shops may sell alcohol from 9h00 – 18h00 Mondays – Saturdays)

“General Business centres” : B&B’s, guest houses, hotels, backpackers, pubs, bars, taverns and restaurants – 11h00 – 2h00¬†(Supermarkets, specialised wine shops and liquor stores may sell alcohol from¬†9h00 – 18h00 Mondays – Saturdays)¬†

Industrial areas: Pubs, bars, taverns, restaurants, night clubs, theatres, places of entertainment, sports clubs – 11h00 – 2h00 (Liquor stores and specialised wine stores 9h00 – 18h00 Mondays – Saturdays)

Agricultural areas (i.e. wine farms): Guest accommodation, pubs, bars, restaurants, ‘tourist facilities’ and sport clubs – 11h00 – 2h00.¬† Wineries may sell and serve wine from 11h00 – 24h00 every day of the week, and may sell it for off-consumption from 9h00 – 18h00 every day of the week.

Small Holdings:¬† Guest accommodation, pubs, bars, restaurants, ‘tourist facilities’, sports clubs – 11h00 – 24h00 (Wineries as for agricultural areas above).

On Tuesday this week, Councillor Taki Amira had announced that the City was going ahead with the introduction of the by-law, and that it applies from today.¬†¬†Outlets with liquor licences were threatened that they could lose their licences.¬†¬†On Thursday, he did an about-turn, after a meeting with city club and bar owners, as well as with Dunne.¬†¬† “The City would like to allay fears of club and restaurant owners with regards to the enforcement of the City’s new Liquor Trading Days and Hours By-Law.¬†¬† The by-law will be phased in over the next few months and will not be stringently endorsed until all role players have¬†been extensively informed about the new legislation.”¬† Club owners are uncertain of their zoning, and which time limit therefore applies to them in respect of the closing time.¬†¬†

The City’s by-law is likely to become a benchmark for other municipalities in the Western Cape.¬†¬† The City’s by-law advertisement already warns that “the new Western Cape Liquor Act takes away the automatic right of renewal for an annual licence”.¬†¬† The ‘policing’ of the by-law by the public is encouraged in the City’s by-law advertisement, and could lead to misuse for ‘political’ or ‘points-scoring’ purposes, and lead to bad neighbourliness.¬†

The City’s Clubs, Bars and Restaurant Association is planning legal action, and plans to approach the Cape High Court on Monday, to fight the by-law.

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