Entries tagged with “Sweet & Sour Service Awards”.


The Sweet Service Award goes to CapeWine 2018, its organizer WOSA (Wines of South Africa), and the wine industry, for the smooth organisation and professionalism of the largest wine trade show in the Southern Hemisphere, and for putting the quality and diversity of our wine industry on show. The media registration on arrival was easy, we received a handy bag for all the brochures and booklets, and were offered a wine glass on arrival. My only gripe is that there was so little media information generally upfront, and that we were not sent any information specifically.  (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Discovery Vitality, for keeping its promises on offering its physically active members cash back on their purchases of healthy foods at Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, on their shopping at Clicks, and at Sportman’s Warehouse. In addition, they have weekly rewards for fitness achievements, none of which I had used until I visited The Point Mall branch earlier this week, when I received a surprise reward of a car wash at Body Wash discounted to R15 instead of the cost of R80.  (more…)

imageThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa and its Food & Beverage Manager Hilton Ruch, who assisted me in getting a table inside the Café Grill, when the staff had said that only outside tables were available. He also personally made two dry cappuccinos for me, and then offered to find a slice of chocolate cake, which offer I did not decline! When I requested the bill, the staff said that it had been taken care of! I have been impressed in the past with Hilton walking the hotel’s restaurant and bar floors, checking on all the facilities it offers.  (more…)

wizardsThe Sweet Service Award goes to Wizardz at the Garden Center and its staff member Eddie Benjamin. Eddie assisted me with the short-run printing of a book, taking care of the technical challenges involved, to create a special gift. He regularly informed me about the status of the project throughout the one week production process. 

 

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imageThe Sweet Service Award goes to Speedy Laser Engravers for its speedy service in engraving two items with a 24 hour turn-around time.  The service offered was faster and far less costly than that proposed by Pagliari, who kindly had suggested Speedy Laser Engravers as an alternative.

 

 

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City of Cape Town logoThe Sweet Service Award goes to the City of Cape Town, for its prevention of some load-shedding, when it has spare capacity, even though it is not understandable how one can ‘save’ electricity! It has meant that scheduled load-shedding has been prevented altogether, or that it has been downgraded to a lower stage, meaning that it affects other areas. It is confusing however, as the City of Cape Town is not passing its own schedule changes to the EskomsePush app! (more…)

FLF logoThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Franschhoek Literary Festival, for another excellent weekend bringing 5000 visitors to the village for two or more days, boosting accommodation establishments, restaurants and coffee shops, wine estates, and retail outlets. We received our first 2016 booking two hours after the 2015 Festival had closed, a demonstration of its success. It also brought a lovely concert series by Christopher Duigan to the village, as well as an excellent bassoon concert to La Motte. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Wine 2015 will take place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 15 – 17 September next year, and is organised by Wines of South Africa (WOSA). DHL Express will be the first-time sponsor.  WOSA CEO Siobhan Thompson said: ‘Delegates will have the opportunity to experience the range and depth of South Africa’s vinous dexterity, strengthened by new approaches to wine-growing and winemaking that have resulted in bold, unique and unmistakably local wines. As Tim Atkin MW remarked in his South Africa 2014 Special Report: ‘There’s never been a better time to write about, taste or buy South African wine.’   Thompson said that the DHL sponsorship will take the wine showcase to a new level. (received via media release from De Kock Communications)

*   Peter Cheales of Hello Peter has sold his business of 14 years to an unnamed consortium of businessmen, he wrote in a letter to past users of his service, a South African type of Sweet and Sour Service Awards.  In his letter he wrote: It’s time for fresh blood, more energy, and new life. I will continue to watch from the sidelines. The site will always be a part of me’.  Cheales will write books and speak at conferences.

*   Raats Family Wines’ winemaker Bruwer Raats received the accolade of ‘most exciting and forward-thinking winemaker inStellenbosch‘ by Neal Martin, in his 2014 vintage review in Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.  Martin added the following (more…)

MasterChef SA 3 ep 1 Table Mountain and contestantsI had forgotten how hard it is to stay on top of a new series of MasterChef SA, and last night’s first episode of Season 3 was disappointing in being mainly an hour long tasting of 36 angelfish dishes, for the first day of Bootcamp.  But the tough elimination challenge could not have been held against a more beautiful backdrop than that of Table Mountain, great marketing for Cape Town.  The dominance of Reuben Robertsons Riffel was disappointing, being the new judge.

In the previous two MasterChef SA Seasons, more time was spent in getting to know the contestants, when they had to do basic tests such as peeling  and cutting potatoes, and peeling and slicing onions.  Last night the hot auditions in Cape Town (with Chef Pete Goffe-Wood and guest chef Henry Vigar of La Mouette), in Durban (Riffel with Chef Jackie Cameron, who has just left Hartford House to open her Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine) and in Johannesburg (Chef Bennie Masekwameng was joined by Chef Andrea Burgener, (more…)

Today we have reached an exciting milestone on our Whale Cottage Blog, in that this is our 1000th blogpost.  We thank our readers for their support in reading our blog, and for providing feedback, to help us improve as we developed over the almost three years. In numerology, 1000 symbolises multitude and perfection, we have learnt from Google, and we dedicate our next 1000 blogposts to be worthy of this definition.

Highlights have been making the Top 10 on the Most Controversial Blog category of the 2010 SA Blog Awards, achieving a cumulative unique readership of just under half a million in the last 16 months (about 30000 per month on average), and setting up the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club last year.

So what have we learnt about blogging and our blog in the close to three years:

*   Restaurant news in general, and reviews and special offers specifically have attracted the greatest interest on this blog.   Our most widely read restaurant reviews, since we went onto Google Analytics 16 months ago, are for Tokara DeliCATessen, Sotana by Caveau, Gaaitjie, Pierneef à La Motte, and Duchess on Wisbeach.  It was the enjoyment of writing the review of Portofino restaurant, owned by Cormac Keane, that got us started with reviews, and we have written more than 100 reviews since then.  We have seen negative reaction to some of these, and have been banned from the Caveau group of restaurants (including Sotano), the Caviar group of restaurants (Beluga and Sevruga), Opal Lounge, and Café des Arts as a result.  Restaurants generally are poor at Social Media, and only a handful blog and/or are on Twitter.  This means that a restaurant’s information most often is provided by a blog rather than by the restaurant’s own website, which can be to its advantage or diadvantage, depending on the reviews that are listed on the first page of Google.  Other highly read blogposts are the Winter and Summer Restaurant Specials lists, the Table Mountain vote for the New7Wonders of the World, Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock’s visit to Fresnaye in January 2009, and the Disney service training programme instituted just days before the World Cup. 

*   Tourism topics have also attracted attention, probably because there are far fewer writers on this topic.

*    Word spreads quickly if a blogpost is controversial, and brings in new readers to the blog.  Despite all allegations to the contrary, we have never written a blogpost to be controversial.  It is the reaction to it by our readers that causes the controversy. 

*   Comments have become harder to manage, and increasingly cowardly commenters write anonymously to slate the writer of the blog or the subject of a blogpost.  If one deletes such comments, one is criticised; if one publishes them, one is equally criticised!

*   While blog readers enjoy honesty, and probably read this blog for it, those that are on the receiving end of it plus their friends do react with venom, rather than using the feedback to improve their service and quality. The nastiness in ‘unSocial Media’, our new name for it, has been shocking, especially in a campaign by David Cope on Twitter, where anything goes!

*   Blogging has become very competitive, as bloggers chase readership, and want to be the first to review a new restaurant.  Achieving a first page Google listing for a restaurant, for example, can attract readership over time to the blog by new users when they Google the name of a restaurant.    

*   Readership is disappointingly low on public holidays and weekends.  Saturdays have the lowest blog reading numbers, dropping by up to half of weekday readership. Our highest readership of this blog was on 16 June 2010, during last year’s World Cup, when a tag for ‘2010’ was widely linked to this blog, attracting 9000 page views on that day alone. 

*   Although most readers are unknown to the writer, one carries a huge responsibility in shaping people’s opinions through what one writes.   We try our best to remain objective in presenting information at all times.  We have been blamed for wishing to destroy restaurants and new initiatives, yet supply news about restaurant openings and specials all the time.  Attempts were made last year by Michael Olivier (Editor of Crush!), David Cope (The Foodie Blogger) and Skye Grove (Cape Town Tourism PR Manager) to have this blog closed down.  We moved our blog hosting to America, to prevent this. 

*   Information as well as images are most likely to bring traffic via Google to the website, followed by Twitter.   Facebook is far less likely to draw traffic.

*   The weekly Sweet & Sour Service are enjoyed by readers, and many readers read the blog on a Friday, to check who has received the Sour Award, and then catch up in reading the blogposts of the pevious week.  The Spar Sweet/Limelight Sour Service Awards attracted an unusually high readership, and still do.

Looking forward, we plan to continue being honest, no matter what the cost.  We will endeavour to remain relevant, and to remain heard in the increasing Social Media ‘noise’, as more and more blogs are started, and existing ones reinvent themselves.   We will try to write shorter blogposts!   We will continue helping others to become better bloggers, and will endeavour to never stop learning from others too.

Thank you 1000 times for your readership and support!

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