I was invited to attend the launch of journalist and restaurateur Tony Jackman’s new book ‘FoodStuff: Reflections and recipes from a celebrated foodie‘ at the Thursday Club lunch at Buitenverwachting Restaurant on Thursday. I was grateful to Club coordinator Sandy Bailey for the invitation, and for seating me next to Tony, allowing me to ask him some extra questions for this story. Continue reading →
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 →
* The City Sightseeing Johannesburg & Soweto hop-on hop-off bus operation has won the international Best New City Sightseeing Operator of the Year, beating the service from three other international cities. City Sightseeing Cape Town won the award for Best Customer Services, not having ever had a complaint and receiving positive TripAdvisor reviews.
* 96 Winery Road is hosting a combined Thelema and Sutherland 5 course dinner, pairing each of 4 courses with a wine of each of the two brands, both made by winemaker Rudi Schultz, who will be present at the dinner on 18 July. Cost is R350. (received via e-mail from 96 Winery Road)
* Nederburg Winemaster Reserve Noble Late Harvest 2013 won a Decanter World Wine Award trophy as the best South African sweet wine over £15. Nederburg pioneered the production of Noble Late Harvest locally, its first Edelkeur being the 1969 vintage. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)
* The United Arab Emirates publication The National praises the culinary climax of the Cape (‘South Africa: cape of good grub‘), with its ‘laughable’ prices of tasting menus and meals at some of our top restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands, including The Test Kitchen, The Pot Luck Club, Delaire Graff (they mistakenly refer to Indochine as ‘Asiate‘) Tokara, The Tasting Room, Bread & Wine, Pierneef à La Motte, and The Greenhouse!
* South African wines will be available to taste, at no charge, at the Asheville Wine Market in North Carolina. Wines offered are Ken Forrester Petit Chenin Blanc 2013, Sutherland Chardonnay 2010, Indaba Mosaic Red 2013, and Kanonkop Kadette 2011.
* Horst Frehse has been promoted to Executive Director of the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, with his role as Continue reading →
Thelema hosted a tasting of its Thelema and Sutherland brand wines for hotel and restaurant staff as well as writers at Dear Me in the city centre yesterday. At the tasting it was announced that a Thelema MCC will be launched later this year.
We were welcomed with a glass of 1994 MCC, a once-off production, which had been made for a family wedding. It was disgorged three years ago. Thelema was bought by Gyles Webb in 1983, then a 157 ha fruit farm. It is one of the highest and coolest wine estates in the area. The first wines were produced in 1988. The Thelema Family Trust bought the 100 ha Sutherland farm in Elgin in 2002, and half of the apple orchards were replaced with vines. The Sutherland wines are slower to ripen, being grown in the cooler climate Elgin, have more minerality, are more approachable, and can be drunk sooner. They are made at Thelema’s cellar in Stellenbosch. Rudi Schultz has been the winemaker since 2000, with Webb the Cellarmaster. Thelema is particularly well-known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. Continue reading →
Bloggers must be honest and independent to have any credibility, the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting was told by wine blogger Dion Martin at its meeting held at French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar last week. This was echoed by food blogger and restaurant design curator Neil Stemmet.
Dion Martin writes The Travelling Vineyard Blog as a sideline, being a print-on-demand publisher in his day job. A love for food in his family, a chef qualification he obtained via City and Guilds, a Cape Wine Academy Certificate, and a University of Stellenbosch Wine Evaluation diploma, led Dion to start his blog two years ago, so that he could document his wine experiences. Dion mentioned that lawyer Robert Parker could be seen to have been the first blogger, in having published a weekly newspaper thirty years ago already, sharing his evaluation of the wines he had tasted. Dion has observed an increasing ‘noise’ in food blogging, and therefore one should find a point of difference with one’s blog: it could be humour, it could be its excellent photographs, or its ethics, in declaring when the blogger has received a complimentary product or meal. Few bloggers disclose freebies, he said. When he was asked how he deals with freebies, Dion said he would accept them, but would not write about a wine in isolation. He might write a comparative review about a blind tasting he would do with the freebie wine against two others.
Dion said that he is an avid Twitter fan (@TVDionysus), but he sees a lot of ‘soulless Tweeting”. He warned that communication on a medium such as Twitter can be misinterpreted due to the loss in intonation, which one would have in spoken communication. He warned Tweeters to be careful in what they say, and attendee Dusan Jelic added that one should not ‘Drink and Tweet’. Dion has seen people on Twitter follow groupings, reflecting a herd mentality. Twitter is a conduit to one’s blog. Twitter has a lot of ‘noise’ too, and he filters this ‘noise’ out via TweetDeck, in reading only the Tweets of a select number of persons he follows. Such a facility is available on HootSuite too. He is strict in unfollowing those that do not follow him. Dion said that he does not use Vlogging much yet, but is experimenting with it, as he recognises the value of YouTube videos in Google search optimisation. He advised bloggers to not make the video longer than 30 seconds. Dion does not use Facebook much, but recognises that it is powerful.
Dion brought along a selection of Shiraz wines, for the bloggers to taste: Rusty’s Red from McGregor, made by garagiste John Hargraeves and costing about R40; Rusticus is a Shiraz and Viognier blend from Robertson, costing about R80; Le Marquis de Beau Rond Syrah received the least favourable response; Simonsvlei Toffee Chunck Syrah was also not that highly rated; the Sutherland Shiraz from Elgin, costing about R90, received the most most positive response.
Neil Stemmet writes ‘soutenpeper’ Blog, the content all written in lower case, to represent his humility and the blog’s simplicity, and is in Afrikaans. He focuses on the food tradition of South Africa, and his book by the same title will be published in November, and will be launched at the Food Indaba, to be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, and organised by Design Indaba’s Ravi Naidoo. Neil said that he has no formal training, but he sees himself as a teacher, in wanting to leave a legacy. He is a ‘survivor’, he says, and says that the more one gets stamped upon in a judgemental society, the more fuel one obtains. He has been the interior curator of the Towerbosch restaurant at Knorhoek, and Cuvee at Simonsig. He received acclaim for his award-winning stand he curated for the BOS Tea House, and he did so with minimum budget, collaborating with a number of design suppliers, each of whom brought a display case representing their outlet. The walls were painted purple, and the food was served in large platters at the symbolic ‘altar’ table, explaining his interpretation of a reaction to religion.
The ‘soutenpeper’ name reflects Neil’s approach to food preparation, which is adding nothing more than salt and pepper to a leg of lamb. It starts in obtaining one’s meat from a butcher one knows, and knowing from where he sources his meat. Neil started his food career with his restaurant Le Must in Upington, which he opened in 1985, and still owns. Here he once served Nelson Mandela. He keeps his food ‘hearty and simple’, serving it in large platters, and it is eaten with ‘great conversations’. Neil started ‘soutenpeper’ on WordPress, and asked for help when he got stuck in his early days of blogging. The publishers approached him about the book after only three months of blogging. He said of his growing reputation:”The more people write about me, the more scared I get”. He says it takes energy to live up to the coverage he receives, and he is always honest and sincere. He speaks his mind. He advised bloggers to write what comes to mind, to be natural in what one writes, and “to trust one’s instinct and to not force it”. Do not shout, he advised, ‘speak quietly’. ‘Become more humble, the more success you have. It is not about you, but about the energy flowing through you. Do not write for who we think we should be, but for what you are. Always share knowledge, and you will get reward from it’, he concluded.
French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar is jointly owned by Karen Visser and John Harrison, and opened last year. They generously hosted the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting next to their cosy downstairs fireplace, serving bruschetta, as well as a surprise Chocolate Fondant.
The next meetings of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club take place as follows:
* 20 July : Hennie Coetzee and Maggie Mostert of Batonage Blog, at What’s On Eatery
* 17 August: Nikki Dumas of Swirl Blog, and Matt Allisson of I’m no Jamie Oliver Blog, at Den Anker, wines sponsored by Jordan wines
* 21 September: Chef Brad Ball of Bistro1682, and a wine speaker from Steenberg, at Steenberg
* 19 October: Roger and Dawn Jorgensen of Jorgensen’s Distillery, and Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk from Honest Chocolate, with a chocolate and potstill brandy tasting and talk on blogging, at Haas Coffee on Rose Street.
* 12 November: Saturday lunch visit to new Leopard’s Leap tasting room and cookery school in Franschhoek